Monday 6 March 2017

A hard week....

      I'm becoming an old stick in the mud - literally.
In thirty years of running I don't think I've ever known the land so waterlogged or ever seen so much mud.  Each time I return from a run much of my gear goes straight into the washer and I vow and declare I wont repeat those X-country routes again until the land dries out.
Waterlogged, but wonderful on Thursday's dawn run  (Click to enlarge)
      But of course I do, because they're my favourite haunts, for birds that serenade me with their Springtime choruses, for horses I say hello to, for flaring sunrises and panoramic views across wild landscapes.  And, on Sunday, the noise of countless frogs performing their annual piggy-backs in a favourite pond up the ghyll. The pros outweigh the cons. Most of the time.
Good morning Crow
      Weather last week was largely better than forecast and I took full advantage of it, running on five days rather than the usual four.  It was a mistake.  After a sleepless night on Saturday (hyperactive brain) getting up at 6am for a freezing run round Grimwith brought on bouts of vertigo and flashing lights (of a bright purple hue) that didn't disperse until early afternoon.
Note to self: running 19 miles on four consecutive days with over 1,800ft of ascent, after hardly any sleep, is maybe not a very good idea approaching ones 85th birthday.
Setting out on Saturday's run
      Calm, clear mornings lured me out for three hill sessions during the week.  It was nice to note rabbits returning to their stamping grounds and local crows have grown so used to my circuits they've become totally unafraid.  Wise birds, crows.
High in the clear air
      A man whose dog took umbrage to my running said it was because of the head band I was wearing.  She doesn't like red.
Years ago a woman's vicious dog that attacked me said it was because of the red stripe down my tracksters. "He thinks you're a postman" she said.  It's a pity my favourite colour just happens to be red.
Then down the long wall
      Probably due to all the mud there haven't been as many dog walkers for runners to cope with recently.  A field below the Castle where four horses were clustered around what appeared to be an empty feeder is rapidly changing from green to brown.
Forlorn horses
One poor horse, sunk to its knees in mud, appeared to have lost a foot in height.  Enough to give it an equine inferiority complex.
Another squishy bit descending to the ghyll
      Further north, in limestone country, many parts of the Yorkshire Dales are normally a pleasure to run, water percolating through the porous landscape to leave relatively dry trails.
Not so this year.
Clear, calm and 3º on Sunday's run
Well trodden tourist paths along river banks, or parts of the Grimwith reservoir circuit, are in a disgusting state, ankle deep quagmires of inescapable filth.
The irresistible beauty of Grimwith
      One of my friends, Dave Watson, escapes such horrors by running circuits of our local cemetery, a training session enabling him to run 16 minute 5K's and win many of Huddersfield's Parkruns.
Maybe I should join him.


  1. Lovely post, great photos, glad it's not just muddy down here! 19 miles in such few days, 1800 ft! Great result, respect, especially your early morning forays.

    1. Thanks Ian. I hadn't slept much all week and that's what had me reeling on Sunday. Otherwise mileage wouldn't have been a problem.
      Regardless, still can't resist getting out there. This morning's sunrise was out of this world - so to speak!

  2. So do you join your friend Dave for the training or the Park run?
    so you ask if I'll still be racing at 85? that is a good question, and I would like the answer to be YES, but it would really depend on what races there were that excited me...

    1. No, I certainly wont be joining Dave, except when he stops for a friendly chat. I'm happy with my steady plods. Racing hurts.
      Did you do that race last weekend? If so, how did it go?
      All the best to you.....

    2. I like hurting and while I had planned on just running steady at the race the other weekend that didn't happen!
      I went out hard (for 100m) to take the lead... that didn't last long as the kids came flying past... I settled into a nice pace with the lead lady ahead and the 2nd 40+ guy on her tail. I didn't plan on racing but... the trails were easy and i just had to go. I ran them down and found myself in 8th place (2nd 40+) on my own with 20km still to run.

      The ladies lead had changed hands and I could see them hunting me down (I know the 2 ladies in question. The gap was 30 sec, and if the race had stayed flat they would have had me... but I was saved by the hills as I pulled away. I was hoping the lead group would fade, but no... I was working well and while running hard I wasn't still within myself. with 5km to go we pass the finish area... I had one aim, to still be running well over those last km and yes the body held out well and I was still running at the end.
      over the 25km I was only 10min off the win, so I would say give me a couple of months and I can cut that down to 5... (always dreaming)

      It was a good run and I got an invite to a 3 day 90km race because of it... that should be fun.

    3. Thanks for that Coach, I was dying to know how you went on and it seems all went well. I'm pleased for you and so glad your body stood up well to the pressures of racing. Wish I was young again! I have wonderful memories of racing days.
      I don't think I ever 'liked' hurting but had a high pain threshold I could maintain over marathon distances or long fell races. One has to have when losing is not an option! Unfortunately that threshold lowers as you get older.
      Anyhow, well done Coach on a brilliant restart and hope the prizes come rolling in. Cheers!

  3. 1. Last 2 photos would make great puzzle pictures, the kind people could see more and more details. What is the structure in the water that connects to the shore?
    2. If you get hay or straw from farmers and throw it onto muddy sections, a little at each time, the path will get less likely to turn to bog in wet weather. Sometimes farmers have old, moldy bales that cannot be fed to the animals, and might give it too you for free.

    1. 1. So far as I'm aware the 'structure' you refer to contains a turbine that generates energy as water flows through the outflow into the River Dibb.
      2. Your second suggestion would be quite impractical, carrying mulch high into the hills where we run and littering the landscape. Besides, at our time of life we've all on carrying ourselves!

  4. Great challenge through those muddy paths, Running Fox.
    I was interested in your pictures of Scotland's wild landscape.

    1. Great to hear from you again Giorgio. Nice to know you're still running - and joined a running club!
      Stick at it. Ciao

  5. Fabulous photographs again, a joy to look at.

    Although I'm not a runner ... I was out earlier today enjoying some Spring like weather and a good walk!
    Came home to a very welcome cuppa!

    Enjoy the rest of the week

    All the best Jan

    1. I used a new camera last week Jan and haven't quite got used to it yet. But I'm learning.
      I was out running before 6.30 today. A wild sunrise and a bit windy, but getting warmer. I have chocolate milk when I get home, then strong coffee at breakfast time.
      Today's Spring weather brought on a bout of gardening, that necessary evil!
      Cheers for now.