It wasn't long before I realised there was no time to waste
There was soul all around me
Everybody let go
It wasnt long before we realised
There was no time to waste
Some days, some incidents, some events, some defining moments just steal up on you and take you by surprise. Out of the morass of problems of life emerges a bright shaft of light, guiding the way forward. And there really is no time waste when you sense it.
And so this week proved to be.
The training has been ok, but nothing special. The fitness levels have felt barely adequate. The commitment sporadic. The head has been un-focused, even at the best of times.
So the only question on my lips since Saturday has been "where the fuck did THAT come from?"!
The start of the week provided no hint of what was to come. I started a new job on Monday and, whether it was tiredness from that, a realisation that some of the "dream" I came here for had, for now, been deflected and deceived by one of life's curveballs or just the fact that I couldn't be arsed....but the net result was that I didn't run from Monday to Wednesday!
The weather didn't help of course. Still icy in places, drizzle, cloud....I had no real incentive to go out. I didn't want to road run on Tuesday night and couldn't be bothered with the social aspect of a Wednesday night run.
But on Thursday, I arranged a day out over Pendle and zoomed off to one of the areas I have really enjoyed since I moved up here. Once you get over the back of the hills and into the cloughs, you could fool yourself that you were in one of the bigger mountain ranges.
It was a smashing run, enhanced by encountering deep snow drifts, and by the rays of sunshine providing warming respite from the recent weather.
The plan had been to do the full tour route, but common sense prevailed, and with an evening run planned with Kirsten, the half tour route provided ample fun, followed by broth and coffee in the little cafe at the car park. Fantastic! I felt on a high, which showed (I think) later when we headed out for another 6.5 miles, parking at the Hinchcliffe and heading along the last part of the Hebden route, to see what the snow was like (much better by the way!).
All in all, a smashing day, and I felt renewed enthusiasm for my running. But I still can't say I felt very fit.
Friday saw me head off mid-afternoon to Stoodley to do some hill reps and get that much-needed ascent in. I headed up to London Road, and then did 4 x reps of the steep side, up to the top. The legs were tired, the back was still a bit sore from the fall last week.....but I stuck at it!!
Now this was all well and good....but with 22 miles planned for Saturday, perhaps I'd have been better not to have gone out and trashed the legs? Still, the plan was to set off "steady away" and just make it round the Hebden...no pressure.
Saturday morning dawned, a little grey but with hopefully a brighter day ahead. We were up early, wolfed down some breakfast...and then got on our bikes to cycle down to Mytholmroyd. What a cracking way to start the day!!
We arrived with just enough time to lock up our bikes in the centre, get our tags and head around to the start. And then we were off!!! Just enough time to wish Kirsten a nice run....and I headed off, trailing a few of the fast lads!
And somehow, from somewhere, unexpectedly....everything fell into place and I felt great!! I really thought I was "steady away", but heading along from Brearley, I caught up with Nick Ham, who has a reputation as a very decent long distance runner. If I can keep in that sort of company, I'll be happy! But of course, the thought was there that there was a long way to go, and the legs would fall apart at some point.
Only they didn't! And without too much effort (certainly not flat out), I kept pushing on, and kept passing people, particularly on the ascents.
And then, somewhere around Pecket Well, I hooked up with Dave from Tod and Ginny from Middleton, who are both planning BG attempts this year. And we provided good company for each other, spurred each other on, and provided that nice little bit of competition that would otherwise have been missing.
And we pretty much stayed together to the end, pushing on quite hard after coming down off Erringden Moor, running all the ups and keeping good speed on the flatter sections.
Route-finding was spot on, and we headed down off Scout Rock, past home to turn back towards Mytholmroyd and the finish. The three of us entered the centre together and handed our tags in. Ginny asked "what time is it?" since none of us had a clue. The answer - 2 minutes to 12 - astonished us. As I said..."where the fuck did that come from?"!!! 3.58 for 22 miles and 4,000ft, that's absolutely smashing. Plus it's nearly an hour faster than the previous year!! (and nearly 3 hours faster than the year before that...but that's another story!)
As always at LDWA events, the post-run food was GREAT!! I went and got pie and peas and sat with Rich and Carolyn from Brum. I sat chatting and eating, then wondered whether to go home on the bike and get changed, then come back to meet Kirsten, who I suspected might finish in something like 5.30/6.00.
So, THE best part of the day, and the thing that really boosted my mood into the stratosphere, was suddenly seeing Kirsten appear at the door, having done an astonishing 4.46!! That's faster than my time last year!!
But to be fair, I'm not surprised that she DID the time, because I've been telling her over and over again what enormous potential she has as an off-road runner. The good thing was that she delivered, so that now she's starting to believe. And there really is nothing better (as far as I'm concerned) than seeing someone realising their running potential. And, again, she hadn't gone flat out and didn't feel ready to drop at the end. Which suggests better things are to come (I KNOW they are!), especially with the focused training she's now doing. She'll meet her goals for this year (ambitious as they are!), I'm sure of that.
So she scoffed her food, I drank 2 gallons of tea...and then we headed back on our bikes...where she left me trailing in her wake! I'm a wee bit scared I won't be able to keep up before long at this rate!
So all in all, a fabulous day, and we both wore huge smiles of satisfaction as we headed for the Fox & Goose, with Rufus in tow, to down some celebratory pints. There we met up with Clive, who kept us entertained, before we headed home with a takeaway treat, before collapsing into bed...only to find we couldn't sleep because of the adrenaline still surging through our veins. There is NOTHING like a runner's high! :-)
And so to Sunday, and the plan was to recce the half Trog. It was a drizzly, misty morning, but with all that enthusiasm, we had to go out!! So we parked up in Old Town, struggled with initial directions, found our way to the top of High Brown Knoll and then down into Castle Carr estate and back up again....and then it all went wrong!! A pathless, trodless, boggy, tussocky, wet, cold, tramp across the moor. Well after moving so well the previous day, we really couldn't be arsed. So about turn, back over High Brown Knoll to drop back to the car. And decision made...neither of us enjoyed bog-trotting and both of us agreed that it was not what fellrunning is all about.....we'll forget the Trog and head down to "proper" ;-) fellrunning terrain on the Sunday to really put a good effort in at the Valleys. Still, it was good to get out, good physically and mentally. It snowed on us, the conditions were fairly miserable, the legs were a wee bit tired, the minds even more so....but we ploughed on!! That'll stand us both in good stead in those darker moments we'll have this year on long distance events.
I think I'll blog seperately about Sunday in fact, and what it said to me about my views on fells and fellrunning, and about where I see myself in the future (where I've always seen myself). It was really clear that this area is just a stop-gap, just a mid-way point. And I'll enjoy it for what I can, make the most of it....but with bigger and better plans in my mind, to be put into action in the not too distant future.
So, anyway, the end of the week sees me with a real renewed enthusiasm for running, delighted that the legs are still there from all the training I did last year, excited again with the prospect of having a goal for the year, and very, very determined. This was a 10,000ft week, and that's the standard from now on. The head's been through a lot these last few months but, out of that, I'll find greater mental strength that will carry me on a journey.....
Total for the week - 50mls & 10,000ft
39th Calderdale Hike 37mi. 01/04/2017.
7 months ago