Running last week amounted to a mere 16 miles before I was struck down by a dreaded lurgy on Friday. I'd been running reasonably well until then. On Tuesday I sprang out of bed rarin' to go at 5.20am - long before the alarm clock woke up. After a pre-run coffee I stepped out of the house at sunrise into cold, crisp morning air with a heavy dew on the grass that swished deliciously against my bare legs as I trundled across empty fields up to Castle Hill.
I was rather hoping I'd have completed my routine and on the way home before the arrival of Kaiser, a seven month old spaniel with far too much energy and over whom his owner exercises very little control. He hurls himself at me and nips when I try to push him down - though his mistress refuses to believe that. But she would, wouldn't she? Unfortunately, I'd mis-timed things yet again that morning and before I'd chance to change direction he came bounding across, jumped up and dug his claws into my thigh. It's not often I swear, but I did then! I got home, bleeding, after six miles and went straight to the medicine cupboard for the TCP.
Understandably, I was a bit wary as I jogged along the lane early Wednesday morning. Instead of turning right onto Castle Hill I veered left, downhill, passed through semi darkness under the trees in Mollicar Wood and out onto the horse riding circuit I discovered last week.
Beside the row of logs, set there for jumps, is a broad swathe of white clover that smelt absolutely wonderful as I ran by in the first rays of sunlight. Bees and butterflies were already at work on the enticing flower heads. I struggled up the long hill to Farnley Hey, and sweated even more as I mounted Castle Hill for just one circuit before the downhill run for home.
|Sunrise as I stepped out of the house into the long grass on Tuesday (Click to enlarge)|
|Running the fields just after sunrise (my shadow appears to have gone ahead)|
|That sweet smelling clover beside the jumps|
|View from the equestrian circuit|
The dreaded Kaiser must have gone by the time I arrived, but Duncan was running circuits with his Alsatian on a tight lead. I'd only met him once before and asked why he didn't let his dog off to run free. "Because he hates women, hates men, hates other dogs, hates my mother, hates my brothers.....". "Well, he seems OK with me" I said. "That's because you're dressed like a runner". Oh, I see! I'm reliably informed that a lady walks Castle Hill in the very early mornings with a full blown wolf, imported from Spain, that's helping to control the rabbit population up there. In spite of pre-dawn runs I've yet to meet this wonderful animal. Perhaps it's a ghost.
Wednesday was also the funeral day of my old friend, Clifford Hardy, who'd finally succumbed to the ravages of the dreaded Alzheimers. His hunting, shooting and fishing days are over and I thought it fitting, though apparently quite co-incidental, that his interment should take place on the Glorious Twelfth. In warm, sunny weather there was a good turn-out of mourners, but surprisingly few I recognized from our old drinking days in the long since demolished Castle Hill Inn. R.I.P Clifford. You were a larger than life character who brightened the world and cheered the lives of those you met. Oh, and I'll miss the geese you used to hang in my porch....
|Duncan with Alsatian that hates everything. Wish it would meet Kaiser....|
|R.I.P. old friend|
Thursday's five mile run took longer than usual. My pace was sluggish and in hindsight was probably due to the surreptitious onset of the lurgy that struck next day. Come Friday I'd hardly strength to climb out of bed. After coughing, sweating and sneezing my way through breakfast I informed my wonderful partner there was no way I was going to make it to her place in the Dales that weekend. I was in no fit state to travel, I wouldn't be able to run and I didn't want to infect her with whatever it was I'd got. Actually, it was just a cold, but you know how we men are!
|Path through cornfields on a planned new route|
I still haven't run since Thursday, though I've been on a couple of exploratory walks to suss out a route that will hopefully pass over Castle Hill after the dreaded Kaiser has gone. It's a shame Duncan wont let his Alsatian loose. Better still, that wolf..