So that’s Christmas 2019 done. It has been a quiet one. After a Christmas Eve pottering about in the kitchen making oatcakes, the last batch of mince pies, chocolate mousse for our Christmas day pudding and what turned out to be delicious braised red cabbage, Christmas day started slowly. We woke up later than we normally do, had two cups of tea and mince pies in bed before opening our presents from each other. Then we set off for our Christmas day trot – our sheep loop backwards to end up at Kath’s mum’s for bacon sarnies and more presents.
The run was lush. Slow and with plenty of walking because my calves are still playing silly buggers and my feet aren’t much better either but we ran down to the canal. We were treated to an absolutely gorgeous sunrise with stunning colours. We stopped for a photo and as we set off again Kath spotted some deer. We stopped to watch them a little while and then were about to set off again (again) and I saw the blue flash of a kingfisher streaking through the air. It landed on a branch just a little further along the canal and we slowly walked towards it watching it. Such a stunning sight. Eventually it flew off and we went on our way too following it and being lucky enough to catch it take off and land further along a couple more times.
The rest of the stretch along the canal was a pleasant plod as we chatted, said Merry Christmas to the ducks and made the one or two dog walkers we met smile with our Santa hats bobbing along. We crossed the bridge over the canal and started walking up the hill. We stopped to watch squirrels and small birds and then saw a woodpecker. As we reached the top of the golf course we met a dog and his human who cheerily informed us that he had already escaped the kids to the lovely peace and quiet of the outdoors. As we made our way out of the wood at the other end we met some more dogs one of which was terrified of us in our Santa hats and after staring at us for a while she pinned her ears back and ran past us as fast as she could.
The rest of Christmas day was basically making food and eating food. Then came my birthday and another morning of tea and mince pies in bed. Eventually we got going and set off to Bolton Abbey for our Boxing Day/ my birthday trot round the Strid Wood/Aquaeduct loop. My calves were not playing in spite of starting with intervals. I made it run/walk about a mile before I admitted defeat and we walked the rest of the loop. Still, somewhere along that first mile I hit the 500 miles for the year. I should of course be excited about that. 500 miles is a lot of miles but it’s bitter sweet. At the start of the year double that number was on the cards. I was running the weekly miles needed with ease and was having fun. And then I wasn’t – running or having fun and getting to 500 miles seemed unlikely – so I am pleased to have got there. Anyway, I’ll leave the reflections on my 500 miles til the next post maybe.
I am sort of ready to end this running year, to re-set and start again, to work with the excitement of the endless possibilities a blank spreadsheet and no miles on the clock for the new year brings. The thrill of runs not yet had and adventures not yet started, the fun of planning, the routine of sticking to the plans and the rebelliousness of changing plans, breaking the rules and doing something different. I will end the year on 500 and a few miles but next year just imagine… maybe I will run 1000, maybe I won’t run 500 but just imagine the adventures that await.
It’s my birthday today. When I woke up this morning I had slept myself happily into my next decade. It was still early. Kath was even still in bed next to me and the cats had only just started pestering. Kath got up and I enjoyed a cup of tea in bed and a lazy start reading and cuddling cats – until they had enough. I think Shackleton’s face says it all!
After another cuppa and a West Wing re-run I had birthday pancakes and opened my presents. All very exciting and lovely. After a while spent looking at today’s and yesterday’s goodies I wanted to go and get some air and move a bit. I was looking forward to a run. We toddled off nice and gently starting with the first part of what we call our sheep loop. It’s called that because it goes past the fields where we used to have our sheep. The name has stuck even though we no longer have the flock.
We plodded through the wood and down the golf course and just as we turned onto the canal towpath Kath saw the kingfisher cut across the canal. I missed it. Never mind, there were plenty of ducks, geese, pheasants, sheep and dogs with their humans to see. We headed towards Silsden a bit and then turned round. Running felt normal, just something I do. Not hard or laboured, not really easy either, it just was. It felt good.
At 4 miles I wanted to stop – somehow it seemed right to do 4 miles today. 1 for each of my decades. I felt like I could have kept running for a long time but I didn’t want to. I wanted to have a leisurely walk along the canal and up home for the rest of the loop and I wanted to maintain the symmetry of 4 at 40 – so that’s what we did.
The rest of the day will be taken up with setting up my new camera (thank you Dad!), having a bath (there is something so luxurious and indulgent about having a bath in the middle of the afternoon) and then tucking into lots of yummy picnic food when the mothers arrive later. It’s been a lovely birthday already!
If you’d like to help me celebrate, seeing the fundraising total for mine and Kath’s London Marathon for Mind creep up a bit more today would really make me smile so if you can, please do send a couple of quid their way.
I hope you’re all having a lovely Christmas day. Mine’s been quiet and nice. Most of it spent preparing Christmas dinner and eating it and then we watched the first Fantastic Beasts film which I like. I’d like a niffler – they’re a good mix of cuddly and mischievous.
Anyway we started our Christmas with a short run at Bolton Abbey when Kath finished work yesterday. Just a mile out and a mile back weaving round people on the out and choosing the top path to avoid them on the way back. I could definitely feel the weekend’s 11 + 17 miles in my legs but nothing was hurting or even achey – just a bit tired and heavy. It was the perfect stretch of legs on a perfect, lovely day.
Christmas Day began with a short run. It was still pretty much dark when we set off. Just at the end of our road we bumped into a lovely little dog called Rosie and her human and stopped to say Merry Christmas. Then we plodded on towards the canal towpath and along the silvery magic of the early morning canal. No people, just moonlight, a few ducks and some geese.
We walked up the former golf course and stopped for a Christmas morning kiss half way up the first slope. As we were about to carry on we heard deer off to one side – we saw a hint of movement but nothing more. We walked on up and then through the wood and stopped briefly when our favourite tree came into view.
Then we jogged down the other side until we got to about 2.25 miles and a formerly icy puddle which marked my 800 year to date miles spot.
800 miles. I feel a bit overwhelmed by that. I’ve done it without chasing the miles or pushing and I still have a few days left even! So maybe 1000 miles in on for 2019 and I am very much looking forward to having fun trying and taking the pledge again.
Anyway, Christmas morning started with a really lovely run and I went because I wanted to not because it justified my Christmas dinner or something silly like that. I went because being out on a foggy, dark morning like today makes you believe that there is just a touch of magic in the world. And who doesn’t need that!
Before the last Dopey Simulation which we finished yesterday, we had a lovely little trot out at Bolton Abbey last Sunday. We gently plodded our way round the Barden Bridge loop with just a couple of walks up the hills. We were planning on going round the Abbey but neither of us really wanted to so we agreed to call it a day after that loop and bank a really lovely positive run.
We had our usual coffee and bacon sarnie and then got a second coffee to take away and walked towards the strid to look at the lights lining the way to Santa’s Grotto from the Elf Hut and to be near the river and see if Goddess Verbia had anything to say. She seemed a bit shouty and busy – not in an unsettling or stressful sort of way though. It was quite nice watching the Wharfe go about her business.
We walked the bottom path past the sulphur well and as we walked back up to the main path we saw an unexpected duck off to the side (sorry the photo’s a bit crap). He seemed quite jolly, if a little lonely. There was a female duck on the main path who seemed happily going about her business. Eventually she toddled off in the other duck’s direction so maybe his loneliness was short lived.
It was a lovely calm morning and not even hordes of children with obnoxious parentals and grandparents who get in the way could spoil that. As we walked back towards the car we met a group being led towards Santa’s Grotto by an Elf trying his best to keep the little creatures from running ahead by telling them that if they stayed behind him he’d tell Santa how good they’d been. Both Kath and I admired his efforts but couldn’t help laughing because his facial expression rather suggested he had the naughty list all planned out.
I used to think people who run on Christmas day are weird. You know, like there’s seriously something wrong with them. Why would you want to go out in what is probably going to be miserable weather when instead you could sit in your PJs opening presents and eating mince pies while you hang on for it to be acceptable to open the prosecco. But then I also used to think people who run – full stop – are weird.
This year I was looking forward to my Christmas Day run. I managed an almost pain free Christmas Eve run on a run walk as I blogged yesterday. So running again today would be a good little test. We weren’t going far anyway, the plan was just for 30 minutes or so easy to finish at Kath’s Mum’s for our traditional Christmas morning bacon sarnie and present swap at her house. We’d dropped everything off at her house yesterday including some extra clothes to walk back to our house in after the run.
We woke about 6am but took our time coming round and getting out of bed, had a cup of tea and a mince pie while opening our presents from each other and then got dressed. We headed out about 7.15 and everything was still so quiet. Most houses still seemed in darkness and just every now and again there was a light on in one room or the Christmas trees lights were twinkling. It was coming light slowly. We ran/walked about a two 2 mile loop and my feet were achey but not really painful at the end. It was great to be out and have fun.
The rest of the day has just been a quiet and nice Christmas dominated by cooking our Christmas meal and then eating it. Now our mothers have left, we’re settling down in the living room, in front of the fire with our cats and I’m thinking about whether there is anything I really need or want to do while I am still 38 but I think, other than listening to the cats purr, everything – including breaking the 480 miles for the year will have to wait until I’m 39.