Monday, 7 February 2011

XC X 2

Thanks to

Is it just me or does that look like a face??

A couple of cross countries at the weekend. Both pretty tough going and both very, very muddy.
Saturday saw us going through to Kirkcaldy for the National Masters XC. I’ve done the masters before, but I’ve never run a XC at Kirkcaldy, so I didn’t really know what to expect. However, given the relentless rain the couple of days before the event, I had a fairly good idea that it was going to be wet – and muddy. I wasn’t disappointed.
Registered in a nearby school then walked off to the start in a nearby field. A field that was partly flooded. Anne went off for her warm up, while I went off to try and find the rest of the Dunbar team….
And I found him. Turned out that me and Ian were the only runners daft enough to give this a go. By the time we met and started our warm up we had missed the start of the women’s race, but managed to catch a bit of the action “en route”.
Didn’t get much of a chance to talk to Anne after her race as we were soon called to the start line. The course was excellent! A really good mixture of track, field, path and disused railway. And unlike a lot of XC you actually did get out into the country – it wasn’t just half a dozen laps of a municipal park.
The rain that had been threatening all day came on with a vengeance just before I got to the finish line and, as I was already soaked through to the bone, I followed the example of a lot of other runners and used the flooded section of the field as an impromptu public bathing facility and got the worst of the mud off my legs. It’s hard to judge your performance by time on these XC races, but I was about a quarter of the way down the results list – so not too bad!
And then there was yesterday. If Saturday had been “proper” XC then yesterday was “extreme” XC. The third leg of the Borders XC series at Norham and my last chance to run a leg and get enough races to “count” for a final result.
The rain was already hammering down by the time we met in the field close to the village hall for the start. Went out again with Ian for a bit of a warm up, but yesterday we were joined by Brian. Noticed that there seemed to be a few changes to the course – including the perimeter of a ploughed field that I couldn’t quite remember from before. The whole field was well ploughed up, except for a very narrow strip along the side (not many chances for passing there).
Got back to the start and got lined up with the other runners to listen to Les deliver the course instructions. Did I hear correctly? Did he really say there were NINE river crossings??
Yes I did! And they were all crammed into one half mile section! Bliddy hell… talk about knackered. Just too wide to jump, and too murky to see the bottom, so even running through was a non starter. It was more a case of run up – step down and through, climb out the other side (often up steep muddy banks) and then get started again. I sort of lost count of the actual crossing, most times the icy water was just above the knees but at one point I actually went in up to my waist! It was the relentless breaking of the rhythm that made it so tiring.
Anyway, my old friend, from last year, the wire fence was there but happily didn’t pose a problem this time (Les had painted the wires yellow to make them stand out ). However, I did have a wee bit of a problem with my heart rate monitor on Sunday – at one point running through the glen (over the river) I was aware that the chest strap was slipping. I ended up having to run along while trying to haul it back up and tighten it (maybe stop wearing it for races).
Throwing in the part where we went up, over, and under the bridge twice was a wee bit of evil that just sapped the energy even more.
Got back in 11th place wet, muddy and happy.
Happy too as that’s the last XC for me for about 8 months or so now.. no more short sharp Sunday morning shocks for me ..time to get the miles in.
The photo above probably makes me look a bit better than I actually felt on Saturday. The photo comes from (thanks for letting us use your photos) where more pictures of Saturday’s race can be found. That’s the photo with the running in it ….obviously.

Thinking about my HRM strap problem… Looking at some of the blokes I see walking about, perhaps it’s my body shape that’s to blame. I’m too much straight up and down.. The modern trend appears to be towards having a pair of pendulous “moobs”. Maybe if I upped the cake consumption a bit I could grow myself a pair of these and then just sort of “tuck” the monitor strap underneath for a bit more support??
Maybe not.

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