It had to happen. There I was, far too pleased with myself for having survived my 50k, chuffed with my improving times on the road. It was about time someone, or something put me back in my place.
That thing, was Pendle Hill. I forgot how tough this thing is. Fell running is bloody hard!
Go back a couple of years, and I was knocking out a 3,000ft hill session every Sunday like it weren't no thang. Today, just over 2,000ft, over 7.7mi and I'm absolutely buggered! True, it might not have been sensible doing today after a very heavy leg session in the gym yesterday (walking tomorrow and Thursday will be, er, interesting...)
It was the climbs that did me in. Not surprising, nature of the beast and all, but I mean that it wasn't my lungs giving in. It was more like my calves initially, and I had to keep stopping to let the tension ease off. Later on, as I was running off Ogden Clough, I could just feel the energy leave my legs and moving them was a constant battle. I even felt a bit of a bonk come in towards the end of the run. Luckily I
I started in Barley and was aiming to follow the Pendle Cloughs route from CP4 to CP8. In the end, after bludgeoning my way up from CP5, taking a direct line through the heather, I decided that I could see CP6 from where I crossed the wall on the path up from Deerstones - which was enough for me, so turned right to Ogden Clough. I also decided that it was sufficient to glance up to my right as I crossed Boar Clough to where CP7 would be, and I know where CP8 is, so buggered off home. I suppose that's the good thing with these runs: even when you want to give up, you've still got to run 3 miles back to the car, with a bloody big hill (or two) in between.
Now I'm sat feeling the creaks and aches seep into my knees and ankles, and rediscovering bits of my feet I'd long forgotten about: all the tendons and ligaments feeling very tender.
But I loved it. I saw only 2 people while I was out, the sun was shining, the evening air was cooling... I'd also forgotten how much I enjoyed this.
And from here on in, I can only get better. Every turned ankle tonight means my ligaments will be stronger next time; every misplaced footstep means quicker thinking in future; every wrong line means better judgement. And of course, my hill fitness will improve.
But for today at least, it's Hills 1, Gary 0.