Tuesday 27 November 2018

A good day...

In spite of dense fog and temperature hovering around zero I managed to get out running again this morning.  With the exception of Keighley Parkrun, which I never should have run in my bronchitic state, it was my first run since November 2nd.
Not a lot to see, even if you  (Click to enlarge)
Fields have become slippery and slutchy again and I was glad I'd chosen to wear Inov-8 X-talons with sufficient grip to help me stay upright.  I have seven different Inov-8 models for varying running surfaces.  In spite of adverse conditions it felt wonderful to be out again, alone through empty fields and up onto Castle Hill before sunrise.  Actually, the sun never shone all day.
Lt to RT:  Inov-8 X-talons, Trail Rocs, Mud claws

Surprisingly, another runner, a fast moving girl, had reached the summit before me and already done her circuits.  With a cheery 'good morning' she went hurtling back down, leaving me alone in the eerie silence.
That dog...
To get some strength back into my legs after their recent lay-off I launched into a series of hill reps, only 100m but fairly steep and I ran them fast.  I'd only done three when 'that dog' materialised from the murk, the snarling, frothing creature I'd reported to the police back in July.  I spoke gently to it as it sniffed my legs.  It stood back, eyeing me suspiciously before returning to its shouting owner and I wondered if it remembered me as the one who'd sprayed it with 'Bite Back' those four months ago?  I'll start carrying that spray again - in case it's forgotten.
A friendly nuthatch
I beat a hasty retreat in the opposite direction to return home after only three miles.  But I was happy and felt I'd earned my chocolate milk and hearty breakfast.  A nuthatch seemed happy too, totally ignoring the nuts as it scoffed the last of the seeds from the feeder.
It's been a good day...

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Hardly a walk in the park......

"I've brought my running stuff" my wonderful partner announced upon arrival at Windhover, a statement that prompted a naughty word to pass through my mind.  What she meant was "I'm intending to do the Cliffe Castle Parkrun in Keighley on our way back to Hebden in the morning".   Not fully recovered from whatever nasty lurgy it was that had flattened me over the last three weeks I was in no fit state to accompany her but knew full well I would.  "OK, I'll jog round behind you" I said,  preferring that to standing around in the cold waiting for her to finish.
But it didn't quite work out like that.
A Strava profile of the course from my watch
(Click all pictures to enlarge)
Saturday morning dawned cold, windy, damp and misty - conditions that reduced the number of participants to just 137.  Or maybe it was the steep hill on each of the three laps that put people off ever returning to run this course twice.
Being fell runners, we coped.
The lady's W70-74 course record stood at 39 minutes and a few seconds, a time I'd told my wonderful partner she could beat.  I'd meant it as an incentive to put her foot down and set off in pursuit of a new record.   And she did.
Through the roof
We were both a bit shocked at the steepness and length of the hill on this course and were forced to adjust pace accordingly.  For me it was a case of hands on knees and walk as fast as possible to get to the top - as fell runners do - but my heart rate went through the roof.
A celebratory dram
However, there was a happy outcome for us, more so for my wonderful partner who crossed the line in 37.57 to set a new record in her category, but a record for me too with 36.12 in the M85-89 category.  Longwood Harriers raiding party had struck again.   Back home in the evening we'd a celebratory dram and fell into bed feeling smug and happy.
Top and bottom of it
  To be honest, my record was fairly meaningless, only happening because everyone else of my vintage had sensibly shunned this challenging course.   When/if ever we're both fit again we'll have another go at it and try to improve those WAVA gradings.
Hebden Crag
I was a bit stiff the following day (a gross understatement) so whilst my wonderful partner attended a compulsory National Parks meeting in Grassington I took myself up the ghyll for some gentle walking in an attempt to loosen up.
It was a cold day of clear, blue skies with a gentle breeze.  
Scala Falls in Hebden Ghyll
I scrambled past the foot of the crag but had no desire to ever climb it again.  Then on to the Miner's Bridge where I failed to get any decent pictures.  I lingered an hour or so in a warm, sunny hollow, taking pictures of Scala Falls before my battered body began telling me it was badly in need of sustenance.   I turned for home, deciding I'd better take notice of it.  
For once...
Post script: On the wall of my study is the inspiring text "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".   I've always thought Paul should have included the words "God requires me to do" after the word 'things'.  That poses the question, why would He ever 'require' me to indulge in anything so physically demanding as Keighley Parkrun?
God only knows...

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Not much good, mostly bad and ugly......

I don't think I've stopped running, permanently, though my body is currently telling me I ought.  That persistent cold and raucous cough, coupled with rampant IBS,  have taken their toll to the point where I'm somewhat drained of energy.  But it will pass.  Hopefully.
My healthy diet?   (Click to enlarge)
My red, runny nose has been glued to a computer searching for exercises and diet that might relieve symptoms of abdominal pain and rumblings.  Salad leaves from Italy, peppers and celery from Spain, prawns from Nicaragua and wine from Chile, amongst other things, interspersed with Yoga exercises (some of which give me cramp and I've yet to master the Boat Pose) have made for some quite unusual days.  Vick and Beconase have been forced up nasal cavities to  attack and eject any nasties lurking there - and to enable me to breathe sufficiently to stay alive while practicing the aforementioned silly exercises. 
At times (well, twice actually) I've opened downstairs doors in the house to indulge in some Slow Jogging from room to room - until too knackered to carry on.  Slow jogging is not supposed to do that!

Woodpeckers, long-tailed tits and goldfinches on the feeders by the window take not a blind bit of notices of my comings and goings, probably thinking to themselves what strange creatures humans are.
In many cases they could be right!
Against my better judgement I forced myself out for two runs last week over my beloved Castle Hill.  On Tuesday I passed two teenage lads sat up there in the half light before sunrise, which I thought strange. It was half term.  They disappeared quickly as a fire engine came tearing up the hill.  A hoax call?  Maybe.  But it was no hoax four nights later when the fire brigade were called out at 9.30pm to a massive blaze that desecrated the hillside, burning grass, charring trees and destroying gorse bushes.
Much of the vegetation facing the road on the right has vanished
(picture courtesy The Examiner)
I walked up this week to assess the damage.  It's a sorry sight though it doesn't affect the paths where I run, clearly visible in the above picture, but rabbits, foxes, mice, voles and resident birds will all have been ousted from their sheltered habitat.
Such mindless vandalism.
A wild November skyscape over Castle Hill
Years ago there was a beautiful old hotel on the hill where yours truly spent many a happy Sunday lunchtime in an eclectic gathering of hunters, shooters, fishermen, artists and various trades people - before I became a runner.  It was vandalised by its new owners, the Thandi brothers, who, in re-modelling it, thought they could get away with sneakily building a structure bigger than the approved plans.  They failed and were ordered to remove every stone.
Click on the above link for the pub's history.
A final shot along the lane
testing the panorama mode of my new smartphone
Well, that's it.  Time to wash down some Doxylamine with a soporific drink and crawl into bed perchance to dream. 
Hopefully by next week there'll be a little more activity to report.
In the meantime, happy running everyone.