We started out a minute before the faster group. Chatting and cruising easily until they passed us. After that it didn’t take long for Ais to politely suggest that I should head on over and run with them. I knew what she was actually saying was “you’re annoying the shit out of me by running one step ahead and dragging the pace up. So why don’t you go and see how you get on over there half wheeling people”
At that stage they had opened probably a two minute gap from us but I took the hint (I’m not completely stupid) and picked up the pace.
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I knew that the front group usually move at or just under five minute kilometres at this stage of the Sunday run so I’d need to drop down to 4:30’s or faster to make a dent in the gap.
The Garmin beeped and I looked at the last km split. 4:30, perfect. And I still felt ok. That being said I’d only done one kilometre at that pace.
Don’t get over excited Cummins.
Still, I felt good and whenever the road straightened out I could see they were coming back to me. The garmin beeped again and I saw a 4:29 and I guessed I had the gap down to less than 60 seconds. There was a short drag coming up I thought if I pushed on it I’d close the gap by the top then sit on the back of the group and recover on the downhill.
As they crested the hill I made contact and Gerry (who’s sort of the boss) looked back, said hello and then added that there was still another group further up the road. I took it to mean “keep on going Cummins don’t start fucking with the pace of my group…”
Luckily I was still feeling ok and hadn’t blown up.
But now I had to run through and past the group, which meant that I couldn’t really slow down for the rest of the run. So I picked up the pace a bit more, gravity aided this time as we dropped back down towards the park entrance and the garmin beeped to tell me that last kilometre had gone by in 4:10.
Even though I was still feeling reasonably good I couldn’t help thinking I’d done something very stupid. Either way I was committed now and couldn’t really back down.
I came into the park and started to climb, I pushed to try to close the last gap to the front group just as they got to the top. I knew that in about a kilometre they would hit a point at which the pace usually picked up and if I didn’t make contact before then I was screwed. Stuck in the embarrassing no mans land between the two groups.
I made contact and Richard looked back surprised that I’d caught them, to be honest so was I. I looked over my shoulder and saw that there were four more runners bridging across to us. Shit, I thought. That’s my fault, I’ve split the group. Gerry’s going to kill me.
I didn’t have too long to worry about Gerry before we turned onto bollards road and sure enough, someone, somewhere must have rung a fucking bell. Although I didn’t hear it, and the pace picked up.
I tucked in tight thinking that I might get some draft off the group but it didn’t seem to really work. Funny that.
Alan and Philip who had been chasing me across from the second group tacked on the back and almost immediately Alan went to the front and pushed the pace again. Fuck. This might end badly.
For me. Not for Alan. Alan’s fucking flying. Fucking Alan.
Then without any clue how I somehow found myself running alongside him on the front thinking I was feeling good. That was just before the garmin beeped again and I realised that we had another 9k and three hills to go. Careful Cummins, I thought. You’ve gotten away with it so far but for fucks sake don’t do anything stupider than you already have.
It was like my legs were listening to someone else’s instructions and I noticed that I was the one surging off the front.
“What the absolute fuck, legs??!?”
“Fuck off head we’re having fun”
“But we’ll never make it all the way at this pace”
“Fuck it. We don’t care”
But as I checked in with my legs and body I realised that I was feeling good. My breathing was up. My legs were a bit sore but I felt good. Really good. Then Alan came by me and all of a sudden I was just sore and hurting and wishing I could be horizontal.
“You’re running well” Alan said.
“That’s because I’m really well rested” I answered. “It’s certainly not from the non existent training…”
We hit a drag and I felt it again, like I was floating. And I pushed the pace and the group split and I thought that I’d be in trouble for screwing up the run. But I couldn’t help myself. I was no longer driving the bus. My legs were in charge and they had really hit the fuck it switch this time.
Alan came back up alongside me and he pushed again, and again I felt my head dip a bit but I knew (hoped) that I’d come around again in a minute.
We hit the second last hill and I thought that if the wheels were going to come off then it would be here. I’d been running fairly hard for close to an hour and now the hill would empty the tank.
But the legs had other ideas and again I found myself at the front. And while I didn’t quite cruise up the hill I didn’t get dropped either.
The next couple of K’s were run off at low 4 minute pace and I was starting to feel it. When Alan asked if I wanted to tack on another few miles I made my excuses and said that I’d leave him at it.
Himself and Richard are just about to start a taper for the Cork marathon so they were tired after a hard block of training. In reality that’s the only reason I was at the front at all today.
But it felt good to just run hard. To throw caution to the wind and thankfully not blow up and embarrass myself and get dropped or have one of the faster lads decide to put manners on me.
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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.