Tom's blog 19.12.18

By editor December 20th, 2018

Alumni XC, Wimbledon Common 5 mile race 31:33, 39th place.

Finally back in a cross country race over a year after my last one at Woodbridge (Dec. 17) when a calf injury reoccurred.

I'm happy to a certain extent with how it went given it was not exactly racing like I'm used to. It was different because of a 30 minute queue for the team numbers leaving barely 10 minutes for a warm-up, atrocious weather - freezing cold, heavy rain and gusty wind, me being preoccupied with getting round in one piece so taking every sharp turn and tree hurdle very carefully and lots of mud which has never been my forte as a big guy by most runners builds. However these factors also meant I started off steadily and was working my way through the field for most of the way until a natural point with just over 1 mile to to go when placings were more settled.

I had been really looking forward to it, running for my old school as well as the chance to take the kids to the London museums and get a bit festive.Despite a crazy week with a 2 day work trip to Germany thrown in at the last minute and the horrendous weather which appeared on Saturday afternoon, l still really enjoyed it - it was on my old club Thames Hare and Hounds' home patch and this course is a genuine proper XC course with some parts of the route barely on recognisable paths, ducking over and under tree trunks, hurdling mud pools and finding every bit of uphill going, in amongst the flatter trail sections. The trip was also a nice nostalgic one - two of my favourite race wins back at that time 2005-2008was TH&H's Long Distance Club Champs race on Wimbledon Common and winning the Surrey Men's 5km Road title just round the corner in Wimbledon village.

It felt like job done, but equally I don’t want to be satisfied with coming 39th. I find the best reflection on a race is always at least two days after - any earlier than that and the tiredness and emotions are still there and it’s not a balanced assessment. So to see the results on Tuesday, considering all the above, and be running 6:15 / mile pace, which is not far off Hereward pace on the flat tarmac a few weeks back, means another step forward.

The next step is being a bit more aggressive and going for a harder pace - this is the element which takes several races to come back. Looking ahead in the short term the holidays are a chance to get some quality training, including Park Run and a run on the moors in Yorkshire and as many 7 mile efforts around the Ickworth estate as I can fit in.

Next race is the County XC - nothing has changed in terms of expectations for that, I won't be competitive at the front end but maybe I can help the Pacers men go for the team win. Longer term I'm really starting to look forward to hopefully being competitive at the Tarpley 10.