After returning to training and discussions with my coach we agreed to target the shorter distances instead of attempting the London marathon again for 2018. The first goal was a 10K and the target race was the Bolsover 10k. After a decent block of training and a new ParkRun PB of 15:44 at Long Eaton as a marker of my fitness I was optimistic but Bolsover was unfortunately snowed off in December and was re-scheduled for January 14th. Despite my best attempts, temptation to overindulge over Christmas got the better of me (I am working on being more disciplined!) so it was a battle to get back to feeling race fit.
First up in January though was the Leicestershire County XC Championships at Rotherby. As always the aim was to qualify for the team selection at the Inter-Counties. It felt great to be back racing again, despite still feeling the effects of Christmas… but taking a tumble in the mud wasn’t part of the race plan! I never really managed to regain the lost ground and finished a disappointing 16th on the date, outside of the target of a top 10 finish.
The following week was the re-scheduled Bolsover 10k and despite not feeling as race fit as I was in December I managed to run a pleasing PB of 32:28 for a 2nd place finish. The buzz of racing was definitely back and couldn’t wait for the next one. Generally I’m not keen on racing too often due to time taken to recover but the racing calendar was jam packed.
27th January was the Midlands Counties XC Championships at Wollaton Park and time to make my official team debut for Notts AC. It seemed an age since switching clubs and although nervous I was keen to put in a decent performance. After having a much better race than back in January, and some toing and froing with some of the familiar guys from the Leicestershire clubs it was great to cross line in 28th position and be 5th counter for the team, helping securing a 1st place for the team and a Midlands gold medal on my debut!
Still with the races coming thick and fast, next up was the Charnwood Hills race in Leicestershire. I hadn’t initially planned on racing this but after securing an entry and despite me favouring road racing over the mud, this is one of the races I love. Another pleasing result with a 1st place finish!
Training continued to show promise and I was growing in confidence with hitting target paces in sessions. The benefit of attending the Notts club sessions was definitely starting to prove fruitful and race results were beginning to reflect this.
Another weekend, another race and this time was the Rugeley 10 on February 18th. The course profile is 8 miles of climbing before a sharp 2 miles back down to the finish. I set off with the previous year’s winner but by 1.5 miles I found I was flying solo for what was a tough, “undulating” 8.5 miles with just me chasing the lead bike. Enjoyable route nonetheless, and a pleasing result of a new 10 mile PB, setting a new course record and a 1st place finish. This proved to be another big confidence boost before switching focus to the “A” race of The Big Half in London on March 4th.