Reverse Rollercoaster


I will start this post from where i left my last one, my first cross country race of the season! I was full of confidence before this race, training had been going well and i felt like i was in decent shape. My previous position in this race had been 6th place and i was certain I could match it, if not better it but it wasn’t until I started running when I realised I was in for a tough ride.

The course is 3 laps of an undulating 3.2km, i set of positive but after about half a lap I had already started to feel it, I struggled through the first lap feeling awful getting increasingly slower with every step i took. It wasn’t until about 4km when i found myself walking up the smallest of inclines thinking ‘what went wrong?’ and it pains me to say that my head had beaten me and i stepped off the course frustrated and annoyed.

When I got home I had a good think of where it could have gone wrong? Was it the 16 day stint of work coupled with hard training taking its toll? Was i coming down with an illness? or was I just a massive wimp? Either way I just had to brush it off as an off day and focus on the next task at hand, the National Cross Country Relays.

The following Monday I headed down to down my session, everything was going well until suddenly I felt a horrendous pain in my right foot. I then had to hobble a good 2 miles back to the club house to be greeted with a lovely swollen foot. (apologies for the picture!)

Much to my frustration this led me to having 4 days of no running whatsoever but was thankfully back running by the Saturday. To this day I still don’t know what was wrong with it.

So once again I was back into running well in sessions in the lead up to the relays only to be struck down with an illness 2 days before, things were really not going my way! Despite feeling like death I raced at the weekend mainly to reconcile from the drop out of the last race. I ended up clocking 17.00 for the muddy 5km course, which was somehow the fastest in my team of 4 but way off the pace of the leaders (which was Andy Vernon in 15.03)

So far the season had been a string of downhills with nothing looking up. Once again I shook off the illness and got my head down in training in hope I could redeem myself in the English road 10km Championships.

Having entered the race with a PB of 32.58 i was just hoping for a PB after the string of unfortunate events. Luckily things had finally decided to look up. The field was absolutely stacked so i knew that there would be some decent groups i could work with to help me along my way. I set off in a comfortable but fast pace making sure i wasn’t left in no mans land. Still feeling good at 5km I glanced at my watch, 15.45. I knew that if i could try and push on and keep with group just ahead of me i would be on for a PB. The last 2km came and i was really starting to feel the burn but I gritted my teeth and pushed on, the last 1km consists of a nice little incline, a small drop and then another incline up to the finish. I dug deep and crossed the line in 31.35 knocking a tasty 1 min and 23 seconds off my previous best. Also considering my 5km PB is only 15.22 to be able to run a 15.45 and 15.50 back to back I’ve got a feeling I should be due a PB in that discipline sometime soon.

Hopefully i have had my share of disappointments this season and it continues to go up. Although I’ve just read that the UK is set to have its worst winter in 60 years which is said to be 3 months of freezing temperatures and heavy snow, which would make some interesting running. Maybe I should invest in a pair of ice skates.

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Graham Hogg
I'm a British Middle distance athlete who spent 8 months living and competing in Australia during the 2012/2013 track season. Now back in the Uk I will be giving an insight as to how things are done across the pond.

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