I’m six feet off the front of the group and I’ve got the most overwhelming itch to stretch my legs. At the same time I’m conscious that I don’t want to annoy the others by constantly dragging the pace up.
We’re twenty five minutes into a ninety minute run and I’ve felt great right from the start. It’s one of those days when you just can’t feel your legs and running is effortless.
Kona Secrets book available
Kona Secrets: Lessons learned from over 50 Kona Qualifications.
Knowledge doesn’t produce results, action does. Just knowing how to do something doesn’t guarantee success, especially something as difficult as qualifying for Kona; you have to put in the hours. In this book I share some of the lessons I learnt between being a back-of-the-pack beginner to qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
“Fuck it” I can’t help myself. I don’t think I even consciously decide. It just happens. I accelerate and it feels really good. The conversation drifts away behind me and I’m enveloped in autumnal sunshine and the silence of the park.
I’m careful to not do anything stupid like drop the pace to sub four minute k’s and blow up in ten minutes later. I’d then have Ais and John cruise back up to me still chatting and I’d look like an over exuberant tool who doesn’t have any self control or pacing awareness.
So I settle into what feels like a fast cruise. A pace I think I can hold onto for probably a couple of hours. Marathon pace or maybe slightly quicker.
My breathing picks up and I use it as a measure of my effort. I want to be working but not fry myself. I’ve got to train again tomorrow (not to mention I’ve got to work this afternoon and falling asleep under a pile of bike boxes in the warehouse won’t go down well with Orla…)
The trails loop through small stands of trees them back out onto open parkland. It’s quiet and all I’m thinking about is the run, my effort, my breathing, not tripping over the branches littering the ground after last weeks storm and how beautiful the Phoenix Park is in the autumn.
I’m sweating now and my breathing has settled into a faster rhythm. My legs are buzzing with the effort. The kilometres tick off quickly. The Garmin beeping again surprises me with another K done.
I cruise through the next forty minutes using runners on the loop as targets to chase. Trying to catch them before they turn off in another direction but without going nuts.
With twenty minutes to go I pick up the pace again. I’m working hard now and the legs are starting to feel sore.
Maybe thinking I’d last a couple hours of hours at this pace was a little ambitious considering I’m only back running three weeks.
I hang on to the pace to the end of the loop and then jog a fifteen minute cool down that bizarrely feels harder than the run itself.
Then there’s the endorphin buzz that comes after a hard or long run. And of course there’s the cooked breakfast in the visitor centre. And the coffees. And the trophy soreness in the legs.
It’s hard to think of a better way to start a Sunday.
Chasing Kona eBook available
From smoker to back of the pack triathlete to the Ironman World Championships.
Read about how I overcame all of the odds and discovered what it would take to get to the Ironman World Championships – my eBook is now available to buy as an eBook on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes
It is also available as a paperback at Wheelworx.