Sunday 22 January 2012

January gales

In days gone by - out in any conditions
    Due to lashing rain, gale force winds and hardly any proper daylight in the the Pennines, where I live at a height of 650ft, mileage got somewhat reduced this last week. Gone are the days when I'd sally forth in all weathers, bagging Munros, stomping coast to coast across Scotland, camping in snow or front-pointing up near vertical ice in a blizzard on the Ben. It's not just advancing years that's made me soft, mainly I blame it on our local Council for installing gas fired central heating in my exposed north facing home. In wintertime the contrast in temperature on the inside and outside of my front door has to be experienced to be believed. Being on top of a hill my gable end takes the full brunt of westerly gales that do their darndest to lift the roof, roar down the chimney space and sap my energy by keeping me awake for nights on end. That's why I haven't run very much this week.
Angry sky over Castle Hill on Sunday
   Actually, I got out three times for a total of 18 miles and though lacking in quantity I tried to introduce a wee bit of quality, by way of a change! I even wore my Garmin 205 so I could load data onto my computer to find out just what I'd been up to. The results were both surprising and pleasing. I ran the same six mile route on each of three days, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. 
   On the lee side of Castle Hill there is a smooth sandy path that measures around 193m between two wooden posts. On Tuesday I ran 10 intervals between the posts @ an average of 47.4secs, on Thursday 10 @ 47.2secs, and on Sunday 10 @ 45.3secs. Jogging home I always open up between two 'Watch your Speed' signs c.402m apart. On Tuesday my time between the two was 1.42, on Thursday 1.40 and on Sunday 1.32. If my maths are correct (and they usually aren't) my speed sections amounting to 1.42 miles per day tumbled from 6mins 37secs per mile pace on Tueday to 6mins 14secs on Sunday. I'm happy with that, even if it's wrong!
For 'Diane' - R.I.P
   There was a spray of white flowers on Castle Hill in a sheltered recess among the gorse bushes overlooking Hall Bower and the vast sprawl of Huddersfield Town. Being of a curious nature, I Googled our local rag, the 'Examiner', and learnt there'd been a fatal accident on the road below. Two cars driving through sleet and snow had been involved in a nasty head on collision that resulted in the death of one woman, named only as Diane, and severe facial injuries to the lady driver of the other car. Rest in Peace Diane, and a speedy recovery to the other unfortunate lady.
   There are more cheerful flowers. Purple crocuses, trembling white snowdrops and mauve-coloured pom-pom primulas are brightening up odd corners of my garden. Best of all, every time I walk into my kitchen my nostrils are assailed by the intense fragrance of three purple hyacinths that totally over-ride other wonderful smells of freshly baked bread, Italian coffee and herby casseroles. At the moment, between runs, my kitchen is certainly a very nice place to be, and a jolly sight warmer than the weather outside. Maybe I should install a treadmill there!


  1. Well you've done much better than I have! And I'm 20 years your junior so I have no excuse. We've had snow, rain and gale force winds and I admit that I used the weather this week as an excuse not to run. It's shameful, but seeing as how I don't do that too often I'll try not to worry about it.

    Wish I was in your kitchen. I can smell the good smells right across the Atlantic and clear through to the west coast of Canada.

    Have a great week!

    My Running Shortz

  2. I've run every day this year, but it's easy here in the summer. But I would love to be out running in the snow one day just for fun. I think I need a holiday!!!

  3. The combination of gales and rain is no fun to run in. Glad you are enjoying your kitchen at least!

  4. I don't consider you "soft" by any stretch of the imagination! I think you kick some arse!

  5. That Castle Hill photo is magnificent... 18 miles on a easy week - not half bad!

  6. Cold weather is fine. Windy is fine. But the relentless bl***y rain is what's kept me indoors for too long!
    At Holehird gardens, where I'm a volunteer gardener, there's a weather station that records, amongst other things, the hours of sunlight. It is set to record when the light level reaches a threshold that would allow photosynthesis to occur. In December it recorded a mere 2 hours for the entire month - and one and a half of those were recorded on one day!
    Gloom, drizzle, rain. That's my excuse anyway!
    18 miles in a week is fantastic - and your intervals seem pretty darned good too. Good idea to use the Garmin to make things more interesting.