6.36 Miles, 1 Hour, 11 Minutes
The biggest challenge of my year (so far) is in the bag, and as I write this the morning after, my legs and indeed the rest of my body are reminding me just how tough it was.
As far as 10k runs go, Cragside is considered one of the more beautiful, but also one of the hardest going on account of the uphill portions. It truly is a spectacular setting – An amazing country house set back from a picturesque lake and within gorgeous wooded grounds. A small part of the reason I’m doing these runs is to enjoy some of these places on our doorstep, and I’m glad to have now experienced this place in addition to the equally wonderful Gibside in February.
I’d read up on the course beforehand, and I knew pretty much what to expect. It’s a deceptively easy-going first 3 or 4 k downhill but in my mind I had this foreboding of when the climbing would start. When it did, I coped ok at first – I powered through for a bit, but it quickly became clear that I was going to have to intersperse short slow runs with a number of walking breaks. I just tried to keep the walks as brisk as possible.
It really did feel like the uphill parts were never going to stop – I’ve already buried the memory a little bit, but I think it was just before the 8k mark where it levelled out a little and the course switched to downhill for the home stretch. I made a point of finishing as strongly as possible, and as it happens, my last mile was the quickest of the whole run, so I’m pleased about that.
Given the walking portions involved, I was expecting the worst when it came to timings, but it wasn’t actually that bad for where I’m at now. I averaged 11.10 mins per mile, which is about 30-40 seconds slower than I’d like, but I’m happy enough with that given how my knees have been and how challenging the course was.
Next event is the North Tyneside 10k on April 16th – I’m really looking forward to that one.
If you fancy adding your name to those who have already been very generous in my quest to raise money for Bloodwise this year, the relevant link is here.
Music: Manic Street Preachers – National Treasures