It feels like the Portumna 50km was a long time ago. I had a tough time recovering from a poor race in Portumna. It wasn’t perhaps a complete disaster, but it did feel like I was being run over a bus all day, slowly, and repeatedly, and by a big heavy bus. On the Thursday after Portumna, I emailed the Connemara 100 Mile Race Director, Ray O’Connor, and told him it was unlikely that I’d attempt the race this year. I felt in my heart that I just couldn’t have another bad race experience so soon. Of course, it was a decision I was reluctant to make, as I’ve had so many wonderful experiences through this race over the last three years. I said to myself that I’d make a final decision that following weekend. I wanted to see if I could find the courage to re-commit myself to preparing for the race and to make the training changes that I knew would be necessary. I needed to give myself a fighting chance of enjoying myself on the day.
I talked with some friends and decided I’d give it a shot. In short, I accepted some good advice and tried to up my game. Since then, I’ve trained harder, more consistently and, hopefully, more intelligently, than I have in quite a while and I fully intend to take part in Connemara on August 12th. The renewed effort was of course, at least partially, inspired by ego. I don’t want to fall flat on my face in Connemara. Looking back over the weeks since Portumna, my training diary tells me that I’ve logged more miles in advance of this year’s race than ever before. My long runs have been longer and faster. My faster training runs have been more frequent and of better quality. I’ve run hills like I haven’t in a long while.
Of course, none of this guarantees me anything. I learnt a very long time ago that good training does not guarantee a good race. Good training does however give me a fighting chance to run well and to enjoy the experience. As I taper now, and the training efforts trickle off to nearly nothing, I find my thoughts wandering the roads to Clifden and to Letterfrack and Leenane and Roundstone.
I’m just waiting for the sun.