Monday 9 October 2017

Growing old disgracefully......

     I'm forever telling myself I'm not an old man yet but, judging by the way I sometimes feel, I'm simply deluding myself.  Last Tuesday was one of those days.  I'd got up early and was lacing up my studs while the kettle boiled for a strong mug of coffee.  In spite of secondary glazing I could hear wind racing up and down the Beaufort scale, a noise that should have told any sensible runner to stay low, or stay indoors. Better still, go back to bed.  
I went up Castle Hill..
Another day is born - No 31,322 for me!        (Click to enlarge pictures)
      For the past week I hadn't seen a sunrise.  Every morning had dawned cold, drizzly, cloudy and windy.  But on Tuesday I stepped out the door to a clear sky with a thin rosy glow on the eastern horizon.  And a wall of wind.  As my wonderful partner might tell you, I like wind, particularly if it's warm and gentle.  Whenever I experienced a  'runner's high', that floating out of body phenomenon, it was always windy.  But not like Tuesday. 
I cowered along the hedge side on the run home
As I struggled up the steep flanks I was blown all over the place and frequently forced to a standstill, panting for breath. I reached the summit just as the sun was peeping over the horizon and steadied myself, as best I could, to take a photograph of the dawning day.  I ran to a more sheltered section, behind trees, and took a few more shots of the waking landscape before beating a hasty retreat down the leeward side of the hill to return home by a leafy lane, sneaking between hawthorn and holly bushes where the wind was less likely to find me.  Then I did something I've never done before.  I went back to bed for an hour, feeling somewhat knackered.  But of course, I tell myself, it's nothing whatsoever to do with age.   It was that damn wind...
Autumn tints along the Wharfe as the week got better
On Thursday I sensibly stayed low for a session of 10 faster paced hill reps in the cemetery.  No-one complained!  I felt good, fully recovered from Tuesday's epic and was back home in ½ hour, before sunrise and before my neighbour went to work. 
Saturday was a grotty, wet and windy day in the Dales so, other than a quick visit to the coal shed for reinforcements, I'm afraid we never stirred from our warm cottage.
Skipping along the riverbank 
Sunday dawned sunny and clear, a wonderful autumn day that lured us out for a 6 mile jaunt round Burnsall and Appletreewick.  After holidays in Spain and Portugal it felt wonderful to be back in our old haunts again, despite the somewhat cooler temperature.
Autumn tints near Burnsall
We were not alone.  Cyclists sped along the road in their obligatory lycra, helmets, gloves and goggles.  I sometimes wonder if they ever actually see much of the beautiful countryside through which they travel, or whether they just cycle for cycling's sake?  Anyway, they all looked lean and mean so I suppose it must be good exercise...
Running past Loup Scar
A group of teenagers with huge rucksacks of backpacking gear dawdled along the riverside seemingly clueless as to where they were or which way they were supposed to be going.  They took some convincing their final destination, Barden Bridge, was actually down river and not upstream from whence they'd just come.  They did have a map but none appeared to have a compass.  We took them to be a party of High School kids but it seemed ludicrous they'd been sent out on a multi-day trek without first being taught some basic navigation skills.
So that was the week that was.  Three good runs with 667ft of ascent is surely proof enough I'm not an old man yet....


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Karien, but I'm sure your writings will have inspired many people too....

  2. Whenever I lose my motivation for running I just read one of your blog entries....then I'm SHAMED in to getting out there!

    1. I think I read somewhere you'd started doing early morning runs JJ.
      Sorry if I got you out of bed!

  3. You inspire me too. : )
    Beautiful photos. I love being out early in the morning. I've seen some pretty amazing sunrises my self.

    1. Thanks Karen, and yes, I've seen your amazing sunrise pictures too, and with a rainbow to boot. God is an amazing artist!

  4. I would be happy to 'grow old disgracefully' with your enthusiasm, will power and of course fitness, as they say 'age is just a number'
    Brilliant post again as always, inspiring!!

    1. Thanks Ian, but I wish I could still do the things you do - like that 20 mile Grizzly race where you're going to kick ass next year.... Cheers!

  5. "So that was the week that was."
    Well, it certainly sounded a good week to me as I read your post...
    Loved seeing all of your photographs too.

    All the best Jan

    1. Well yes, the week went rather well - after that lay down on Tuesday! Autumn is a wonderful time of year for photography....
      Have a good week

  6. I always love looking at your beautiful pictures!

    And as far as I'm concerned, if you're still running, you're NOT old! :)

    1. Thanks Barbara. I keep telling myself I'm not an old man yet but my body keeps arguing with me!

  7. I was reminded of your blog when I was flicking back through my own from a few years back. Good to see you're still running. You put me to shame! I'm struggling to get my running rhythm back - but I have high hopes for the next few months with more time on my hands.

    1. A few years back indeed, it's ages since I last saw your name. I'm struggling a bit too in my dotage but still can't resist getting out into wide open spaces, watching glorious sunrises light up the world, hearing birdsong, feeling the wind - and sometimes the rain. But as I said to a lady I ran past this morning, "I'm not sure whether this is doing me any good, or not". Regardless, I enjoy it. And it takes care of all the wine and chocolate!
      Stick at it Bex, hope you get your rhythm back soon.