DIARY: The Records Fall

I broke two PRs today (which means Personal Record not Public Relations in the world of running!): longest distance covered in one week (50.10km) and longest distance run in one day (22.2k beating the record I set for myself on Monday with 19.93k).

Pictures from the race will be available soon :)

My Longest Race
I was quite nervous before today's race I must admit, not only had I never run this distance before, I did not know how harsh the terrain would be. The race description said 760m of ascent, but this didn't do the race full justice, as 7.71k (4.79miles) of the 22.2k were actually pure ascent, the altitude regardless (and this showed on the time spent running up, as you can see on the pie chart below, showing the percentage of the 2:12:58 that I spent in total divided by ascent-descent-flat), this translates to 1 hour 1 minute of pure uphill running!

I'm fairly pleased with my time, even though I struggled in phases, and during the race my 2nd, 13th, 15th, and 16th km all went above 8 minutes for the distance! On the other hand I set some great times on the descending part, running in times below 4:40min/km on the 4th, 8th, 9th, 18th, and 19th km (running my best of 4:16 on the 18th km grotesquely! Quicker than my average pace on Hellfire!).

On Death's Door!
The last 3 kilometers from the foot of the last mountain to Johnnie Fox's pub were the worst three kilometers in my life, hands down. While I set decent times (5.03, 6:20, and 5:40), I was close to a breakdown here, my spirit simply abandoned me as the dull final stage on concrete road just seemed to wind along endlessly. I thought every bend would be the last, and each time I turned the corner, I saw runners still running in the distance. It was like a glancing blow to the chin every time, and everything inside me screamed for me to stop, but somehow, and I don't know how, it just wouldn't. I had to keep going, and in the end, it was enough...

Think this is hard?
Now I can only wonder at the suffering endured by those few brave souls who started out two hours earlier and made their way through 44k on the Wicklow Way Ultra. One day I hope to join their noble company, but until then, I am humbled in the face of not only my own challenge, but the performance of these men and women today, and even more so, further away, of those many fell-runners for whom this is barely a walk in the park...

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