June 14th, turning a bad day into a good one


Today has been building up since Friday and my run in the rain. I was happy after my run so I decided to treat myself. I went to the Co-op and got some rubbish food and gorged myself stupid. I shouldn’t have. I felt rough the next day but I felt down too. I was in meltdown mode. I don’t know about other autistic people but I don’t know I’m in meltdown until after the event. I should really because I’ve had so many meltdowns but they still creep up on my unawares and catch me out, ensnaring me in their trap and leaving me there in the eye of the storm unable to escape. Everything looks the same everywhere I turn a world of people and objects swirling round and round as I stand there unable to move or do anything. I hate meltdowns. They destroy you and prevent you from being you and living a life. Instead you turn into a zombie who just sits there going through the motions.

Saturday came and it was worse than Friday. I woke ok and gorged myself on more food, food I didn’t need to eat at all. I just felt a compulsion to eat and eat and eat. So I did. And I made myself ill. I had a chilli and rice and my stomach and gullet couldn’t take anymore food so it got stuck and I wanted to be sick. I wretched for an hour trying to bring the food back up. The back of my throat felt as if I had lost the lining and it was sore, very sore. It hurt to swallow and even more to wretch but I had to. Eventually I cleared the blockage in my gullet and I could breath again. I was shattered now though from the effort. I felt more tired than after a long run over the moors so I went to bed. I fell asleep and woke a couple of hours later still tired. I had to go and get my lottery but even going to the toilet was hard work and tiring. I decided to go to the shop though and get my lottery, after all it might make me feel better.

I got dressed and walked round to the Co-op round the corner. I saw my friend Lucy coming out and we had a chat and I went in. I was glad that Lucy didn’t notice how tired I was. I’m good at hiding my feelings and emotions now. I’ve done it pretty much all my life to survive so it’s second nature to me. I went into the Co-op and got more rubbish to gorge myself on. At home I did just that gorged myself on rubbish food then I opened some bottles of Guinness I had and made myself feel worse drinking them. Then I had some whisky and felt even worse. I have been smoking this past week or so too and this combined to make me sure I wasn’t going to wake up this morning. I felt ill and sick. I went to bed wondering if I would see the next morning.

I did see the next morning. I woke feeling tired but wanting to run. Some of my friends from a local running club were doing legs of the Calderdale Way Relay and I wanted to run. I had planned to do 6 miles or so down in Shibden Valley. I didn’t feel well so I didn’t want to go too far in case my energy levels crashed and I had to go home. I also had a compulsion building to run over to Jerusalem Farm and run up a hill we had run down during the week. It was a classic head against heart moment and there was only one winner. I eventually got ready and set off up the road to Jerusalem Farm. I thought that if I didn’t feel up to it I could go to Ogden Water and turn back and at least I would know if I was or wasn’t up to a long run today. I took a slightly different route to Ogden on some local footpaths. I wanted to make this run a bit more interesting from the start so avoided my usual road route and went across the park and on some footpaths before I was forced to run on the road. There is a footpath that I could go on as it’s on the map but someone has blocked it off so it would have been a battle of wills and I wasn’t up to that today.

I got to Ogden Water and I was feeling good. I wore a heavy top and this proved to be a wrong move as the sun had come out and I was warm and sweating already. I got some admiring glances but I know to ignore them now. I seem to get admiring glances but as soon as I open my gob women want to run a mile so I don’t bother anymore as it only leads to disappointment for me. I carried on up the hill towards the old Top Withen pub. I was going well and feeling good. I knew I could run and run long today so I made up my mind there and then to go to Jerusalem Farm and do the hill.

At the Top Withen pub I crossed straight over the road and took the path that went down to Haigh Cote Dam and Leadbeater Dam. This was a good move as the roads are rough and there is no parking spaces so it’s quiet apart from a few walkers and runners. I stopped at Haigh Cote to take some photos. I don’t know why but the sun seems to glisten off here more than anywhere else and it makes for some great photos.

Photos done I carried on my run down to Castle Carr Road. I was still feeling good and my pace was good too according to my watch. This surprised me as after the past two days I shouldn’t have been able to run yet for some strange reasons I was running better than I had in weeks. I had put weight on yet felt light and my legs were strong and powerful. I felt like I could run forever which is a great feeling and I knew that I could run a lot faster if I wanted too but with this being a long run it was about endurance not speed.

I got to Castle Carr Road and stopped to take on some food. When you come off the moor the view on a sunny day is stunning with the valley stretching out before you with Booth and Luddenden below and Sowerby and beyond in the distance. It’s a view that makes me feel proud to be a Yorkshireman living in Yorkshire and being able to appreciate some of the most spectacular views anywhere. This is Yorkshire at its finest, at its very best. If this was the last view I saw I would die very happy.

Once I had come back round to reality I carried on to the Calderdale Way Relay Leg 4 changeover point. It’s only 400m or so further on but is a good route down to Jerusalem Farm. At the start were some local runners who had finished their leg and having a rest before heading home. We had a chat and then a couple of them said they would run down to Jerusalem Farm with me. This filled me with apprehension as these two are class runners and their jogging pace is faster than my race pace. We set off down and soon they were out of sight. I wasn’t surprised and I was still making good progress down a steep and tricky hill so I was happy with my running especially as it was downhill.

At the bottom they were waiting for me which was nice. One of them asked if I had any water on me and if he could have some as he had nearly run out. I gladly let him fill his bottle up from mine as mine was full and I was on the way home now. I turned and set off back up the other side of the hill. I wasn’t sure of the route because I have only been on it once but for once my sense of direction was working and I found a path up to the gate that led to the path back up to the dams. I was still running to my surprise. How was beyond me but I was and I was running uphill too. I was glad as Claire and me are planning a run up to the stones and the last thing I want to do is be struggling and letting her down. Running up this hill gave me back some much needed confidence that I can at least run up hills rather than just walk.

At the top I stopped to lock the gate and was rewarded with an even more spectacular view of Booth and Luddenden. I was lower down than before but there seemed to be even more to see and I stood there entranced by it all, this magical place that I love so much in all its magnificent glory stretching out before me on a perfect sunny day.

I carried on up the path, through a farm at Lower Saltonstall, through the stile and up the steep hill. At the top before it begins to flatten out I went over a stile and the views were from heaven. I couldn’t believe the stunning beauty I could see all around me. I was in heaven and I knew that if I died there and then I would be the happiest person on the planet.

 At the stile I realised I should have gone right at the bottom and I had gone left but it didn’t matter as there wasn’t much in it. I got back on track and I was soon back on Castle Carr Road after running up the hill I had set out to run up.

I headed back to the dams and here I had another decision to make. Do I go back the way I came and make it an out and back or do I go a different way and make it a loop? Going back the same way would mean more people to avoid so I decided to make it a loop. I headed up Lumb Lane and down Withens Road and Hunter Hill towards Stod Fold and up towards Upper Brockholes. I took some less well known trails and this made it a more interesting route. After Upper Brockholes it was more less well known trails through Bradshaw and down to Oats Royd Fishing Complex. This is a secluded spot at the bottom of a hill I have never run up in one go before. It’s a lovely quiet spot away from everyone yet only ten minutes or less from Queensbury.

I set off up Oats Royd hill and kept a steady pace and to my surprise I kept going. I could see the transmitter at the top and this gave me added impetus to keep going and not stop. I didn’t stop, I kept going and I finally conquered the final hill in the Queensbury area that I hadn’t run up in one go without stopping. After Oats Royd I ran through Queensbury on the roads. My legs were starting to go now but I was still moving and picking up pace. I wore my Hokas today because I wasn’t sure how much road I would be running on and at the end of this run there proved there worth as my feet still felt good and didn’t feel sore or tired at all. Hokas are great for runs like this on hot days and I was still feeling the bounce from the soles as I got home even if my legs had stopped bouncing.

I got home and had some pineapple juice and some fruit my theory being that this well quash my sugar cravings and I was right. The desire to go and buy a load of rubbish had gone. My sugar cravings had been satisfied. I smoked my last two cigarettes and have vowed never to smoke anymore. I’m sat here with pain in my chest but hopefully this will go overnight.

After a couple of truly horrendous days when I went into meltdown and turned into an out of control slob I have once again managed  to turn things round with a cracking run. I really surprised myself today as meltdowns take so much out of you, you don’t have the energy to do anything else never mind run. All your energy goes into keeping going and smiling for everyone when all you want to do is curl and die. You don’t have the energy or concentration to do anything else other than exist as a zombie and hope no-one notices. After the last two days I’m really proud of myself for getting out there and doing a long run in a good time and I feel a lot better for it. Tomorrow I might wake up in meltdown mode again but for now I’m in a good place and I hope it lasts a long time.

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