I climbed onto the scales a week ago and didn't like what I saw. From a reasonable 140.8 lbs I'd soared to 145.2 lbs. The clever monitoring device further told me my body fat percentage had risen from 14.9 to 16.8 and my visceral fat from 7 to 8%. And all because I've hardly run at all over the past few weeks. A couple of visits to my regular Physio appeared to have eased the calf muscle situation a little but the doctor seemed unable to put her finger on my gut problem, a pain that bordered on excruciating in my lower abdomen whenever I exerted myself, e.g. ran.
But it was May Bank Holiday, for goodness sake. Holidays are for enjoyment and how the heck could I enjoy myself if I couldn't run? There was only one answer to the situation - drugs. So, on Friday evening, out came those tiny but effective Voltarol tablets for the first 75mg dose which was washed down with a rather choice vintage. Not to mention a wee dram. This dose was repeated morning and evening for the next three days. The pills I hasten to add, not the alcohol.
|Beside the River Wharfe|
On Saturday morning I couldn't get out of bed quick enough in my anxiety to get into running gear and hit the trail. I chose a 4 mile route that was mainly flat, across fields into Grassington then back along the riverbank. I'd barely gone a mile before a nasty pain shot through the offending Rt calf muscle, as if someone had given me an almighty kick. I dropped to a walk, seething with frustration, then gritted my teeth, said a few unholy words under my breath, then broke into a jog - and sod the consequences. By some miracle the pain went away and by the time I reached the riverbank I was able to put in a few faster bursts, what I call 20's and 30's which refers to the number of times my Rt foot hits the ground. It's my own brand of fartlek. On a good day I'll get up to a hundred then reduce it by ten each time, back down to twenty, getting faster as I come down the ladder. On Saturday I only got up to 50 but I was happy with that.
On Sunday my wonderful partner was patrolling Barden Fell, on Ranger duty in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, so I ran alone - eventually. It didn't stop raining until after lunch so it seemed like I spent the whole morning ramming calories down to later convert into energy. It didn't really work. Gale force wind had me virtually running on the spot all the way up the Ghyll towards Yarnbury then, quite perversely, all the way back. After five miles I fell through the door and slumped onto a chair in a state of total exhaustion. I cannot even remember climbing into bed that night - and it was nothing to do with alcohol!
The weather on May Bank Holiday Monday was diabolical, the holiday hoardes conspicuous by their absence and our local ice cream seller having shut up shop. But our patience was rewarded around 2pm when a hole appeared in the clouds from which nothing was precipitating. We drove round to Yarnbury, parked the car and set off on a 7 mile run around Mossdale. It was a very slow start. My gut was erupting, my breathing became stertorous and I felt weak as a kitten. The first uphill section had me reeling around like someone drunk. I collided with a wall at one stage which prompted my wonderful partner to ask if I wanted to throw in the towel and go back to the car. I didn't. At a welcome downhill section my breathing pattern returned to normal so I was able to carry on at a steady pace. My calf muscle was no bother at all.
|Track from Mossdale - or into Mossdale, depending which way I'm running!|
The snares around the 'stink pit' at Mossdale were exactly as I'd seen them last time I passed several weeks ago, all of them disturbed and unset. The wire on one of them had been cut. It seemed to prove what I've always thought, that our local gamekeeper hardly ever inspects them let alone every 24 hours as he should do by law. The one redeeming factor was that none of them brought me to earth with an almighty bang as they have done on several occasions in the past. It's not much fun when I have to constantly be scanning the ground under my feet rather than gazing at all the wonderful views and wildlife. I wish this gamekeeper would move on. The moor would be a much better, and safer, place to run without him.
I made it back to the car but must confess there were a number of times I had to walk, mainly due to galloping guts ache. But hey, the weekend produced 16 miles of rehabilitating runs. The old legs are beginning to move again albeit not very fast, but I'll work on it, especially when we're savouring our wonderful running circuits in Cornwall during the last two weeks of June.