The deceptively named Dublin “novice” cross country took place in Tymon Park on Sunday 8th October. This is a race that we’ll be telling our grandkids about…..running a cross country in over 20 degrees heat. Normally everyone is covered in muck at the end of cross country, but this one we had to contend with varying degrees of heatstroke.

Tymon Park is my favourite course and even though I hadn’t raced for 6 months, I wasn’t going to miss this one. The last time I raced in Tymon it was almost 20 degrees colder – see Garmin screenshots!
For the first time with a cross country I didn’t have to worry about layers and gloves, etc. It was singlet for the warm up, and it was a challenge just jogging as it felt like running in a sauna. I had to tell myself to stick to the ‘warm up’…..oops, I mean ‘race preparation’ plan of running 20 mins. After staying disciplined and finishing 20mins, I felt a little less sluggish but not ready for racing, as my mind kept drifting to mojitos on the beach in the 21 degrees weather. Only when I did some drills that I felt a bit more race ready.
The race start was very congested and my plan was to run each lap the same time to be consistence with pacing. I didn’t do so well with this, I got slower and slower with each lap, but it turns out everyone else did too! I found myself passing people constantly from 400m onwards. Every time there was a hill or a corner, the person/people in front slowed up. Moving through the field is quite the adrenaline rush and it got me noticed by the spectators with louder and louder shouts to keep catching the person in front. I tried to stay relaxed on the uphill/downhill and then get back up to pace as quickly as possible.
The weather was so warm I found it hard to breathe, and at 4.5k in I felt exhausted, almost completely spent. I could feel my arms and legs starting to tense up. This encouraged my mind to go back to thinking about mojitos on the beach…..but suddenly there was the shout of “one lap to go, final lap” and I knew I could endure one more time around the sauna-lap. I passed a few more people and Emily was at the 400m to go point with some encouragement. It was here for the first time in the race that the people in front, instead of slowing up, they started speeding up and disappeared ahead. If I could speed up like that then I would have ran the race too slow – I don’t know how they do it. I got to the turn off to the finish and started getting anxious about being passed from behind and starting looking back – something I don’t usually do. Luckily there was no one, and I didn’t have anything left if there was just to keep the pace going. Now my mind was drifting to collapsing over the finish line and I was looking for a crash spot for that!
Great race to return to, the support was fantastic and as I write this the heatwave has already finished and winter is back! Kudos for all the course preparation as there’s a lot of ankle-twisting holes that got fill in. Bring on the Dublin Inter XC!