I ran my first cross country race of the winter season. The sloppy conditions made it a true cross race. Slush, mud, snow and freezing cold. The 7.2K course consisted of 4 loops in the forest with a couple hills, one that's a fairly good climb. My performance today was right where I think it should be this time of the year. Not even close to peak fitness and feeling like I'm gaining strength. In the first loop I was in about 10th or 11th place until I passed 3 or 4 runners before the big hill. In the 2nd loop I was running alone until I heard some splashing steps approaching quickly. To my surprise it was Patrick Delait, one of the top local Dutch runners who I'm used to seeing disappear in front of me as a race progresses. My only thought was that he either fell early in the race or is coming back from an injury. I talked to him after the race and it turned out that he just didn't have the power in the legs. That probably explains why I was able to catch and pass him about 100 meters from the finish to place 7th overall. This race was again proof of my strength on hills and the lack of speed on the downhills. I would catch and outdo Patrick up the steepest hill only to get overtaken by him on the flat and downhill portion of the course.
Here are the results. Also, below is a video of the race (sorry, it's only in Dutch). You can see me (yellow singlet) and Patrick running up the hill at 1:35 into the video.