A new XC course

Yesterday I traveled down to Letchworth for the fourth cross-country race of the Three Counties Cross Country series.

As always I left it to the last minute to leave, but impressed myself when I arrived 20 minutes before the start and had time to queue for the portaloos before the gun.  I took a gentle jog up the track towards the field we would be starting in and chatted to others from my club stood around me.  Then the Club Chairman collared me – announcing that I wasn’t wearing a barcode.  A what now?!  Apparently the club were trialing barcodes on the race numbers for easy scanning at the finish.  All of a sudden I had everyone bustling around me trying to find the correct barcode to match my number before the race start a few minutes later.
Barcode found in time and stuck in place.  Phew!

Barcode race number

The field (of runners) seemed much smaller than at the last cross-country race and I realised early on there was a good chance I’d end up near the back when I spotted nobody from Groups 5 or 6 from our club (having just moved up to Group 4).  The problem is it’s so close to Christmas that people are super busy this time of year, or they’ve already fallen ill with Christmas flu.

I set off feeling quite strong and ran my first mile in 9m 22s.  The course had started out a little boring to be honest – we ran half way round the edge of a field before cutting through to some hard standing track which seemed to go on forever.  I vaguely remembered spotting that spikes were advised on the website but couldn’t understand why at this point as it hadn’t been muddy or soft ground at all.

I started to get the beginnings of a stitch after a mile and knew I needed to drop the pace.  Luckily the terrain here helped me to do so – swapping to a narrow track between trees and down into a small drop with water then back up the other side.  There was a short hill going up the edge of a field and a lot more muddy stretches along here.  It was a really windy morning – and there were only a few points that the wind was pushing us along from behind.  It seemed to be coming at us from the sides the majority of the time and trying to get me into the hedge.

Three runners from my club passed me in the next three miles – leaving me as the back marker for our club.  I’ve never come in last for the club before at a cross-country.  I had managed to get rid of my stitch by this point and my running had stayed fairly rhythmic for a little while, so I upped the pace slightly again and stayed on the tail of the club runner that had passed me most recently.  I finished a few seconds behind, but was not overly unhappy with my race, as I felt I had done a good job of recovering from a poor start.

Position: 280/300
Gender position:

At the end of each cross-country race the hosting club puts on a selection of rolls and cakes as well as a hot drink for each runner.  This year it was Christmas themed and we could choose from turkey and cranberry rolls, ham and mustard, salmon or cheese and pickle.  There were also stacks and stacks of mince pies but not being a fan of those I went for a sparkly-decorated Christmassy bun instead to accompany my ham and mustard roll.

As I returned to my car following the race I had to help several others push their vehicles through the mud tracks that had appeared in the car park field.  Cars were sliding everywhere!  I’m glad I was able to get away soonish before things got too muddy and anyone bashed into my car!

When I got home it was time to wrap up in my dressing gown with my hands around my hot chocolate to keep warm.  I’m loving hot chocolates at the moment.

Hot chocolate time

I uploaded my stats from my watch whilst sipping on my hot chocolate.  I’m really struggling to get my head around the difference in figures between Garmin Connect and Strava.  I’ve religiously logged my runs in GC since I got my first Garmin at the end of 2011 and never had any problems with it.  A few people have pushed for me to link my account to Strava and so for the last month my runs have been uploaded to both.  This is how my run uploaded into each program…

Garmin >>

Letchworth Garmin

Strava >>Letchworth StravaIt’s very frustrating how different the two are.

Do you use more than one device to track your runs/fitness progress?  If so, do you find that they display similar information?

10 thoughts on “A new XC course

  1. It sounds like you ran a strong race to me :) I admire anyone who does xc races – I’m far too scared of falling and intimidated by the terrain!

    Tracking on multiple devices would drive me crazy, because I already obsess a lot over my splits and if there was any variation between platforms I’d constantly be questioning and second-guessing myself. Strava looks amazing, but I know with my personality I’d get overly competitive and probably be at even greater risk of injury. I’ll just stick with Garmin connect, but I hope you solve the mystery of why there are discrepancies in the data.

    Jess recently posted…Posts That Piqued My Interest #1My Profile

    1. Thanks Jess. :)
      I always over-analyse my running so it’s so frustrating that the two platforms don’t match up. I’m trying my best not to obsess too much…
      I figure that if I stick to Garmin Connect to compare my paces as that is where I have been logging my runs since the end of 2011, then I can just use Strava for following others and the extra features it has.

  2. So does Strava use your phone or something? I use Daily Mile at the moment, because I like how it tracks weekly, monthly and yearly miles, but it synchs with my Garmin, although if I have a break mid run (when I go to sweatshop I stop it when I get there) it only records the overall time, so on daily mile it would say a 4 mile run duration 60 mins, average pace 15 min miles or something, which is weird because the Garmin only works out pace from when the go button is pressed.
    I keep meaning to sign up to Strava though- Jantastic mentioned it, and so does parkrun. Really I like to keep track of miles per month and year which Garmin connect doesn’t seem to do.
    Well done on the cross country too- I only ever did one, and that was by mistake- I did enjoy it but it felt very clubby indeed and I am not sure I would sign up for another one.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…25 before ChristmasMy Profile

    1. You can use Strava with your phone but my Garmin Connect automatically transfers the data from my watch into my Strava account as well. It’s been fun looking at other runner’s Strava accounts through my local parkrun so I can learn some new routes in the area.
      If you go to the Reports area in Garmin Connect you can display the mileage, calories, etc for a specified amount of time so you should be able to get data for the last month/year.

  3. Nice work with the XC! That would have hugely stressed me out about the barcode though. I hate being rushed or panicked before a race.
    I have no idea the different between Strava or Garmin, except that Strava gives you the GAP analysis (so you can see how fast you would have run if the hills hadbeen flattened – or something to that effect). For me, I upload my watch to my Garmin app on my phone via Bluetooth and then that automatically syncs it with Strava so I don’t really worry about it. I have friends on Garmin who aren’t on Strava and vice versa which is why I keep them both. Plus I like the competitive element in the segments in Strava 😉
    Anna @AnnaTheApple recently posted…Secret Santa, Christmas cake and the re-balance of loveMy Profile

    1. I didn’t have time to stress out. Everyone was round me and sorting it out in seconds before I even knew anything was wrong!
      Mine syncs automatically to Strava as well and I have several friends that bike as well as run and prefer Strava for that. I find it easier to find new routes on Strava as well. Plus with parkrun now supporting Strava it’s handy for comparison and tracking progress.

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