As a youngster, I would get home from School, get changed and go out to play with my pals.
Now I'm older, I get home from work, get changed and go out to play with my pals, but now I call it training.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The wabbit weturneth

Indeed it has been another gweat weekend of wunning with  27 miles wan, and 7 of those were wacing.

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
Whilst I can see that a big championship event like this needs a suitable course, and the compact nature of the Hyndburn course two weeks ago would perhaps have been unsuitable, the  extreme mud,twists, hills etc of that location was very much a 'proper' cross country course and Pontefract was anything but!

Milly and Kev - seldom parted
The weather was quite superb for the whole day - bright sun warming our faces as we sat around (in coats) outside of the club gazebo.

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.
Thanks Gareth/Ali.

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.

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