Tracy Dean blogs about her course-record win at the Portumna Forest Marathon in Ireland.
It’s unlike me to enter a long race without a taper, but on this occasion I took to the start line of the Portumna Forest Marathon (Ireland) on the back of my highest mileage week of the year and very tired legs. My plan was to build up my endurance ahead of some big challenges that lay ahead in the coming months.
As it turned out, I was so tired that I remained asleep in the car until one minute before the race started! Yes, I was that tired.
The 50k race was fairly flat around a forest path on a 5k loop. My intention was to take it easy, and so I did 25 minutes for each of the first five laps.
As the race progressed I didn’t feel like I needed to go that slowly. My legs were now accustomed to the prolonged aches and I just felt I could open out a bit more. That’s exactly what I did, with my laps getting faster and faster.
Soon I was passing runners who had gone out too fast and blown up. I was learning lots about pacing – and the how to curtail the competitive streak that usually has me out of the gate like a headless chicken!
With about 10k to go the leading lady had a 10-minute lead over me. I was, however, getting faster and catching her all the time.
Soon I was in the lead and speeding towards the finish line, which I crossed in a new course record time of 3hrs 54mins – not bad considering I ran so steadily for much of the race.
I wore the inov-8 Road-X 233 shoes as the path was hard packed and flat. I used the inov-8 race ultra vest to store my kit and fuel. Most other competitors didn’t carry any kit and relied on fuel stops or support from family and friends. I chose to remain self-sufficient.