Wow, it’s a couple of years since I’ve updated this. Does anyone even blog anymore? I figure there’s no point in posting general updates here for anyone that might be interested since social media does a far better job of that these days. The only thing really worth putting here is resources or photos that might come in useful for someone searching the web for specific information.
I’ve spent a lot of time recently playing with radio-controlled stuff, specifically scratch-building planes from foam board, as well messing around with RC cars and also looking into RC sailboats. This has involved much research online; other people’s photos and build guides have come in really handy, so I shall pop up a few pictures of my own here over the next few months in case they can be of help to anyone else.
In the meantime, here’s a few quick snaps of of some of our lockdown planes…
The 2018 Eastern Masters Athletics Club (EMAC) league is drawing to a close now and MKAC has made it through to the final once again. Bedford took the crown last year so let’s see if Milton Keynes can improve on last year’s silver medal. I shall be trying to make it three consecutive years of taking the race walk title when the final comes to Milton Keynes next month.
I only had the discus to cover at the fourth and final league match this week, so spent the evening taking a few snaps instead. Rapidly disappearing light made it a little hard, though.
I’ve just had a look through the calendar and jotted down the duathlons (and a couple of small, local triathlons) that I’m planning on racing this year. Looks busy! Eight duathlons and a two triathlons, so far. It’s going to be a pretty full-on start to the year with plenty races this winter and coming spring, then a quiet summer, before a handful more races in the autumn. Last year I managed to qualify for the Great Britain age-group duathlon team to race in the 2018 European championships, so the season will culminate with a weekend out in Ibiza to compete in my GBR team kit. Exciting stuff.
Last weekend was the final round of the 2016/2017 Chiltern Cross Country League and the end of my first full season of XC racing. Freezing cold temperatures, snow in the air, plenty mud and some killer hills. This final race in Campbell Park, Milton Keynes is the toughest in the series, in my opinion.
I’d like to say something interesting about the battle for points or who the top running teams are, but if I’m honest I simply don’t know. I know our team, Marshall Milton Keynes AC were the overall winners, but my overall finishing position at each race was way down the rankings and unlikely to have had any effect on the final result. Also, with each race being a slightly different and random distance, there are no PBs to chase. With the amount of hills and mud involved, you can’t even target what might ordinarily be considered a ‘good pace’. You might think then that there’s little incentive to push hard and keep hanging on till the end when there’s not much at stake, yet I pushed as hard if not harder in these races than any other running event I’ve entered. I’m pretty sure everyone around me was pushing just as hard too, despite being placed down the positions and mostly out of the points. What difference does it make whether I finished 196th or 198th? Why keep pushing almost to the point of vomiting when it makes little difference to the results? I guess, to see if I could. Mostly it hurt like hell but within a minute or so of finishing, I didn’t regret giving it maximum beans. Perhaps it’s the absence of a big clock over the finish line and the arbitrary 8.4km course length that does it – take away the opportunity for people to race against the clock and they start racing against each other instead.
If you’ve not run cross country since school, give it a go. It’s cheap, rewarding and gives you some real hard, competitive racing, the likes of which you’ll never see in a road ‘race’. If someone comes past me on a 10k or half marathon road race, I couldn’t care less as I’ll be too focused on sticking to an indicated pace on my Garmin. If you see someone coming up on your shoulder in cross country, suddenly you find yourself placing yourself on the trail to force them to take the long way round. If they get past, you start thinking about how you’re going to get the place back at the next bend or hill. Madness, but fun.
You know things are getting serious when you start building up a collection of different running shoes for different conditions. Last winter I entered a single round of the Chiltern Cross Country League and loved almost all of it, except for the fact that my regular trail shoes offered no grip whatsoever in the wet, sloppy mud; it was like running on ice in places. I’m hoping to compete in the full league this winter so these shoes should do a better job of keeping me upright.
A few photos from the Conti Thunder Run at the weekend – a 24 hour trail relay running from noon on Saturday till noon on Sunday. I ran 40km over four laps and our team managed 250km in total.