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It doesn’t get much better than a new PB and last week I got one.
I’ve said before on this blog that running is a bit like the tide coming in and going out. It ebbs and flows.
When the tide is coming in everything goes right. Training goes well, there’s no niggles and you don’t feel tired – just charged up and raring to go.
I’m hoping I can keep on riding the crest of the wave as my attention turns to the North Eastern counties cross country next Saturday.
Plan – Recovery Run 45mins
Was still feeling tired but got out and did 6.2 miles in 45mins. Probably pushed a bit too hard for how I was feeling and a recovery run.
Plan – Threshold Run 45mins
Really long day at work and didn’t get home until after 7pm. The weather was poor and there was a strong wind. Really didn’t fancy the run but got out and never got going.
Struggled to get heart rate into threshold and felt tired. The wind on the Town Moor was so strong I was finding it hard to keep on the pavement. My mind fast forwarded to the cross country race on Saturday which is on the Town Moor.
“There’ll be casualties” I thought to myself, wondering if one could be me. I’m feeling in need of a rest and decided to cut this run short…
Didn't enjoy this week's threshold!
Plan – Recovery Run 45mins
Another stressful day at work and again late home. Was going to leave this run til tomorrow but instead cut it short to 30mins. Yet again wasn’t feeling up to it, just one of those weeks. Perhaps the tides going back out and just need some rest. Could do without this race on Saturday…
Plan – rest
Plan – Recovery Run 30mins
Yet again considered shelving this run but got out. Thought about withdrawing from cross country. In the end told myself to sort it out and grow up.
Plan – North Eastern cross country champs
Despite the whingy week I was keen to get to the xc champs and give it my best shot. This race was the culmination of training going back to August/September and it was the one I was wanting to do well in.
After the weather we have had this week I was happy to see the sun in the sky but the frost and ice still hadn’t fully gone by 1pm.
Getting to the course I was struck by how big the laps looked. And obviously the Cow Hills about 3/4 round each of the 3 laps. I know those hills well and I’ve had a few hard sessions on them. I was less daunted than I’d imagined and I’ve been banging out 7 mile training runs in 45mins. I felt ready.
This race gets smaller fields than the normal NEHL fixtures which I find a bit odd. Anyway, it meant it was quite easy to get a good position on the starting line. Last year I was a bit timid and held right back. This year I was content to sit about 3 or 4 deep. My tactic was to settle in easy first lap and build. I wanted to finish strong.
As it happened I found myself holding a fairly steady position very quickly. I heard someone say I was around 70-75th after the first hill on the first lap. I had a loose goal of top 100 so I was happy with that and resolved to dig in hard.
I really enjoyed this course. The hardest part wasn’t really the hills. I think I handled those really well. I’ve never really credited myself as being a good hill runner but today I was always able to take some places on the two climbs. Coming downhill I wasn’t so assured and was probably a bit flat footed.
The toughest bit was the long slight drag towards the hills which felt dead into the wind. As is always the case the wind seemed to get stronger with each lap.
I was a little disappointed to get dropped by a good group of 4 or 5 coming to the hills on the second lap. It left me isolated but strangely it gave me a chance to gather my thoughts. Today I felt mentally strong. It was as if all the whinging this week was deliberate. I wasn’t seeking excuses, just trying to feel sorry for myself or something. This running game is tough. There are times when you wonder what’s it all for.
I think it’s important to attach your thoughts to something that means something to you. It helps get in the zone. I don’t know why but I thought a lot about my mams dad, my granda Tully. He’s no longer with us but he used to take me on walks up the Waldridge Fells. The Cow Hill climbs took me back to then for some reason. It pushed me on today when I’d normally allow myself to slow down.
Coming to the all important last lap I felt strong and positive. I’d noted that I hadn’t really conceded any places and a few in front were coming back to me. The plan was to reel them in as much as possible and give it everything on the two last hills. I felt like I had held something back first two laps. I know how to run a decent pace uphills. It’s arms and feet, quick and short steps.
I had at least 3 runners in front of me as I looked up for the last time to the top of the first hill. I set about getting the feet and arms moving. Unbelievably I dropped the 3 before I was half way up the hill. I couldn’t stop pushing now. At the top I would usually lose momentum as I heave for air but this time I put another spurt on down the hill.
The bottom of that hill and before the next was probably the muddiest part of the course. I spotted one or two in front meandering around to try to get a better line. I took the decision to plough a straight line. It was tough but it paid off and I picked up a few places.
I was on a roll and loving every second. For the first time I wasn’t keen on the finish line. I felt like another mile would help my finishing position. I looked ahead for any remaining targets. There were two but at least 100m ahead and probably only 300-400m left. I pushed on.
I could hear the crowd cheering for someone pretty close behind so I was aware I wasn’t safe from being overtaken.
Coming round the last corner I tried for a sprint. Again the crowd was egging someone close behind to take me. I got into the sprint and just got over the line in front. I almost trampled a runner just ahead of me in the process.
Cue the runner behind to try and get in front of me in the line! Fair play to the official he sorted it out but in the heat of the moment I said a few words I probably shouldn’t. I was fired up!
I knew I had run well. I finished 67th and this has to be my best run to date.
On route to 67th in Northern Eastern Counties XC
Things are going great and I’m really on a good course to keep on improving.
I’m looking forward to keep on ticking over the festive period and come back to the remainder of the NEHL season really strong. I’ll then be ready to smash a 5 and 10k in the spring as per my plan to run a sub 17min 5k by April 2015.
Plan – Recovery Run 60mins
Committed the cardinal sin of trying to get out for a run too soon after my Sunday lunch.
So spent the whole run trying to keep it down. Otherwise was an ok run but kept it to 40mins.
Laughably the heavens opened on the Town Moor, scene of the race yesterday, and the wind was blowing again. I had to chuckle, this is what it’s all about.
Running – 33 miles
Cycling – zero
Very pleased with race performance despite a very whingy week training wise. Hoping to put the winter blues behind me and where to next???