Stirling XC and Sunday run

Saturday was my second XC race of the season, this time in the grounds of Stirling university. Never ran this course before so wasn't sure what to expect. Arrived at my usual time for an XC race, about an hour and a half before the start. I like to walk the course so I know what to expect and also see how thick the mud is in places. From the start line it looked like it was going to be a mud free race, which was a shame, you head along and then down to the right at the bottom of the hill there was some hard-standing which some people were taking while others stayed on the grass. This was the option I went for, dropping down on the to path didn't look like it would have any advantage over staying on the grass. We then went round past a marshal and the mud really started. Large puddles of mud, enough to make you wonder whether you were going to keep your shoes on your feet! Once your feet were soaked it was then a short sharp climb up a route which was starting to get really slippy after all the other age groups had ran over it.

The next section was quite slippy, very deep mud and on a steep downhill section, on the first lap a couple of people fell and I had to do all I could to stay on my feet, lost quite a bit of time on this section over the 3 laps, I just couldn't find a fast, safe option down and on the third time round my foot came out my shoe, luckily it slipped back in as easy as it came out but I did wonder, would I have stopped and collected my shoe? The answer was, probably not!

As I said, it was 3 laps of this course and although I was happy with my position (79/224) and my time was 36:14 for 9 km. There are areas I would like to improve on, training is going really well though and with more hill work over the winter I think next season's XC will be interesting. 79th is better than I have managed in the past but I really need to try and get higher up the rankings. First place was 29:14 which is amazing over that course but just now, my focus is on the East District XC Relays which are on this coming weekend in Cumbernauld. I've ran this course before, 4 km loop each, last year I struggled due to giving blood a week earlier, hope to run better this year.

After Cumbernauld its down to Jedburgh for the 10 km road race on the Sunday! Haven't raced so much all year and I'm loving it!

Yesterday (Sunday) I went for an easy run along a new route in Edinburgh, went for a wander along the cycle paths which are closer to the flat than I had realised. Tons of walkers and cyclists but also quite a lot of antisocial runners - why do I say antisocial? Well, it was a lovely day, everyone out enjoying the sunshine and all I ask is you wave back to me, or a nod or some acknowledgement! :) Is it too much to ask?

Anyway, 10.80 miles done (which included getting slightly lost! - glad I had my Garmin on!!), on the way back to the flat I ran past this little old lady, I swear she must have been in her 70s and she said, "Love your trainers!" - every time I have my orange Saucony Guide 5s on someone says something, it did make me smile though.

I'm currently looking at setting up a Flickr account to share my photos, I've put on a couple already from Saturday's race but I plan on taking photos on my Sunday runs so that people can virtually run with me.

Owain Williams

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