Last Friday I headed over to the other side of the emerald island right after work. With the Rosie-Project read by Robert Stadlober the long hours were not that bad. Once in Kilkee I registered and got everything I needed for the race, plus a nice new jacket. But at roundabout near the transition I took a wrong exit and took a longer route to the holiday home. So far so good… if only it was not the run route I ended on.
Took a wrong turn. Drove 2K up the run route. Bad mistake. 😂🏃
— Gunda Dorothea (@gundadorothea) June 24, 2016
The hill was very scary and quite steep but it eased of and turned into an up and down. At the next possibility, I stopped and took a few photos knowing that on the next day when running on the same road I would not be able to take photos or fully take in the landscape.
The houses were only down the road from the transition so it was just a short cycle after breakfast. As usually, I had the feeling that I forgot something and started to drive myself crazy. Also, everything in transition was quite tight so I checked probably five times that my stuff had not been moved. With the generous schedule over 1h between close of transition and start of the wave (at least in theory), there was some time to kill but eventually we all got down to the beach and ran into the water.
The sea was quite choppy and since I am not the best swimmer when there is a constant up an down thanks to the waves, it was not surprising that the swim time was quite rather slow. But hey, that race is called Hell of the West – why should the swim be easy? Then of course I did the usual detour to the right so that I got quite close to the rocks and had a 1750m swim. When I swam over the seaweeds on the rocks, they were just below me. At least my blue goggles made them look very beautiful. I really do love my glasses to make everything look so much nicer in the sea.
The transition was okay. Nothing good or bad about. I maybe could have started to run a little bit earlier getting out of the water but the bad feeling in my stomach two weeks before was still present in my mind.
Shortly after the the transition was the first hill waiting for us. From the profile and the race logo I was a little bit scared of that hill but as it turned out, it was quite alright which meant that it would not be that bad to get it over it on the way back. And I passed a suffering Deric Hartigan half way up. Nice motivator that I can pass people on a hill and not only get passed. I left a little “Well done”, made him smile and off I went. After about 5K my hamstring and glutes started to hurt and let me suffer all through the bike leg of the race.
The bike leg was fine. It was not bad but I always think that I could have done more. Only the drafting was not that nice to watch. For about 10K I had three athletes in front of me of which two of them were just on the wheel of the girl in the front doing all the work. The guy in the back was wearing a shirt of a cycling team so I was guessing he accidentally entered the wrong race, but since it looked like that he was just spinning is legs, he was probably just lazy.
The transition was fine and even no issues with the socks. It was the first time that I put them on in a race since I was not looking forward to any blisters. I had not practiced specifically to do that in a rush but I have put on socks for years so I figured I would be fine.
After my accidental course reccie the day before I was a little worried but at least I knew what to expect. I hoped the hill training and the few short runs up and down the neighbourhood would somehow pay off and they did. Not that I am a fast runner but I managed to pass at least a handful of people. I also broke the run into sections and compared them to the short steep hill I ran up a few times before the race. This made it much easier.
After over 3 hours I finished the race and was quite delighted. I was worried that I was not ready at all and in the worst case would need to walk a little bit on the run. I thought to use Hell of the West also as a little indicator to see where I am in regards to my big race in over two months and I have to say it does not look too bad.
On the Sunday I had planned to see a little bit more of Country Clare and some sights on the Wild Atlantic Way. The weather was everything else than ideal as it was quite foggy. At first I stopped at the Bridges of Ross. From there I made it to the lighthouse at Loop Head and via Carringaholt to Kilrush. As I did not really see any life there or signs of the music festival, I headed back home.
The race was tough but not as tough as I thought it would be. Maybe I was better prepared than I thought or I am simply on the right track for Rügen. With two flat races ahead I figured I could avoid any nasty hills during my training runs in the coming months, only to check the profile for the 70.3 in Rügen yesterday finding some short steep hill on it which I need to get up twice. Oh well, maybe I need to continue running up that nasty hill I ran up a few times in preparation for Hell of the West.