I promised to write about the trip to Ireland last night and did not. Let's everyone know what my blog promises are worth. Thanks to everyone who left comments of congrats for the overseas effort.
We are actually moving on Tuesday so believe it or not we are quite busy. Last night I got caught up taking down some light fixtures and loading some electronics equipment into boxes. I have saved all the original packing for my electronics so everything is fitting quite nicely. Anyway, I apologize.
First off, yesterday I did get back to running after taking Monday off. I did a counter nobscott loop solo in 48:56. Nice and easy does it. Today I did the same loop with Justin in 46:50. Light lifting.
Finally, to the racing across the pond in Ireland.
The first race of the trip was the Armagh Road race. It is a 5k race which consisted of 5 laps of a 1k loop around the town square. A great feature of the race is it takes place at 8:30 at night. It is decently lit and a rocket fast course. We went out like gangbusters. I was towards the front and was thinking the whole time it couldn't last, only to see my teammate go to the front and drop the pace down a little more. The Russians and Americans were going toe to toe at the front. The lead pack went through the first 1k in 2:46ish and I came through in 2:52. On the next straight I lost complete contact so you will have to ask Hunter (2nd) or Thomas (3rd) about what went on at the front. I bet it was exciting to watch because I could hear the announcer talking about a group of leaders at record pace. I pretty much started slowing down, never dying and pushing it all out in a death crawl but the drive was gone as well as the fight. I finished in 24th with a 14:56 which was rather disappointing. I am going to qualify that though because boy did I have a rough couple of days before that. The flight over from Logan to Dublin was long and went through the night. Everyone told me "you can sleep on the plane, you won't even notice." Has anyone here ever tried to sleep for hours in a plane seat? It is almost torture to try and get comfortable in those seats. I got maybe 1/2 hour of sleep on the plane and then stayed up until 9:00 the next night to try and get on Ireland time. I had a bad feeling the entire day of the Armagh that my body and mind were not rested enough for a 14:30 effort and unfortunately my feeling was correct. It was still a good experience and I promised that it would not happen on Sunday at the Ras na hEireann.
We spent Friday in Belfast to do some shopping and look at some sights. We saw the majestic St. Anne's cathedral. It was a sight and the highlight of the sights for me. The way they designed the church with such huge stone columns and large arches made you feel so small and insignificant. Just walking into St Anne's make's a tingling feeling go up your spine. It was an odd feeling.
Ok, back to the racing, which is why a bunch of runner's read this blog anyway. Sunday morning was the Ras na hEireann at the Dunleer athletic fields. Not one hill on the course. Perfectly pancake flat grass fields soaked in mud. Very interesting to say the least. The course was roped all the way around so there was no wayward shortcuts or longcuts I heard so much about over in Ireland. The track was a 1500m loop to be completed 4 times for 6k. Before the race, Charlie Breagy, the saint who sends hacks like me on fantastic competitive trips like this, handed the American athletes about 20 flags each. We ran around and gave them out to little kids in the athletic clubs and they loved them. It was crazy because all the kids were clamoring for American flags. It was great because all over the course were little kids cheering for USA.
The senior race had about 60 people in it and all of the same international suspects from the Armagh on Thursday. The temperature was a comfortable 40 degrees with a steady 15 mile per wind out of the east. The race certainly had headwind and tailwind sections.
Off we charge into the first corner, a 90 degree left hander 100m after the start, pushing and a shoving in the mud and the blood and the beer. I got nicked on my left shin from a Scotsmans spike and that made me a little angry. Then there was a 350m straightaway and things got silly with the pace and I knew in my mind this was the race, go or be left behind. I went. Guns a blazing, hard as I could the entire lap. 4:24, about 14th place about 2 seconds behind the leaders. Was it a little crazy, yeah, probably, but we were about 15 seconds in front of the group behind us so you were either in the race or out of it 1500m in. As we approached the same corner and went down the long straight, 2 Russians (who ultimately went 1-2) threw in another surge forming a lead pack of 8 and a chase pack of about 6. Then the race played out in small groups of one or two for the rest of the way. I ended up getting out kicked by my teammate Blake Boldon and a Russian in the last 500m which pissed me off a bit because I really wanted to be in the top 10. Oh well, at least I wasn't last in the chase group and beat that scot who spiked me in the first corner.
For those of you still reading, that was my adventurous trip to Ireland. I may have left out a bunch of Guiness I may have had and some silly events that may or may not have occurred, but that is neither here nor there. I had a great traveling partner and great teammates to race and socialize with. I also picked up a new favorite swear saying, so please cover your eyes if you are adverse to such filth. "For Fucks Sake" is what I am now going to say when someone does something really stupid. Some crazy Irishman said it to me in a bar one night after I was telling him about how much I run. I almost died laughing. Great terms in Ireland and England. I will certainly be throwing in stories and experiences here and there so stay tuned.
So with that long winded entry, I will leave you to your internet surfing.