June 30th, trying to make a race route

7:31pm. I woke around 4am feeling good and got up around 4:30am still feeling good. Breakfast done and I’m in the car driving over to Slack Top arriving at around 7am for the first of my 4 mile fell race attempts for a challenge Ben Mounsey has come up with.

I ran down to Midgehole taking care of the puddles, tree roots and mud as I didn’t want to fall before I started. I was wearing my new Mizuno’s and they seemed to cope well with the slippery surface on a steep descent. I arrived in Midgehole and ran to the toilets at the bottom of the rough trail that takes you up to Pecket Well. A small way up the trail is a farmers gate and I went through it and onto Crimsworth Dean.

I went as fast as I could on Crimsworth Dean a lovely, secluded part of Calderdale and one that not many people know about. I still felt fat and I had my pack on too tight round my waist, so it was cutting into me, but I carried on and made steady progress. I didn’t feel that I was going particularly fast especially as it was wet and slippy but for once I got the route right instead of wandering around the middle of the dean looking for the right path to take me over the beck.

Taking it steady worked as I arrived at an angry Lumb Waterfalls in one piece and turned straight round to climb up to Shackleton Knoll. I walked the climb as my legs didn’t feel like they wanted to work, and the rocks were too wet for me to run on. Soon I was at the top of Shackleton Knoll on a wet and misty Tuesday morning the usually far reaching views hampered by the mist. Normally I would have stopped and taken some photos, but I treated this as a race and went straight down the other side and on the trial to Walshaw.

At Walshaw I took the Heptonstall 15 route down into Hardcastle Crags and ran to the bridge that crosses over Hebden Water. I was aiming for 4 miles and 900ft of climbing and I got 3.44 miles and 971ft of climbing! Too short on the mileage and too much climbing. I could go back to the car now a couple of miles or try another route up to Standing Stone Hill and back down to Slack Top.

I decided on the latter, it wasn’t 8am yet and I set off on my usual route towards Blake Dean and up through the stile on the road. I was still feeling fat and slow but I was determined to finish something close to 4 miles for a race and even though my legs didn’t want to play I went as fast as I could.

Heptonstall Moor was covered in grey mist, very spooky, but visibility was still good and I had no problems running over the moor. It was wet and windy at the top but I’ve been in worse and in some way I found it refreshing feeling the wind tear at my body. At the top I didn’t stop turning round straight away to go back to Slack Top. This trail was tricky as it was full of troughs of cold water all the way down some of it at least 6 inches deep but this is terrain I enjoy running over so I wasn’t bothered by it.

I stopped a few times on the way down as I seemed to lose the trail every now and then, easily done given the conditions, but I made it to the wall above the Pennine Way just as I needed a wee. I stopped and was just about to do the deed when I saw a calf moving towards me making loud noises. I think it wanted someone to get it back to its herd, but I wasn’t taking any chances and ran away from it as fast as I could!

I made it to the edge of Slack Top in 4.14 miles and 889ft! close enough for me but will it be for Ben? I jogged back to the car and had a look at my results. To my surprise I had several PRs which I was really pleased with given the conditions and how I felt. I need to run faster when it’s dry and believe that I’m not as fat as I think I am and not worry about blowing up halfway round. I’ve got a couple of good, short runs now and I can link them up to do a longer one as well.

On the way home someone tried to ram me off the road by driving in the middle of it on the Oxenhope / Hebden Bridge road. I came round the corner and there he was in the middle of the road. If either of us had been going any faster we would have crashed. I shouted at him, gave him the finger and carried on my way home.

At home I discovered my DSA had been approved at last after months and months of wrangling and sent off the relevant emails to the suppliers. One got back to me wanting more information. I was trying to do some uni work and really didn’t need this. I emailed back asking if he had the letters. He said he had but he needed it from me. I found his tone was very disrespectful so I cobbled an email together and just sent it to him.

My headache has come back this afternoon and I’m feeling tired and fat. I’ve had a nap which helped a bit but I still need an early night. I’m hoping to run tomorrow morning but it depends how I feel in the morning whether I do or not. Tomorrow is a new day with new possibilities.

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