Tuesday 16 July 2013

Preparing for another 10K....

   With another 10K race looming on the horizon next Sunday, at Bentham in North Yorkshire, I'd every intention of taking things easy last week to
Sun worshippers by the River Wharfe
conserve the old energy levels and hopefully be rarin' to go when lining up for the Start. The week began steadily enough with a 4 mile riverbank run to ease any stiffness out of my legs from the previous day's race at Kilburn. Three days later I enjoyed an undulating circuit through fields and woods culminating with a few fast repetitions across my local cricket field to round things up to 6 miles. With temperatures hovering between 22 and 24º Celsius, conditions were absolutely ideal so I was able to run topless and feel the welcome sun caressing my body. Love it!

Undulating trail to Middleton Moor
Then came Saturday. My wonderful partner was anxious to suss out a nine mile route through some unknown terrain in the Ilkley area where she'll be leading a party of walkers in the not too distant future. We decided to jog/walk the route together and memorise the details. I'd estimated it would take no more than a couple of hours - so no need to take any food or water; we'd be back home in time for a late lunch. Ha ha! 'Best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley' - as that other bard said. And he was right. We actually made very good time running up onto Middleton Moor from Ilkley Lido where we'd parked the car. So good, in fact, that we hadn't realised we'd overshot our planned left turn and reached a remarkably similar left turn that mysteriously disappeared into the bog cotton after a few hundred yards. We knew for a fact our planned route continued over the moor on a perfectly good trail, so where had it gone? Even more confusing, the wrong turning we'd arrived at had exactly the same compass bearing as the one we were looking for. After much wasted time, and several failed attempts to locate a path, we agreed to retrace our steps - if necessary straight back to Ilkley and call it a day. We ran downhill, scattering the sheep and a few young grouse that had hardly learnt to fly and weren't quite sure what to do until, lo and behold, after half a mile, there was the trail we wanted, running exactly where it was supposed to do, across Long Ridge to Moor End Farm.
   My wonderful partner, a very wise lady, had sneaked half a dozen jelly babies and 350ml of juice into her
Maybe this will point us in the right direction........
bumbag - and that's what we had for lunch! Except it was already well past lunchtime, the sun had climbed to its zenith, there was absolutely no shade across the moor and the temperature had soared to around 29º.  I love running in the sun but in these blazing conditions, with little or no nourishment, it became a bit too much and I'm afraid I got a little bit ratty. (On hearing about this, our good neighbour remarked "You'll be having a heart attack doing things like that at your age, then what will you do?". I joked that having long since passed my three score years and ten I'm living on bonus years, so what does it matter?).
Count me out.....
After leaving the moor we fortuitously reached a well worn trail alongside sheltering trees which we followed into the valley to pick up a signed footpath, the Dales Way, running by the River Wharfe into Ilkley. The soaring temperature had brought out thousands of sun worshippers, men, women and children, who lounged along the river bank or splashed around in the cooling water. It would be interesting to know how many years it is since they were last able to do this? We drove home. I hammered on the back door of our village shop, risking the wrath of very protective dogs, and explained my thirsty predicament to 'our Linda'. After a short lecture about the stupidity of what we'd done I was allowed into the shop to raid her fridge for two wonderful cans of ice cold Stella. I took them into the garden for some blissful relaxation, watching the flowers grow, listening to summer swallows twittering on the telephone wires, swifts screaming around the roof tops at great speed and obese bumble bees buzzing in and out of the foxgloves.  Utter contentment - and hopefully ideal preparation for next Sunday's race. Watch this space!


  1. I'm still running without a shirt on, but I can tell you it is antthing but warm here. What I would do for a bit of sun to enjoy!

    Good luck for the race on Sunday, I think I also am down to run a 10km this weekend.

  2. Enjoy the wonderful weather you're having and good luck for Sunday!

  3. Stella...what more could a tired man ask for? Don't forget her after your 10k.

  4. I think I would be the cause of the accident rate soaring in Dumfriesshire, never mind the temperatures, if I ran without my shirt!