Sunday, 19 December 2010

Ding Dong...

Merrily on high and all those festive things.
I'll not be blogging for a little while, for reasons which will become apparent when I return. In the meantime I'd like to wish all my readers the merriest of times this Christmas and hope that all your goals be achieved in  the New Year.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

A new training method

I had a new training partner for my run yesterday. HIs name is Jarvis, he's very quick, can run all day and has a brilliant level of grip on even the iciest slopes. He does struggle a bit with stiles though. Which is because my new athletic hero is a 10-month old jet-black cocker spaniel. (Hence Jarvis. Jarvis Cocker...) 
His owners were away yesterday and asked me to take him for a walk. I thought maybe I could take him out when I went for my River Loop run. Perhaps he'd enjoy lolloping along; after all, I've seen how much Charlie enjoys taking ultrarunning collie for a run.
The owner's last words to me were "He's got a harness because he pulls a bit and... (make strangling noises)... you know... on his throat". So my first task was to try and fit this onto his hyper-excited, wriggling body. Let's just say, it went on but I'm still not convinced it wasn't upside down!
And we were off.
Well, dear readers, I could not believe the power that could be generated by that small, well-muscled body. He shot along, nose an inch from the ground, bounding through the soft snow and dragging me skittering over the icy bits. It was the greatest fartlek/interval session I've had in a long time. (I think I'll call it a 'doglek' session). Jarvis would charge off until we reached the next  stile where he would either a) sit down and look up expectantly as if to say "This is when you have to lift me over" or b) he would jump up on top of the wall and wait, tail wagging while I helped him negotiate the down side. Once over, we were off again. As quickly as possible.

Needless to say, the whole experience was absolutely brilliant. So much so that I extended the run (also in the vain hope of tiring him out a bit) so we were out for about 50 minutes. I'm going to ask if I can borrow him again. I would love to be able to let him off the lead, but there are pregnant ewes about and I'm not sure how he would respond to my calls in his excitement to make friends with/chase them. Maybe in time it will be possible.

In all the excitement I forgot to take my camera, so I'll try and get some shots of him at a later date. But just imagine a cute-as-you-like black cocker with silky, floppy ears, perpetually swishing tail and, I swear, a big grin on his face and you won't be far out.

Smileyrating 10/10 from me 2/10 from Jarvis. He wants to go further, faster...

Monday, 6 December 2010

Sunday's long, snow, steady

As a tabloid headline "Birds ate my snowman's mouth" might not be a bad offering, but it is precisely what happened yesterday to our neighbour's fine creation. He, and his two-year old son, laboured mightily to create a stunning 1.7m high snowman complete with cricket bat (in honour of the Ashes), a classic carrot nose and a very Raymond Briggs' Snowman-ish hat. But, crucially, the mouth was made of currants. Which is why, when my brother-in-law Pete and I returned from our run, the homme de neige was very much sans bouche and was left with a rather gummy smile.

End of local neighbourly bulletin. To the run. And what a glorious run it was too. I've no idea how far we went (I really must get my Garmin back up and running) but we were out for 1hr 27 minutes in about -3 degrees C, in dazzling sunshine. We ranged along the foothills of Potter Fell (our local fell) then turned and ascended its broad flanks, up to Potter Tarn and then along to Gurnal Dubbs and down. The snow was about 6cm deep - drifting to 2m or so where it blew against the stone walls. There were boot tracks, fell running shoe tracks, X-country ski tracks, toboggan tracks, rabbit, sheep, chicken, other unidentified bird and dog tracks. But we only saw two other people; he walking purposefully and happily, she trailing behind carrying her coat and looking as if she'd rather be anywhere else but out in the sparkling sunshine.

It was, in short, a fabulous run. It was made harder by the soft snow necessitating a higher knee lift with every stride, but it was brilliant. I'm only sorry that I forgot to take my camera so I can't show you any beautiful shots, but if you imagine opening any coffee table book of 'The Lakes in Winter' - it looked exactly like that!

Smileyrating 10/10