I must have been doing something right over the Christmas period for according to TomTom my Fitness Age improved from 62 to 61. I felt good, even in cold rain and snow, and could happily have run further than the 16 miles logged in my diary. If TomTom is to be believed, it was quality and increased speed that influenced my Fitness age.
Yippee, I'm getting younger!
|Thieving Magpie dancing in the Solstice sunrise (Click to enlarge pictures)|
A Solstice run over Castle Hill was interestingly interrupted by 'Thieving Magpie', a group of noisy drum beating, stick clacking Morris men who dance at sunrise to the music of an animated accordion player on the 21st of every June and December. Always, I'm invited to join them. Always I decline, pointing out I'm a runner, not a dancer. Each to their own.
|Being blown around Grimwith in breaking light|
According to a local weather forecast Christmas Eve morning should have been clear and dry for our planned run round Grimwith reservoir. We were falsely lured out of a warm bed to be greeted by a blustery sou-westerly and stinging rain.
|Battling against a sou-westerly with 200m to go.|
Wind determines which way round we go so we chose to run clockwise to only have head wind for the short run back to the car. Wind had dried the ground making it easier for running - which I reckon TomTom must have taken into consideration when assessing my Fitness age.
|A young 61. My new Fitness age...|
We gave running a miss on Christmas Day. First on the agenda was a 9am appointment to 'salute the happy morn' with Rev David Macha at a Communion Service in St Peter's. I'm not sure how or why but my tenor voice returned for the occasion. Could have been something to do with alcohol lubricating my vocal chords the previous evening?
|A picture to remind friends and relatives what we look like|
A splash of sunshine lured us out for a stroll down to the river later in the morning. Water was high and noisy, swilling the banks and drowning the stepping stones. We posed for Christmas day pictures to maybe email to far off relatives, to remind them what we look like, before scurrying back for the main item on the day's agenda.
The opening of presents.
|Let the celebrations begin|
This is always preceded by the uncorking of Champagne - also known as Cava or Prosecco - and handy placing of various tasty nibblies to sustain us through the strenuous performance of tearing off gift paper and ripping off ribbons to hastily discover what mysteries they conceal.
|Resting between opening presents. |
That large box is hinting my house needs a clean up
'I was hungry, so they gave me nuts, chocolate and shortbread. I was thirsty so they gave me Port wine, Merlot and malt whisky. I was short of inspiration so they gave me running books to have me reaching for my studs (Zatopek should do it). I told them I've lived here 40 years so I was given a vacuum cleaner! For whatever other reasons I was given tooth picks, a miniature thermometer and compass, Radox and a CD of Kenneth Steven's wonderful poetry (which I suspect is to lure me back to the beautiful Island of Iona, my Spiritual home)'.
|Ultra fast Hoka Speedgoats|
I'm not going to list all the fantastic presents my wonderful partner amassed - mainly because I can't remember - but a star of her collection was an exceedingly fast pair of Hoka Speedgoats. She'll henceforth have not the slightest excuse for lagging behind.
|'ere, wait for me|
Actually, she tested them out on Boxing Day and they were indeed light and fast. Most of the pictures I took of her were rear views as she streaked along the riverbank and up steep fields to the tiny hamlet of Thorpe.
|A fair bit of water at Linton Falls|
We'd started off in sunshine but the weather Gods must have seen us step out the door and it wasn't long before they sent a shiny white shower hurtling towards us from over Grassington way.
|Rain sneaking up behind|
Undeterred, we pressed on through wet fields towards Burnsall. Noticing we still hadn't turned for home the weather Gods sprinkled some bits of white stuff over us. That did it. We buckled and took the short cut down Postman's Steps instead of continuing into Burnsall.
|Postman's Steps leading to the river bank|
TomTom told me I'd run fractionally over six miles, climbed 548ft, burnt 733 kcal at an average heart rate of 122 bpm and improved my pace since the last time I ran that distance. He's very clever and very flattering, telling me I'm growing younger by the day.
I might have found the secret of eternal youth...