We were going to head out to the coast today and drive to RSPB Bempton Cliffs to see if the puffins had all already gone or if we could spot one or two before they do. However, we’ve had Kath’s mum staying with us because she hurt her back and couldn’t anything much, least of all stairs (we have a downstairs bathroom making life much easier for her). She went back home yesterday. My Dad arrives for a 2 week visit tomorrow. The house is a tip and we are exhausted. We decided therefore that we would have a potter sort of day at home, get the house organised and just spend some time together, too. The spending time together bit came in the form of a run at Bolton Abbey. If you are every around this part of the world, it really is worth a visit. We set off from the Cavendish Pavillion, through the Strid Wood, past the Bodger’s Camp towards the Strid. I didn’t really notice whether the Strid was in full flow looking spectacular as it often can or whether it was more of a trickle – I was too concerned about the upcoming hill. If I can run the Bolton Abbey Estate hills I can run at Disney World. RunDisney has no hills! Once I’d puffed my way up the hill, we kept going north following the path’s ups and downs – mostly slopes rather than hills at this point. My next concern was the Bridge – the Aquaeduct. I’m rubbish at running up steps. We walked. Once on the bridge I took a deep breath in, remembered to take a look at the stunning views and set off again.
I knew that on this side of the river (the Wharfe in you were wondering) the hills were a little more taxing than they had been – just slopes to start off with though. My legs were burning though, as were my lungs and that voice inside my head was screaming at me letting me know in no uncertain terms that I must be totally deluded to think I could get my fat butt round something like this. I had no idea how far we’d come and was absolutely sure that there was still far too much left to run.I absolutely, totally couldn’t do it. Just couldn’t. Except I did. The hills felt brutal but there was always a view, always something to focus on, always something to run to and always a sort of excitement at having made it round the next bend, up the next slope or safely down the next hill. I didn’t quite make the steepest of the hills. We added in an extra 30 second walk. Then, actually quite suddenly, there were only 4 more running intervals left. 4 more was possible, only just but possible. Then 3. Then 2. Ok I can do two, in fact I can do two without taking a walk break. I can do two at a pretty decent pace. Yes. Maybe. No? YES.
It was one of the hardest runs I’ve done and also one of the most stunning. I’ve forgotten the exact miles – It was 3.2 something at a pace of 13.47 minutes per mile. It was hot, it was hilly, it was – in some places- bloody awful but it was always stunning, I was always going to finish and it was fun having done it.