QUICK RACE ANALYSIS (1 = Abysmal, 5 = Excellent)
· ROUTE: 4 (Entertaining and simple up-and-down race with terrific descent and great views)
· WEATHER: 2 (A deluge! But thankfully calm winds, and not too much mist. Normally my favoured conditions but not in road runners)
· FIELD STRENGTH: 2 (most of the main favourites missing in preparation for Euro Trial but welcome return of James McFadden)
· STRATEGY: 2 (Irredeemable low level of preparation, forgot fell runners, but picked correct starting pace until mishaps destroyed last semblance of tactics)
· PERFORMANCE: 2 (The low-point of an increasingly difficult season, a day when everything went wrong. Kept decent pace on the ascent in periods)
· OVERALL: 2.4 (A run on a great route ruined by wrong choice of footwear and awful mental attitude)

For my race report go here.

In the twelfth hour I had opted to do Scarr after all instead of resting up for the Euro Trial at home. It had been tempting all along as it kept my hopes alive of completing 7 races in this year’s Leinster League.

Then came my quarterly physical test with Emma yesterday. I’m still waiting for my final results but the overall conclusions were simple:

1. Base had been restored as planned
2. My MAC (Max Aerobic Capacity) had been moved back up to normal

But…

1. My race zones (Zone 3 and 4) were suffering from neglect
In a way this was good news as it explained why I’ve left the last three races with a feeling of disappointment and discontent. I’m as fit as ever, but not in the speed zones I currently need to compete effectively in the Leinster League.

The order was simple, I need to focus on racing for the next while, and when I’m not racing we’ll be working all of my zones simultaneously (something that had me raise the question on how to effectively do multiple sessions in a day to marathon-expert Adriele who gave a talk at Crusaders on the Tuesday night). The answer to that btw, is to use it carefully if you’re not used to it, but do slow runs in the morning combined with more advanced sessions in the afternoon.
So Scarr was suddenly back on the menu, as Emma believed it would help me more than damage me ahead of Saturday. The results left me with the opposite feeling of before the marathon, though. Back then confirmation of my strength to break 3:20 had spurred me on. Yesterday I stood at the start line knowing my engine wasn’t properly configured for the race at hand.

Since this race didn't leave me with much positive to say overall and I’m absolutely knackered from getting to bed at 00:30 after, I won’t say too much more about it, only that my time of 41:24 was at least 2:30 faster than last year. It’s a tiny improvement compared to the 12 minutes I knocked off Howth in the same period of time, but it’s a start. I’ll come back next year looking to break 38min comfortably, so feel free to hold me to that promise if you’re out there…

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