Last week began with one of my regular five mile circuits run at a fairly sedate pace around Farnley Hey and Castle Hill, through waving woods and fields where harvesters were at work threshing the ripe, golden corn. With goodness knows how many hundreds of feet of ascent along this Pennine route, some of it steeper than 1 in 4, I've little option than to run at a sedate pace, though I always finish up feeling a little disgusted with myself, thinking a man of my experience really should do better! Tuesday's effort took all of 55 minutes.
The following day I made up my mind to run it faster and to assist in my quest decided to enlist the help of my Garmin 'Virtual Partner', a facility I've never yet used. After setting my watch for 53½ minutes I pressed 'Start' but no Virtual Partner appeared to set the pace for me. Possibly he realised how arduous it was going to be and refused to run it with me! Oh well, I'd set off, the countdown had begun, so I wasn't going to stop and fiddle around to see where he/she had got to. (I really must give my Virtual Partner a name, like Freddie, or Paula, someone I can chivvy when they're getting behind). I plodded round, retracing my steps of the previous day, and finished in a time of 53.13 - 17 seconds inside my target. I was happy with that.
|Miner's bridge over Hebden beck|
Thursday was declared a day of rest, mainly because it was chucking it down and I don't mind admitting at my time of life I'm very much a fair weather runner. But on Friday, for the very first time this year, I reckoned it was time for a bit of Track work. Whatever brought that on you may ask? Well, I'll tell you what brought that on. While studying the results and statistics from the previous week's Park Run it came to my notice that two people have deigned to get ahead of me in the overall Age-Graded League table. Being of a competitive nature I decided to do something about it and make the top of that League Table my very next goal. That should keep me motivated!
Based on my 5K time of 24.36 my optimal speed for 400m intervals is 1.46 - according to the McMillan Calculator - so, after a mile warm-up I ran 8 x 400m with 200m jog recovery. In a mile warm-down I incorporated half a dozen wind sprints to reintroduce my old legs to more intense speedwork. The whole session took 54 minutes, a good workout which, if I can repeat it a few more times, should produce a PB at my next Park Run. Well, that's the plan!
It chucked it down again on Saturday which gave me another nice excuse for a rest. After Church on Sunday I went for a ten mile run into the wilds of Mossdale. You might call it my other Church for many of these solitary runs trigger a rich spiritual experience. I ran past cushions of trembling harebells in Hebden Ghyll, over the old Miner's bridge and up to the heathery heights of Grassington Moor, scattering the day-feeding rabbits that fled to safety in nearby rocks. A late curlew called a plaintive goodbye as he sailed across the purple landscape, no doubt bound for coastal feeding grounds where he'll spend the winter. Most of his friends left ages ago.
A solitary walker enquired the way to Middlesmoor. I directed him as best I could but couldn't help thinking he shouldn't be wandering in such a remote area unless he carried the relevant map, and a compass, and knew how to use them. In which case, he wouldn't need to be asking me!
Leaving Mossdale I slowed a little over Kelber pasture so as not to spook a great herd of cows that became a little agitated when their calves started carreering about at my approach.
|Mimulus in Hebden beck|
Two equestrian ladies rode past, one of whom was quite well proportioned compared to the size of her horse, a scene that invoked an involuntary chuckle as a Thelwell drawing sprung to mind.
Sheep at High Garnshaw scuttled away noisily as I bumbled past. It's so long since I passed that way they must have forgotten who I am. Hopefully, they'll get used to me again and hardly turn their heads.
My legs still felt strong as I trundled back down the ghyll, racing the chattering beck bright with yellow mimulus, down to the bridge, and home. All in all, it was a pretty good week with another 25 solid miles into the old legs.