Cross Country always hurts, I’ve decided!


This second race of the season was never going to be pretty! I was scheduled for a run metabolic assessment (Vo2Max) on the Saturday morning, the only time Coach could fit me in. Oh well, cross country is only a bit of fun, she says!

After a great result on the met assessment, I almost forgot I had a race on the Sunday! This one was notoriously tough, although my tiny mind had blocked out exactly how much so! Yes, I had done this course before, but it was 2 years ago, for goodness sake!!

Big fat pee queue stresses (500 odd women, 3 toilets, you do the maths!) meant that the Northants Tri cross country team floundered in the organisational and administrational area, while I was busy queuing, step in Mr Mel, who ventured out of the opposition camp to help out with admin (aaaaaw!) How kind, the least he could do, considering he was running for the opposition today! We had no spectators today, so a new challenge was launched – how do we collate results, and will all the runners manage to not lose their ticket number between the finish line and the school hall, ¼ mile away?!

The conditions were, well I’d like to say perfect, but a perfect cross country would be raining wouldn’t it? It was wet underfoot, but dry. It was such a dash to get to the start that I was barely stood there a moment when the race was started!! Oh gosh!! So I spent the first mile floundering, and trying to find my rhythm. I had done almost a mile before I managed to get the focus under control. I stopped focussing on Alex my mate, Vicky (who I have never raced so I had no idea what to expect) and many others, and began to concentrate on how I was feeling! Sorry Kim, (www.kimingleby.com) but I got there eventually!! I was just starting to enjoy it, misty morning, muddy route, nice claggy wet paths, people dancing round the puddles, when the first hill was in front of me, it was like a man made mound – straight up, straight down, I remember now… heartbreak hill! I adopted the slow but sure snail approach and plodded up the hill, I was not giving in, shorten the steps, stand tall, drive from the hip… bla bla bla (coach orders ringing in my ears!) when at the top of the hill the woman in front of me threw open her arms and shouted  I and the guy beside me looked at each other with the knowing ‘FFS I’m dying here do you mind!?’ look and glanced up briefly before firmly concentrating once more on which rut the next footstep would land in!

‘look at the vieeeeeeeeeeeeeew!!!’

I plodded on for a while more, the next stretch very memorable… this is the spot last time I did this course where I suddenly realised that putting elastic lock laces in the cross country shoes was a BIG BIG mistake!! Yup, shoes stuck in mud scenario! Glad I learned from that one, because today was just the same! Nothing much happened for a while, at one stage I felt like I was the only one out there, still silent morning, I could almost say it was nice! (if it wasn’t a race, and I didn’t have VO2max legs!) Up through the woods, steady does it, a few more caught on the hill… when the proper hill arrived – almost a clamber!! I was passed at the foot of it by an Ampthill runner… who then started walking just ahead. I shouted to her ‘I’m coming don’t let me catch you’ by way of encouragement… she replied ‘what? Are you a coach or something?!’ I said ‘no, should I be?’ she said ‘yes!’ and started running again!!

Meanwhile a Dunstable girl that had been playing catch with me… running past me up the hills, I ran past her on the flats…started walking… so I got past her too. She then caught me up and struck up a conversation about triathlon! I began to think, I shouldn’t have time for this! Its a race!! I recognised the final hill, and the sneaky bit around the corner. I knew it was all downhill to the finish from here. My legs were shot though. But little did I know it was about to happen again. Around 20-30m from the finish I could see my husband, shouting encouragement and beaming at me, while others were informing me that there were three coming in hot from behind me. Now, usually I have some kind of sprint finish, but not today! There was just NOTHING left at all. Guess who It was who came past me in the last few meters? That blooming Laura from WDAC!! I was Laura’d again for the second time in a row!!

Well, at least I had a valid excuse this time!! However, I collected a ticket 14 places better than last time, and was 2 mins quicker than the last time I ran it, (granted, it was a while ago, but I don’t care!) so I cant complain! Imagine what would be possible with fresh legs…

The next one… will hurt just as bad… it’s the day after a bike VO2 max test! (I think coach is trying to kill me!)

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