Paul and I set off early in the morning to get to the beautiful National Trust property Cragside located near Rothbury in Northumberland.
The friendly National Trust staff and volunteers did very well to handle the huge number of cars waiting to access the venue and find a spot to park. After securing our space, we headed to register.
There was extra toilets provided to accommodate the large number of runners, but as always there was a very large queue for the ladies! While waiting I used the opportunity to go through a proper routine of stretches. I was quite nervous about this run as I didn’t want to do anything more to my knee, so wanted to prepare properly. My bathroom queuing may seem like a little too much information but it meant that most people had got to the start line before I had even got to the front of the queue. This meant Paul and I had to take a shameful gentle run up the hill passed the waiting supporters to get to the crowd waiting at the start line. Where we were asked to quickly find a place. So Paul and I made our way to the very back of the crowd.
When the race started we moved forward with our fellow tail end Charlie runners towards the start line. We starting running about a minute and a half after the official gun. But it was the best place to be. There was no jostling and we could set our own pace slow and steady was how we took it. Paul is following a training plan for his Ironman which means he has to run in Zone3 of his VO2 max this was great for me because it meant we were actually paced well together and we were moving very steadily.
The scenery we ran through was just gorgeous. It was the perfect weather for running and it was fantastic to be running in a place I had never run before. Paul checking on me and it was only when we were going down hill that I noticed my knee at all.
Pauline is was great to have your company on this run. I don’t if you have been to Cragside but you would love it. I was particularly thinking of you as we were running up the hill to Nelly Moss Lake and passing a large number of participants who had chosen to walk this challenging part of the course. I knew you would be willing me on and I am pleased to say we kept our pace.
Every time we passed a marker telling us how many km’s we had run I gave a whoop but I was pleased to be doing this and finding it relatively comfortable on my knee. Once we hit the 8km it was all down hill, literally. Once I found that my knee was managing it, the decline was so fast my body couldn’t keep up with my legs. At one point I honestly thought I was going to stack it (this must be the point that Strava recorded my fastest 1km and 1mile!) Paul was quick too but he had managed to control his pace to be a heck of a lot less manic than mine.
Waiting for us at the end was Mum, Dad and Clara. Who told me I looked like a blue blur and someone running a lot faster than they expected for me with a gammy knee. I heard them cheering me on as I got to the finishing flat. There support gave me another boost. I was so happy to have finally been able to run this distance I couldn’t help but raise my hands in the air and cheer! Paul was with me on the finish line, it was such a great run and brilliant to do it in the company of Paul and Pauline C!