The Portumna 50k came around just 12 days after the Cork marathon. I do not think I was fully recovered from my hard effort in Cork, but that’s not an excuse. I should not have targeted two ‘A’ races of such distance so close to each other. I started to feel weary as soon as 30k – after 6 of the 10 laps of the 5km course. My splits stayed pretty solid until 35k but after that I suffered. The last three loops of the course were really tough. The entire second half of the race was much harder than it should have been.
I had planned to run 23 minute splits for each 5k and was banging these out comfortably for the first five laps, with a minute or two “in the bag” as well. However, the 30k and 35k splits drifted to 23:30. This was alarming, even though the fall off in pace was not severe at this point. But I know by now “that” feeling in a marathon where the body gives up before the end. The feeling of energy depletion sets in quite a bit in advance of the collapse. It feels initially like the pace has dropped significantly, but it generally hasn’t at this point. It then seems like it takes the body several miles to realise that it can’t keep churning out the steady splits anymore, and finally it baulks. I tried to stay strong mentally, and even muttered to Bridget as I crossed the start/finish line at 35k that “the race starts now”. But I knew deep down that the opposite was true – my race had just finished, and the slow, punishing slog to the end was now to be endured.
In the last loop, I was reduced to walking for 10-30 second intervals every one or two kilometres, and each kilometre was taking way over 5 minutes. Pathetic – I despise finishing races like this.
Half way in 1:53:52.
Finished in 3:59:39.
A shocking positive split of 11:55.
All I can say is, it was a first attempt at the baby-ultra distance, and a firm outer target which I hope to comfortably beat in my next 50km race…