This web log was created to keep you up to date with the athletic pursuits of Blake Boldon. It will be updated regularly with competition schedules, results, and photos.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Finally Catching Up

After being home for more than a week I am catching up on a few things so I will finally post some comments on the trip to Ireland. The trip to Armagh, Northern Ireland was long and unforgiving. It started with a drive to Chicago that took more than five hours and then of course the flight to Dublin with an 8:00 am arrival (2:00 am Central Time). By this time I had met up with a group of six other Americans and we met our gracious driver, Dennis. After a short search and rescue mission for a lost Russian we made the nearly two hour drive to the hotel in Armagh City just across the Northern Ireland border. The combination of travel and sleeplessness proved to be a test for my knee. We went for a run shortly after arrival and the pain was pretty bad and I only managed a pedestrian five miles. This run was pretty alarming and it was impossible to imagine myself racing the next day. As soon as I limped back into the hotel I started a strict ibuprofen regimen and iced my knee three or four times that day. After a lunch at the hotel we Americans decided to explore the town mainly as a means of staying awake until after our 7:00 pm dinner. While exploring the town I came across a strange discovery. I walked into a small butcher's shop and heard one of my favorite bands from Springfield, MO playing on the radio. Actually one of the members had been my creative writing teacher in college and this blew my mind. Here's a link to the band: . Definitely check it out if you have a few minutes. I barely made it through dinner without falling asleep but the fourteen hours of sleep that I got that night did a world of good. I woke up feeling a lot better and the icing had made my knee manageable on my morning shake out run. After the easy mile in the morning I went right back to icing for most of the day and stuck to ibuprofen. By race time things felt pretty much normal but I didn't push it during the warm up. The elite men's race didn't start until 8:30 pm and temperatures were down around freezing but otherwise the conditions were perfect. The course was a 1030 meter loop around the courtyard in the center of Armagh and it made for a pretty swift course except for 4 sharp left turns. The course record of 14:08 was set by another American last year, but the local rumor is that the course was short and was lengthened and certified before this year's running. The race went really well. I started out conservative and each loop moved myself up through the field until during the fourth loop I was in the top five and feeling fine. With a lap to go I made a move to the front to take the lead, but I wasn't decisive enough and with the lapped runners on the course it may have been a bad tactical move. With about 500 meters to go I found myself back the pack somewhere around 8th. Then around the final corner all heck broke lose and I was in a bad position to react, but didn't finish too bad. I ended up with a new personal best of 14:13 and a fifth place finish. I'll post more about the trip and the other race soon...


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