The whole club - Juniors (under 13s, 15s and 17s), and Seniors all competed. First up was the Juniors which gave us seniors an ideal opportunity to view the conditions under foot. It was seriously muddy!!! The kind of mud that sucks your shoes straight off. And unfortunately for the juniors they were the first to find this out as many fell victim including our own under 15s female Ali who had to run the entire race in bare feet after losing both her shoes in the opening minutes of the race. I promptly retied my spikes twice, practically cutting off the blood flow to my foot but ensuring that they WOULD stay on whatever!
The mens race consisted of 3 laps and was 9km in total. The start was a fast downhill section following by a right hander and short flat stretch before we hit the mud fest! I went for the outside edge of the swamp (still a ft deep in mud!) and my spikes stayed on!! Hooray I had survived! I'm not going to provide a blow by blow account of this race. It's enough to say that I felt ordinary on the first lap (although it was also my fastest - probably too fast) but survived. I started to find a steady rhythm to my running on lap 2 and slowed it down a tad. And on lap 3 as those around me tired, and despite my very heavy breathing (and heavy legs from a 90 mile week on the ElliptiGO) I had enough to pass quite a few runners, and hold off a very strong challenge from a Silsoe runner (green shirt - see pic below) for the last mile and a half all the way to the finish line. Interestingly I had exactly the same battle with this same Silsoe runner at the Luton XC fixture last month. I held him off then too :-) I definitely benefited from his challenge as I wouldn't have run as fast in the final mile without the motivation to stay up with him, and pass. So thanks Dan.
I didn't quite have enough on the day to beat Pete Mackrell though who I battled with for much of the 2nd and 3rd lap. We swapped positions a few times and I held him for quite a while, but he's a strong runner also, and found 10 yrds on me when I perhaps was concentrated enough, which I simply could not make up. Pete finished 13 seconds ahead of me (3rd from the club). Andy and Ian were 1st and 2nd.
My race stats were as follows:
I finished 66th out of 262 runners in total. My highest placing of the season (and 52nd place out of 160 Division one runners). 4th for the club. Finish time was 39:00 dead. Distance on Garmin 5.81 miles. Avg pace was 6:42.
Mile splits were:
1 - 6:14 (too quick);
2 - 6:37 (better);
3 - 6:53 (slowing);
4 - 6:47 (good effort);
5 - 7:04 (what I had left!).
But then I ran 6:41 pace for last 0.8m to keep ahead on Dan from Silsoe. So some slowing down during the race but kinda gotta expect that with the mud and the hills taking there toll.
My max heart rate was 186bpm, with an average of 177bpm so I was working hard. And the best number of all is 2! This is the number of shoes that I managed to keep on my feet :-)
LBAC finished 6th on the day (out of the 14 clubs in Division 1 ), and 9th place overall in the league so we stay up!! We naturally celebrated last night hence my sore head today after far too many pints of Tribute, Brains, and Black Sheep :-O
Some good photos were taken by Clive Daniels from the Leighton Fun Runners which captures the race conditions in all there muddy glory! Thanks to Clive for the superb photos and permission to use them.
|Pete Mackrell to my right as I go for the deepest puddle on the whole course!|
|This one is courtesy of my mum|
|Practicing my high knee action!|
|And what happens when you don't tie your shoes tight enough!|
|Andy Inchley (1st for LBAC)|
|Ian (2nd for LBAC)|
|Pete Mackrell (3rd for LBAC)|