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Thursday, 16 March 2017

A wee rest...

      Much as I've enjoyed wonderful sunrises, fresh air and birdsong, recent bouts of vertigo, flashing lights and a lack of energy that frequently reduces me to a walk have finally forced me to rest.
Running tired last Sunday  (Click to enlarge)

      I've been thinking about it for a while but a snippet in Alan Sloman's blog by that intrepid long distance walker, Sir Hugh, finally prompted me to steady up. He wrote "I have a theory I think you will applaud that gets you out of all that training nonsense. As a young man it is possible to train and become fitter. There is an age limit (not sure of the exact age, but I know I'm well past it) when training only promotes further deterioration of the body, so it's better to keep what you've got in reserve to cope with the happy project you really want to do".  Wise words.
Happiness -  running along the riverbank on Saturday


      Chronic insomnia caused by a hyperactive brain that refuses to switch off is the main cause of the problem. My doctor is unwilling to prescribe sleeping pills.  Recommended herbal remedies have proved useless. So, against the wishes of my wonderful partner I've resorted to the internet.  Watch this space.
Male goosander on the Wharfe
      My log book recorded just 18 miles last week but in truth Sunday's 5 mile effort had quite a few walk breaks I wasn't happy about. 
Yarnbury dam, but no frogs
Redshank, golden plover, curlews and lapwings all contributed to the pleasure of our run as far as the dam at Yarnbury in search of spawning frogs.  There were none.
A few starlings
      We were however treated to a mini murmuration of starlings as we approached the dam, but they didn't hang around long enough to get a decent shot of them. Even if my camera had been working properly...
An audience of one in Hebden ghyll
      After 31 years of regular running the idea of a break does not come easy. Hopefully it wont last long.  I have new vests to show off and shoes to wear out. 
And besides..

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 3ยบ 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.