Sunday, 22 February 2009

Scottish National Cross Country

21st February 2009, Callendar Park, Falkirk
Results | Photos (women's race) | Photos (U20 men's race)

Good fine weather for my 4th Nationals at Falkirk. Annoyingly though I'd had a cold for the past 10 days starting with razor-blade throat and developing into sinus pressure, gluey ears and general dizzy feeling and loss of energy. So the idea of running in the Nationals was less than appealing, and would probably only make myself feel even worse, but I had lost patience with having a stupid cold so was going to run anyway.

At the start of the race somehow I ended up more or less on the front line, rubbing shoulders with an Eritrean. After a false start, the gun sounded and the stampede began. I got swept up the first hill with the masses, and gravity and momentum got me through the first kilometre in 3:22. In retrospect, this turned out to be a stupidly fast start, but it felt OK at the time. I just wasn't banking on the wheels coming off even before I'd finished the first lap. I felt weak and woozy with my head spinning and just wanted to step off the course. I tried to summon some resolve to keep going in the 2nd lap, but was flogging a dead horse, and felt like a car cruising to a standstill after it's run out of gas. No amount of banging your foot on the accelerator has any event. There is just this slow inevitable feeling of grinding to a halt.

By the 3rd lap, so many people had overtaken me I had really lost interest in the race and was only waiting for the point when it would all be over, and the helpless feeling of sliding backwards down the field would finally stop. I reckon I dropped around 40 to 50 places in the last 2 laps. In the end, I managed a sort of sprint finish to pass Phil Williams of Central AC in the home straight to finish 133rd rather than 134th! Phil was in fact the only person I passed in the entire race!

I will probably need another week off running now to hopefully recover properly, and then aim to get back to some marathon training...

The men's race was won by Alastair Hay in a time of 37:14, almost 8 minutes ahead of my time of 45:11. Thomas Russell finished 2nd by 1 second for the 2nd year in a row.

Before the men's race I watched the women's 2-lap race, which was won by an enormous margin by Freya Murray. Toni McIntosh was also well clear in 2nd place, but 3rd place was a 3-way battle between Lyn Wilson, Elke Schmidt and Edel Mooney, who were locked together after the first lap. During the 2nd lap Lyn eventually pulled away to finish 3rd, with Elke 4th and Edel 5th.

Location of route Route Pace chart Freya Murray - race winner Toni McIntosh - 2nd place Lyn Wilson - 3rd place Elke Schmidt - 4th place Freya Murray in the finishing straight The start of the men's race Lap 1 Lap 1 Lap 1 Dying on Lap 2 Approaching the finish

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