Ahhhh, XC. I am not sure I have missed you this year, I certainly haven’t missed the Holmebrook Valley Park course outside of Chesterfield. This one always seems muddier than the others and it certainly is always so cold that your feet feel like blocks of ice when you are trying to scramble up the hills and slide down the descents. Yes, this is my least favourite of the winter BDL series but like the club handicap earlier in the week I’d run out of reasons to get my bum out there although as far as excuses go, fracturing your foot is right up there as a good one!
What was good about this year is the start/finish lines were moved to the other side of the field and it was ran in reverse, it also was approximately .5 mile shorter than the previous 2 years I’ve ran it! Half a mile doesn’t sound like much but when you are trying to keep from puking your guts out, hoping your trainers stay attached to your feet, and praying to the run deity you don’t slide DOWN the hill you are trying to trudge up!
On the second lap of the course near the top of the hill in the photo above I did spy where someone had lost the sole of their trainer in the quagmire, let’s just hope they were on their final lap in when it happened.
So my usual recap of what I did…started too close to the front and got carried away with the wave of adrenalin-infused XC runners (hey jackrabbit!), had a brief thought of how nice it was to be running…don’t worry, that didn’t last long! Passed people on the downhills and they promptly passed me again on the ascents–I still have nothing resembling uphill-running legs at the moment although part of that can be attributed to 32 miles (hey, have I told you I ran an ultra!) last weekend and the previous day’s workout which consisted of 110 burpees, 110 squats, 100 plus pressups, and far too many lunges. Didn’t even bother trying to run all the way up the biggest hill (not the one in the photos!)…well, let’s rephrase that, I did try but my quads were having none of it! Tried to say thank you to all the marshals (very nice ones at this event, they were encouraging everyone) and gave the occasional shout to other Ilson runners. Most important of all, I managed to stay upright for once!
I don’t remember what my finish token was–just know it was somewhere well after 100 and before 200 so will have to wait for results* to see exactly where I placed. The great photos are courtesy of Robert Scriven (check out his flickr page here) since my personal photographer aka partner was still snoozing away when I left the house this morning 😉
Going to end with the best cross country advice I have (read: the only)–Get a pair of trainers that will shed the mud and give you the best grip possible and then learn to TRUST that they will keep you upright. For some that is spikes, for others it will be fell shoes but whatever you do learn how to relax and you will get up and down the hills with what might not be ease but it will be easier. And if you do fall? Roll with it and get right back up, you will get bad-ass points and have the best story at the finish line!
*Boring race stats: 45:31, 145/226 overall, 22/71 female, 3/5 VL45 Not my worst performance but certainly not my best, perhaps time to get back to proper training.