Although I probably should have been training for longer than 2 weeks (for many reasons but mainly as to not injure myself) I still took on the challenge of taking part in the Spar 10km Great Ireland Run last weekend. As I mentioned on my run series last week, my friend unfortunately couldn’t take part so she gave me her badge and I ran under the name of Suzanne this time round! 🙂
It was my first time to run a proper registered 10k in Ireland since moving home last June and I didn’t really know what to expect. I ran the 5k rainbow run in Dun Laoighre last June and it definitely wasn’t organized as good as the spar run but I think there is a big difference between both. The Spar Great Ireland Run is taken more seriously (even though its still fun) and so is organized a bit better and more formal. I wasn’t aware of how popular running has become here but it really felt normal to be amongst other people who were running the 10k for their first time. It was good to see men and women of all ages take on such a big challenge (myself included!).
The 10km road run takes place in the Phoenix Park annually and is sponsored by Spar. What I didn’t know was that it’s part of the Great Run Series of athletic competitions and features both an elite race (with world champions) and also a popular race open to the public (for the likes of me lol). Fionnuala McCormack won the women’s 10k race coming in at 33 mins. WOW. She is a two-time European cross country champion and also came 4th in the New York City Half Marathon earlier this year. #goals
Ok but seriously, I’m not aiming to ever be a world champion but man did I feel like one when I crossed the finish line. It was a beautiful route and one like I’ve never done before. Last year when I done my very first 10k registered run it was in amongst a concrete jungle, sky-scrapers everywhere! This Park however, is the largest enclosed Park in a capital city in Europe. It is the residence of the President of Ireland, home to Dublin Zoo and many historical Irish monuments including the Papal Cross (erected in the 70’s when the Pope came to visit Ireland and 1 million people attended an open air mass – now you can picture how vast it is!) along with Fallow Deer which are decedents from the original herd. So the route itself had amazing scenery (its nice to run alongside wild deer) but also a couple of steep hills that really got my heart rate pumping.
Over 7,000 people took part on the day and it was a nice number in comparison to the 27,000 people that took part in my last registered 10k in Toronto. It was nice running in a fresh, green open space and I didn’t feel as claustrophobic this time round. I still struggled with heat and dealing with the temperature your body reaches at it’s peak but I wore a running cap this time that definitely helped. One thing I liked this time was the run points every 1km, I didn’t feel the need to keep checking my phone for accuracy on pace per km and really focused in on making it to to the next km flag. My main aim was to get through this run first and foremost without concentrating on time. Although its always nice to get a new PB, I had only trained for 2 weeks so what did I expect?
Well firstly I picked a nice steady pace the first 5km which was on a flat, steady ground so I really concentrated on controlling my breathing and got myself into a rhythm. It was easier this time because the road wasn’t as crowded with runners and everybody was nicely spread out. Once I hit 6k the hills came long and steep! There was 3 hills between the 6-9km mark that I had to get through. I looked at my watch around this mark and I thought – is it possible to make my time? At the back of my mind I had really wanted to make the same time as last year but I wasn’t going to put a focus on that because I didn’t want to burn up my energy in the start. But now 8.5k in, maybe my goal wasn’t that far away? So I started to have a serious chat with myself. It’s all mind over matter. I can’t emphasis this enough!
Every 10 seconds I went from telling myself I won’t be able to do it, to YOU GOT THIS. And I did have it. I had it in those last 400m’s when I looked at my watch and knew I had just under 2 minutes to get across that finish line. I put every ounce of myself into those last 400m’s. I literally willed myself across the finish line and looked up as I seen the pink wave time above me – 69 mins! YAY! I completed the Sporting life 10k last year in 69mins and I done this one in the exact same time. This was done on sheer determination and effort. I don’t think I’ve ever put my body through effort like that on a run, not even on the Nike 15km. I wanted it so bad that I made my body do it, I made my mind do it and I was really proud when I ran across that finish line.
Not only was the route clearly marked and spacious, the ending was also much more clear and easy to navigate. The first thing you want when you finish a run is water ASAP and to sit down. And if you (like me) are roasting and way over heated – you want to strip lol. So I pull off my run jacket (as it was suppose to rain, but Ireland of course decided for the clouds to break and the sun actually came out), find a water source and a piece of grass to sit on. The route ending was the exit where you picked up your Pack which was a little bag that contained a Run Shirt, Medal, Lucozade Sport lite, 3 power bars (different brands) and a pack of jelly babies. At this point there were giant flags from A-Z where you could organize to meet with your spouses/family members/supporters. I thought that was a great idea especially if like me, your phone dies straight after the run. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take many pics on the day as I was conscious of my phone dying and wanted my Nike App to run and keep my music going.
Overall the run was definitely one of my favourites I’ve taken part in so far and it makes me even more excited to take on the Dublin Half Marathon which also takes place in The Phoenix Park in September. As you can see in the pics below, the sky went from a murky grey day to broken clear blue skies. Welcome to Ireland!
Nothing better than competing and achieving a goal and then celebrating with friends and family! Cocktails are my fave, especially slushy ones.
Weekly Run recap:
Wednesday: 6.78km, 48 mins
Saturday: 3.01km, 18 mins
Sunday: 10.1km, 69mins