Sunday, 13 November 2011

Watford XC Chiltern League race

Yesterdays XC race at Watford was quite a bit different from the
running I have been doing of late. LBAC compete in the Chiltern League
which features 5 races between Oct and Feb. I missed the 1st race of
the season so this was my first XC outing this year... Just 2 weeks
after SNOD too, so no speed training for the best part of a month (or
two!) going into this race. It was an undulating/hilly 6 miler in
Cassiobury park, Watford. All XCs go out hard and this was no
different... The gun went and we were off joistling for position. I
found my pace and fell in line behind a few team mates. Tom and Pete
quickly pulled away though (both sub 3hr marathon runners) so I went
about my own race not getting too carried away as I knew it would
destroy me in the latter stages. As I was expected it was really tough
going and my breathing was really hard from start to finish. Partly
because I was less race fit and also because I was pushing so hard.
It's the only real way to race XC... you do pace it to some degree but
it's at a pace that you know can only be sustained for a very short
time. Hopefully for the length of the race but that remained to be seen.

The course consisted of a first larger loop and 2nd slightly shorter
one. Both loops however climbed the main hills which we would be
tackling twice. As I said I was pushing hard throughout and breathing
heavy. I was passed by a rush of runners on the first half of the
first loop but after that despite running right at the peak of what I
was capable of I held my own and didn't lose many more places. The
pattern went that I would past runners on the downs and the up hill
sections but I would get passed on the flats. For me this worked the

By the second loop everyone was spent so it was just about hanging on
and digging deep, and dig deep I did. The final hill was a real killer
but I pushed hard spurred on by fellow female LBAC team mates and
picked off a few runners as I climbed up to the finish which is always
a very satisfying way to finish a XC. Gasping for all the oxygen I
could get I crossed the finish line in 38:58 minutes and seconds for
the 6.05 mile course (measured on a mates garmin). I was as good as
dead but so alive at the same time! I dunno what it is about XC racing
but there's nothing else like it that makes you work so damn hard and
push yourself to your limits. I love it. I think the fact that you are
racing for your team more so than yourself is a huge factor in it. You
just don't wanna let anyone down but competitively you also wanna get
as close to your team mates ahead of you too!!

I finished 4th LBAC runner out of the 12 of us that ran, and 121st out
of 359 senior men overall. Time to get training and improve that for
St Albans XC on 3rd December.

The other reason for needing to get some essential speed training in
is that I've recently agreed to assist in the Leighton Santa's Dash on
27th November. I will be dressed up in full Christmas Pudding costume
and chased down by 50+ Santa suited runners over a 5k course. The
shame of getting caught is not something I want to think about so I
must in effect win... no pressure then. I just hope that no serious
runners would enter a Santa's Dash!!...would they? :-O

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