Hello everybody! I would like to apologise for being inactive recently! To cut the story short, I have had my first club cross country, a trip abroad and another trip in the last week or so. Last week, I spent five days on a school trip in Spain which was absolutely lovely. Then, as soon as I came back, we were off to my aunt and uncle’s house in Somerset -the freezing weather was a bit of a shocker compared to sunny Andalusia! However, I am back now and I have quite a lot to talk about!
First up, my cross country race! Last Saturday (seems like ages ago now) was the first Surrey League and my first cross country of the season (my second ever for South London). The race was quite a last minute decision as I would be going to Spain then very next morning and not running for a WHOLE WEEK (well…5 days). So I prepared my race bag, donned my club vest and collected my three running shoes (spikes, trail shoes and my trainers – all necessary as I did not know the course. My dad and I drove up to Nonsuch park early where we were met with the vibrant sight of a vast number of runners, spectators and club banners. The whole place was buzzing – as was I!
Immediately, we made our way to the Harriers’ tent where I was given my number and some words of encouragement. I soon spotted my friend from school who was running for her new club and we decided to walk the course whilst watching some speedy seniors. To be honest, we didn’t walk very far but that didn’t matter as I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be leading – especially since we were running with under 17s also! I was convinced that I would be the smallest runner in the field!
I did a somewhat short warm-up with a friend from my club who is an U17 when we returned and we were soon on the start line. I had eventually decided on trail shoes as the grass was mercifully hard. As soon as the gun fired, we were off!
I like to think that I have a fast start but, in reality, I really don’t. However, this was not a bad thing as I found myself over taking a lot of people after the initial rush. I found myself in a group with another group a little way ahead. As the course progressed, I focused on gradually picking off people and maintaining a pressing speed. The course included quite a few turns and I got rather confused so, to distract myself, I periodically counted to 100 in time with my breathing. I genuinely found this very useful.
In the last third or so of the race I started to feel the burn. To make this even worse, I tripped during a trail section of the course. Thankfully I caught myself before I landed head first and managed to carry on without much panic (an achievement I am remarkably proud of). Although my legs were feeling pretty weak by now, I could see that I was gaining on one of my close rivals and I picked up the pace a bit. Eventually, the finish line came into view. The last push was up a somewhat steep incline and a rival was invigoratingly close in front of me. I dug in deep and attempted to sprint with all my might on the final straight. Thankfully, I was able to overtake the girl and continue with a strong finish to the line!
To my delight, I really really enjoyed my first cross country! Last year, as it was my first ever season, I recall strongly disliking a fair portion of my races but I reckon that hills and grass are starting to grow on me (not so sure about mud). I came 20th out of around 70-ish girls which I am pleased with though I hope to improve my position throughout the season. Next week, I have Bruce Judd XC Relays. I have never done any relays before so I am excited to try this- hoping it will bring out the best of my competitiveness.
I also mentioned staying at my little cousins’ house after returning home from Spain. This was lovely as always! I was even able to visit two new parkruns (Burnham and Cheddar juniors). Burnham was taken very easy as I hadn’t ran in a week but I can definitely see it’s potential as a PB course. As for Cheddar juniors – that didn’t go quite to plan. I had been desperate to break the course record – at least the girls record but, on the day, there was horrendous wind the whole way round and my legs felt absolutely dead. I was initially very disappointed but I had to take into the account that I ran the day before and I hadn’t ran for a whole week before that so of course I wasn’t going to be at my best. It was also lovely to see my little cousin’s get involved too! My 10 year old cousin even has her own blog now!
I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post! You may have noticed that my blog has a new theme/layout! I personally like this look a lot better and it is still pretty easy to navigate. As you can probably see, I really got into the autumn spirit – I hope it’s not too excessive but I really really just love autumn! Let me know if it looks too crazy!
Have a great week,