Tour de force? Day 2 Potterspury Cross-Country 8km

After the baptism of fire on Day 1 of the Tour, I was slightly apprehensive about what was to come. This time, I would be prepared and what better way to do this other than simply asking someone who had done the Tour before. It was easier to find a Tour veteran than I thought and they were more than willing to share some vital course information. They advised me to wear my oldest trainers for the race as the course was not only mucky, but involved running through a stream three times and climbing stiles. This sounded tricky enough but I knew from my past cross-country experience that the 8km course would also feel considerably longer on such terrain.

I decided that the only way I would be able to complete Potterspury in one piece would be to run the race at a much slower pace so I could watch my footing. I would have to focus on finishing and run it more as a fun run, so I would enjoy it as much as possible. I tried not to think of the fact that I would be running another race of repeated loops, even if there were only 2½ of them. And I was really dreading the stream…

But before I knew it, I joined a long queue of other runners walking to the start which was at the base of a very steep muddy hill. I couldn’t believe it! We were starting on a hill?! Before I had time to question the injustice of it all, we all went off at once, albeit at a slightly slower uphill pace. The course, itself, was very hilly and uneven and it winded itself around several muddy fields. After circling for some time, we ran through a forest trail and of course, in and out of a murky stream. However, this managed to help me slow my pace as I followed other runners who dodged verges, clambered over stiles and leapt over logs. As for the stream, it was very mucky, indeed, but at least it was not too cold. My attempts to clear it, however, were futile. Each time I geared myself up to leap, my tired legs only landed me in deeper water. But with my trainers literally squelching as I ran, there was no point in worrying about the time or distance. Unlike the previous day’s race, it felt less like a fierce competition and I was surprised to find that I was starting to enjoy the race. I continued to run past another field, another climb then a steep downhill before the finish was in earshot. The course rounded the perimeter of a grass pitch for the final sprint to the finish. However, it also circled all of the speedier runners who had hung around after finishing to cheer everyone on. It felt more like a victory loop as I ran and unlike the previous day, there wasn’t a mad scrum to get over the line. I finished Day 2 enjoying running at a slower pace, without any pressure and I felt more confident that I would complete the Tour. With two races down, I was almost halfway there.

In the meantime, I could only think of recovery and mainly, nourishment. With that in mind, here’s another easy one-pot recipe for Fruity cauliflower pilaf to try.

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