Monday 12 December 2016

Back on the trail......

      After five days without running a single step guilt was setting in.  By weekend I just had to get out the door and register a few miles regardless of what my bloodshot eye or stitched up hole in the head thought about it.  The hills were calling.
Bloodshot eye and a hole in the head   (Click pictures to enlarge)
      Saturday was a nondescript day. No sunshine, no wind, no rain, lots of mud, a bit hazy, no flowers to cheer us on our way and, other than the call of an occasional cock grouse, not a sound to be heard as we toiled hundreds of feet up the ghyll to the high point in Moor Lane. 
Reaching the high point up Moor Lane
      Running towards Grassington we encountered signs of civilisation; first a lady with Jack Russells that seemed intent on tearing my leg off as I launched in to a fast half mile, then strains of music floating up from the Dickensian festival taking place in the village far below.
Yay, it's downhill from here...
      The dogs maybe accounted for my 6.28 min/mile pace in that fast ½ mile but to be honest it was also downhill, steeply towards the end.
Can't avoid uphills in the Yorkshire Dales
  We arrived home muddied but thankfully not bloodied after a strenuous 6 miles with 644ft of ascent.
Dawn breaking over Grimwith
      My wonderful partner did not thank me for hauling her out of bed before dawn on Sunday to do the Grimwith run.  But Saturday night had been beautiful as we walked home from a friend's house in glorious moonlight with lots of stars.  We'd anticipated a clear sunrise to enhance our morning run but awoke to thick cloud and a slight drizzle.  Not unexpectedly, the car park at Grimwith was deserted with not even an odd cock pheasant to greet us. We assumed their stock had been decimated by the Christmas shoot.
Only wish that woman yesterday had kept her dogs on a lead!
      Greylags roosting on the rocky shore bugled to life as we ran past them into a cold westerly wind.  By contrast my wonderful partner was singing a little moany song, clearly not liking the head on fight with the elements.
      A lone roe deer darted across the track ahead of us, cleared the fence and disappeared into the wood by Gateup Ghyll.
Waves crashing onto the shore at the eastern end
      The sky turned an angry yellow in the half light. The soughing wind tore across the water, creating waves that crashed onto the eastern shore by the old thatched hut. A little cloud of ducks, probably teal, flew low over the waves making no sound that could identify them.
Early morning activity at the boatyard
      As we mounted the hill to complete our run cars were arriving at the boatyard and one chap was already pushing his dinghy towards the water..  His fun was just beginning as we headed home for porridge and coffee, 
our mission accomplished. 

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Bad news and good news......

    This is going to be short for, truth be known, I'm a little under the weather after a couple of traumatic experiences this week.  First was another of those nasty steroid injections into my Rt eye on Monday to reduce the lasting inflammation. It may not be wise to run with triamcinolone crystals shaking around in there at the moment, but I should be flying by weekend!
The second is a stitched up hole in my head as a result of a biopsy on Tuesday to identify a rash of itchy little lumps my dentist became concerned about, advising me to have them checked out.
I'll know the results on December 22nd.  Hopefully.
Selfie taken on a sunrise run last week, at -4ÂșC    (Click to enlarge)
    I've kept having to remind myself that Christmas is only spitting distance away, but I reckon it finally sunk home when cards started plopping through my letter box.   Stamps, cards. wrapping paper, tags, shiny ribbon, sellotape - and presents - have all been purchased and work has begun on the onerous task of dispatching things to their various destinations. 
    Among today's batch of cards was a letter that cheered me up no end, proving just the tonic I needed to dispel much of the gloom that's overshadowed the last two days.  It was from Charmian Heaton of the Fell Runners Association telling me I'd been granted Honorary Membership of that esteemed organisation.
Three times winner of this rose bowl in the Three Peaks of Yorkshire race
    In my short racing career I competed on roads, track, X-country and fells, giving a good account of myself in all disciplines. But should anyone ask me which was my favourite my answer would always be the fells.  
    The Three Peaks was one race I felt I had to run when pulling on a pair of studs for the first time at the tender age of 54.  And run it I did.  Indeed, I rate my finest racing achievements as having my name engraved on the Clayton-le-Moors rose bowl three times as winner of the MV60 race.  Seven marathon wins pale to insignificance.
Another thing that came in the post yesterday to cheer me up was the amazing 'Storytime' DVD by the Swedish heavy metal band, Nightwish.  I played it throughout, volume turned high, my eyes glued to the screen, and went to bed feeling 50 years younger. Here's a sample track
Time to go, more presents to wrap.  I may or may not be here next week....