The World XC trial was a race I had in mind for a long while.
The distance was stepped up to 8km, it was at my favourite cross country course (Stromlo Foret Park) and there were World XC spots on the line. Three reasons why it was very hard not to get motivated for it. I’ve already had a taste of what world cross country would be like from the ISF Schools World XC in Malta early 2012.
Leading up to the race I had spent 10 days at falls creek on the AA junior camp with a great group of boys. I was happy with all of my sessions I did up there (threshold, 1km reps and quarters) and felt like it had been a solid block of training put together. Falls creek is ideal for distance training, and if you’ve got a good group that you are staying with, you can fill in spare time quite easily. Next year I think I’ll stay a bit longer and I’d love to do some of the runs that the seniors do like Fitzys Hut, Spion Kopje etc…
After coming off the mountain the very next day i headed down to warnambool for a race. The Surf T Surf 6km fun run. It was exactly 2 weeks before the World XC trial and fell perfectly into my lead up.
It was a road race with a few challenging climbs that were testing. Overall it was a perfect hit out that I needed.
I did 2 more hard sessions that week in my hometown of Ballarat before starting to ease off and sharpen up for the race. In the week prior, I shortened my Monday, Wednesday runs, did pace increasing 1km reps on Tuesday, did a cruisy session on Thursday and just kept the legs ticking over until Sunday morning.
I traveled to Canberra at around midday on Saturday, the day before the race. I was feeling pretty confident about the distance being stepped up to 8km. I knew I could do well with endurance being my stronger point. We stayed in the city of Canberra. Went out to an Italian restraunt for tea then had a relaxing night watching Roger Federer outclass Bernard Tomic.
My goal going into the race was to finish in the top 4, and the plan was to sit in the leading pack for as long as possible as see what happens in the last lap.
8.15am on Sunday morning and we were on the start line. All 17 of us. Very small field, but very high quality. We started the race with a 3.04-3.05 first k and the pace was pretty even the whole way. There was only a few surges put in but nothing major. The pack of about 14 stuck together for about half of the race until it dropped to 5. Luke Mathews, Morgan McDonald, Jack Curran, Joe Hardy and myself. Going into the last 2.5km lap it was down to Morgan, Jack and myself. I was desperately trying to hang on buy they got the better of me and Jack Curran took the race out with Morgan McDonald close behind. I finished third with Sean guiney coming through for 4th. Stew Mcsweyn, my training partner, and Luke Mathews rounded out the top 6.
After the race I was stoked, I stuck to my race plan and it worked. To make things even better, I received a phone call today that confirmed my spot on the team and I look forward to World XC in Poland.