Last weeks running amounted to a tough 20 miles with 1,800ft of ascent. I'm not sure why but I was struggling more than usual. Maybe it was the weather for it was rather humid, particularly at the weekend. On Tuesday there was thick mist that rose and fell in a strange sort of way. Initially it filled the valleys, low enough to allow a blood red sunrise for a few minutes. Then it rose and blotted it all out.
|Sunrise over the mist (Click pictures to enlarge)|
On Thursday I set out in mist and returned home in even thicker mist. It was humid too and I'd difficulty panting the few hundred feet up to the Castle without taking a walk or stopping for a breather. Another runner who'd apparently followed me up was collapsed on a seat and barely able to speak when passing him on my second circuit. So it wasn't just me!
|Burnsall 10 mile race route|
Back in the Dales, on Saturday, it was Burnsall Feast Sports and the 10 mile road race. There was a threat of rain, heavy rain, so I refused to go. I'm growing nesh in my dotage! Instead, I waited for runners passing through Hebden and intercepted a couple of them as they passed by.
|Melanie Steventon followed by Sue Straw running through Hebden|
Melissa was the first, a FV40 who finished in 1.45.24. Don Stead, her father, was an old adversary of mine in days gone by and finished only one place and one minute behind me in this race four years ago when I was 1st (and only) V80 in 1.32.04. Melissa's mum, Joan, is a keen Parkrunner.
|Chatting to Melissa Stead|
It was good to see another regular, Antonio Cardinale, plodding round yet again. He was closely followed by the sweeper vehicle but judging by his broad smile that didn't bother him one little bit. He loves this particular race regardless of how long it takes him or where he finishes. I wish I could do that.....
|Antonio Cardinale enjoying his run|
As road races go it's a pretty tough one, uphill from the start with over 1,000ft of ascent spread over its 10 miles. Five runners broke the hour on Saturday, the winner being Thomas Corrigan of Barlick Fell Runners in 55.57. I also wish I could do that!
|Heather up the ghyll|
My wonderful partner was on National Park duty all day Sunday, so I ran alone on a 10 mile circuit round Mossdale. I'd barely run a mile before a friend, David Hoole, caught me up with Nelson, his black Labrador, on a lead. He too was bound for Mossdale and complained that Nelson was slowing him down. Huh, there was no way I could keep up with him.
|Gate into Mossdale|
As I ran up the long wall towards the Mossdale track there was gunfire over to my left. Grouse shooters were out. It wasn't long before David came running back down. Nelson's tail was between his legs and he was trembling, plainly terrified of all the shooting. I always thought Labradors were gun dogs?
|More purple tints|
I carried on, following the track through carpets of heather into an amazing purple landscape. A pair of peregrines circled ahead of me, gradually drifting to where the guns were. I was willing them to come back.
Down in Mossdale the track was flooded after heavy overnight rain. My shoes and socks were soddened, there increased weight probably being the cause of my slowing down. Well, that's my excuse!
|Some of the cows that bawled a welcome|
A herd of cows with lots of calves among them were spread across the path and began bawling noisily as I approached. I kept going and they parted to allow me through. They were still making a heck of a din when I reached a stile where four walkers were looking on nervously.
"You seem to have upset them, is it safe for us to go through?" one asked. "Well, they let me through, even formed a guard of honour" I said, "so I think you'll be OK". I hope to goodness they were for there's no help within miles of that wild place. I ran on.
A row of vehicles near Yarnbury obviously belonged to the shooting party. There was no sign of the guns but dogs barked as I ran past. I'd always believed that grouse shooting was illegal on Sundays, I'll have to check on that.
The beck was in flood as I ran back down the ghyll so my feet got another soaking as I crossed it. By this time I'd been reduced to the slowest of jogs. I blamed the humidity but maybe I was just off form. Soaked with sweat I sprawled on a chair and swigged a whole bottle of chocolate milk until I cooled off.
|Hebden Beck with a fair amount of water|
By the time my wonderful partner arrived home from her duty on Barden Moor an hour later I was looking fairly normal again. But I didn't feel it!
I think I need a holiday....