August 5th, Good days, bad days, good days

7:35pm. My life sems to be following a pattern at the moment, a good day followed by a bad day followed by a good day followed by a bad day ad infinitum. I’m used to  it now but wish I could break it so I have more good days than bad. Today has followed the now standard pattern with a good day as yesterday was a bad day when I struggled on all fronts.

So what has made today a good day? Firstly I had another good run the second one this week and I’m beginning to wonder if I’m returning to the form I had back in April and May. I ran from Ogden Water today up and over Hambleton Lane and down the Bronte Way from Thornton reservoir to Leeming reservoir. This is part of the Yorkshireman Half race and I always feel that I struggle here so I set out with the intention of getting my mindset right and feeling good coming down the fell rather than going all out to get a time. This approach worked too as I enjoyed running down the fell and felt confident all the way down. I ran in my Altra’s and they are giving me more confidence every time I wear them. I think it’s because they are wider in the toe area and my feet can work as they were designed to work and they are low to the ground which I prefer as I can feel the ground below my feet and I feel stable and supportive running in them. I’m getting used to the zero drop too and my feet and legs are getting stronger now they are working correctly.

At the bottom of the descent you run across a small field and carry on the Millennium Way at the side of Leeming reservoir before carrying on through Leeming and Oxenhope for the race. I didn’t want to do this as I haven’t run further than 10 miles for a long time and I’m very conscious of how I’ve been feeling recently. I had, had a look on OS maps for an alternative route and I spotted a trail leading up to the conduit that is part of the old Oxenhope feel race route. I was aware that seeing a path on OS maps and finding it out on the moors and fells can be very different but not today. I turned left at the end of the descent and immediately there was a gate leading to a trial. I was pleasantly surprised to find it so easily and I could tell straight away that this was the trail I was looking for. I took it and ran up to the conduit noting some other trails going off it on my way up. I love it when I discover a new trail and it leads to new ones or as in this case also allows me to do a loop and come back to where I started or to another place without turning round and running back up where I have come from which I hate.

There’s a few more trails to explore down here even though it’s only a small area and possibly a route through the woods to the conduit but that’s for another day. Today I carried on the old Oxenhope race route and made my way up to White Moor Lane and Sawood Lane one of my favourite trails to run on because it is so twisty you cannot relax for a second or you will come a cropper but it really sharpens your technical trail skills. This too is part of the Yorkshireman Half route and has a drop at the end of it which again I feel I struggle on. Today I felt good coming down here and with the race this year being in the format of a time trail there is every chance I’ll be on my own at this point and able to run down it at my own pace and not feel pressured to going faster than I’m comfortable with.

Today was a good run down here and at the bottom I opted to run back to my car via Thornton Moor Road and Foreside Lane back to Ogden. I did this because going up and down fells is one thing but it’s also good to incorporate some flattish speed work in my run so I’m getting the most out of it and my body and legs can adjust accordingly in a race situation. It trains you to focus on these parts too and toughens you mentally for them. I know I always switch off when I come to these flat sections in races and it costs me places. I’m getting better and better at running them now and they don’t scare me anymore like they used to.

After Foreside Lane you rejoin Back Lane and it’s a drop back down to Ogden Water carpark. I use this as a test of my ability to run downhill at speed and I went for it today and it felt good. Despite my thighs being on fire I pushed and pushed and kept pushing to the end. I felt really good about this as it also showed to me that I can run fast in my Altra’s, the grip they have is inspiring me to push myself further and harder than I have for a long time. In the car I reflected on my run and seeing six PB’s I felt really happy that I’m at last feeling the same as I did back in April and May when I was flying and it felt as if I was running on air.

Home, shower, dinner and a walk to get my lottery and to Tesco’s to get some more cat food as it is being bought rapidly as people begin to stockpile it in preparation for a second Covid-19 wave. I did some work on a structure for my literature review and then I felt the headaches and tiredness sweep over me and I went to bed rather than fight it. I had a good nap and tonight instead of eating for the sake of eating I’ve had a soup and some water and although I’ll have a wine or two that’s it. No food to block my system tonight so I’m hoping to wake up tomorrow feeling lighter and more alert and ready to have another good day and break the cycle of good day, bad day I’m currently in.

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