The Leinster Senior and Masters track championships took place in Tullamore on bank holiday Sunday. The Leinster races are never that well attended, in this case, due to the timing (bank holiday weekend), location (Midlands) and the host of other races on over the same few days. I was the sole Sportsworld representative this year but hope to see Martin Keenan and a few others back next year.
I was tempted to skip the races this year and run the Cork half but like a magpie attracted to silver, I wanted some bling. Having won gold in both the 800M and 1500M at Leinster indoors I was hoping to go back and win the same in the outdoors. It was always going to be a tall order given I’d just ran a Marathon two weeks earlier.
I was up at 7 AM and off on the now familiar drive down to Tullamore. I arrived at 9.15 AM to collect my number, even though my first race wasn’t until 10.45 AM. The sun was shining when I arrived but had gone into hibernation by the time we were warming up. It left us with cooler conditions but the very strong crosswinds persisted. A less than ideal gale for middle distance running.
My first race was the 1500M. I knew from the start list that I was either going to come first or second here. I decided to do the early work in this one but not put in too much effort. On fresh legs, the opening 400M of 68 seconds would have normally had me looking around but it felt tougher than normal and not just because of the wind. In the second lap, I still had a couple of people close behind but I was struggling to go faster. In the lead but not overly confident I went through 800M in 2.19 and tried to pick up the pace, only managing another 68-second lap. As we hit the bell I knew this wasn’t going to be my day. Although still leading to that point, I felt totally flat. Normally I have a good finish and could seal the deal on the last lap with a 62 or 63 second quarter but with 200M to go, I lost the lead and just couldn’t keep up. I took the silver in 4.20, a hell of a lot slower than the 4.13 I ran in the national indoors.
The 800M two hours later was a tactical affair. The first 400M being run in 67 seconds. The second lap I ran in 64. I was always in 3rd in this race with Paddy Kellly of Drogheda beating me again Ronan Kearns of Rathfarnham in first. Paddy has recently ran 2.00 for 800M so I was always going to struggle in the 800M. Luckily Ronan is over 40 so I was second in my age category and got the silver. The slowest 800M I have even been involved with. I regret not going to the front and making it more of an honest race.
A big lesson learned in Tullamore, you can recover quick enough from a Marathon to start doing some tempo type sessions (3.20-3.40) type stuff, but trying to run a 60 second 400M on the back of a slow opening 400M is a different kettle of fish. I won’t do the national outdoors this year as I want to go obsessive type all in for Berlin. The training plan is written and will start the day after Dunshaughlin. It might be too soon to hear that word mentioned for those that missed out and didn’t enter on time.
In the meantime, I’m off in India for a couple of weeks. My long term plan is to focus on my best Marathon this year and then have one last go at the 800M and 1500M club records in 2020. There are a few names to be taken down a peg or two on that leader board.