RACES: Starving on Cushbawn

Wednesday the Arup Leinster League kicked-off, today it was time for a the Leinster Championship, a league featuring more open mountainside, longer average distances, and predominantly unmarked paths to the title of Champion of Leinster.

Maiden Race
Next Wednesday will see the birth of a new race when the Leinster League continues at Prince William's Seat, and likewise great interest turned to today's race as IMRA would host its first race on the grassy slopes of Cushbawn, a 400m hill with an innocuous (and deceptively as it should prove!) soft slope when viewed from above.

You are What You Eat
Before the race I kept being hungry no matter how much quick food (pears, Gatorade, muffins) I tried to gulp down, this confirmed what I had feared since the evening before: I was running on an energy deficit and had not done enough to repair it.

Having also ran out of my "wonder drug", the new Kre-Alkalyn creatine at Wednesdays race (where I "fired off") the last supply (three cans coming in from the US!!!), I knew I could be in trouble, and so it proved...

In the Footsteps of Champions
For the first half a kilometer I raced right behind Barry Minnock et. al. and just staying at their pace for the first flat stretch was a great rush, and sharpened the appetite for me.

On Cushbawn, however, there was little time for recovery, and as soon as the initial flat stretch had ended, it was all up, up (and not away unfortunately!).

I felt a sudden complete "deadness" in my body, and knew that with the previous hunger, I must have under-eaten during the weekend, a fatal racing mistake when your in the midst of a hard program (this was my 11th race in 15 weeks). My glucogen stores were empty, and the heavy carbohydrate consumption forced upon me by the high pace on the long ascent, poured lactic acid into my calves.

Runner after runner was passing me by (I find it hard to believe there was only 17 people in front of me, but delirium and double-vision is the bane of mountain runners everywhere...). I gulped down the PowerBar Gel I had brought (as I had felt the onset of the famine from morning).
Close to the top I said to myself "Devil take it", took both hands on my thighs and power-walked past the runner I had stalked for the last few kilometres, and then threw myself off the unexpectedly steep rock-strewn road leading down Cushbawn. I broke only once as I powered past two runners and regretted it instantly as a thin layer of flesh immediately chose to disconnect from the flesh beneath! Thank the Lord for Compeed.
No-Man's Land
Coming off the hill at great speed I used the momentum to rush past another few runners and while I catched a glimpse (stirring hope of more!) of veteran and legend Vivian O'Gorman and Paul Joyce in front of me, the legs ran empty, and I spent the rest of the race in no-man's land, no runners to see behind me, none in front of me.
At least the beautiful stream running parallel to the finish kept me company as I finished 18th of the 33 runners. Barry Minnock and Aisling Coppinger once again took care of the first positions.