Last week was my 3rd trip to England this year (4th if you count the fact I was there over the New Year), and given the weather in NJ over the winter it’s probably not surprising that I’ve done a lot of my miles outside NJ this year (which is not the same as “a lot of miles”).
This last trip happened to (sort of) coincide with a race that I could easily get to – the Cambridge Festival of Running Cambourne 10k. I suppose one way to tell if you’re addicted to running is if you plan flights around races – the timing allowed me to run this race then get a taxi to the airport a few hours later.
In the week leading up to the race I went for a short run on Monday (the day after I arrived), then ran 11.5 miles from the office back to my parents house on Tuesday and Thursday (attempting to incorporate a speed workout into Tuesday’s run – it seems like access to a running track is much easier in the US than in the UK as I haven’t found one to use there – perhaps I’m looking in the wrong place or just based in the wrong place).
On Saturday morning I joined the Cambourne Runners for a few easy miles followed by coffee, and then a short run over to pick up my race number. I ran with this friendly group on a trip in February too – it’s definitely nice to know other runners at races and I’m lucky to have been able to get to know some of them to make the race day more enjoyable.
I have very limited experience of racing in the UK and based on that limited experience it seems that you are much more likely to find yourself running cross country than road running (the Riverside Runners 10k 2 years ago was my other experience). Perhaps that’s because in parks in the US paths tend to be more paved than those in the UK and even races within parks in the US tend to take place on paved roads and pathways.
I definitely don’t consider myself a cross country runner – in fact I really didn’t do well at the RVRR Summer Series last year even when I was at my fastest on the roads, but given my performance at Miles for Music a couple of weeks ago, and that it hadn’t been raining much so the ground was relatively mud free, I thought I might be able to do okay.
And that’s just what happened. I went out a bit too fast, only felt my foot slip once or twice, which wasn’t bad considering the pair of Merrell Trail Glove 2s I was wearing now have over 600 miles on them and have a fair few smooth patches on the bottom, faded a little towards the end, but still managed a respectable 41:53 which is only 28 seconds slower than my fastest (road) 10k.