Tuesday 23 October 2012

Whatever happens...let me run

Autumn tints at Burnsall
      Every now and again, for want of something better to do, I flip through my running notebooks and tot up the total mileage amassed since I began running way back in April, 1986. I'm always amazed, or even astounded, at the incredulous figure that comes up. When I began jogging, to hopefully lose a bit of weight and get myself back into shape after three years on the dole, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that in the next 26½ years I'd clock up 35,250 miles. That's 1.4 times round the earth - if I could stick to the equator. It's also 1.2 miles for every day of my life. I've absolutely no idea how many pairs of shoes I've worn out, or at what cost, but there could be a good argument in favour of barefoot running.
Misty morning - fishing for trout by Hebden suspension bridge
      Being long since retired I've maybe got too much time on my hands, which causes me to delve into phenomena I wouldn't otherwise entertain - like biocharts. I've always regarded them as a load of bunkum but a short study of mine the other day came up with some interesting data. For instance, a couple of those bad runs I mentioned in recent Blog postings occurred on so-called critical days of the physical cycle when I'd have been better off staying in bed. Conversely, some of my better runs occurred during the plus side of the cycle, days 2 - 11 when physical work is said to be easier. Last week's activities all took place in the 'recuperative' or recharging state (days 13 - 23) when exercise can apparently cause tiredness.  Ah, so that's what it is.  All this sleepiness is nothing at all to do with my eighty and a bit years, just that I'm doing things on all the wrong days!
The nifty Nederlanders, Theo and Stefan
      Last week was a wonderful time for running, or anything else. Red, russet and gold tints, woodland aromas, misty mornings, frosty filigree on plants and trees, robins returning to gardens for winter hand-outs, spider's webs like beaded netting, holly berries and strings of gossamer were all part of another 22 glorious miles. With my mind thus pre-occupied with this annual unfolding pageant running was easy. The watch was totally forgotten as legs and body surreptitiously adjusted to their optimum rhythms as I jogged through a kaleidoscope of abstract colour. All very relaxing - regardless of what the biochart would have me believe. And as if to verify this statement, my resting heart rate has dipped to 38bpm. Perfect.
Theo and me by the River Wharfe approaching Appletreewick
      Mostly, I run alone, engrossed in my own thoughts, stopping every now and then to point my camera at striking features along the way, but yesterday I was accompanied along the riverbank by a couple of nifty Nederlanders, my friends Theo and Stefan, who are regular visitors to the Yorkshire Dales. Theo has dodgy deteriorating eyesight (a bit like mine!) so I was a little worried about the many hazards lurking under the carpet of fallen leaves, like protruding rocks, tree roots and suchlike, but he took his time, lifted his feet and thoroughly enjoyed our relaxed canter to Appletreewick and back. Maybe it was a bit too relaxed for the younger Stefan whose 'Runkeeper' was shouting at him to go faster, faster, but we took no notice of the over enthusiastic gadget!  It was good to have company, for a change, and look forward to their next visit - especially if they bring another packet of those rather nice biscuits!
Stefan and Theo running the Autumn riverbank
      All in all, it's been another great week and, let's face it, each one is a bonus at my time of life. I dread the day I can no longer go out and enjoy such things. To reiterate a phrase I came across in one of my midweek readings, written maybe 28 centuries ago: "Whatever happens.....let me run"  (2 Samuel, Chap 18, v23 - NKJV). I can empathize with that young son of Zadok the Priest but for vastly different reasons - except one: his apparent desire to outrun that guy who set off before him. We've something in common there!


  1. I also started running back in 1986, with my first road race (wait for it) of 748 (so go with the 118 trail races and the I don't know how many cross country and track races I've done. total mile a little over 57000... But all I really want to do is to still be running at your age!!!

  2. Beautiful pictures . The colour of the leaves must be the best thing about this season, especially when it's so wet. May you have many more years to enjoy the great British countryside!

  3. He only needs a pathway above the ocean, and he would have traveled the world! Those are some amazing miles. Makes me want to peek at my own charts, but I know i am a few 10 thousands behind you.
    Glad you and your friends were able to get out and enjoy a beautiful fall day despite the pace babysitter :)
    I am sure you have more than a few good runs in you to work on that 5k, but the trails have plenty of satisfaction in them too.

  4. Hi Gordon! Just thought I'd let you know that I'm closing My Running Shortz. Gonna miss it, but I teach full-time, have a teacher's blog and also a design blog. And while I like to pretend I'm some kind of super girl, I'm realizing there's no way I can do it all:) But I didn't want you to think again that I was kicking you out of my blog when you find you can't get in. Ha ha. So just giving you a heads-up. I'm going to keep dropping in on your blog, though, cause I love your pics and sense of humour! So when you see the signature below, you'll know who I am. Take care!

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

    PS I haven't quit running. I want to run 'til I'm well into my 80s and beyond, JUST LIKE YOU:)