Eight down, three to go. Race number eight wasn’t really a race at all, because I was very bold on the bike the day before. Knowing that the Dungarvan Triathlon had taken a little bit out of me, I realised that an easy recovery week would be good. Tuesday and Wednesday went to plan, with just an hour or thereabouts easy on the rothar. On Thursday I biked with the Thursday (duh!) Kilrush group, and even though the morning was a scorcher, I thought about just going to Lismore and back, knowing that the Cunnigar awaited the following evening. But, the best laid plans are there to be broken, and I completed the 62 miles at a strong pace. Lovely it was too, and we completed the spin in really good time.
On Friday morning, my body was telling me that it would be really sensible to jog Rás na Rinne, and on this occasion I listened. From the gun, the course descended 200 feet to sea-level, and as I jogged along (note: jog, not run…time to be sensible, lad!) I made several mental notes of the profile, knowing that I would be attempting this section in reverse for the final mile. It is, in effect, three smaller hills with some flatter sections between. Anyway, as I entered on to the Cunnigar near the back of the bunch, I realised just how tired my body really was.
I plodded along with runners and then had to back off a little more as the soft conditions underfoot did not agree with me, but came to understand that six months of running & biking had given me a mental edge. When things are tough, there’s a mechanism that engages, telling the body to just keep going, at a pace that is hard enough but not too hard. So, as mile two and three passed, I did exactly that. Keep going, do not over-extend, realise that there’s a balance between the current run and what went before (and that’s coming in the weeks to come). As I turned at the flag on the point of the Cunnigar the wind was to my back, and I settled in to a steady pace on reasonably good underfoot conditions. By the end of the fourth mile, I was ready to go. Sensibly, I waited and waited a bit longer. The underfoot conditions along the back of the dunes is not the place to push hard (well, not for me, anyway), so I held back. Crossing the stream and back on familiar tarmac-surface, I decided to go, but in a controlled way. I remembered the descent. Now was the time to reconstruct it in reverse, and I do think that I got it just about right. I pushed hard on the first section, and was delighted that I had company (thank you, Gillian), reduced the pace a wee bit on the flat section, and pushed hard again as then the road went up. Once again, my competitor kept me company.
Finally, as I was feeling good with 500 metres to go, and I gave it everything I had, and was very happy to finish well. It’s a real bummer to go hard too early, and not be able to maintain a strong finish. Thankfully, I got it right on the night! Easy start, easy middle, hard finish. Eight down, three to go…
Some non-running bits…like, if you want to know a bit about The Cunnigar (An Coinnigéar):
The Cunnigar: (taken from Waterford Its a Feeling website):
The Cunnigar is a long sandy spit that has formed across the mouth of Dungarvan Bay. The Cunnigar is one of the best winter bird watching locations in Dungarvan Bay in terms of diversity and numbers. It is the top site in Waterford for rare waders such as Little Ringed and American Golden Plover. The sheltered bay and the presence of eelgrass in the shallow waters on the landward side are conducive to large numbers of grazing wildfowl such as Brent Geese and Wigeon. The marshy west side of the bank is good for teal, snipe, herons and cormorants. At particularly low tides the Dungarvan Hillwalking Club organises a totally unique walk from Dungarvan (Sports Centre) out to the Cunnigar, past the oyster beds and over to Tigh an Cheoil, An Rinn.
Did you know that the course we ran was once a nine-hole golf course? Here’s the information about it.
Here’s another local like link about Ring & the Cunnigar.
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Official WWAC race report….to follow