For those who don’t want a lot of reading you can skip to the end for the result and the Strava file with splits and times.

“What way are you going to run today, are you going to race hard?” Ais asked in the car on the drive down.

If you want to follow the numbers more closely I’m on Strava as Rob Cummins Wheelworx or if you’re more of a pictures instead of reading type I post on Instagram as wheelworxrob.

 

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.

“I’m not fit enough to race for 32k. So I was thinking I’d go easy for 10k then pick it up a bit for the next 22k if the legs cooperate. What do you think?” I asked.

What I was really thinking was that I was very nervous at the prospect of a 32k run and was more concerned with survival than pace. I’ve probably run 20k once in the last six months and could count the number of actual training runs in the same period on the fingers of one hand.

It’s the longest break I’ve had from structured training I’ve had for a number of years.

“That depends on how easy you’re starting and how much you’re going to pick it up I suppose” Ais answered.

“I was thinking, like, 5:30 minute k’s for the first ten k then maybe just under fives for the rest”

“You’re in better shape than that. You should probably run the whole thing at five min k’s or a bit quicker” Ais said.

That sounded reasonable and I trust Ais’s judgement so I decided to go with that plan.

The first couple of kilometres clicked by easily as I watched runners disappear up the road ahead. After about ten minutes things had settled and I was running just behind a small group.

When we hit an out and back stretch at eight kilometres I had the chance to count the runners ahead of me as they came back the opposite way.

I was surprised to discover that I was about 30th. I’d thought there was a lot more than that ahead. I was still finding the running easy and started to think that maybe if I picked up the pace a little I could move up. Maybe not quite into the top twenty but certainly half a dozen places. That would sound a bit more respectable I thought to myself.

I passed Ais coming the opposite way on the out and back stretch and she also looked like she was cruising, chatting to Ciara and smiling as they passed.

I accelerated a little and gradually started pulling back people. The faster speed also felt comfortable. After a couple of minutes I could see a group of five off in the distance.

“You could move into the top twenty with one pass Robbo” I thought to myself. Then the Garmin beeped to tell me that I’d gone through the last kilometre much too fast.

In my mind I’d started to race. But I still had over twenty kilometres to go and there was no way I was fit enough to race hard for close to another ninety minutes.

The sensible part of me argued for an easing back. The problem with that was that the sensible part of me wasn’t driving the bus anymore.

The part of me that wanted to run on instinct, Garmin, pace and controlled effort be damned, had slid in behind the wheel and was standing on the gas pedal with both feet with a big grin on his face.

I quickly caught the group and cruised past taking two runners with me. One of them asked me about my pace and if it was ok to run with me. I answered that was cool.

However I very quickly realised that it was a day that I didn’t want anyone on my shoulder.

I wanted the solitude and quiet of my own footsteps and breathing. Against the advice of the sensible Rob who was getting quite exasperated I accelerated again. The other two runners matched my pace but I could hear their breathing become harder and I knew that with twenty kilometres to go they’d either have to back off or blow up.

The two runners drifted backwards and I was alone again inside my head with only the sound of my footsteps and my breathing for company.

The Garmin beeped again and I glanced at it. Jesus! That’s way to fast Cummins. I checked in with my breathing and legs, which were hurting a little but not in a catastrophic way.

I also realised that the effort still didn’t feel too hard. The numbers from the Garmin weren’t really matching what my body was telling me. I shouldn’t really have any right to feel this good at this pace. I haven’t trained enough to run this hard and certainly not for over thirty kilometres.

But despite all of that I felt good. My breathing was controlled. My legs although sore were moving and cooperating.

So far anyway.

I decided to throw caution to the wind and try to race it. I accelerated again measuring my effort by my breathing and found that spot where you’re sitting just below your limit. I guessed that I was working just about hard as I could maintain for ten kilometres.

The only problem was I still had seventeen to go.

I ignored that fact and focused on the runner up in the distance and started to do as Ais always says to do in a race and “hunt the motherfuckers down”

I picked off another few runners but by now they were well spread out. The course was mostly flat with some very gentle drags. I found that I was catching people quicker on the uphills. I wasn’t really slowing at all regardless of whether the road was flat or climbing.

Somewhere around the twenty kilometre point after one of the more sustained climbs we had a long fast downhill stretch. This brought my pace up further and when I hit the next flat I decided to try to hang onto it.

I was now going way too hard. I had the voice in the back of my head telling me that I was doing some epically stupid shit and that I’d pay for in a couple of miles. I chose to ignore that voice as long as I could.

But I still caught runners and I somehow held onto the effort. The next ten kilometres went by remarkably smoothly. I was running on my limit and things were really hurting now but I managed to hold on all the way to the finish. Distracting myself from the pain by trying to think of a funny name to call my Strava upload from the race, unsuccessfully.

In the end I ran my way through to thirteenth which was a complete surprise. I was even more surprised that I’d had the legs to run hard for so long. It seems that staying fit on the bike for the summer has allowed me hold onto some run fitness too.

I reckon I’ll pay for my over exuberance tomorrow walking downstairs, but fuck it. Life is too short to always play by the rules.

Sometimes realism or common sense or what you think is possible or sensible doesn’t come into it.

Sometimes you just have good legs and on those days you have to ignore what the Garmin is telling you and run or ride like fuck and not waste them.

You can check out the run on Strava, here

https://www.strava.com/activities/1889706267

If you want to follow the numbers more closely I’m on Strava as Rob Cummins Wheelworx or if you’re more of a pictures instead of reading type I post on Instagram as wheelworxrob.

 

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.