Monday: Rest day (day after Clapham Chasers anniversary do - 34 miles over weekend)
Tuesday: Steady run home from work (46:40)
Wednesday: Steady run into work (46:01), Steady run to Novice session then Novice session (103)
Thursday: Steady long wu, 2 laps (1.5) tempo (18:50 / 6:17mm), 60 seconds, 1 lap tempo (9:15 / 6:10mm), wd (90)
Friday: Rest (Hayley's speech to Kettering Old Grammer School) - no time for a run with travel / work
Saturday: Steady run with Hayley and her parents around Kettering off-road including 6 x 10s hill sprints (90)
Sunday: wu, Ware XC for Saffron Striders (8th place), short wd (54)
Total: 429 minutes / ~53 miles
Sessions: Short tempo, XC race, medium-long steady run
Weight: 12 stone, 1 pound
Good week despite being very busy at work which scuppered the changes to get any lunch runs in and various things coming up meant that I couldn't get morning runs in either. Ideally I would have gotten another run in on Saturday / Sunday as well.
Race report - Ware Inter-club XC (Saffron Striders), 8th place
The race on Sunday went well - my last two races have demonstrated that I'm definitely fitter but just haven't raced quite as well as I did at Newlands Corner. It was great to see all the Striders again and I had a great race with Chris Dodge.
The race funnels into a bottle neck very quickly and I was caught very much off guard and going through the first muddy section I was probably back in the 80/90s). One runner similarly wanted to move through the field and was trying to shove his way through so we had a brief philosophical discussion on that.
Out onto the field I then hurtled down along the outside moving myself into the top 20 over the next couple of minutes. At this stage I could see 3 had broken away in a lead and then a big pack of about ten runners. We then hit an exceptionally muddy patch - my Merrell All-Out Rush are doing me a treat this season allowing me to do XC even with my achilles injury but unfortunately I probably hadn't tied them quite tight enough and I could feel my heel slipping leaving me wondering whether I would lose them!
Once we finally got off the mud about a mile later I had caught one or two and was sitting probably about 14th. Unfortunately having not recced the course I had it in the back of my mind that we would go back the same way and I would have to go through that mud again and we would have a mile and a half or so to go at that point.
On the slightly harder stuff I was moving well and even up the hill was gaining on people. I could see Chris in the big pack ahead of me together with runners from a couple of clubs. The leader had now gone well clear but second place was still only about a minute ahead. I was picking off the odd runner and feeling pretty good but definitely saving my energy as I *knew* I had to go through the mud again...
Coming off the hard stuff I was catching Chris and a Ware Jogger but couldn't quite close the final 10m gap. On a slight-downhill on the ploughed field I opened up my stride and reeled in Chris and the Jogger (that feels really harsh to say but it's the club name!) and managed to stretch it out through a short forested section. At this stage I was starting to wonder whether we actually did go back over the mud. I went around a turn, expecting to hit the mud and realised we were about 500m from the finish.
There were 3 fairly close ahead who I was catching anyway so I kicked on past one of them - of the other two one ended up almost dropping out 100m from the finish with some calf issue and the final one had just enough to stay clear.
Overall I'm pretty pleased with the result. I ran the equivalent of probably just under 36 minutes for 10km which off roughly 8 weeks of what I'd call training I'm pleased with. More promisingly my fitness was definitely better than I raced today (mostly due to me not recceing the route). Even thinking I was still a mile and a half of tough running or so from the finish (and hence holding back) I was still catching people.
Then I got the chance to head back and cheer the other Striders in!
Hopefully I'll be back for the next one in December - this league is where I first started running XC, where I won my first real races and fingers crossed come February I'll be in a position to be competitive again.