a satisfying muddy end to a good week

 Cross country runners are a special breed of runners.
  • “The start of a World Cross Country event is like riding a horse in the middle of a buffalo stampede. It’s a thrill if you keep up, but one slip and you’re nothing but hoof prints.”
    -Ed Eyestone


132 Days till the 2016 Virgin money London marathon

There is nothing like a cross country race, hills, mud, normally cold with water traps and sometimes stiles.  Campsall park is what id call a ‘proper cross country course’. ie it has a start in a grass field, a wooded section, a couple of stiles, a muddy & rocky farmers field, a water trench jump, a steep precarious descent which then means a climb, another wooded section before bombing around muddy slippy corners. this you attempt 3 times. its not just about who can run an even split for mile after mile, its about who can handle been chucked in hell and come out the other side the best. man vs man and man vs the terrain. more about this in a bit…</div


first I’ll talk about the last couple of weeks.  after once again letting the virus settle down i tried once again on 1st December to restart my training but after an initial good start on Tues & wed the lazy monster climbed on my back and it was Sunday before i ran again. The plan had been to run 30-35miles this week. unfortunately i managed……20.3miles.  luckily then that from Monday 7th i was on holiday for a week.  this enabled me to run when i wanted and rest after. this has helped immensely this week.  Starting with a  8mile run which was slowish partly because i thought doing one of the steepest climbs in Sheffield in the first 2miles was a good idea(not really), tuesday i went to Sheffield running club long rep session. After a first 2 reps which felt good i moved up a level in group and the difference was obvious. worthwhile though. wednesday i took the dog up to and around underbank reservior for 5miles. Thursday the lack of rest showed and it took a lot of internal fighting to get out the door for another 5miles but after dragging my lazy arse out of the door i was rewarded with aaverage pace of 6;58 miles. not as fast as i used to be capable but a proper confidence boost.  Friday was definitely a day of rest, no arguing this time. this brings me to the 2 race pace efforts of the weekend.
1st off i decided to run my, yes its mine, i started it up so its mine. 😉 hillsborough parkrun.  it was raining heavy, bloody freezing and i made the error of not wearing an hat on my newly shaved head. the first lap was excruciatingly painful with the cold freezing my head. at the end of lap 1 i stopped my watch for a good minute to retrieve my hat out of my bag and carry on this time warm headed and comfortable. I ran 20.12 on my watch but 21.13 officially.  a 1 lap warm down in the opposite direction followed and a lesson learned for next time.


that brings me to today. the final race of the South Yorkshire xc season at Campsall park on the outskirts of Doncaster.  A 1mile warm up, line up at the start and off we went around a soft and occasionally muddy small lap of the field before going into the woods, QUEUING!!! at the first stile, over and into the farmers field, through he next stile and across the longer, rockier and muddier farmers field and in to the woods. this was were the wet got wetter, we had to jump over/through a metre wide water filled trench and through more muddy puddles i care to mention water drenching you from thigh to toe, leaving the woods it was first climb then descend the slippy bank before back up for a tiny loop of a grass field before descending into the woods again.  then it was up again before down the field to start the 2nd of the 3 large laps.i had been averaging sub 7min miles which on this terrain was good.  i expected to, with current fitness levels to at some point start to fade but helped by clubmate Ben Mahoney who is also on the comeback trail after a diabetes diagnoses a few month back and Steel city strider Nicholas Scott been with me i was keeping pace and i was actually competing. After a while I realized i wasn’t going to. we swapped places regularly and a battle was indeed on until on the last downhill corner i slipped and lost momentum. they both pulled away a little.  The last bit was a small lap of the start field but an obstacle presented itself. the ladies race started as we passed and from 3 of us racing to the finish it became a group of over 150 runners. I initially tried to use the mass of ladies to mask my chase of Ben & nick but having to wave through the ladies was to difficult and couldn’t close the gap. sprint to the finish and it was over.


i wont take any negatives from this race as i performed way better than i expected and actually feel on the day i couldn’t have ran better but only approximately 60% of where i feel i should be there is a lot more to come if i stay fit, injury free and well.  10k in 41.01  A great end to a 40mile week.
Onward  & upwards.
i will be running VMLM2016 for Mind, the charity for mental illness which as you may or not know is close to me after my Depression diagnoses last year   justgiving page
Anyway, Bye for Now
“Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”
-Joshua J. Marine

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