I was supposed to be doing the Caesar’s Camp 100 mile endurance run is weekend, but after all the time off running with my injury, I had to admit defeat and gave my space to someone else on the waiting list. I was determined to still go out and get some distance in and I plotted a 30 mile loop from my house. I didn’t want the run to get in the way of family time, so I got up at 4:30am and set off running at 5:00am.
It was misty and raining lightly, but warm, and I left the streetlights of Branxton and set into a 10 minute mile plod. My headtorch is not the best but the 0.5 watt light was enough to find my way along with my Garmin watch showing me the route. I turned off the road up to Flodden Hill and discovered a lot of wildlife living in the woods with little shiny eye staring at me in the light of my torch. The tracks were good and I continued at a steady run through Flodden and along the B6352 before turning off onto a bridleway that was to nearly kill me. I was following a fence line along a field when I herd of cows went completely nuts and started stampeding. I stopped dead and waited for them to all run past me a few yard ahead. When they had all passed I relaxed a bit before seeing two more eyes in the dark looking straight at me. It then charged at me and passed within a foot. To make things worse, the bloody thing stopped and looked back at me before running backwards, then sideways straight into me. It hit me and I went flying backwards and landed skidding on my side as its hoofs were inches away from me. I got up and bloody ran like hell. I had to pass more fields of cows but I give them a wide berth and didn’t relax until I reached the houses at Crookhouse.
The next section was mainly on road and I kept going from feeling cold to hot, shivering to sweating. I could start to see the Cheviot Hills but it was still dark. It started to get light when I reached Westnewton and I made easy progress to Hethpool and started running on the St Cuthbert’s Way trail. It was light enough not to need a torch anymore but I kept it on because it was so misty. I made my way up into the hills keeping the same steady 10 minute mile pace and feeling good. I had no idea where I was but had the line on my Garmin watch to show me the way. After Gains Law hill I passed some of the Wooler running club who were out for a run, and I figured that I must be going to right way because Wooler was my next destination. I reached a familiar landmark and knew I was close to the Wooler Common car park. I made a relaxed and easy descent down the road into Wooler and ditched my headtorch into my bag and ate my reward of reaching this point (a Twix).
Next I continued on the St Cuthbert’s Way trail and went over Weetwood Moor before descending down to Weetwood Bridge. Here I left St Cuthbert’s Way and headed along roads back towards Ford. I started to feel a little drained now after 20 miles and I was feeling really hungry so I ate a bit more. I reached Doddington at mile 22 and was still feeling really hungry so ate some more. Along to Nesbit and across some fields and I now hit my low. My legs turned heavy and my head sank. East Fenton, West Fanton, then a footpath over some fields to Kimmerson, I felt like shit. All I wanted to do was call my wife to pick me up and shovel loads of food into my mouth. My stomach was growling at me and I could not believe that I could still be hungry after eating so much on the route. With 5 miles left to go I just plodded on to Ford before heading off to Crookham. At Crookham I stopped and got some fruit pastels out and downed them so try and get some energy. 1 mile to go and I just could not be bothered to run. The only problem was that it would take longer to walk so I ran on looking miserable. I finally reached home, extracted my feet from my shoes and started my eating marathon. I ate all day until it was time to sleep and when I was unable to put the food in my mouth anymore. I have never been so hungry.
On reflection, I can say that it was a good run. The cow incident freaked me out but I can laugh at it now. I got out of my low point as soon as I got home and knew it was just mental stuff and not physical. The next day I only had a slight bit of stiffness in my upper legs but felt that I could have gone out for a long run, so I am happy that my reduce mileage due to injury has not caused too much damage to my tolerance for longer distances. I will hold back on attempting a 50+ mile run at the moment until I have done some more 20-30 miles runs in the next month. The best thing of all..... No knee pain.