Time to get back into the habit of writing up a short race report after each race.
Last weekend was the Leinster Senior XC in Ballyroan, Co. Laois. We headed down with a team of Darren, Ciaran, Gavin, Paul, Michael and myself. The course looked pretty good when we arrived first, but as we went around for a warm up lap, it became clear that there were some very sticky and wet parts about a third of the way in. Having five laps to do, we were going to see this often and I stopped a couple of times to try and get a line through it. We warmed up with a few strides and then stripped off for the start.
It was a downhill start and myself and Ciaran were well up for the first bit until it started to get sticky. I dropped back a bit and lost a few places but kept ahead of Ciaran. Near the end of the first lap, Darren came through and passed me. I tried to stick with him for a bit but as the second lap went on, I lost more and more distance on him.
On the third lap, there was a lot of cheering for Michael who was coming up behind me. I was determined to keep ahead of him and this pushed me on for a bit and I caught up with a Donore runner who was just up ahead of me. By lap four, I was struggling. Michael and the Donore guy went past me and I thought I was going to lose contact with them. Coming around into the last lap, I was still within touching distance and as we went into the uphill sticky part for the last time, I made a move to try and drop the Donore guy. I pushed on ahead of Michael and he stuck to me until the top of the hill.
Coming into the last 500m or so, I pushed again as we went downhill and around into the uphill by the start. There was about 300m to go now and I was pushing quite hard. I kept up the pressure and made a little bit of time on the guy ahead of me, but not enough.
I finished in 25th place with Michael in 26th and Ciaran another couple of places back in 29th. We ended up finishing as 5th place team, with Darren being the other scorer.
Given the state of the course and how cold it was, I was happy enough with my time of 38:30. Once again I dropped back in the middle section of the course, which was disappointing, but I was able to get back into it near the end. More mental work needed to keep concentration in the middle section of races and I have to make sure that I’m properly hydrated before races too.