The annual Lisbellaw 10k and 6k was finally able to run after being postponed from earlier in the year due to icy road conditions. This annual fund raising event is well know locally for its friendly atmosphere and the difficult course. Looking at the analysis of the course it doesn’t look overly challenging. I dare anyone to run those hills and say they aren’t challenging!
This was the second race this year that I’ve been to that didn’t have official times or placings. To be honest, as this is part of my London training plan, I find that quite enjoyable. Just go out and run as hard as you need to with no real expectations. It’s hard to know how many took part, but it was a lively crowd on the start line. There was a good mix of both 10k and 6k runners there. 6k is an unusual distance, but I had someone tell me that was the longest run they’ve done. That is such a great accomplishment, and encouraging for a coach to hear.
The organisers of the Lisbellaw 10k couldn’t have hand picked a better January day to run the event. It was cool and overcast, but remained dry for the entirety of the run. The field included many Enniskillen Running Club teammates as well as the Maguiresbridge Running Club where I used to coach. It was great to have a good catch up with so many longtime running friends.
The Lisbellaw 10k Race
It has been a few years since the last time the Lisbellaw 10k race was on. We arrived about 25 minutes before the start and with no registration to worry about, that was just fine. I had time to do a short warm up and arrive at the line well ahead of the start. I had the chance to do my warm up with a friend I hadn’t been running with for quite a while. That was a reminder of the good times we missed as these local races were cancelled. We are all glad to see them back on once again.
When the race began, one of our young ERC stars jumped out to an early lead. Nobody there on the day was going to challenge him and the rest of us settled into our paces. This is fairly early on in my London training so I had fairly modest goals. I was trying to get a good pacy run, hoping to keep my average under 6:50/mile. This week my training has been going much better than last week. i was fairly confident I would be able to hit that target.
I’ll not say it was comfortable, because as I hit 6k, the hills began. The first one was certainly a doozy. From 6k through 9k it was undulating, with some sharp ups and sharp downs. 10k is one of my least favourite distances to race. That said, I believe it is one of the best distances in training for a race of any length.
I felt relatively strong and I managed to keep my pace up. The one blip on the splits was mile 4, but I’m happy enough with that considering the hill. Coming to 9k of the Lisbellaw 10k is a huge relief. From that point on it is straight downhill to the finish line. It certainly felt brilliant to get to the end being able to stride out down the hill.
Personal Race Analysis
Reviewing the stats from the Lisbellaw 10k is revealing. There are definitely things that I need to work on. First of all, I can’t explain why my heart rate is so low. I never reached zone 5, which may lead one to believe I wasn’t working hard enough. That doesn’t sound right. It was all I had on the day, so I’ll keep an eye on that. There may be something wrong with the watch, or I have more to give.
I am also aware that my cadence isn’t particularly high. I’d love to see that higher and it is something that I will work on over the next few months. Generally, I tend to train at a lower cadence than I race. This may not be unusual, but it is something I need to work on. A max cadence of 178 with an average at 170 is not good enough. Improving this, will most certainly improve my race times.
After the Race
Similar to before the start, the finish line of the Lisbellaw 10k was filled with volunteers and runners. Many of the 6k runners had already finished, and there was a steady stream of runners coming in the whole time. The volunteers were there handing out the medals and the water. We were all commiserating with each other about the tough course. But overall the buzz was around getting out on a decent day in January to run a 10k. We don’t see too many of them in Fermanagh, that’s for sure.
After spending 20 minutes chatting to friends and competitors the cold began to set in. Additionally, as the last of the runners started crossing the finish a light drizzle began falling. It was time to get back to the hall for the refreshments and to put some warmer clothes on. The Lisbellaw 10k has become known for their soup provided after a cold run. The perfect way to warm up. Hot coffee and tea was also provided along with both crusty bread and wheaten.
The hall was aglow with exhausted runners discussing the highs and lows of their experience. Despite having a busy day scheduled, I ended up spending more time than I had intended. I should have left a half hour before I did, but it was genuinely enjoyable chatting with so many other runners. In particular, those who I hadn’t seen in so long. So plans were made to get out for some training runs in the near future. Plans were made to catch up at the next race. General catch ups were had with many old friends.
This is a big thank you to the organisers of the Lisbellaw 10k. Thank you for the effort put in to host it. Here’s to successful fund raising for your chosen charities. Funds were raised for the Lisbellaw Christmas Lights Fund as well as Bright Eyes Animal Sanctuary.