I started writing this on our long journey back from Nottingham last night, my not-so-racey race report…
I’m gutted to be sitting on the train home from Nottingham with my left foot propped up on a cake tin. It’s not exactly how I envisaged celebrating the end of XC season at the last race, the English National Championships in Nottingham.
I didn’t race today.
This morning I thought it was a long way to go – over a 3 hour door-to-door journey – to run just 8km, but now that I didn’t even get to race that I’m devastated.
We arrived at Wollaton Park about an hour before the start, the weather was ok, cold and a bit drizzly but nothing unexpected, and Sophie and I set off on a little warm-up to figure out the course. We were about to turn back when I did it. Rolled over on my left ankle. I heard a crack but didn’t look down to see if was my bone or a branch I’d stepped on. I kept going for a few steps then realised it hurt. It hurt quite a lot. I yelled out to Sophie and I felt panic in my voice. The shock. I couldn’t put any weight on it. I told Sophie to head back as I wasn’t going to run anywhere fast. I just made it back to FRC HQ (our towering flag) to see my ladies off on their race, before I limped down to the first aid tent, got it iced and strapped, took a few paracetamol, and hobbled back onto the edge of the course to cheer. My ankle had ballooned and now it looked as if there was a hockey ball underneath my sock, some sort of elephant foot attached to my leg. It started to downpour and I huddled into another team’s tent for shelter, called Nige through sobs of pain and frustration, and then decided that I was here, I was at Nationals, running or no running, and my team were out there giving it there all and I could support them.
My ladies smashed it as always. Fulham Running Club, stepping up from the Surrey League through London and Southern Champs to National level racing! Rose Penfold stormed the tough course with a breathtaking time of 32:50 placing 72nd in a field of 788. Sophie pulled out a superb time of 36.21 placing 211th after being forced to cheer at Nationals last year due to injury, she’s back guys and faster than ever!
A stubborn Sydnee battled hard to clock 39:25 finishing in 339th, just ahead of Maddy who fought a hard race and crossed the line in 40:07 in 381st. First timer to XC racing never mind at Nationals, Lucy said she “took it easy” and also enjoyed her first time in a Fulham vest coming in with a time of 51:50. The award for most enthusiastic and nonstop grinner though definitely goes to Judith who somehow finished with the least amount of mud splatter in a fabulous 53:25.
Four ladies to count for a team, congratulations to Rose, Sophie, Sydnee and Maddy who finished as 33rd team out of 93! What a fabulous result!
Of course the FRC men were up next and with a strong team the stripes were out in force, every one of them giving it everything over 12km to finish 59th overall. They definitely drew the short straw route-wise with mud caking their legs to look like black tights after just one short lap! That’s what XC is all about though and we embrace that mud!
Running or no running, cross country always means post-race pizza and Sophie and I headed back into town to enjoy a sourdough carb fest at Suede, a great recommendation from another pizza joint we were sad to be turned away from because they’d run out of dough!? It certainly hit the spot though and fuelled us well for the long journey back to London.
Today I’m writing this in front of Sunday Brunch, my swollen foot propped up on a cushion after a half hour stint of it numbing in an ice cold bucket of water. Oh the life of an injured runner. Only rest on the cards today, it’s going to be a long day, I am the worst patient. Wish me luck and send me all your healing vibes!