Sunday, February 12, 2017

Donadea 50km 2017 Race Report

First race of the year and it was a challenging distance but an enjoyable one none the less.
Back at the beginning of 2016 I didn't do my first race until April, this year I've revisited the race scene a little earlier then last year as I ran the Donedea 50km on Saturday.

I've had little or no long distance training since December as I only have done a hand full or short runs and done 1x 20mile at the start of January and 1x 24mile run a week and a bit before Donadea so I was somewhat ill-prepared but I was still had a far better fitness level then I was at this time back in 2016 (certainly not as heavy anyway!).

It was a bright and early start to race day as we left the house at 7am, I say we because Grace was coming to support me and we also brought our new dog Buffy.

We arrived in plenty of time for registration, to get ready and meet up with numerous familiar faces from previous races. As always in the Marathon/Ultra scene its great to see so many friendly faces.
Courtesy Of Paul Daly

For those not familiar with the Donadea 50km course the route takes in the Donadea Forrest Park in Co Kildare, it consists of 10x 5km loops of the park.

There are up sides and down sides to this type of looped course. Its great for leaving your gels/water etc at the start/finish area which means you don't have to bother carrying anything but I personally find that after the 6-7 loop it can feel a little endless. I much prefer the changing scenery of a point-to-point route.

My rough plan for the day was to aim for a sub 4hr 30min finish, unlike the last time I ran this face where I started off and ran the first 5km in at avg of 7:30min/mile (amateur error) I took it nice and easy for the first loop with a 9:30min/mile avg pace while chatting away to the Paul Croke, Paul Daly and a few others. Once I felt I had eased into the race I started to up the pace with the aim of hitting 8:30-8:35min/mile avg pace.

Courtesy Of Paul Daly
Each loop after that went by without any incident and with the exception of meeting up with Paul Croke and others now and then to chat I was on my own for much of the race. I  gradually reduced my overall race pace down to an average of 8:34min/mile during this time.

For nutrition on the day I didn't put a lot of thought into it and decided to take on less then I had on previous 50km races, I only brought a few GU gels and I had planned on only taking on water and the gels during the race. I took my first GU gel at the 9mile mark, the second at the 15mile mark and 2x more at around 24mile and 26mile marks.

By the time I got to the 7th loop my quad's were really getting both tired and tight so I ended up walking through the finish area on this loop, I took on some coke and water and had to stretch twice during this loop. This was annoying as I lost a few minutes during this loop and my overall pace during this loop and subsequent loops slowed down.  My plan of a sub 4:30 race finish was out the window at this stage.

For the 9th and final loop I decided to up the pace and sped up from the slower pace of 9:20 down to 8:20min/mile avg. while I knew the sub 4:30 target was out of reach I was confident I'd managed 4:40 or better and I passed a good few people during this last loop which was a nice boost to the confidence and its a good reason to keep pushing toward the finish!.

To my surprise as I approached the finish line I was finishing in 4hrs 37min and I finished with an official chip finish time of 4hrs 37min 17sec.

All in all a good day and most enjoyable, with little or no training I finished off with a nice personal best improvement.  Big thanks to Grace for coming to Donadea with me to support me the support was greatly appreciated especially as it was so cold out!.

Stuff from the day...
Would I recommend this race? Yep certainly, Anto puts on a good event in a nice location and there's a good atmosphere. For those that like a t-shirt or medal you always get some nice stuff including a buff. The 5hr cut-off time also keeps the entry standard decent and it removes walkers from the race which is a plus as it makes the race route less crowded.

For anyone interested you can find my Garmin event for the race here.

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