PREVIEW: Brockaghs

I love Brockagh, she’s one mountain who has always been good to me, she has a decent length (although still a bit short!) and a lovely course on a dry day.

I would have abandoned the Leinster League by now to focus fully on quality training for Snowdon but with Crusaders still in with a shot at the title, I feel it’s my duty to stay in and do my part even in the cases were I don’t score but merely push contending teams scorers down the rankings. You always need someone there to do a job for the team. This shouldn’t detract in any way from the enjoyment of this evening’s race but it does give me food for thought for next season’s planning.

Personal History on Brockagh
2007 I found redemption there after having had a bad race at Scarr. My time of 57:52 was very good for me at the time and I was 48th of 150. The next year was my best race of the season and it was also my last as I sprained my ankle on the last kilometres and didn’t race again until February 2009.

Having battled off Jason Kehoe in real man-to-man fight (so intense that neither of us noticed any runners that happened to be in our way coming down!) I passed him out in the final bends of the downhill fire trail and got so distracted from seeing Colm Mullen in front of me that I turned over on a stone and hobbled in. Through the cursing I was happy having finished 17th of 169 and taken 7 minutes and 14 seconds of my time from the previous year. I had been desperately close to breaking 50 minutes for the almost 10.5k course.

My club mate Jason had arrived 18 seconds later in 18th!

This Year’s Aim and Strategy
Form or no form, I’m refusing to throw in the towel on this season and my target for the race is 49 minutes, so I will attempt to knock another 1min38sec of my time in order to do this. I do operate with a very simple principle for the race, however: Don’t run the first kilometre in sub-4minutes (won’t be necessary with proper pacing), arrive at the top in sub-30 minutes, have in mind that you have about 20 minutes to get down and let it rip on the last 3 kilometres.

Last year we ran 3:18 and 3:16 (18.2kph approx) for kilometres 9 and 10. Given I did 3:00.27 for the more difficult descend on Scarr, I am hopeful that I can go one better. And I will need to; in order to break 50 minutes in my pacing system requires the last four kilometres to be run like this: 3:58, 3:39, 3:12, and 3:10 (and then still have a good 400m sprint in store).

I’m basing myself on a system that says it’ll take around 61% of the total time to get to the top and 39% of the time to get back again.

I definitely went a bit hard on the training this weekend and I’m hoping I’ll recover just in time, but it will be tight. This is a necessary sacrifice with the bigger picture of Snowdon in mind but I’m hoping the perpetual leg tiredness of the last many weeks will let off. It would be good to go into a race with fresh legs. I miss that.

Second problem is more of an oddity. This morning at around 5 am, I jumped out of bed with cramp in my right calf. Given that I’ve been doing only a 2.5k and a 3km run as “micro-taper” to ease myself into today’s race this is very odd even on the back of the weekend’s work.

I’m hoping it isn’t something serious and devoured a big bowl of strawberries this morning in the hope they’ll have some good effect. I had a good stretch and sprayed my legs with cryonic Biofreeze after the run, and had a good meal, so this incident will remain mysterious for now.