10 Things I Think about the Ballintotis 4 Mile
1. Not Killeagh
The best thing about Ballintotis is that you don’t have to drive through Killeagh to get to it.
2. Summer Evening Races
Its great to have the summer races back, its probably not the best preparation for a race to work all day, but it is a great way to spend the evening. It never seems to rain.
The only problem is trying to sleep after an 8pm race, I always get to sleep easily but then wake up at 3:14am wide awake. Its always 3:14 on the clock. I tried a beer this time but all the beer did was mean that I woke up at 3:14 feeling sick. This must be what its like to be old.
I’ve never been to North Korea, but if I had, I imagine I would think that North Korea has a better road network than East Cork. Cycling has the pave for Paris Roubaix, why can’t the bóithríns of Ballintotis be the same. They might have to take out a protection order like they do for the pave to maintain them in their un-maintained state. Although I severely doubt Cork County Council are going to do anything to them anytime soon. The potholed surface adds character, it would be a pity to lose it.
I’ve never been to North Korea, but if I had I imagine that they would organise a road race with the same sort of military precision as they do in Ballintotis. Everything worked so smoothly despite the crumbling infrastructure. The race started exactly precisely on time, this is very unusual anywhere except Germany. They even had people line up based on estimated times and people actually obeyed. A really great race.
5. Race Flyers
I think the only time I ever look at race flyers is when I spend the entire journey home wondering at what speed they will remove themselves from the wiper blade. 120kph on the motorway takes care of most flyers, they vibrate furiously at 100kph. I still don't know what races they were promoting. Perhaps it's designed this way, someone in Fermoy is going to find one of those flyers and probably go to the race, ingenious really.
I finally decided to try some sort of racing shoe. I normally just race in the big heavy Brooks Ghosts that I wear every other day. I think there’s less risk of injury wearing a big cushioned shoe as I'm a big lump but it doesn’t make it easy to get up on your toes. I bought a pair of the Brooks Launch, they're still not exactly racers but they are much lighter than the Ghosts. I can also put my insoles in them. I really don’t think it makes that much difference but at least you look like you’re racing, this is important.
My main excuse is that I’m training for the marathon (Cork) and I am very tired and hungry. Mileage doesn’t make you faster (unless you take lots of drugs to recover). The first mile was horrible, the mind was willing but my legs were not. I got going after a mile and the last three actually felt good. The thing with training for a marathon is that is that it can be used as an explanation for every performance, if you run badly it’s because of the marathon training, if you run well it’s because of the marathon training. It's great really, I think I will always be training for a marathon.
8. Mile Splits
I’m not entirely sure that I trust the guys calling out the mile splits, I’m pretty sure everyone was told their first mile was 5:25.
I had the pleasure of racing (and being beaten by) Ian O’Leary over the last two miles. I can still hear his cadence, it is exactly 8 times faster than mine. It sounds like there are eight people running behind you all of whom are wearing Irish dancing shoes. All I learned is that in a sprint, twinkle toes is faster than a lumbering lump like myself. It's always good fun to race a club mate, it's not fun to be beaten. Next time I'll win the sprint.
I can’t comment on the quality of the spread as the queue was too long when I got back after the warm down. This must mean it was excellent. I don’t particularly like spreads anyway so I settled for a few slices of sourdough bread and olive oil when I got home, hipster recovery food.