Talk about winding down for the festive season, I did so little in the early part of last week that I may as well have stayed in bed! Apathy (which I'm neither for nor against!) plus some diabolical weather resulted in just two entries in my running diary amounting to a pathetic nine miles, the lowest since an enforced rest with a broken rib fourteen months ago. Tuesday's planned 5 mile tempo got shortened to a bumbly 3 miles of scary running over frosted pavements and trails. It was one of those days when there was insufficient ice to wear Yaktrax but a little too slippy in places for safety. As I'm very prone to falling (I can even fall off my own doorstep) I erred on the side of caution, what with Christmas coming up and a booked holiday early in the New Year.
|Route and course profile
By the time I'd got round to thinking about running on Thursday the day had deteriorated from sunny and cold when I walked to the village in the morning to thick freezing fog an hour later. I decided that keeping warm and reading a book was the better option. Friday was diabolical. Overnight drizzle had frozen into treacherous black ice causing chaos on the roads and an abundance of extra work for Accident and Emergency Units. I didn't even venture across the garden path to put bread on the wall for the birds but flung it onto the lawn from the safety of the porch. Since acquiring a bread maker the birds have benefited greatly. My loaves rise so much that full slices wont fit into the toaster so friendly blackbirds, robins and dunnocks thank me for the excess. If greedy magpies haven't got there first!
|L65 category winner, at the prize-giving.......
It wasn't until Sunday that the weather relented and gave us a decent day for running, which was just as well because we'd entered a local race - the Traveller's 6 - that started and finished at the Denby Dale Pie Hall. The hall was built using funds from the sale of a giant meat pie back in 1964. Altogether, eleven of these giant pies have been baked, the first one in 1788 to celebrate George 111's recovery from mental illness! One baked in the year 2000 to celebrate the millennium reputedly weighed an incredible 12 tonnes. The latest, baked earlier this year, weighed a mere 3 tonnes and supposedly copied the exotic recipe of the original one. I'd have loved a plateful of that. There were no such delicacies on offer for Sunday's race but there were masses of other culinary delights piled on a hall full of tables to feed ravenous runners as they staggered back from the hills. It was a gradely do, all for a nominal race entry fee of £6.00, but blimey, we'd to work hard for it.
|....and an 80 year old fun runner.
The route is officially described as 'challenging' which for us decrepit old wrinklies can better be interpreted as bl...y hard! A local runner was mortifying a visitor by telling him it had eleven climbs along its 6 mile length. Thankfully my little brain translated that as eleven enjoyable downhills. I positioned myself at the back of the start line-up and set off at a comfortable pace, undulating uphill for about 1½ miles before I could take a short breather. It seemed an awful long way to the 2 mile marker which I passed in 20.03. The third mile went by in 8.52 but a steep climb to the fourth mile, and beyond, actually reduced me to a walk for a short distance resulting in a slow 9.48. An unattached runner, Karen Thrippleton, had unknowingly become my pace maker for most of the race. We'd been side by side in the early stages but she'd opened a slight gap towards the end and crossed the line 6 secs ahead of me. And unbeknown to me a 76 year old orienteering acquaintance, galloping Guy Goodair, was tracking me down and closing the gap behind, but I managed to hold him off by 9 secs to finish in 58.08 - 173rd of 202 finishers. Full results here:
I was happy to finish in under an hour considering my Garmins 552ft of ascent and 6.10 miles (878ft and 6.23 miles according to Anquet) but a little puzzled regarding the strange distribution of Vets prizes. My wonderful partner was lucky enough to be awarded a rather nice New Zealand white wine (though we've no idea why) whilst male veterans pre-entered in the upper age categories apparently just ran for fun and don't qualify for prizes at Denby Dale.
Ah well, Father Christmas will soon be here!