After a frantic yet fruitless search of Manchester the day before, I finally managed to secure myself a last minute pair of XC spikes to run in. I wasn't really sure why I needed these, but that was because I'd never run in the slippery soaking wet mud before. Now I am wise. I definitely would have ended up on my very muddy, very wet bum had I not had these.
|Before and after|
Having been warned to take at least three pairs of shoes with me from my knowledgeable team mates - a pair for the car, wellies for walking and post run, and spikes - I changed into my wellies quickly in the rain before we set up the tent as the junior races zoomed past us giving it their all. They looked determined and the heavy rain made them look particularly hardcore. After a bit of faffing about changing (and screwing in said spikes) it was soon time to brave the cold and rain. The mass start was fun and felt like a bit of a brawl as people went hell for leather as the gun went off. I tried to keep a cap on my girlie scream and off I went too. The whole way all I thought of was how glad I was that I had proper shoes.
Halfway, and after trampling through many muddy puddles and trying not to fall over on the slippery mud, I realised as I wiped the rain from my eyes that I was actually having quite a bit of fun. Getting muddy in the rain - what's not to love?!
The boys cheered us on and I was happy to see that we were quickly back to where we'd started. 'Hurrah' I thought, 'that went pretty quick' I thought. Oh silly novice Crand. I very quickly realised that the ladies ahead were still going past the start/end and off on the course again. Ooops, two laps it is then...or is it? I decided I really must try and find out what I'm meant to be running BEFORE I set off. Thankfully it was two laps and after picking off a couple of speedy runners I realised I was running mostly alone. Worried I'd got lost, I carried on avoiding trees and splashing through the rain until I saw people up ahead again. Soon enough, we were back to where we started only this time there was a real life finish line. Phew! It was done. I was pleased with my run but I think I could have run harder. I think I let myself off as it was my first time at XC and figured I'd done well to get out in the rain, so next time I'll have to try up my game.
After a quick change in the tent into cosy clothes and the requisite minimum three jumpers, waterproofs and thermal socks, we were out cheering on the very fast and very muddy men.
It might have been rainy, wet and cold, but it sure was a lot of fun. And rewarding myself with a bath and a lovely glass of wine afterwards, whilst watching the rain against the windows made it even better.