I was originally suppose to be running the following week a 10k on the 13th but opted instead for a Saturday race to allow me to fit another long run in on Sunday. I knew this would be a challenge as you use different muscle groups for Cross Country. Matt my old coach convinced me to run for the county and my coach Norman thought it was a good idea. I didn’t really have a really stressful week but from running a long run the Monday ( 31st) a sub 7 minute per mile 10 miler the back end of the week was easy. I am not great at planning for Cross country races or ones in the afternoon so I tried not to make a big deal as I didn’t feel fit for the hills. Taking my son with me as he wanted to play football with our local friend Phil also meant he was away from a computer and doing something physical.
Onto the race, It started at 2pm, we arrived around 1pm which was plenty of time for getting my number, a short warm up. It wasn’t a warm day so I was layered up and imagined my gloves staying on but getting warm so quickly decided just to wear the singlet. How I felt about the race “odd” was how my spikes also looked, what I mean by this is the spikes had different lengths due to losing a few, and the race was out of my comfort…
Warming up with a few of the Wycombe Phoenix crew for a mile, then the usual ridiculous toilet rituals before stripping down and heading to the start line. It was great to see the familiar race organiser faces including the Bucks Selector Roger Smith aka “old school” organisation the way I like it!
So the race, yikes 2 large laps of the fields and “yes large” with the hill climbs I practiced with Matt’s Wycombe Phoenix team on the 28th and then a shorter lap for the last. I was expecting or hopeful for a top 10 as you never know the speed of these youngsters and being an ultra-runner, this was a short day out with 8k. The race promptly started, and I packed myself in amongst Lucy Rogers & Jenny Roberts of Wycombe and some other local club runners. Always remaining in the top 4/5 runners until the first hill where the Marshall Milton young lady broke away from the pack and remained that way with a good lead. I feel had the race have taken on 10k or longer the endurance may have kicked through, instead I was having my own battle between 2/3/4th places.
I surprised myself that on lap two I started to break away and used the downhill to my advantage and I also listen to the claps and the vocals of spectators to work out roughly my lead ( never looking back). It came to the last lap and I picked up my pace to push the last climb from the back field to the middle field where I could see the finish line in sight. Just one more down hill rabbit holed area to get past and push all the way to the finish. Despite being told “ you have this in t he bag” I never eased off as I wanted the best time possible and I surprised myself…. Wow….. I’d done it 32.13, 2nd place overall, first vet and a handshake from the selectors. So from feeling I don’t want to do this, to then being in medal contention. Needless to say very pleased with how I raced, unexpected and proud. Anyone that knows me I do not say this, especially off the back of a rubbish Cross Country race in December for Bucks. Onwards and upwards to a positive start to 2019 !