XC today at Hyndburn - no idea where that was so had to check out map, near Accrington (and I only barely know where Accrington is!). It looked simple enough to get there, on the M65 til Jct 7 then a couple of fairly major roads but close to the motorway.
Woke up feeling a little tired, pottered around in the garden most of the morning then got kit ready and set off. I had heard this was a good XC course (i.e not flat running around football pitches), but I was feeling tired and stomach crampy so it wasn't boding well for a good race, but hey, I was looking forward to doing something completely different from road running.
Off the M65, going ok til I ended up in Accrington, its supposed to be near Accrington, not in it. After a while I drove back to the motorway junction as I realised I'd gone wrong as soon as I came off (think I should get a Sat Nav?). Found it eventually and parked up at the bottom of a bit of a hill, walking up it my legs felt tired, this will be hard work then.
Total stodge conditions again. Got ready to warm up, argued with my mud encrusted Walshes for a bit, the laces were solid and took a bit of bashing to get them to tie up. I set off for a warm up round the edge of a football pitch with another of the Harrier ladies, easiest way to stay out of the way of the runners on the course. I felt heavy, and was sliding around a bit in the mud. Once round then she headed back and I carried on round again in an attempt to be sensible and was joined by two other Harrier ladies, so we had a full team out (3 for a ladies team but more the better).
After second lap I decided to head back (could/should have fitted in another really), took fleece off and headed to start line. Usual fast start, I had my Garmin on and was expecting close to four miles so was definitely gong to keep it steady for about two miles. Straight into proper stodge then up a bit of a bank, people sliding everywhere even in spikes. Hard work keeping a stride up but superb fun as everyone streamed past me!
Off into some woods where it firmed up a little, bit of a descent where I overtook a few people but reined myself in as it took a bit of effort to power past and it was a bit early. Carried on up another couple of slippy banks then off into some woods. Lots of twists and turns and I got completely disorientated (as usual, doesn't take much). It was a good course, lots of varieties of mud: ankle deep slop, slippy stodge that the Walsh's struggled with, peanut butter stuff that clogged up shoes and added about a kilo in weight (felt like it) and lovely squidgy but on a firm base (not enough of that).
I was in a nice group of ladies, enjoying the run and I thought I maybe should try to pass as it was feeling comfortable and I didn't think I should be feeling comfortable in a short race but I decided against it. Being so close to the other ladies meant I couldn't really see the track clearly and I went over a little on my right ankle, then a proper turn of my left as I didn't see a tree stump. I swore and limped a few steps but shook it off then thought that next opportunity I get to pass I will so I can have some clear track for a bit.
We came back into the firm woods section where I had passed before. It was a good place to pass, on a bit of a rise so I just put in a few strides...then my legs were off. They motored up the rise, which was a bit of a surprise as my legs generally don't motor anywhere but I decided to go with it. I was out on my own which was a very weird feeling, had to keep reminding myself to keep the red and white tape on my left as there were a few twists in the course.
Back down the descent I enjoyed earlier then up the slippy bank (lot easier when I could take my own line) and back out into the open field. I had a look to see where the other ladies had gone then realised it was off to the finish so I got a move on.
My Garmin read 3.2 miles rather than the close to 4 I was expecting so I could really have done with pushing on a lot earlier. My time was 32.18 so actually on the slow side really but this is probably the first race I have done where I thought I could have gone faster a lot earlier so I'm pleased with that.
I think I got too comfortable in the group I was in and should have pushed on and tried to get on the back of some faster ladies but as that's never happened to me before I didn't realise that's what was going on until too late.
The next XC race in Blackburn should be interesting as I've done the course before so know what's coming and assuming everything else is ok I might try to get on the back of a group which is going at a pace I find hard, there is quite a bit of space to get past people and a bit of a hill (which I was strong on last time) so we'll see.
Watch me die on my arse!