After a run on Tuesday up to Souter Lighthouse and back it was time for another as I start to crank up (very slowly) my weekly mileage. I live right next to the beach but unless the tide is right out then you have to run on a slope and my knees give me gyp so I tend to give it a miss. I did on the off chance decide to check last night and as luck would have it Low Tide was at 09.23. So it was a quick (250yd) walk down to where South Shields pier met the beach and off I went. Being on the beach at low tide always has a slightly ethereal quality to it. You are that much further away from all the touristy beach side paraphernalia and there are all sorts of channels and sandbars to navigate around. As one comes up to the headland there is also the opportunity to head in front of the cliffs over the seaweed clad rocks and get through to the next bay. This is always special as you have to time it right on low tide for this to be possible. It looked good so I started around hopping from one rock to another. Approaching the next bay though the water was way further in than I expected so I ended up with a bit of impromptu rock climbing to get around without having to wade. It was then that I recalled that there are low low tides and high low tides depending on what the moon is doing. The rest of the run up to Souter and back was uneventful under the dark & gloomy skys. 6.6 miles.
Approaching the Headland.
Half way across.
A short traverse needed.
After wimping out yesterday from extending my Parkrun into a longer run it was time to sort out a run for today. After perusing options in the surrounding area (I find Bing maps’ ordnance survey option good for this), I settled on a section of something called the Waskerley Way with an out and return from its termination in Consett. I was aiming for something around the 15 mile mark but given the speed I run that was probably going to take me into darkness. My starting point was something of a confluence of cross country cycle routes and was known as “Lydgetts Junction”. As is the norm when running on a low carb diet I didn’t exactly feel full of energy starting out but I kept going enjoying the unknowns of a first time route. After about an hour I finally felt as if my legs were getting the fuel they were needing and I started running with what felt like a bit of a rhythm and a bit of bounce in the legs. As the trail hit the moors the views opened up and the degraded tarmac surface was replaced by a nice soft cinder track about the best running surface there is I reckon. I turned around at Hawkburn head and got back just before dark for a total of 13.29 miles (I won’t say how long that took though !). A nice run to celebrate 10kg of weight loss since the beginning of January.
On the approach to Hawkburn Head
Another trip down to Leeds and another opportunity to try a run somewhere a bit different. I knew I would be getting away a bit earlier so decided to head for the White Horse at Sutton Bank, the escarpment forming the western edge of the North York Moors with a particularly scenic section of the cleveland way running along the top. I got there for 3pm and despite clear and sunny weather in Leeds the escarpment was totally clagged in. C’est la vie I thought and climbed the 100 or so steps up from the carpark to reach the Cleveland Way Path (This nearly near enough killed me and I had to stop several times as I was feeling distinctly faint, no doubt a consequence of the virtual absence of carbohydrate stores in my body). Shuffling along I felt drained, with absolutely no energy but this is where the mindset of the long distance runner comes into play. “Imagine you are 80 odd miles into the NDW100 about to tackle Detling to Lenham, it will be pitch black, you will feel sh*te your body will be screaming at you to stop, but just keep going one foot after another, transend the physical and take your head to a higher plane” This did seem to work and slowly the sun started to bore its way through the thick mist, suddenly bursting through to reveal a fantastic vista. I was in awe and also extremely grateful for a reason to stop more than a few times to take some photos with my phone. Despite some muddy sections where I really needed trail shoes this was easily my best run so far this year. Just over 7 miles.
Unfortunately I have been off running for nearly 10 days after coming down with a severe cold triggered I think by not changing into enough dry clothes after my run at Spofforth. Still the weight has continued to come off and it was time to see if I was able to tackle my local Parkrun course again. It’s been a while since I have done this, despite my other half being a dedicated particpant. It felt good and I ran (so I felt) like the wind coming in at just over 25 mins for the 5k bang on 8 mins a mile pace. South Shields Parkrun