It’s been 6 days since Paris marathon. If you read my race report you would have seen it broke me. So 5 days of rest and recovery followed.

Then Newcastle Way trail marathon was today. I signed up to this last year and I had no idea if I could even complete half of it!

So 8am at the Ash Inn at Mow Cop I set off on the trail. The plan – to run at a pace that felt right for my legs. And that’s exactly what I did. Unfortunately this also meant leaving my club runners behind. But I needed to keep the legs turning over at the right pace. 

Within the 1st mile I was so piggin’ happy! It felt like I was back home, on the trails, away from the pavements. Life felt good. I was a little nervous about the trail as this was my 1st proper trail run since spraining my ankle back in early December. Thankfully, all was well. 

The route was a mix of fields, lanes, woodland with a evil Lane just past the Swan with Two Necks (around mile 15?). I hated this Lane last year! This year it felt a lot easier. In fact the whole route felt a lot easier. 

So I carried on plodding along, running with Steve, a fellow TT and Trenthamer. By the time we reached the end of the lane I was feeling good. I knew the end was only about 12 or so km away. I could have quite happily picked up the pace. My legs felt loose, I had energy. But I didn’t pick up the pace.

I carried on running with Steve. If I’d have picked up the pace, I may have ended up running on my own and I certainly wouldn’t have felt good about leaving behind my running partner. So we carried on together. I did run off ahead in the last few hundred metres. I had to have that sprint finish. Never not had one yet. 

And I crossed the line with a time of 5:51 which puts me in around mid-field. 

This wasn’t an easy race. After all its a marathon! It has about 100 stiles and over 2000 feet of gain. But it’s certainly the easiest trail marathon I’ve done. Comparatively flat. And it’s 26.2 miles. Trust me, that’s really unusual for a trail marathon. My last trail marathon was 32 miles  (no it’s not an ultra). So relatively speaking, it’s a nice easy one to do. 

Couple that with the easy pace of 13mm and good cool weather, I finished feeling I could have carried on.

Which was a massive relief.

These last few months I’ve really questioned my running ability. Injuries, illness and sporadic training. I didn’t think I had any endurance in me. But finishing this race fully capable of running more has put a lot of fears to rest. 

I feel more positive about entering my next phase of training in preparation for Lakes in a Day. 

And I’m back on the trails. I intend to stay there.