Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Blog extract #4 from Sonia O'Sullivan after running the Great Island 10 mile race last Sunday

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blog extract #4 from Sonia O'Sullivan after running the Great Island 10 mile race last Sunday

The Great Island 10 mile road race was held in Cobh last Sunday the 13th of April and all proceeds from the race will go towards the Irish Cancer Society. One of those that took part in the race this year was the former World champion and Olympic silver medalist Sonia O'Sullivan. She has written a series of blog extracts for the organisers as she prepared for the race and now this is her post race report...

Blog extract from Sonia O'Sullivan..Pt 4...
Great Island 10 2014...The Great Island 10 didn't disappoint on Sunday, it was the perfect day for running and great to see so many loyal supporters of this Great event in Cobh, return to try to go better over the hills in Cobh.

It's not always about running fast times and setting Pb's, sometimes we need to run on country roads over rolling hills alongside beautiful scenery to get a different racing experience. There are so many races to choose from these days often in very close proximation. This requires the race to have something special or a cause close to people hearts to help make the decision where to race.

For me it is a little easier, the Great island run is in my home town and if I am home then I have no choice but to lace up the shoes and race around the streets. Though nowadays I don't always view it as racing just getting out and challenging myself and pushing myself a little just to remind me of those competitive days when the clock and anyone in the race was there to be beaten. I knew I was a little fitter this year than last so my main aim was to improve on last years time which was just under 70minutes. Last year it was such a challenge to break 70minutes I never dreamt that I wold enjoy the run as much as I did on Sunday.

I stood on the start line with the familiar faces from the local road racing scene, the ever present Mary Sweeney always a pleasure to meet on the road, always enjoying her running and so encouraging of others we wished each other well, with the most important message to each other, to enjoy the run and not be under any pressure. It would be very easy for me to feel like I should try to win the race in Cobh, but I have to be realistic and also I want to pace myself so I am less likely to take risks these days as I need to be smiling and happy when I get to the finish line. PB's are beyond me but running faster than my normal day to day running is satisfaction enough that I am not just jogging around but testing myself enough to feel like I have run a race and got something from it.

So I was very pleasantly surprised when I crossed the finish line, 6 minutes faster than last year. I couldn't believe it smiling and waving as we ran through the town made me wonder what made me so slow last year, maybe too much cycling and swimming.....this year I just keep the swimming and cycling topped up each week enough to allow me a rest from running everyday and enough to help strengthen my weaker muscles and allow me to run better and stronger and feel in control of my running.

I set my watch to record every mile so that I had little checkpoints along the way and the further I went and was able to maintain a steady pace just under 6:30 per mile the more confident I felt that I was going to post a good time, but what surprised me the most was the ease which I was able to do this as all my memories were of last year and really struggling in the final 2 miles and finding the hills so much harder.

As I was running along I was thinking of that Samuel Beckett quote which has been talked about recently talking of failure and trying again to fail better and to continue to try and try again. It wasn't that I failed last year but I set myself a benchmark, a target to aim for this year and all I wanted to do was to come back and run better .

So for all those first timers, don't say never again, but think I know I can do that better next year, you will know what to expect and you will know what to do to help prepare better . It will be very hard for me to improve again, but I am not afraid to try and hopefully it will be the Great Island Run again next year, it's nice to come home and race around the familiar roads from my youthful training days.
It was always Wednesday hills on that very loop, run along but try harder on the hills and each week improve and get up the hills better while relaxing in between and taking control of the run.

Well done to everyone that came and supported the Great Island 10, the Irish Cancer Society and all the sponsors without whom the race would be an even greater challenge to stage so successfully. To all the volunteers, friends and family who make this such a special day for the people of Cobh and particularly Rosslyn and Eamonn Crotty who dedicate their time to this race each year to ensure that research continues in the fight against Cancer.

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