The Great Ireland Run - Derval Devaney

Sunday, 12 April 2015  |  Admin

For a brief minute I was one of the fastest women in Ireland. On live TV up and down the country. My feet following the cadence of the European champions beside me and girls whose faces sell car insurance and get their names printed on their singlets. And then my heart rate hit 164bpm, it was nice to be running at the front but it was a C race and I was going too fast!!

I competed in my 1st race of 2015 on Saturday  - The Spar Great Ireland Run, a 10k race in the Phoenix Park. This race attracts a top international field including 2014’s  European cross country champion Gemma Steel (who won this race in 2012 in 31.36) and Spain’s Alessandra Aguilar and our own Fionnuala Britton. As the race also featured the AAI 10k championships it meant that athletic club members had the  opportunity line up with these elite runners.

Being a member of Rathfarnham AC, I formed part of their senior team for the event (see Photo below). I met with the women beforehand, did a 3k warm-up before lining up at the start. It was a sunny day but extremely windy. The start area was on Chesterfield Avenue and runners were asked to assemble in their coloured waves (according to their bib numbers) with the elite and AAI athletes positioned at the front. The gun fired at 13.10, once the elite athletes were introduced. I was right behind the elite runners and for the 1st kilometre I felt great and stuck with them. Looking back on my Garmin data now I see that I was running 3:30min/km pace – way too fast for me to maintain! The wind was also on our backs, which helped, but after 1km when we turned right onto the North Road, I could feel the cross-winds and the gap started to widen between me and the elite women ahead.

Derval Devanney Rathfarnham AC 2015

Rathfarnham AC Senior team just before race start

At 3.5km heading towards the papal cross I could hear a lot of spectators shouting “Come-on Mayo” and as I glanced to my left I could see Colette Tuohy, a Mayo AC runner who I used to run with a few years ago when I was a member of that club. Colette is strong on the hills and so it was good to have her run with me and help me maintain pace and focus. As we came to the half-way point we turned right and up Military Road. I knew what was in store, as this section of the run course is DCT’s bike course in reverse. Running up this hill against the blustery wind just got a whole lot worse when the sun suddenly disappeared and a shower of hail stones pelted us adding insult to injury!! It was at this point that Anne Curley from Donnore Harriers started gaining on me and surged past me on the uphill. There was a really strong head wind here and I managed to tuck in behind Anne for 400m but couldn’t keep the pace up. Colette Touhy kept her momentum going and showing her usual good form on the hills started to overtake me, slipping in behind Anne to benefit from her draft. I had a hard week of training this week and my legs were tired. This, my coach reminded me that morning, is a C race. It’s preparation for the bigger A and B races of the season. However, my mind started to drift at this point in the race, and I started wondering how I would have done if I have tapered. My legs were certainly feeling it on the hills. I had no 2nd gear.  At kilometre 7 on a downhill section I started to bring my awareness back to the race when I heard feet gaining on me from behind. It was at that stage that I had realised I had, for about 4 or 5 minutes,  drifted from race zone  - probably as no-one was around me to keep the pressure on. I upped the pace again but at the 9km mark that lady from Galway City Harriers overtook me. I tried my best to close in on her again and gave it all I had with 800m to go to the finish. Adam Jones from our club shouted form the sides “run hard, every second counts”. I finished strong and in a time of 40.01 -  ironically 1 second over a sub-40 minute 10km which gave me 10th place in the AAI Women’s race. I was really pleased with my result considering the conditions that we had to contend with and the fact that my body was tired going in to the race. Fionnuala Britton had a blistering run, coming home in 2nd place on 33.07, just 4 seconds behind Steel and Aguilar took bronze.

After our warm down I was thanking Adam for his support on the course – he congratulated me on my run but said “You can do better. You need to train harder”. I laughed. I reminded him that I was a triathlete – I had a tough week of training this week and didn’t taper at all for the race. “It was a C race” I said in response. “I actually would have done better Adam if I had rested more!”

And the following day I was up on my TT bike for an easy 90 minutes spin…for there are B races and A races to come.

Derv Phonix Park Brick

    Last week - brick session in Phoenix Park

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