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Mud is good


January has mostly been spent repeatedly running cross country, cleaning my spikes, cleaning my trainers, cleaning my bike and doing endless amounts of washing. As well as the usual swimming, biking and running... All of the races I've done have just been used as training, usually following pretty heavy training weeks. I can't wait for race season and a nice taper into a race! I enjoy running the cross country, I think it makes you stronger as a runner and its always nice to see how a triathlete fairs up against the other runners, especially as most have tapered for the big races.

1st January - Black Park Parkrun (18.34mins)

The New Year started off with a 9am parkrun, a little wet, windy and muddy on the ground to say the very least but I was pleased with the time which was just one second off my pb time from Christmas Day! I was first lady and 7th overall. Hopefully with an earlier night and with dry conditions a faster time will come.

5th January - Hertfordshire County Cross Country Championships

If I thought the parkrun was muddy this was something else - an 8km hilly and muddy 'proper' cross country course! I have run at Watford many times and the Herts champs a couple of times but never in the Senior Women’s race or over the 8k course. We got off to a good start with a small group of us leading the way and sticking together. There were a couple of horses crossing over the bridge at the bottom of the park which when 73 runners came hurtling towards them combined with the sound of spikes on tarmac gave them a fright to say the very least, we had to slow up and give them as much room as we could on a narrow path! With probably just over a kilometre to go I went into the lead pushing on up one of the hills in the woods. It was then a case of holding on to first place, up the last long hill and into the finish 12 seconds ahead of second place. I was delighted with my result and even more pleased to hear we had got a team gold too - the first time for Watford Harriers! I earnt selection for the Herts team for the National Inter Counites on 8th March at Birmingham which I'm looking forward too.

11th January - Chiltern Cross Country League Round 4 Slough

On arriving at Upton Court Park I realised I had ran there a couple of time before many years ago. This was my second race of the league and was looking forward to it and feeling confident after my win the previous weekend, despite having already done a 2 hour swim session in the morning! The course was fairly flat and not too muddy (in comparison to Watford). The race got off to a fast start which was to be expected with a league race that's fairly flat. I settled in to fourth place quite quickly, desperately chasing the group of three in front and trying to hang on. I tried to close the gap to third, which seemed to be getting bigger and managed to hang on to fourth place overall (third in division 1), a big improvement from 12th in Round 3!

25th January - South of England Cross Country Championships

After a good week of training, a tough double swim the day before and two hour swim the morning of the race I felt pretty tired heading to Parliament Hill. It's one of my favourite places to race and having not raced here for a couple of years I was looking forward to returning to 'the home of cross country'. As to be expected the mud and hills can only be described as horrific, but at least it was dry. A huge senior womens field (466 finishers) charged up the hill to begin the 8k loop. I felt strong throughout my race and was suprised I managed to stay upright! I worked hard on the hills as this seemed to be the only way to overtake and catch people up as it's fair to say running downhill isn't my forte! I was extremely happy to finish in 18th place (33.55 minutes) after a very tough race.

Highlights video from Athleticos click here

I'm pleased with the progress I've made at the start of this year, if I look back to this time last year my weekly training pretty much consisted of less than 3 hours swimming, one turbo session and the odd bit of 'jogging'. My weekly schedule couldn't look more different now! Next month I've got a few different things coming up including a 10k road race, the National Cross Country Championships and a masters swim meet next weekend at Crawley. Let's see what it all brings!

Until next time...

Hannah x


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