Sore and tired, that's what. you dirty buggers.
The Full Monty is one of our local routes. I did it for the first time last month, I can't say I fell in love with it.
It's 18.5 miles, up and down hills, across the moor, over little footbridges, through farmyards, along the river and mostly very, very muddy indeed. Some of the mud is the fun kind, some of it is the ankle breaking cow poached kind, some of it you can barely stand up on!
Most importantly, it is hard.
So hard, that apart from a small band of nutters, most people only do it the once and that is enough. Only 2 other women from club have done it besides me and they are both proper hardcore.
So, when I asked Gavin if he was on for a 20 mile run this weekend, I correctly predicted he'd say we'll do the Monty and add a bit by starting from Sutton Bank. yay.
Gavin has decided he wants to do the Monty at least once a month this year, that's his challenge. I told him he could count me out of that one!!
This morning, pre-dawn I found myself shivering in the carpark at Sutton Bank, wondering if I should have worn my thermal tights after all. As we set off down the road to join the Cleveland Way, a barn owl flew past, so that was nice.
The added bit follows the Cleveland Way towards Cold Kirby, passing by one of the many racing yards up on the Bank. Then we leave the Way and pass through a farmyard and cross several muddy fields before reaching Murton.
This is 4-ish miles in now and the sun rise over Ryedale looked good, the forecast for the day was pants but for now it was dry and still (but bloody cold!)
Murton is notable due to the steep drop through the woods. It is stupid steep and I am rubbish at descending! I managed to mince my way down without falling and Gavin was waiting at the bottom. Straight away you have to do a climb, almost as steep to get back out again. We walked.
After this, the route crosses Peak Scar Road then drops steeply down again across rolling farmland. This is followed by a long drag up a good track, which becomes a muddy wet track which takes you onto the moor between Sneck Yate and Arden. This drag, and so many others on the Monty is one of those annoying shallow climbs where you feel guilty for walking, but running just saps your legs.
Oh, I forgot the bit where we passed the bryr and ran through cow shit that was several inches deeper than my trainers...
On the moor now, and we follow grass paths which swing around to meet the Kepwick-Arden road which isn't really suitable for your family Vauxhall then turn off that onto even narrower paths between the grouse butts and eventually drop into the Bonny Valley. It's another steep muddy descent, but the path along the beck in the bottom is great fun! It's narrow and overgrown and you feel like you're running really fast due to being enclosed. Guaranteed to get wet feet in here, wash some of the cow muck off...
Another climb and we had a bite to eat, Haribo and dried fruit for me.
Across the muddy rolling farmland surrounding Arden Hall. This is the bit I am not so sure about and have to keep checking with Gavin for directions. We cross the river several times and various bridges then have a stiff muddy climb, at the top of which I nearly went the wrong way! Eventually we come to a good farm track which leads us to the road above Hawnby. Hawnby is a nice little village with a very nice pub and the OH and I often go walking from here.
The far side of Hawnby, we join the river for a short distance and we have another snack break. Cereal bar this time and it lies heavy on my stomach for quite a while.
This is where we get to the fields poached by cows and after struggling for a while we have to give up and walk before one of us breaks an ankle.
A short stretch of tarmac takes us up another hill and another track which turns into muddy footpath as it cuts down again through trees to meet a bridle path passing through Tylas Farm and along to the River Rye. First the route runs along a board walk on the river bank. Thankfully they have put gripper strips on the boards otherwise it would be lethal in the wet! Then the path becomes grass again as the river sweeps away. Here the mud is just silly. Not very deep, just a slick film really, but enough that you can't get a grip and slip and slide all over the place! Both of us nearly fell a few times. After this comes a stretch of puddles and the feet get another dunking!
The path turns uphill and is much drier and easier to run on, although we chose to walk up the hill so we could eat a few more sweets. The downhill bit is great, although a little muddy at the bottom and I hit the gate at full tilt as I couldn't break in time!
Here we came across a bunch of guinea fowl, second lot we'd seen on the run. They're funny looking things, but as I remarked to Gavin, they do taste good.
Only another 6 miles to go... Starting to feel really quite tired now. It might only be 6 miles, but it is all uphill and again that long shallow dragging kind of uphill. The wind was getting up a little and it threatened to rain.
A short road section took us back onto the Cleveland Way at Noodle Hill and onto a good track. We jogged along to the stepping stones and entered Flassen Dale, another regular walking spot for me and OH. Another runner came past us, she looked like an ultra runner and was wearing those weird toe-shoes. She ran very easily along the track, we kept pace with her, but never caught her up!
There is one little bit of climbing where it is steep enough to warrant a guilt free walk, and I quite enjoyed the break! Now though came a long pull back to Cold Kirby and the wind had become really strong in the last 10 minutes. We continued up the lane, having little walk breaks along the way as we were both tired. After an eternity, we reached Cold Kirby, but we still had 2 miles left to get back to Sutton Bank. The wind brought horizontal rain with it now and of course we turned to face it. I was struggling a bit now, starting to feel a bit sick and a little dizzy. I had to admit this to Gavin (just in case it all went horribly wrong all of a sudden!) he commented on the fact I hadn't really eaten much during the run, which was true. He let me dictate the pace and I ran as much as I could then had a little walk break before running again and so on. Thankfully, it wasn't much further and I knew the more I ran, the sooner it would be over!!
Hurrah! Back at the car!! The rain had stopped but the wind whipped across the exposed carpark as I changed my damp shirt. Stomach still churning, I had a good drink (been thirsty all run, drank about 750ml) and opened the packet of crisps I had brought with me. I struggled to eat them initially, but they seemed to work to calm my tummy down, coupled with a glass of hot, salted orange juice when I got home and the sickness gradually turned to hunger. Despite being perfectly fine during the run, when I got home I was literally shaking with cold. I changed into warm dry clothes and had a lounge in front of the fire before getting in the shower and having some much needed food!!
Overall, it was a hard run but I enjoyed it more than last time I did it. I ran well and felt fine until about 16miles, then got tired, but only struggled the last 4. I have to remember though, that I have done a lot of miles recently and when race day comes, I will have tapered and be rested. All this suffering will then pay off!