Monday 19 August 2013

Fartleking about.....

......that's what t'owd fella was doing last week. Or maybe it's just a euphamism for being lazy and taking it
Small tortoiseshell on buddleia
easy. Common sense tells me that after the RunSunday event I should have rested for more than just one day, but I've never been very good at resting. So out I went last Tuesday, mixing it up - running a bit (on the flat), walking a bit (mainly uphill), sprinting a bit (love the feeling of speed) then maybe jogging a bit to get my breath back. Before I knew it I'd covered over 5 miles and sweat was dripping from me in the humid conditions. Back home a bottle of cold High 5 mixture went down a treat as I sat watching a small cloud of peacock, painted lady, white and tortoiseshell butterflies fluttering around the garden and feeding on the buddleia. Most enjoyable. So much so I repeated the session on Thursday, enjoyed it just as much and decided I ought to fartlek about a bit more often!
Caroline and Julie
Sometime on Friday I happened to log in to a running forum and the word 'Grassington' jumped out and hit me in the face. As it's only 1½ miles down the road from my weekend retreat I wanted to know what was happening and learned that 'LittleMissSmiley' was planning to run from there with three other forumites the following day, none of whom I'd ever met. It was only after I'd cheekily invited myself along, whether they wanted me or not, that 'Fattofit' sent a copy of their planned route.  Drat, it was all on roads. I don't do roads and wondered whether to hastily uninvite myself using some fabricated excuse - the dog's eaten one of my shoes and we've got to take him to the Vet. But we haven't got a dog and I couldn't think of anything else so decided I'd better go along.
   I'd been informed what time they'd be passing through our village and
Dan and John - the likely lads...
sure enough, at the appointed hour, four figures came galloping into view, two six foot likely lads leading the way and two charming ladies bringing up the rear. With a minimum of pleasantries I tucked in behind them at the foot of a rather steep hill, 225ft inside ½ mile, and pleaded with them "be gentle with me up here".  And very gentle they turned out to be, so much so I amazingly found myself with enough breath for some introductory talk. Though they looked rather similar I could soon differentiate between Dan and John.  'LittleMissSmiley' had become Caroline, though still very much resembling the former, whilst Julie, her friend, in no way resembled the first bit of her Forum name, 'Fattofit', so the transition had obviously been successful.

Mushrooms - straight from the field....
It was wonderful to be running with different people. Dan and John kept introducing bits of speedwork. Once when they sprinted past on a steepish incline I tucked in behind them for 150m or so, just to see if I could stay with them. I did, but felt a slight twinge in my left calf muscle so didn't go after them again. Trouble was, not having any road shoes I was wearing minimalist low drop trail shoes with no cushioning, shoes that weren't at all suitable for running on tarmac. But I couldn't help thinking how good it would be to have training partners like Dan and John to really stretch my old legs and help me reach my full potential - again - but only if I was wearing the right shoes. We parted company after 4 miles, them with three more miles to run to Grassington and me with just another mile back home across the fields. We'd all enjoyed putting faces to names and indulging in our common interest, so much so there might even be a repeat performance! To round off the day I went out and collected a nice bag of field mushrooms which my wonderful partner fried in butter with lashings of garlic to eat as a 'starter'. Good job that was after our earlier run or my new found friends might never have come near me again.
   For next day I'd planned a 10 mile circuit around Mossdale, one of my favourite wild haunts. I was about
Wild garden - heather at its purple best on Grassington Moor....
to set off when the heavens opened - though the forecast had said it would be mainly sunny. I fixed another cup of coffee and made myself comfortable until the perishing forecast sorted itself out. It was 11am before the sun played peepo again, at which point I strapped on my bumbag and set off up the ghyll. Grouse shooting had begun 6 days earlier, on the so-called Glorious Twelfth, and a sizeable shooting party and their dogs had gathered on the moor, right beside where I was running. "We'll give you a head start" one of them shouted. That was good of them, wasn't it?  After a reasonable distance I phoned my wonderful partner, who just happened to be on National Park duty on that very same moor, to inform her I thought 'Harvey's lot' were breaking the law by shooting on a Sunday. I thought she might want to go and sort them out but she declined, not wishing to mess with 'that lot' who seem to be a law unto themselves. Her fellow Ranger suggested they might ask them to keep their dogs on a lead - which I thought was hilarious!  I carried on, sloshing into the jaws of Mossdale, past all the inquisitive beasties and out the other side. 

Where I love to run - the track into Mossdale
   Two elderly walkers held the gate open for me. "Are you practicing for the Fellsman" the gentleman asked. "No, no, just amusing myself" I said.  "Looks more like abusing yourself to me" was his cheeky reply. Fortunately there's no law against wit on a Sunday, which is just as well.  Later that evening I was in Church - recovering and re-charging my batteries. Our Minister, Rev Janet Clasper, had based her sermon on Hebrews 11, v32. 'And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, David and Samuel.....'.
Looking round at us all she launched into her theme... "What do we know about Gideon...... and what do we know about Barak?" she asked. And I was sat there thinking "Well, Gideon and his gang went around sneaking Bibles into hotel bedrooms and Barak became President of the United States".  Ooh, er, I'd better shut up before I'm excommunicated. I've just remembered, her husband sometimes reads my Blog....


  1. Looks nice and summy out there, running in the evening here it's still cold. I wish I could run while the winter sun is out, looks like you were enjoying you run through the countryside.

  2. Ha ha, I'm glad your dog didn't eat your shoe! :-)

  3. Fair play to you, you are clocking good miles. I enjoyed some mushrooms in butter myself recently - gorgeous carry on as we might say around here!