Anyone that knows me knows my dislike of anything containing mud and hills and how I avoid running on such terrain like the plague! I’ve spent the last 5 years being told to keep away from cross country as I can’t run on the surface and I am much better on a nice hard road. I’ve never really argued with this as I have happily used it as a great excuse not to run on the country! However this year I decided to give it a go again to help improve my leg strength which will hopefully make me a better marathon runner.
I haven’t raced cross country in about 4 years but that didn’t stop me jumping straight in at the deep end and entering the Liverpool leg of the British Athletics Cross Challenge series. The race also incorporated the European Cross Country Championships trials, which I had no expectations of making the team for but I had hoped to finish high enough up to maybe put myself into contention for a place on the GB team for the Edinburgh Cross Country in January.
Like I say, I am not in any way disappointed in my race. I am actually quite encouraged that I can finish so high up off limited training. I know that there are some races where you have to be ready to take a beating knowing that they have their own special place in the big master plan. This was certainly one of those races. I went into it with no expectations whatsoever and anything I achieved from it was simply an added bonus. A lot of people aren’t prepared to do this. They will only enter and run races where they know they can win or at least challenge for the win and if things don’t go their way during the race they will drop out. Dropping out is easy – anyone can do that, its tougher to keep going and just accept that it wasn’t your day or maybe you just aren’t as fit as you thought you were.I’m not making excuses, but the fact that I have only done 4 sessions since returning from 7 weeks of no running due to injury certainly didn’t help this. I know, however, that with a couple more weeks of training under the belt I will soon be back firing on all cylinders and producing performances I know I am capable of.
Oh as an added bonus, I was first veteran athlete yesterday!!I know that the strength which I will gain from running cross country will help me to become a better/faster marathon runner and for that reason I plan to endure a few more cross country races this side of winter starting with the local harrier league next Saturday. I’m just hoping that the terrain won’t be too rutted and muddy or I may actually cry!!