The wace, sorry race, was the Northern Cross Country championship, held this year in Ponefract, around the racecourse. The course was more or less flat, the only hill to speak of was a long sloping aspect to the top half of the course which was neither hard to run up nor fast coming back down. The ground was firm grass all the way around the 4 kilometre lap. In places it was such good going it was like running on the road and only a very short section was muddy.
|11 minutes after the official sunrise we see it in Carlisle - Pesky Pennines|
|Milly and Kev - seldom parted|
The race itself went not too bad. I made a cautious start for fear of struggling toward the end of what was a longer than normal XC. Once into my stride on lap two I realised that due to the lack of slower sections or tough mud and hills, I was able to press on quite hard (as if in a road race) and be rewarded with a decent speed and so catching and passing a lot of runners. The third and final lap I pretty much held station and was 204th finisher from about 650 in the field. Border Harriers were 9th team - one place better than 2011, I was the sixth and final counter.
My legs felt jaded for the race. The first time I have had such heavy legs since the Derwentwater event last November. I knew that tired legs during a Saturday afternoon race were very unlikely to have recovered much by the next morning...
As I set off on my 20 miler I actually felt quite OK. The target was 7 pace and at one mile the clock showed 7:04, good pacing. Todays weather was similar to yesterday in that it was calm and cold, but no sun at all today. After 8 miles I collected a gel and a drink of juice which I had given to friends who live on the course and who kindly placed in a wee hideyhole to save me having to drive out there prior to running.
After 10 miles I was almost back in the city and merely 4 miles from home, but of course was turning back on myself for the 10 mile return leg. Immediately after the turn I had a short hill to climb - this REALLY made itself known in my legs and I slowed my pace until I reached the top. The next wee hill was at 14 miles and I eased up again for it but then the last 6 miles to home I found it very easy to cruise along at 6:45 - 6:50 per mile resulting in 6:54 overall for the full distance.
Due to this tough weekend I am planning to reduce tomorrows easy 7 road miles with Milly and his cronies to an hour on grass with Scamp.