Sunday, 21 February 2010


Woke up yesterday morning to yet another load of snow (quite a winter we're having this year).
For once I was delighted, as for a few glorious moments I thought my trip through to Falkirk and the National Cross Country Championships might have to be cancelled.
Alas the arrival of my Saturday Guardian put paid to that dream, as even I reasoned that if my paper can get in - I can get out.
And, as luck would have it, by the time we got down to the A1 and past Haddington the roads were clear and all was well with the world (bugger).
Always a good atmosphere at this race, with so many runners taking part in all the different races. Pretty sure just about every club in Scotland is represented.
We picked up our numbers and made our way back over the road into the park where the junior races were already taking place.
Anne didn't have too long to get warmed up before her race started so I hung about for a wee bit to watch some of that.
Then "team Dunbar" went for a lap of the course for a warm up. It was a lot dryer than I had thought it would be and a lot firmer under foot as well. I regretted bringing my Inov8 "studs" rather than my Mizuno trail shoes that have a little more cushioning.
After watching the under 20 men race round we all made our way to the start. 450+ runners in our race always makes for a spectacular start for the spectators but is pandemonium for the runners. It's difficult not to let yourself get carried away and start too quick.
After my disaster at this race last year my main concern was simply finishing. On the first of three laps, as we came round the side of a large pond/small lake, I found myself quite a bit off the path and down towards the waters edge. As it was this was quite lucky as it allowed me to pass a few people before we got into the wooded section of the run where passing opportunities are limited.
I knew that the two Ian's and me were pretty close, but couldn't tell exactly where they were until we got through the woods and into the section that goes along by the ditch/burn/river bed/whatever. Then as we came into the main body of the house grounds again to start the little climb that takes you up towards the flats I realised we were pretty much running together.
First lap I felt OK but not really "settled" into a comfort zone. On the second lap I felt good and pretty much "in the zone". But by the third lap I felt knackered.
I could only watch as Ian pulled away from me and managed to pass a couple of guys and put a few places between us.
On the last 100m or so however, I could hear a runner coming up behind me and I just gave it everything I had left (which wasn't very much). Managed, just, to hold him off - we ended up with the same time but I got the position.
I was a about 1:30 slower than two years ago but the course wasn't the same then - so while the distance was the same I don't really want to compare times.

Ended up out today for about 15 miles and my legs are spent. Yesterday was only 12k, but it was on, mostly, hard ground with studs and I think it's just gone for my already tired legs.
Today's run was really nice. Started off up by the new wind farm then over, via a nice forest path, to Crichness and back down by Elmscleugh.
Though the run did remind me about a particular appendix to "Sod's Law" that applies to runners and walkers who think they are completely isolated when out in the middle of nowhere - "As soon as you start to 'write your name in the snow' - that is the exact time a vehicle will suddenly appear and pass you." - didn't even get a chance to cross the "t"s.

Going to have a bit of a quieter week this week. Same mileage but less effort. One last cross country race next Sunday, so it would be nice to have my legs a bit fresher for that.

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