7:24am. Had a good nights sleep and feel ok. Weight down to 14st 1lb so I’m hoping the past few days weight gain was just a blip. Gone back to my old diet and it seems to be working. Off for a run round Blackstone Edge with the Kevin and Stu. My left calve is a bit tight, I should have let it go in bed rather than stopping it but I should be ok.
2:12pm. I was nervous before my run today really nervous. When I last ran on Thursday I struggled to move and felt fat and bloated. I couldn’t keep up with the lads I was running with and this made me feel down. Were my running days over? I’ve had two bad days of stress and headaches too so they haven’t helped my mood. I preyed for rain last night, heavy rain so heavy I couldn’t see over the road. It didn’t happen.
So with a heavy heart and wondering if my legs would move I set off for the Hinchcliffe Arms at Cragg Vale. Kevin and Stu were already there when I arrived. I got ready and off we went up a steep hill that leads you to the edges of Blackstone Edge moor. I felt good going up here. I could move, I could run! Last time I struggled to walk up here never mind run so this was a good start for me. We got to the gate at the top and turned right this time. I had no desire to be running through knee high heather today. We followed the trial going over a small bridge and then I saw a path leading up to the moor and we decided to take it. Finding a path from the Hinchcliffe Arms to the moor that doesn’t go through mile after mile of heather and bog is proving harder than getting to Mars and taken just as long.
This path seemed ok and then it disappeared as most of the paths round here do for some unknown reason, and we were back to heather and bogs. Kevin took over and decided he knew a route, unsurprisingly he didn’t, he just went off in the distance looking for a non-existent path leaving Stu and me to try and follow him over the moors. I was swearing and cursing at Kevin under my breath and preying to the gods that one of them would strike him down but they didn’t. instead we blindly followed Kevin over the moors until we eventually found a path and we could run rather than walk.
We ran this path until we got to White Holme Reservoir. We stopped and took some photos before running round the reservoir and heading back over the moor. Here I saw a path to the left but again followed Kevin as he went right down another dead end. I got us back onto the left hand path and we followed it by the waymarkers until we got to a tor and stopped there for more photos. By now I had woken up and I was running through the heather and bogs and enjoying the experience. I was moving at a decent pace and felt good. I was actually quicker than Stu here mainly because I have the technique for running over this terrain whereas Stu hasn’t yet. Stu is faster than me on the paths and trails so it’s give and take.
Down from the tor following the human GPS that is Kevin we managed to get back onto the main path and start our journey back. Here I made a mistake as I had seen a path when running the other way, possibly the path we are looking for, but couldn’t find it on the way back. We carried on this path until Stoodley Pike started getting larger and larger in our sights and Kevin spotted a path that should take us back over the moor and back to the Hinchcliffe Arms.
I set off on this path in front and I was flying. It was mud and bog, I was splashing through water and I was loving it! Everyone has their favourite terrain and this is mine. For some reason I can run fast over this ground and I did today. I looked back and to my surprise Kevin and Stu were some way behind me, both would be faster than me on any other surface, but this is my playground. I carried on as fast as I could revelling in keeping my balance in the wet puddles and the chances I was taking placing my feet onto unseen surfaces.
I thought about why I run. Claire had said she is not interested in PRs and times just in running. It can be very easy to get caught up in times and figures with Strava and lose sight of why you run as you try to beat your own times and the times of others. This isn’t a reason to run. All you are doing is putting yourself under undue pressure and stress and running for all the wrong reasons. As I ran over the moors I realised why I run. I run for moments like this when I’m with nature and at the mercy of nature, pitting myself against the best that nature has and being in and seeing some of the most beautiful scenery and landscapes anywhere. PRs and times don’t matter here. Being here is all about being in the moment and that indescribable, undefinable feeling you get from being in that moment when you feel part of nature, part of something far bigger than you. In this moment I understood what Claire meant.
We carried on across the moors losing sight of paths and then finding them only to lose them again. We headed towards the woods at the top of the Hinchcliffe Arms and found a trail that got us back on track and back to the Hinchcliffe Arms. My legs were tired and hurting now but I kept pushing. After a horrible few days I was running again and running well. I sprinted back down the hill to the Hinchcliffe Arms taking a few chances but confident in my own abilities too. If I fell I would lose a layer of epidermis but if I didn’t I wouldn’t know if I was better than I believed I was and wouldn’t have that feeling of exploring my limits and being on the edge.
At the Hinchcliffe Arms we had a chat about a cracking run over the moors above us. Stu congratulated me on showing some pace and this made me feel good. At least I could run and keep running today rather than run and walk. I told Stu about a few exercises I do to strengthen my glutes and knees so that I’m able to run at a decent pace off road. They do make a big difference to my running and there is scientific proof behind them too.
On the way home I thought about why I run and I realised that I had got caught up in a game of stats and I have been running to beat them rather than be at one with nature at times. The elevation challenges during May proved this and now there over I can get back to running for the right reasons and enjoy my running even more because I won’t feel that I have to beat some numbers and stats.
Was Claire right to say a run would make everything better? Begrudgingly and reluctantly but with a wry smile on my face I have to admit she was right. I could say she wasn’t but I can’t lie especially to Claire.
Home and my usual headache returns. I’m hoping this is as bad as it gets today. I couldn’t cope with another tension headache today.
It’s the summer solstice too an event I had forgotten about but should have remembered. I’m going to look into the history and tradition behind the solstices as the next one is the autumnal one the day after my birthday and I’ll do a special run that day even if it’s on my own.
Worryingly people like photos of me looking fat and sweaty on Blackstone Edge than of Blackstone edge itself! People really don’t have any taste!
6:28pm. Just fed a cat that pops in every now and again. He’s not homeless but I think his owners work so he comes in for dried food. He tipped the box over trying to get some so I gave him some seeing as he was so desperate. People are still liking my photo of me being fat and sweaty on a rock. I’ve never understood people and never will. My photos of the moors are far more interesting!!
9:11pm. More people have liked a photo of a fat, sweaty bloke stood on a rock. And you thought being in lockdown was weird!! It’s been a good day especially after the past couple of days but that’s life, bad days and good days and you just have to go with it. I’ve read some poetry, an article from Dalesman and a bit about paganism. I want to connect with nature more so I’m exploring ways I can do it. I switched the TV off for an hour and the laptop for two which is good too. Yes I’m happy with today and looking forward to tomorrow and whatever it might bring.