Yesterday saw the inaugural running of the Reeth 20km race, hosted by Gr8 Events. Swaledale Outdoors and Mountain Rescue played their parts too.
I don't think I enjoyed this as much as I should have done. I knew from my limited experience of Reeth, that whichever way you go, it's all uphill, so I knew it was going to be tough.
Also, I had no idea how many people would be there (the more people there are, the less likely I am to be last!)
The day dawned, it was considerably colder, and wetter and windier at Reeth than it had been at my house. I wished I'd packed warmer gear. I'd also forgotten my Chia emergency flapjack.
I felt disorganised and couldn't get my race head on. It's ok, it's a new race. Just enjoy the run and the scenery. I'd got with Pat from club, and she felt the same.
Once we'd set off, I got warmed up and soon the gloves came off.
The first bit follows the river, a couple of stiles getting in the way, before the climbing started. Pat and I had run together, but she is far stronger on the uphill and ran on ahead. for the most part I could see her in the distance, mostly running while I was employing a run/walk strategy, allowing the gradient to dictate the speed! Everyone around me was doing the same and I felt no pressure.
The views, when I got chance to look were amazing. The earlier drizzle had cleared, but it was still windy.
The route was marked with occasional bits of tape and the odd arrow. Enough markers to remove the need for navigation, but so many that it still felt like an adventure!
The climbing was tough but eventually we reached the top and it levelled out. The good track snaked it's way across the tops, no idea where I was really! Just keep following the tape...
We passed through a gate and the track swept downhill. Here the people I was following pulled away and I ran through Apedale alone. I wondered how far off track you would get before you realised you'd gone wrong? No need to worry though, as at each turn there was a little piece of tape staked in the grass.
I was gently trotting along, with only a short distance to go to the water station (around 8miles) when my bloody knee decided to make itself known. Bloody hell.
Had a cup of water at the windswept water station before getting stuck into the next climb. Kept up a brisk walk.
Unfortunately shortly after this a cheery marshal announced it was all downhill, enjoy! My knee doesn't like downhill...
Dam it hurt. I took it very steady on the downhills, holding my breath against the pain. We hit the road, which was flat for a short while, before another short descent. Thankfully, none of the descents were too steep and despite the discomfort I didn't have to walk. I could see Reeth in the valley below, but we had a long loop to contour around a hillside, before we could get closer. I'd had about enough now as my knee was hurting even though it was flat and a really strong headwind was hampering progress somewhat. Then more downhill.
As I was chuntering and having a bit of a mardy, I looked up and saw the big orange tent at the finish! That lifted my spirits considerably, but we still had another short road stretch and a drop through a farm yard and a steep descent on wonderfully lush Swaledale grass and 2-3 stiles to negotiate before the finish!
At last, through a gated stile, and a steep grassy descent which really hurt, I rounded the final ditch and limped into the funnel.
Pat was waiting for me, she'd had a great run and really enjoyed it, getting round in just over 2 hours. She's training for the Ossy Pheonix and said this run was a good confidence boost. I on the other hand felt quite 'meh' about the whole thing.
Part of me just wanted to go home, but we got changed and went for a cuppa and a scone at the Copper Kettle instead.
Today, the results are in and I got a time of 2hrs 22 mins which is actually a PB for this distance! And the little voice said 'Imagine how much faster you could run if your knee was right...'
And here come the bit about denial.
I'd put the knee pain down to having twisted it badly about 10years ago, a hiking injury not a running one! I think that is part of the problem... I have been consulting doctor Google, and I'm wondering if it's actually ITBS. Great. I do get hip pain/discomfort and on the race I could feel a line of tightness/discomfort running along my thigh from hip to knee.
Great, just what I need. I think perhaps the original twist was the precursor to the ITBS.
Before I panic too much, I'm going to have a chat with a lady at club who it struggling with ITBS and coach Sonja who is a fizz.
In some ways, if it is and I have to take a break from running, now is a good time to do it as I am now back at work full time and will struggle to get in long runs etc anyway, so focusing on strength work and stretching wouldn't be such a bad thing.
I just hope I don't have to give up running altogether for the summer months as the evening fell league starts on Wednesday!