To say it was gross is an understatement. Apparently this is what cross country running is all about.
It had been raining non-stop for the previous 36 hours (and alot in the 2 weeks prior). We've been experiencing a Pineapple Express here and the amount of rain has been unbelievable.
All morning it POURED, and it was cold. I had NO desire to go out in it, but I couldn't yak on here about doing this run and then just not do it.
We got there and there were more people than I'd expected would show up. Apparently these people are die-hards. I knew beforehand that most people who run this race are associated with clubs and are accumulating points towards the whole series.
Knowing this, when we lined up to start, I just positioned myself near the back to let the faster people go ahead without me in their way.
This was a 4 loops course of 1.9Km per loop.
We started off across this field and within seconds were drenched! The water in the field was up over our ankles and I'll I could do is shake my head and question my sanity in even entering this race.
Through the water logged field (about 400M), then around a bend that was muddy and boggy in many spots. The "the hill" ... it was fairly long and quite steep at the top. On it's own it wasn't so bad, but as we were doing 4 loops, I knew I'd face this thing time and time again.
Once at the top we followed a gravel trail that was pretty good, except the one area where there was a deep puddle over the whole trail and we all resorted to running through the muddy grass (which just got worse loop after loop). On my 3rd loop I went into a mud hole over the top of my shoe - it was gross!
After that was the gradual descent which consisted of a number of up and down hills - you never really did feel like you were going downhill because every time you went down you'd just recovered from going up. Along this route was numerous puddles to jump (or run through) and a downed tree to jump over.
My goal going into this race was an un-optimistic 44 minutes. I had hopes of finishing in that time, but in my heart I really didn't actually think I would. And once I got a taste of the course I pretty much erased that thought from my head.
At the 1Km mark my time was 5:32. I knew to finish in 44 minutes I had to do each loop in 11 minutes or less. Considering that was my first Km and it was nearly halfway through the loop I figured there was no way I'd reach my goal. So I was shocked to see my time at the end of the first loop was 10:29.
But, even knowing that I still thought ... no way I'll keep it up for the whole thing.
End of the 2nd loop my time was 21:20 ... hmmm I'm still on target. On the 3rd loop this woman came running up beside me and the two of us ran neck and neck for most of the lap, until just near the end she passed me. Funny how that gives the passer a boost and the passee a feeling of defeat - which I tried to swallow. At the end of that loop my time was about 33:30, so I was still on target - but quickly running out of gas.
Going up that big hill for the last loop took alot of grit. But that woman who passed me seemed to be slowing down so I gave it all I could. I knew I had just over 1 Km to go and I could push hard through that. With about 1/2 a Km to go I was right on her tail but I couldn't quite manage to catch her.
At the finish my husband came back and met up with me. He said he was surprised at how fast I was running and when I took off for my final sprint he couldn't believe how fast I was going. At the finish line I almost caught that woman again. She ended up finishing 3 seconds in front of me.
The final result .... I finished in 43:10! Almost a minute faster than I didn't think I could finish it in. WAHOO! My husband finished in 37:10. In February we both ran an 8Km trail race (though not nearly as grueling) and my time was 49:04 (or :54 - I'm not sure which) and my husband's time was 42:40. So we both made huge improvements in the last 9 months.
I was suprised how even each of my loops were. I guess I've learned how to pace well. My loops were 10:29, 10:51, 11:00, and 10:50. I'm pretty happy with that.
After talking to some seasoned cross country runners they said this was comparable to (at minimum) 8.5Km, or maybe even 9Km road race, given the conditions. I can't wait to test that theory on my next 10Km race!
Here's an idea of what we endured through all that mud & water....
And my lovely brand new socks .....
these ended up going straight into the woodstove!
And ..... as a pure bonus .......
I was surprised to say the least. I even asked the presenter if I was the only one in the category - hhahaha. Though, as it turns out there were only 4 women age 20-39, so it's not exactly a huge field.
Honestly I'm more proud of my personal achievement and the gift certificate was just an unexpected bonus. If I'd been over 40 I would have been almost last in my group - hahhaa. Guess I shouldn't admit to that ;)