For a bit of fun John K and I are having a wee competition this year over a number of races. Yesterday was the second race in our series, the National Cross Country championship at Falkirk. I had won the first event (the Nigel Barge 10k at the start of January), but John has been training well since then and probably went into yesterday's race as the slight favourite. However favourites don't always win (just ask Chelsea, ha ha), and although I didn't mention it to John beforehand, I was hoping my national cross country experience might work in my favour: yesterday was my 15th National XC, while John had not run one before.
At 12k the National is the longest cross country race of the year. Each 4k lap is a challenge in its own right, but seems to get more difficult as the race goes on. I started well and felt good throughout the first lap, and was not concerned at all to be a few places behind John as the first lap ended. I passed him not long into the 2nd lap, just at the muddiest part of the course, and by the end of that lap I was still feeling good and had opened up a lead of around 20 seconds. Unfortunately the 3rd lap was horrible. I had a bit of a stitch, really struggled on the tough windy section over the golf course, and was passed by quite a few people who I had hoped to beat. I had very little left in my legs as I crossed the finish line in a time of 48.31. Despite my last lap woes John wasn't able to close the gap, and finished about 25 seconds behind. 2-0.
The results came out today and show that I finished 213th from 398 finishers. For the second year in a row I have failed to achieve my goal of a top half finish in the National XC. Disappointing, but no great surprise. It just means I'll have to keep it as one of my targets for 2009.