It rained on both weekday mornings when I stepped out the door for my dawn runs. It was fine when the alarm went off at 6.15 Thursday but by the time I'd made coffee and donned my fell shoes the heavens were starting to open. I changed back into trail shoes, donned a hat and jogged down to the cemetery for a few short but fast hill reps, thinking I'd be back in ½ hour.
|The nearest I got to Church last weekend...... (Click to enlarge)|
Not surprisingly, as soon as the rain realized it had failed to send me back to bed, it stopped, leaving me to enjoy an extended session with the world to myself. Well, almost. As I launched into my third rep an urban fox shot across my path and disappeared among the tombstones. I suspected it might be holed up in one of the many collapsed graves and wondered whether there'd be cubs to brighten up my runs in the Spring?
|......but this was a good substitute|
With 3 miles and 15 reps under my belt I jogged home a happy man to enjoy an extra glass of double chocolate milk to boost the protein levels. Come Friday, when my wonderful partner arrived, I'd been suffering for almost 2 weeks with a painful blister pushing out from under my Rt thumb nail (don't ask!). "Get yourself down to the chemist and see if they can do anything about it" she ordered. So I did, although it was already late afternoon..
|The path to Linton Church|
"I'm very sorry" said the young lady pharmacist "but it's badly infected. Just look, it's gone yellow at the end. It needs an antibiotic and I can't give you that without a prescription".
"Oh spit" (or words to that effect) I said, and stormed out of the chemist thinking I wouldn't get sorted till the following week. But lo and behold I was back again ½ hour later, all smiles, after a sympathetic doctor (or someone unseen behind closed doors at the Surgery) had kindly signed a prescription for a week's supply of Flucloxacillin 500mg capsules.
Although the enclosed leaflet said 250mg was the normal dose and warned people over 50 to have words with their doctor before taking them, I happily swallowed 2 before going to bed, hoping they'd alleviate the pain I'd been suffering for the last fortnight. We double checked the leaflet for any warnings about washing them down with alcohol and were pleased to note we couldn't find any. After all, it was Friday!
|Chestnuts along the River Wharfe|
I'd already taken 4 (one every 6 hours) prior to Saturday's run and, to be honest, was feeling a bit wobbly as we set off through saturated fields towards Grassington. I blamed the chicken we'd eaten, in a Cabernet Sauvignon wine, part of a £10 meal for two from Tesco's where they give people an extra bottle of wine in case there isn't enough in the main dish!You can't trust chicken!
My wonderful partner sensibly suggested we cut our run short, from 5 miles down to 4, and hopefully get back home before I keeled over. So we did, and I didn't. I was glad I hadn't succumbed to that nasty little demon that tried to push me over and shouted at me to turn back. The air was crisp and invigorating while the sun shone from a cloudless sky, enhancing all the fantastic autumn tints as we ran beside the horse chestnuts lining the riverbank.
|"Stand under that tree" she said|
Oh, and I was wearing my brand new TomTom runner 3 GPS watch, an amazing piece of kit that measures heart rate at the wrist without having to wear one of those uncomfortable chest straps. From a resting heart rate of 42 I managed to get it up to 138 while running which prompted my watch to instruct me to take it easy as I'm already fitter than most men of my age. Only 'most'?
|Sun on the hills back o' Grimwith|
It syncs all the data to my phone along with maps of routes and a little man who whizzes round registering pace and heart rates at any given point. He seems a lot quicker than me! Also, when I got home today and switched on the computer all the TomTom data had mysteriously appeared on there too. Something to do with Bluetooth, I'm told, which is all very confusing to my 85 year old brain. I've enough with my yellow thumb...
|Well wrapped up for a frosty run|
The silvery light of a full moon, a hooting owl and white frost greeted us as we slid out of bed for a dawn run round Grimwith reservoir on Sunday. There was a pinging noise and a frost warning popped up on the car dashboard as we set off up the road in breaking light. Hundreds of partridges and pheasants scattered ahead of us. We'd have run over them if we hadn't slowed.
|Sun's up - thank goodness|
As the moon sank in the west the sun rose in the east, lighting the hill tops around us with exaggerated redness that within minutes had flooded the entire landscape and tinted the reservoir till mallard were swimming in blood.
|Mallard - I think|
It was a good run but bitterly cold as we circuited the reservoir anti clockwise at what TomTom tells me lies on the 1,000ft contour, and I'm sure it knows! A skein of greylags came arrowing in from the south, bugling noisily, sounding like they were having an argument, before splashing into the water.
|Those wonderful colours|
It was another beautiful run but it felt good to get back into the car and drive home to a warm cottage, porridge, toast and hot coffee. The sun continued to shine, late into the afternoon, as I went for a wander up Hebden Ghyll to capture elements of autumn and breathe the invigorating autumn air.
|On a stroll up the ghyll|
Of all the seasons of the year, autumn is the most colouful and, as keen frosts arrive, probably the healthiest too.
|Red against blue|
It encourages the feelgood factor and boosts morale prior to the onset of winter snows, sunless days and long winter nights.
Except maybe for wobbly old folk with yellow thumbs, groggy with over doses of Flucloxacillin, and possibly a glass too many of their favourite Merlot, as they stagger round frozen fields and cemeteries in dawn light with temperatures around or below zero, waiting for the sun to warm a little life back into bare legs.
Ah well, once a runner.......