Saturday, 24 September 2016

International Masters XC Trials

I have been dragging my feet about this blog. It did not go well and I have little appetite for reliving the day. However I am taking inspiration from clubmate Willie M (above) the only other Porty through in Glasgow's Tollcross Park last weekend, who showed the correct attitude to adversity and competition and if nothing else deserves some recognition and his photos posted here, as do all who took part. 

It was the trials for the International XC later in the year. They are in Glasgow this year and since Tollcross Park is the venue it made sense to hold the trials round the same course. First 3 or 2 in each age group makes the team with a couple of other discretionary places. I had meant to hone my running leading into this event. Instead work was quite busy, then I went up north and seemed to contract flu for a couple of days on my return, immediately prior to the event. I knew I was in a poor state but I'd definitely not make the team if I didn't show up. I had missed Wed night's club session and Thurs intervals because I just didn't feel like running. Not a good sign. Maybe I'd be well enough by Saturday. No option really. Of course I wasn't. I might have got away with a shorter race or if I had another week to recover but racing against the top runners in their age groups in Scotland this was never going to be a walk in the park. It wasn't. However the venue and weather for the day were really pleasant. And I got to stand around and take photos of the older gents and ladies race which started at 1 and featured Willie. 

leading ladies

Jenny in 3rd

Willie right behind the first woman.

Lots of pals were running and it was a delight to stand around in the sunny weather (sunny weather for a cross country!!!) cheering them on. They had 3 laps - we had 4. Reports were that it was continually undulating and although not technical - pretty much the whole lot was like a golf course fairway - the hills made it demanding. I really enjoyed the day, right up to the point where our race started. 

These photos from the SVHC facebook page.
Me on the left, far too close to the front!

I started ambitiously - it was downhill and my legs were fresh, no point in hanging around. You can tell from the first 2 digits on folk's numbers what their age group is. I managed to stay ahead of all the 50s for more than half a lap but towards the end of the lap the first 2 went past. From this point onwards it was a slow run backwards through the field and I can't say I enjoyed it much at all. Paul T went past (first 60) along with so many 50s and 55s I lost count. The only reason I didn't dnf was I have never dnf-ed in a race and didn't want to start, not on a sunny day, on a half hour run. 

First lap was just over 7 minutes. Total was 32+ meaning I ran the next 3 at about 8.20+. Disgraceful. Not that it felt like jogging. Colin F came alongside and I felt worse for him. He has had a terrible year with injuries. My poor form was at least (I hoped) temporary. I thought Colin was going to move ahead (as the whole field was) but after a lap or 2 in his company he actually dropped back. Well, he'll be enjoying this even less than I am. It gave me no pleasure; normally finishing ahead of Colin was a result. Not today. 

I tried to use Willie M as inspiration. He kept going and didn't drop out despite being to the back in his heat. As I stood and cheered him on I was wondering was he hating this or what? As he went past he gave me a wink. What a hero. How many of us can reasonably expect to be racing in the 75+ age group? I think that rules out about 99% right there. Keep up the excellent work Willie you are an inspiration!

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