The first Gwent Leisure Centre League cross country fixture of the year and the first time that it has been held at this location. Hosted by the Spirit of Monmouth Running Club, it was located at Kate Humble’s Humble by Nature farm in Penallt near Monmouth. Spread over a number of fields the three laps laps for the women and 4 laps for the men weighed in at ~4 miles and ~5.3 miles respectively.
Earlier in the week I set myself the goal of running the length of the Sirhowy Valley Walk and was hoping that my legs would still function come race day. Surprisingly they did so decided to run even though I wasn’t going to be running at full fitness. Even though I probably wouldn’t perform as well as I could, turning up and completing the race, whatever my position, would mean points on the board for the club and that’s why we all turn up and race.
Taking in two large fields and a smaller field the terrain was largely pretty firm but there were some muddy sections in between fields and a deep muddy bog that got muddier with each lap. Considering it was a GLCL fixture, it was a relatively tame course and didn’t have the hills that the Rogerstone fixture had or the killer ascents/descents of the Griffithstown fixture.
There were some inclines to contend with but a carefully placed motivation sign in the form of ‘Pain Now…Beer Later’ helped you climb it. The finish was in the first field that you started in and thankfully was a only a short sprint so no chance of burning out like on the long finish at Bridgend Gwent League.
At the last XC race (Gwent League) I really gave it my all and found it tough both physically and mentally. I made sure that I approached this race differently. I was going to run at a steady pace for me which in turn would help mentally as I could concentrate more on the course and enjoying it rather than trying to fight my mind which would be yelling at me to stop when pushing myself.
I had some excellent encouragement along the way both from team members that were running and those that were supporting. In particular, Phillip Miles, Julie Cashell and Rachel Burr-Lewis all said the right things to make me keep on pushing. The benefits of being part of a great club!