Saturday, March 03, 2012

Out Of Retirement

Yes, I was back in action in my first Gwent League cross country race for over eight years - and I actually quite enjoyed it. Not while I was in the mix, mind. As I hit the end of lap one all I could hear in my head was, 'aaah, two more sodding laps' but I'm getting ahead of things.

I started towards the back to avoid bursting out of the blocks too quickly. I'm pretty sure the lap was a little shorter than I remember it but I didn't give that too much thought as I picked my way steadily through the field. One thing that was clear to me though, I'm still lacking core speed. Once again I concentrated on lengthening my stride and indeed I did make inroads on the flat during the first and second lap but it was the inclines where I made far bigger inroads to the runners ahead. I almost didn't change speed when moving from the flat to the slopes. Then of course there were the slippery descents, over all too quickly for my liking.

Into lap three I knew it was time to hang on, as my head was screaming at me, 'you bloody idiot, why did you agree to do this?' I knew I'd not be gaining any more places and in fact I lost a few but I dug as deep as I could and tried to hang on for a little bit each time someone passed me. It was nice to hear a shout out from Rick W as I ran the gentle woodland ascent for the final time. I didn't have the strength to acknowledge him at the time so I'll get my thank you in now. Cheers Rick.

Although only 10k, in fact a little under, I was never the less glad to hit the finishing straight with no one breathing down my neck so I wasn't forced to attempt a sprint. I'm not sure I could have. I crossed the line in 92nd place which, believe it or not, is my best ever Gwent League placing - in a time of 41 minutes and 20 seconds. Having looked through the results from back in the day and today I can see that the course is indeed shorter. It's about 6 minutes quicker for the lads at the front so factoring that in to my previous course best and today I reckon I was somewhere in the region of three minutes quicker, like for like. I'm pretty pleased with that.

On the downside, having got back home in good time and completed a goodly number of chores that needed to be chored, I decided to miss the orienteering on account of my legs feeling tight. I really need a long run tomorrow - for which I'm going to head over and run the first section of the SWT on an out and back past Llyn-y-Fan-Fach before then running an out and back to Fan Nedd over Fan Gyhirych - in all it should be about 40k and 7,500 feet of ascent. I have to understand my limits. The focus is the traverse. The orienteering is a bit of fun but I'm not going to put a required long run in jeopardy.