Tri-county XC Race 2017

I feel obliged to point out that this race was my least favourite race of last year. It was full super speedy runners hoping to gain a County vest, running in just shorts and crop tops. In December. There was no walking up the hills, there was no well earned amazing views from the top of said hills, there was no feeling of being lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere. So why on earth did I enter it again this year? Well, it was race number 4 in the Off-Road League. ‘Nuff said. I’m unlikely to win my age category this year, but pride and the fact that our Chippenham Harrier’s teams are currently in first and second position in the league meant it was a “must do”. Yes, our B team is ahead of everyone else’s A team. Unfortunately our rivals had also spotted this, and were rallying their troops in order to try and knock at least 1 of our teams off their spots. Therefore, it was all hands on deck (feet on mud?) from the Harriers as well.

XC events consist of a series of races throughout the day, to ensure the entire family has the chance to get cold, muddy and tired. Starting with the youngest first, the course gradually becomes longer for each subsequent race, with additional long or short loops. Just to make it more confusing, each race at this “tri-counties” event has runners running for their own county.

For the “Senior and Vetern Ladies” we had to run 2 short loops and 1 long loop of a muddy, sloping field at Bath University.  I was consoling myself with the fact that it was only 4 miles long, but sadly this did include going up the long hill 4 times.

Just adding to my joy and anticipation for this race, was the weather forecast which predicted snow for the day. Wonderful! After spending the morning  checking (with fingers crossed) to see if the event had been cancelled, I finally resigned myself to having to run and set off. As I got closer the weather became snowier and snowier, until I found myself squelching and crunching across a field to huddle with my team mates.

Brave Harriers Ladies. I'm NOT wearing shorts
Brave Harriers Ladies

As I feared, running this race was cold. It was miserable. It was snowing. It was horrible. It was really horrible. I told every marshal I passed how horrible it was (but I did thank them on our last lap – it must have been just as miserable standing there all day).

Running in the snow photo
“It’s horrible. It’s really horrible”

Despite being several minutes slower than last year, I didn’t finish in last place. I was chased all the way around the final lap by an Avon Valley Runner woman I only shook off on the last downhill ‘dash’ to the finish line. Her sprint finish must be even slower than mine.

Sprint (trudge) finish
Sprint (trudge) finish

Still, at least it’s done now. This race has officially won my vote for “Most horrible race. Ever”, and I gained 100 Hardcore points for finishing covered in so much snow. I have also finally defrosted my toes, so that’s all good.

Photo of snowy runner
100 Hardcore points to the lady with the snow and the tiny runner hitching a ride on her head

Janathon Day 27. Not hardcore.

I’ve realised the big problem with the 30 Day Shred DVD is that it just doesn’t feel ‘hardcore’ enough. Yes I’ve been struggling through my ‘plank jacks’ and ‘walk out push ups’, and grimacing my way through ‘high knees’ and ‘skater jumps’, but it’s all done in my warm living room, in front of the telly (despite what my Garmin thinks).

I was painting the utility room this morning, as the rain and then hail came down. I looked out of the window and thought about running in that weather. Now that’s hardcore, and that’s what I’m missing.

So as a treat for completing Janathon, on 31st January I’m going out for a run. Come rain or shine (but let’s be honest, it’s likely to be rain) I plan to be out there, smiling, earning hardcore points. Now that’s more like it!

How to Win the London Marathon (at 400m)

Read on the most excellent blog, Lazy Girl Running, is a tale of a runner who has set himself a series of challenges in order to raise £12,000 for ‘Street Child’, a charity which looks after street kids in kids in Sierra Leone. His blog is Beer Belly Running, and is well worth a read.

The second of his challenges was to be leading the London Marathon at the 400m mark. Bearing in mind that elite athletes like Mo Farah will cover 400 in 71 seconds, and that Beer Belly Running wouldn’t be starting on the front row with the Elites, this was no mean feat!

Please jump to his blog and see if he managed to do it, and if you’re as impressed as I was, feel free to donate to his excellent charity as well, here

Thank you!

Week 11 Marathon Training. Sounds a bit proper

Week 11. Sounds incredibly like proper training, a decent amount of training already done, not too long to go until the big day.

Does it feel like that? Erm – no. It does feel like a great achievement if I look back at my well scribbled schedule, but if I look ahead I still feel slightly sick.

This week’s training called for runs of 4, 8, 4 and 18. When I was choosing a schedule I examined lots of different plans. It was weeks like this that made me go pale around the gills. Last week’s 16 mile long run does sound like an impressive long run, but 18 sounds like Proper Marathon Training (with capital letters!)

The week has started well, despite it being half term. On my 4 miles this morning I was accompanied by an outrider (it’s half term here, just to really make training difficult) who encouraged me to speed up because he was cold, and then kept me talking the whole way which was a real test of my apparently low heart rate. It was good to have some cheerful company, and made a change from talking to the horses in the fields I pass. As a bonus it started snowing whilst we were out, so we awarded ourselves bonus hardcore points.

I wore my new knee high compression socks, but it wasn’t really brave as I was also wearing my long tights. Not sure if they helped or not, as I could ‘feel’ my shins as I ran, but then I had been poking, prodding and rollering my shins before I set off.

Guess they’ll have their first real test tomorrow!