Update: my time was 52:50
I completed my first proper cross-country race on Saturday 16 April – the Hurstbourne Tarrant 5. Possibly the slowest 5 miles I have run in several years! I had been warned about the hills (quicker to walk) but had not bargained on also having to deal with the tail end of a stupid cold that had knocked me for six earlier in the week. I’d had a day off work and that hasn’t happened for the best part of two years! So I was fairly certain that I was not going to be able to do much more than treat this as an interesting training run.
It was fun, though, running through woodland with bluebells making their presence known, and at one point I saw a deer which makes a change from Colchester’s squirrels. The trails were dry, so there was no mud to content with – just tree roots and branches and did I mention the hill? It was the kind of run where I was beginning to think there weren’t actually mile markers since it was a long wait for Mile 1 to appear. It took me a good 1/2 mile to get my breathing back under control after the hills – a sure sign the cold had taken its toll as I am sure I don’t normally struggle that much! The end had a nasty twist – just as you think the end is in sight there’s a loop back around a barn, adding a couple of hundred yards to the finish.
However, the post-race bacon buttie was a draw in itself and I enjoyed the fresh air and exercise, even if I was slower than a slow thing. Not sure yet what my time was as I failed to start my watch until the first long mile was over, but I imagine somewhere around 57 minutes.