Saturday, 21 April 2007

12 windy miles from Castleside to Stanhope

Today's plan was to run 11 miles from Castleside to Stanhope. I was accompanied by Ian "The Coach" who thought it was a good idea to also try the 17% climb out of Stanhope at the end of the run. He's a hard task master to say the least.

We had a comfortable start and seemed to reach Waskerley Way (pictured) in no time. I once wrote the following about this desolate place while running the C2C route in 2002: "Now for the most depressing part of the whole run; Waskerley. Now do I not like Waskerley. Waskerley Park, Way, Reservoir or anything else Waskerley.". I can safely say that nothing I saw or ran on today has changed my mind about Waskerley Way. It's like another planet out there. It's even worse when it is as windy as it was today (about an 8 mph south westerly). The wind was in our faces for 6 miles none stop. It was a complete nightmare. And boy did we whinge all the way! "It's too windy", "The stones are digging into my shoes" and "it's too cold" were just some of the complaints to be heard. What a pair of wusses!

We eventually got to the road section near Crawleyside Bank and it was some relief to be sheltered from the wind. A steady descent followed into Stanhope and we had a quick water stop before setting off up "that hill". I must say that the climb up the 17% hill is not half as bad when you have been running for a while. Either that or I'm getting used to it! We continued uphill for another mile before Katy arrived in the car to pick us up. At this point (pictured) I felt as though I could have ran the remaining 10 miles to Middleton no problem. I think I'll have an attempt at that next weekend. All in all, it was a great morning's running in difficult conditions and up some steep hills. When the wind was really blowing, I did mention to Ian that I'd rather be watching Soccer AM on a nice warm setee! Pictured, thanks to my wonderful Garmin 305 Forerunner GPS watch, is the elevation of today's run. As you can see it was uphill for the first 9.5 miles. And did I mention the wind at that point of the run?

On a positive note, I felt no reaction to my groin injury. I know I've been a quick healer in the past but this recovery has really surprised me. When I felt my muscle "tear" last week I thought that this was a serious one. Thankfully, this seems not to be the case. I'm now going to forget all about running as fast as I can and "beating my previous time". I've got too much to lose at this late stage of my training. So for the purposes of self preservation, it's going to be 10 - 11 minute miles from now on for me. That's the pace I intend to run from John O'Groats to Lands End, so I might as well get used to it.