1st Cross Country of 2010

For some reason, I seem to find it acceptable to take a casual stance to cross country. I enter the races knowing I will not do too well against ‘proper’ runners, (compared to triathlon that is!) yet I love them!! I take a lot of time organising for my club to be part of the Cross Country League. We only joined last year for the first time, and it went rather well, we finished further up the league than anyone expected (including us!)

So this year, the target was to beat the club directly above us (my old club WDAC as it happens!) and to exacerbate matters, hubby has decided to renew his membership with the opposition! Due to injury, he was unable to do the first one so agreed to come along and help with admin. He made it very clear it was a one off! WDAC instructed him to come over to the Northants Tri camp and kick me in the leg!! I was proud to see that the club members were keener this time round, discovering that cross country can actually be fun! We had a full team out (minimum requirements to not incur penalties is 7 men, 3 women). We actually managed to exceed that! Woohoo! My friend (and triathlon enemy – Alex) was there – back from a triathlon induced injury (she broke her wrist last year trying to bunny hop the kerb in order to beat me in a local triathlon!) I was readily accepting I would not be in our team’s top 3; therefore my race didn’t matter in terms of scores. The pressure was off; I could just focus on me.

I got the flyrocs out of the depths of the garage and chip the concreted mud off the soles with a screw driver and a wire brush! Ooops!! It was a bitterly cold day. The new leaner me doesn’t cope with this well, not helped by a race start delay! I opted for the trusty skins top – flipping freezing at first – but like a thermal blanket once I get off and running! The course was actually a little softer than the concrete I remember from last year, but still very hard!! It started off with a brutally sharp downhill, a bit of flat, then the hills started! I had a myriad of advice flowing through my little brain – Kim Ingleby telling me to focus on my own race, just do the best I can, think forward, ignore the other people… then my run coach telling me to run tall, push the hips forward, use the WHOLE stride… blablablablabla! I really thought hard, so much so I didn’t have time to notice the other people – apart from the guy who was behind me for Aaaaaages grunting and panting in a specific rhythm! I kept thinking just pass will you… nothing… and the amazing thing happened – his grunting got fainter!! I must be doing ok I thought!!

At the top of the last hill, I had to look for a moment – there was a huge crowd of people staring – cameras, TV cameras, the works… across the empty field… ? hmmmm? Sorry – no time for that – I have a race to finish!!

I was downing the last hill, I knew the finish was soon. I felt ok, had deliberately NOT looked at the watch (sometimes, I think its the undoing of me!) I thought I had bags of time, I couldn’t hear anyone behind.. when the crowds indicated someone was coming in hot!! Oh sh1T!! So I set off for the sprint. The finish was within grasp. Over my shoulder I saw it was a WDAC vest – noooooooooo! I pulled out all the stops… she sprinted past… and past… and past!!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!! Nothing left in the legs! I was beat – my first sprint loss – and to a WDAC!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrr!!! No matter, I was faster overall, and could still walk afterwards! Last year – I collapsed onto the grass and couldn’t get up for ages for the asthmatic gasping!! So, yes, it was a good race, I did the best I could, and that’s all I can ask of my legs (which as it happens went faster than last year, so that’s a bonus!)

As for Alex, isn’t it interesting. EVERY running race I have ever done with her, she’s beaten me by minutes. Every triathlon we have ever raced together, I have beaten her by minutes! Interesting eh?

Roll on the next one! (I will try and clean the shoes before then!)

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