Cross Country

I ended last week feeling pretty good as I finished the first week of ‘ultra year’ with a comfortable 10 miles. This week started, as is becoming routine, at the track. It was to be quite a tough session of mile reps, but during the warm up someone suggested lunges. I never thought anything of it as I set off, but quickly remembered it had been a considerable amount of time since I last did lunges, and my hamstrings had forgotten how to do it. They did not thank me for the experience.

So I set off on my first reps, and it was hard work, but I managed consistent 6:57, 6:57, 6:58, 6:51. By now my legs were hurting a little, though on the whole felt OK. Except for one little thing – my achilles. It was starting to pull a little and a touch uncomfortable. I set off for the fifth of six reps, but managed just 400m. My heel hurt, and it wasn’t worth pushing it. I stopped at that point, cooled down, and headed home; happy that I managed a track session 7 short days after my first ultra.

Wednesday was an enforced rest day as I caught up with the rest of the world and finally saw Skyfall. Oh My God. It was awesome. I love Bond films, all of them, but these recent Daniel Craig ones are definitely the best!!

By Thursday I was back on the streets for my regular commute home, and a nice easy 5 miles in the cold. I think I finally eased the DOMS from my legs too, which was nice. Because stairs had not been my friend this week!! Friday is usually my favourite rest day and fried pig product breakfast day!!! But this Friday I had other things to do – namely testing shoes for Saturday. Since getting my Cross Country spikes for Christmas I had been unable to test them out and see if there were any sore bits etc. So I attached my head torch and headed to the fields at the top of my estate for two muddy miles in lightweight cross country spikes. It was blooming freezing out, and quite boggy in places. I was pleased I’d swapped the 9mm for 12s in the shoes, and I felt really comfortable running in them. I was pleased that the shoes seemed to fit perfectly and it felt really good running through the muddy fields.

And this is why I had to wear them in – Saturday afternoon running around a field, all in the name of sport. Although I joined the team late in the season (this was race 3 of 4 in the league) I was at Mitcham Common for the 2XU Mens Cross Country League (Div.2) match with the running club.

Almost ready to go
Almost ready to go

It was soddin’ freezing, and none of us were in the mood to get ready to go. But, needs must, though I certainly wasn’t going ‘vest is best’.


The route itself was nice; three loops of a mildly undulating and only slightly boggy course. The ups were eminently runable, and the downs where a great opportunity to catch those who weren’t so confident. I wasn’t sure how much my legs had left in them this week. Though each mile seemed to pass by at a steady 7:30min/mi ish.

if you've got time to smile, then you can run harder
if you’ve got time to smile, then you can run harder
Pushing for the finish line
Pushing for the finish line

So I ended up in 128th place, didn’t count for the team, but had a blast, coming in to the finish in 38:38. Provisional results can be found here.

Who needs medals when you have gingerbread runners
Who needs medals when you have gingerbread runners

Long Running
I finished off the week with a really easy 14 miles from home on Sunday morning. It was relaxed, steady, and with a hint of snow. It was hilly, and a bit of an effort for my achilles at times. Thankfully though, I have a new saviour in the form of Laura, who worked her magic on Sunday evening to ease out my weary legs and make them feel super again. It turns out my knee issues may stem from a combination of ITB issues, and glutes that do zero work. The lazy buggers leave it all my poor old hamstrings. So I have been given some exercises to do, and I guess I should probably become more acquainted with the roller, and hopefully my butt will do some more work soon.

I rounded off week one of Jantastic with 100% and I am looking forward to another 5 runs in week two. Bring it on!


6 thoughts on “Cross Country

    1. haha, most were in vests!!! brrrr. track work is often just t-shirt and shorts though. It ain’t quite as cold when running quick, but you notice it when you stop!!

  1. Gingerbread runners are the way forward!
    I’ve got a taste of cross-country coming up this week (only 10km though!), I’m looking forward to putting my trail shoes through their paces.

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