Eight weeks after my first try in Carlow, I headed over to Lanesborough for the National Sprint Championship. Not that I ever had any chance of winning it but I knew that it would be a great race with a lot of other Belparkers racing too. Also, the course was more or less flat as a pancake which nice as well which was a nice change from the last race in Kilkee. With about ten weeks of proper training I was able to see the difference to Carlow, I was able to race harder and felt much better during the race. Not to forget that I enjoyed it much more.
I was promised a warm lake by everyone who had done the race before. It was so warm that wetsuits were optional. When I got into the water it was a weird feeling since I am used to the much colder sea. However, there was no warning that there would be ice cold patches. When out of the sudden the water temperature dropped and others swam over me, I thought my heart stopped and could not breathe. After a few breaststrokes and telling myself not to panic, I continued. After the first buoy the sighting did not work that well so I followed the swimmers in front of me and at some point I noticed that the second buoy was hidden behind the kayaks which were in the middle of the swimmers. Once I was around the second buoy, it was straight back in.
The grass was very soft and quite muddy thanks to the rain on the days before, and over 650 athletes had been walking on there before when setting up the transition. At least it was nicer to run on that barefoot than on tarmac. Otherwise, the transition was alright but a little bit slow.
The bike route was an out and back course with a few turns in the beginning and the end; most of it was straight with very little inclines along the route. At first it took me quite some time to get into my shoes and then I noticed after 5K that one of the elastic bands was still attached to the bike. Lovely, who does not like a little extra work in a race? Apart from that, the bike went well I managed to stay under 40 min for the first time. Being in an earlier wave also meant that I would see a lot of other athletes heading out while I was already on my way back.
The second transition was okay. And since it was not neutralised I was quite happy that my bike was in the middle so that did not need to run as much with my bike as others.
This was definitely the fastest 5K of the year. It was quite a flat course but it still had the one or the other incline. I am very happy with that result. It is still slower than what I ran last year, nevertheless I am slowly getting back where I was. Too bad that the next races are longer where I need to pace myself. But I have to say that now that I only have 8 weeks left until Rügen, I finally had the feeling that the training paid off.
With the positive feeling after the race, I am not that worried anymore of the fact that the race is only 2 months away (a few days ago I saw a post from Rügen 70.3 which said ‘66 days to go’ and that scarred me a little bit at that point).
Next up is Caroline Kearney in one month’s time which is a standard distance race again but flat as a pancake as well – I heard…