Tuesday 4 January 2011

A time out from running

Village carol singers
I'm back, from the Yorkshire Dales, after celebrating the Holy birth and welcoming the New Year in some style!  For a period of twelve relaxing days it felt marvellous to be cut off from the world in a tiny village, away from my computer with absolutely no television, just a couple of newspapers and occasional snippets of news on the radio. Carol singers were out with their lamps and lanterns, braving the bitter conditions, harmonizing their voices around the village on Christmas Eve with all monies collected being donated to charity. Being somewhat croaky with the remains of a cold I declined to join them. 
For much of the time we couldn't get out of the village. Although there were Severe Weather warnings we tried  to get to the Ribble Valley 10K race in Lancashire on 27th but ungritted roads were like glass so we returned to the comfort of our warm cottage. It later transpired the race had been cancelled after a milk tanker slid down a hill blocking a bridge part way along the course. 
Christmas dinner
In spite of our lack of activity (no running at all between Christmas Eve and New Years day) we consumed a vast amount of food, though not the traditional Turkey. There are far too many days-worth of meat on a Turkey for our small athletic frames to cope with. And besides, we discovered a couple of years ago we can purchase a fair sized Chicken, a joint of Pork, a joint of Beef rump, lots of streaky bacon and Pigs in Blankets, giving us much more variation, all for less than the price of a Turkey. So we repeated that order again. Amazingly, after consuming a mountain of these calorific goodies and some delectable vintages my weight remained constant, though I dare say the fat/muscle ratio may have changed a little!
Icicles on Rivwr Wharfe at Linton Falls
For the first time in thirty years stretches of the River Wharfe froze from bank to bank. Temperatures dropped to -10ºC creating problems with burst pipes in local houses and farms. Even our Methodist Chapel fell foul of an act of God so our Covenant Service was conducted in perishingly cold conditions. Ironically, it was one of the best attended of the year with insufficient Service Books to go round and more wine having to be sent for half way through Communion!
Hungry Heron by the fish farm
We're normally in Scotland to celebrate New Year but after some tricky experiences with roads and weather last year we reluctantly stayed at home this time. Instead we invited friends around on New Year's Eve for a traditional Scots supper of haggis (suitably saturated with a wee dram of Famous Grouse), tatties and neeps followed by rich Christmas pudding and brandy sauce to hold it down. A somewhat larger dram of single Islay Malt accompanied the midnight chimes amid cries of HAPPY NEW YEAR to us and all our friends. I'm not sure whose idea it was, though possibly mine, it was then decided the New Year might possibly be made even Happier with further applications of that wonderful amber nectar. We retired to bed at half past one, merry as Christmas!  That little session marked the Grande Finale to our festive activities. Nine hours later, after 2011 had dawned dull and grey with an arctic north wind sweeping down from Great Whernside and across the moor, I went out and ran ten miles.
Afterwards, as I climbed onto our new-fangled bathroom scales I learned my weight is exactly the same as it was pre-Christmas, body fat measures 17%, visceral fat 7% and my BMI remains at 22.1  It will be interesting to monitor these figures throughout the year. Ideally, I'd like to get my body fat down to around 13% but that means a lot of running, quite a bit more than the 944 miles I churned out in 2010.
Time for reflection
And here's a final thought for you to ponder as you ease into 2011. A septuagenarian fell running acquaintence, George Arnold of Preston Harriers, was asked by his doctor "Have you been a runner all your life?" George replied "No, not yet!"  I like that. None of us have reached completion yet. We are all 'work in progress' striving towards wholeness and our ultimate goal.  To paraphrase what Paul says in Phillipians 4  v13-14, "One thing I do, forgetting what is behind (in 2010) and straining towards what is ahead (in 2011) I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me". 
A Very Happy New Year to all my fellow Bloggers, readers, and all our loved ones.


  1. Happy New Year to you Runningfox! It sounds like you had a wonderful holiday with tons of yummy food!

    I love your inspiring story about George:) That was a great answer a fantastic attitude to have about running and life! You just keep running, stay healthy and fit and God will take care of you:)

    Holy cow, you have had some very cold weather. It was four below zero here yesterday morning...yikes! January is typically our coldest month but after a week I get used to it:) Stay warm! Take care of yourself and keep smiling!

    I am taking my favorite poem of yours and putting it on 8 by 10 paper. I purchased a nice frame for it so that I can hang it somewhere special:) Thank you again!

  2. Happy New Year!
    I don't often make comments here, not being a runner, but I do enjoy your postings. If I'm half as fit as you when (if) I make it to your age, I'll be delighted. Keep it up, mate!

  3. Great to see you've started 2011 with as good a blogging style as you had in 2010! That comment of George's is just great!

  4. My goodness! That last photo is BREATH-TAKING!!! And thanks for sharing that story. It is never ever too late to start =)