Wow, what an awesome month May has been. This month I have been able to submit TWO sets of evidence to Awesome Running Events because my amazing wife Helen has also managed to run 100 miles in May! I’ve managed to get back into a rhythm following the London Marathon last month and have to date got 119 miles which equals what I did in December. We can’t wait to receive our “his and hers” medals for our acheivement!
When I was looking back into my records over the last 7 years I have noticed my annual running “volume” has been in steady decline. I always reckoned that my performance always seemed to be the best when I was doing the most mileage in training so it’s hardly surprising that I struggle to do what I used to be able to. Therefore I have decided to do something about this and really push the boundaries!
My maximum monthly total was 167 back in 2010 and that year my (unbeaten) annual total was 1446. I really fancy beating both of those targets in 2016, the first step being a 200 mile month.
I don’t have any races booked during June so I can totally focus on training and I have decided to try and do 200. Hopefully by later on in the year I will be able to at the very least do better than I did last year. I will obviously blog about how I get on and we will see if I am mad, or whether there is method in that madness.
‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
Its always worth it keeping your eyes open when running. If you think about it, runners spend much more time outside around and about than average and we have the opportunity to see so much more. This needs remembering because sometimes you see nothing because you are too focused.
After parkrun this morning, we went to Overton to reconnoiter an off-road running route to by used in our Club league next month. This route was familiar to us since it is used in a summer race series known as the “Reindeer Romp” (named after the Reindeer Inn rather than implying the presence of any sleigh-pulling antler-wielding animals). The route is known for its extreme up-hill struggle in the last mile and when you are racing it, there is little on your mind except the focus on enduring the pain which you know will last to the finish!
However, today we ran this course at a more sedate pace and wow, I was taken with the extreme beauty of the spot! The views are stunning the rolling fields and woodland, green with new growth as we approach summer.
Earlier in the week, I ran a route along the Tyne which I ran a lot during the winter months while staying away from home during the week. While
running, I realised this was the first time I had done it in daylight and I was able to see so much more. I was surprised to see some flats and houses on the other side of the river with a riverside path in front that I had missed previously, so I ran back out in the morning to see if I can find a way because the more I can use paths rather than roads the better. Sure enough I found the way and even was able to take a selfie with the river in the background.
It definitely is worth keeping a lookout while running and even to stop sometimes to take in the surroundings. You may be surprised what you find.
‘The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.’ Matthew 6:22 NIVUK
We parked up in a layby near Methley and ran along a path of a disused railway on the Trans Pennine Trail that we call the yellow brick road because it used to be covered in a yellow gravel which has now worn away. About a mile along we took a track to the right ignoring the “Danger, Keep Out!” sign which is OK because we do know it’s a public footpath! The track leads past a new refrigerated warehouse which looks like a giant white cube stuck in the middle of the countryside like something out of a science fiction story.
We then picked up a public footpath up a steep slope to a farm track bridge over the M62. We know the farm just across the bridge keeps alpacas but we had no luck in seeing them today. The path then takes a route through the countryside heading for the deer park. We did however see the deer today but they were far away so we kept on running.
The woodland trail the far side of the deer park is known for its bluebells and we were treated to this intense blue display which meant we just had to stop for a photo or two.
Another path led us to the Lemonroyd Marina and we followed the towpath along the Aire and Calder navigation back towards Methley. Running through Methley we seemed to be in a scene out of Miss Marple passing the quaint cottages and Church with a game of village cricket going on next to crown green bowling.
We then ran along the Leeds Country Way which leads between fields of Rape in full bloom and this took us back to the car.
That ladies and gentlemen, is what I’m talking about!
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Psalm 96:11-12 NIVUK