Sunday, 11 November 2012

Mad Jack's Cross Country - 10/11/2012

Starting off in from of the big house
Crossing the pond
Zoe and I decided to have a go at this a few weeks ago to help her with her off road running, and on the grounds it probably wouldn't do her too much damage the week before the Conwy half marathon. Mad Jack's is organised by my mate Mark Agnew who's the National Trust Estate Manager at Attingham Park, together with logistical support from Shrewsbury AC.

Anyway I'd been unwell for a few days before with a sickness bug that turned into a sinus infection, so had no great expectation other than to see how I felt. I'd settle for 8 minute pace over the 5.2 miles (which includes about 3 miles of rough fields, three water obstacles, several logs and quite a few fences and stiles). So 41:36 would be a reasonable target given the givens (7:30s for 39 minutes overall would be better but I wasn't up to that really).

I started way too quickly of course, trying to get to the first gate early enough not to be held up, and was lactic about a quarter of a mile in. I eased back in the second mile and struggled for a further section until we got into the woods across the deer park. I found the running there much easier (possibly because I'd slowed down by another 20 sec/mile) and in reality I was a bit too comfortable and should have been pushing on more. I got it back together and ran a decent final mile to the pond, overtaking a couple of people in the field.

The pond crossing was good, taking a slightly wider (and therefore deeper) line to pass a couple of people. I got a bit blocked off coming out of the pond but didn't have too much time to think about it as I suddenly realised Stuart Langley was coming past. Thankfully I got it together and ran in hard, staying just ahead of him until the finish.

Crossing the pond with Stuart lurking behind (in yellow)
I heard someone yelling something along the lines
of I should be able to climb out of the pond, being
a fell runner!
My splits were:

Mile 1: 6:51 (mostly rough fields but including one ditch)
Mile 2: 7:44 (more fields and another fence and ditch, then a short section of path over the river)
Mile 3: 7:43 (concrete path then lovely grass and finally woods with tree trunks to hurdle)
Mile 4: 8:01 (woods with a few tree trunks but very runnable)
Mile 5: 7:53 (along the river, then a short bit of wood and finally fields to the pool)
to finish: (through the pond, then a sprint round the field)

I was 89th of 362 and 14th V40 of 40 in 40:09. I'm fairly pleased with the time given the starting situation, but I could have pushed on a bit in mile 4 and got under 40 minutes.

Zoe did very well dealing with some tricky obstacles and finishing 2nd L35 in 42:15 (she is not 40 thank you results team!) What's more I think she enjoyed it, although she was looking for ways she could improve straight away.

Zoe climbing out of the pond
Phil, my triathloning colleague from work did a pretty creditable 44:16.

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