Just back from my first run in the Athletics Victoria XCR cross country series. In the past, I hadn’t considered running in the XCR series, because they are a distance event, but this year, I’ve decided on doing some longer work, mostly through Parkruns. As a result, I decided to make myself available for some of the shorter XCR events this season. As it turns out, with further examination of the XCR fixture, the only events that are suitable for me are the relays. I’ve set myself a limit of 5k for distance running, and some of the relays are around 6km - slightly “long”, but close enough to be worth running.
After being approached by our regional cross country team manager to run in the season opener, I took a look at the program and offered myself on an “as needed” basis. This allowed them to field an extra team and give more people a run in the event.
The event was run in Jells Park, which is a large area of parkland in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, and for my division, consisted of 4 legs, each 2 laps of the 3km circuit (6km total). I was set to run in the second leg, which suited me fairly well.
The course was set in undulating parkland, with the biggest ascent starting just behind the start/changeover zone, and continuing 400-500 metres beyond the end of the zone, a total of almost 1km. Th rest of the course meandered around the park, approaching the main assembly area on 3 sides. This also made it an excellent spectating course.
I went down to the start to get a sense of the lay of the land, and get familiar with the changeover zone for our division, then proceeded to warm up for my run, which would start around 25 minutes after the start. Once warmed up, I proceeded to the changeover area, got myself ready for the race and then waited.
My teammate came up the chute to the changeover area, and we hi fived to officially change runners, and I was off. The first part was a 650m ascent to the highest point on the course. Being fresh, I took it steady to the top, rounded the first of the sharp bends, then started the first downhill stretch. Passed the 1k mark in 4:40, near the main assembly area, then continued down the winding route to the next major turn, around 500 metres away. Lap 1 halfway done!
Next, it was back uphill another 500 metres to the 2km mark, also near the assembly area. The second kn was run in 5:19. The last km of the loop was a meandering course over relatively gentle gradients, before the start of the almost 1km grind, during which the second lap started. This third km took me 5:13.
The second lap was pretty much identical to the first, except for being routed into the “middle lane”, away from the relay change zones. The second run up the long hill slowed my 4th km down to 6:00, and my final 2 km splits were 5:30 and 4:43 respectively. My ability to sprint finish shows there. :) Finished my leg in 31:17, as I handed over to the third runner.
After my leg, I got changed, then proceeded to one of the marshaling points to assist our first runner, who had now taken up marshal duty. I helped there for the next 45 minutes or so, then went to the finish to greet our last runner when he finished. Once we were all together, we had a quick chat with the other Bendigo teams, before heading home. Just checking the results, we finished in 9th place out of 13 teams.
Anyway, it was an interesting and challenging day. I’m definitely out of my league over these distances, but in chatting with the other guys, they’re equally blown away by my capabilities on the track over short distances.
I’ve decided to give a few of the other XCR relays a go later in the season.
- Tony via Tumblr http://bit.ly/2vDztyI