Warm up/down 15:00  2.25 km (6:40 / km) +50m 6:00 / km
ahr:150 max:170 shoes: 2013 VJ Supra
Checking out the early (boring) part of the course, and the initial bit into the forest. Then a few runs across the playing pitches before the start.
Run - off road race 36:00  7.8 km (4:37 / km) +150m 4:13 / km
ahr:190 max:200 shoes: 2013 VJ Supra
Grace Dieu XC. Had heard this was a good course, which correlated with memories of the British Middle hosted here. A fair bit of techincal running in the woodland, with added stream crossings and some helpings of mud.
Felt sluggish off the start, standard when uphill... wind in the face didn't help either. First slight downhill, gained a load of places. Into the woodland - smaller, twisty paths - people in front slow. Limited places to overtake, but several short slopes as we climbed up through Cademan provided enough opportunity.
Lost places as it got out onto easier running, then back into the woods, and a tape just off a junction suggested a sharp turn. Skidded, turned, saw the group of runners in front again, but nothing marking the course. Strange. Talk afterwards was of some helpful locals... and looking at the only obvious route on the orienteering map, perhaps a 100-150m shortcut from the intended route.
Felt a real struggle towards the end in the more tussocky stuff - as it should do I guess. But there's something nagging at me, saying there's a more optimal pace, where you're not pushing yourself quite so far into the red (anaerobic? - note ahr!!). At that 'ideal' you then still have some power to deal with the rougher stuff, and so don't feel like you're just trudging at the end.
Slight knee niggle noted - something to watch.
Warm up/down 7:30 
shoes: 2013 VJ Supra
Some jogging to-from tent for extra layers, and some words of encouragement for some team-mates on the final stretch.
XC today probably told me nothing more than I already knew. Courses like that are fun to do, but I'm not quite sure how relevant that type of running is to me at the moment. Doing something faster once in a while probably doesn't do any harm, but the weaknesses it shows up don't feel that important, given current plans. Though next weekend's activities are probably going to allow a much better judgement of that assumption.