I’ m not competitive, but……

On my way to a PB. Thanks to Andrew Thrippleton for the photo
On my way to a PB. Thanks to Andrew Thrippleton for the photo

There’s no way I’m coming downstairs today. I got up here on all fours, though I had to have a rest halfway and an energy snack. Just short of the bedroom, I managed to peel off my running shirt which had fused on with the exertion and special type of sweat that only achieving a PB can bring. I felt smug and content.

Did I mention I got a PB? I’m thinking of hiring one of those prop planes to fly across the skies of West Yorkshire dragging a massive message ‘Plodfoot Anne, yes, old ploddy herself, knocked five minutes off her PB’. But when I researched cost and how big the plane would need to be to carry such a message, I thought better of it. Plus the computer is downstairs and I can’t get down there, not for a few days at least. Noel is going to have to feed me. Or he could send the cats up with a tray.

I always start near the back of the pack, it saves on the embarrassment of being knocked over in the rush of the wiry speed kings and queens who I only recognise from their backs and ponytails. As far as I know, they have no faces, because I never see them. They’re off and back before I’ve puffed up my first hill. And by gum this was a hill.

I love the Ilkley Trail Race. It’s friendly and local, with a terrain full of Yorkshireness and the promise of mud. It sets off from the lido where we hardy Tykes break through the ice to splash around in sub-zero temperatures, none of your cissy southern indoor pools here. It is definitely a race of two halves, in a what-goes-up-must-come-down kind of way as we head up and up and up to Ilkley Moor for a grand old view of the place you should never go without a hat – or tha’ll catch thi death o’ cold and it all end very badly.

I soon settled into a rhythm as more and more people passed me, which is not unusual. Then something weird happened, I overtook a few people, including one of my team mates. And it was up a hill, and they weren’t standing still to tie their shoelaces. Of course I’d forgotten my watch, so I had no idea of times, but one thing I resolved at an early stage was that I would run as if the hounds of hill were in hot pursuit, uttering ‘thou shalt not pass’. I knew I was going for it when I didn’t have the breath to talk to the marshals on the course or stop to take a photo. As I reached the top of the run, I hurled myself recklessly downhill, windmilling my arms. The footsteps of my team mate were echoing behind me, I kept glancing back, she was there, she was gaining, I pushed more and more. And then there it was, the finish, with people I’d overtaken behind me, I flung myself through and turned to welcome her, we hugged. ‘Thanks for pacing me, ‘ she said. We both smiled and swallowed the Yorkshire water with added flies, it was delicious and tasted of victory.

I had knocked five minutes off my PB and it felt good, triumphant almost. Except that I’d not notified my body that there would be so much exertion. So here I am on the bedroom floor, celebrating with a couple of ibuprofen and a foam roller. It’s quite comfortable really. I expect I’ll be recovered in time for parkrun on Saturday.

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