The An Ras Mor was the first of 6 races in the New England Pub Series, held in Cambridge. The race organised by the Somerville Road Runners, donated the money to the Cambridge Family and Children's Service. The race bib and time chip pick up was the Saturday before, in the dining room at the Asgard pub. Indeed, the course was advertised as "fast and flat" - since it would take place on Massachusetts Avenue, the main drag in Cambridge!
Sunday dawned cold, chilly and grey. Notwithstanding my getting up early, I made it to the starting line with 5 minutes to spare. I just about managed to drag on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, and to my shame did not even manage to wash my face! I did however manage to squeeze in a mile long warm up, and teeth almost chattering, stood with 1000 other brave souls in shorts too, in -2ºC temperatures. Thankfully the gun sounded and we were off. Immediately I felt tired and my legs felt heavy. As soon as we turned the corner onto Mass Ave, I knew this would be a long race. Part of the heaviness was due to the fact that I had only managed 1 run all week, as a series of dentist and doctor's appointments had left me reeling.
On and on we ran, and it seemed to me that everyone and their dog passed me by. All the familiar shops and restaurants passed by in a blur. Then Harvard Square loomed, and we looped around it, before starting back down Mass Ave. I just felt myself running out of steam, usually I have something left in the tank, but not on Sunday. At this point I would have been grateful just to finish the race.
We passed the Cambridge fire station, and all the firemen had come out to watch the race, I was too tired even to wave to them. Then we turned down Sidney Street, and on towards the finish line. As I crossed the line, I looked at the board which read 27:45. From that I knew I had knocked off a few seconds, and when the final results were posted outside on the pub windows, my official time was 27:21. This put my split at 8:49, and I placed 22/52 in my age group, and 514 in a field of 976.
I was pleased with my improved time, even though this race was the most tiring to date. If I ever manage to get down to an 8:30 split, I am going to buy a pair of racing shoes! No more races for April though, as I need to do some work on the bike and go swimming. So, all focus on the triathlon training - though I might do the cross country James Joyce race at the end of April. Who can resist running the 6 miles, each interspersed with readings from a selection of his works? This promises to be great fun for all!