Today, Saturday I had every intention to do one of my clubs virtual championship runs, most likely a half marathon. the weather very rarely puts me off and the fog, rain and mug didn't today! However Kira had other ideas! She had her morning walk, so I thought she would happily settle down with Alan. I merrily got ready, planned my route and went to put my trainers on..Kira was up and ready for the off again! I never expect Kira to run with me all the time, I allow her to decide if she wants to come out for a run and today, there was no way I was getting out of the door without her! She is a typical husky by all accounts, stubborn, goofy, nosy, a little aloof with people she doesn't know and a has a high prey drive. She has learned all of my running or walking routes, including all the spots where we see deer, hare or pheasants! Running with her cannicross style is certainly interesting, particularly downhills! ( uphill is usually a 26k husky pull up by me !!) I was hoping this year to do a couple of races with her but sadly Covid put an end to them all but hopefully next year we will give it a go. My club, the Swaledale Runners decided to do virtual championship runs and included dogs and other family members in them, which is really nice. Many of us have dogs, some rescues, some rehomed due to sad situations and others have just been part of families from puppyhood, most have been included in parts of our lives others never get to experience. For Kira not only has it calmed her but also given her such pure enjoyment, my joy comes from seeing her love being out and learning about the countryside and wildlife around us. So we completed the 10 miles on trails, mud, water, fog and rain today in a little over 1h 50 mins, happy, very wet and dirty but so pleased to have had that time out and been able to enjoy life!
Over the weekend I completed Virtual Richmond Castle 10k, just enjoying it, despite the hills! A lovely medal to add to my collection, though I don't run many races that actually give out medals! Then on Sunday Kira had a rest as I took part in a running workshop - strength and conditioning and a very hilly tempo run. I'm sure plenty of the walkers at the suspension bridge in Reeth over the weekend had a laugh at us desperately trying to co ordinate our arms and legs while doing all the drills and avoiding the cowpats! I love running/walking in Swaledale, unlike some I am happy to just enjoy being out there, happy to talk, just stand and stare and pet other dogs. Meeting people from all over the world sharing a tiny piece of their lives, enjoying a snippet of their impressions of the Dale and our mutual love of the surrounding beauty. I spent some time on New Years Day with Kira, running to the top of Calver, to just take everything in, rather than a busy Park run, which is what I would usually do. It was stunning, no one else in sight, a fantastic day as we were out early, a time to recharge and reflect. Kira was (and always is) very happy to sit and take everything in, maybe because of her past City life, she never had the time to just sit and watch life go by! These times all make me realise we may not have a perfect life but we can always enjoy a little something, be it a walk, silence, freedom, a laugh, music, friendship or companionship (be it 2 legged or 4!), it is indeed true, the best things in life are free!
This weekend also saw Kira complete her first virtual run in aid of Durham Police's retired police dogs. Supposed to be 10 miles but we flew through 13.25 miles of stunning, hilly Swaledale with a friend! Kira just loves our explorations and once we have done a route, she never forgets it, thus every once in a while, I have 'Kira's choice' runs where I happily run along, letting her decide the directions! She is very at home running along but does have pack mentality with, what starts together, stays together, rarely letting anyone get left behind. Being a Siberian Husky, she is also, like me, ready for any run or walk in any weather, only hot weather deters us!! Although I am happy running alone or with friends, running with a dog just makes you smile. ( well mostly, barring the being pulled through woods, roots, brambles, nettles and all!) With Kira being a rescue I get to watch her bloom into the character she is, bonkers, happy, highly energetic and amusing! It is true what they say about running with a dog fastened to you, there's a bond and connection ( again mostly!!) and we both have incredible trust in each other mixed in with happiness and at times, exhilaration, but not downhill with a husky!! ( or uphill with Kira at times but excellent resistance training for me, towing a 26k dog!! ) I know many people have found Covid very hard but doing virtual runs has been good for me and many others, not only have we supported other small businesses struggling to keep going but also charities. There is always a good reason to get out there and if we can all help each other, that's great! Kira completed her virtual run through Wilderness Running who can be found on Facebook or www.wildernessrunning.bigcartel.com
As an ardent Park run fan, particularly at Catterick and no, or very few events on, it was great to do a 5k time trial at Kirby Fleetham organised by Trevor and Linda. Even better was I was first lady, (due to my advanced age of course, I'm sure!! lol) As you have no doubt realised by now, I love running, it is my peaceful time, the time I can mull things over in my mind, time to think and explore ideas and purely to be out in the glorious countryside, to feel the weather on my skin and enjoy it. of course now I have Kira, an ex townie Husky and I am watching her bloom into the love of running too, always ready for new adventures! ( and the fact there is far more wildlife to chase!!) One of her first runs was at Catterick Park run close to Halloween and remember remarks while running past people of ' A WOLF'!! Running has helped me through some tough times, it wasn't about weight loss, or being a fast runner, or being the best it was about helping myself be comfortable with me, something I struggled with throughout my life. I am happy to encourage others, to cheer, smile or urge on because I have been there and know how a harsh word can destroy so much but a encouraging one can spur you on and make all the difference! So if you feel like trying, don't let anyone put you off and just get out there, enjoy it, walk or run, rain or shine, smile and take that first step!
After the horrendously wet Saturday, I decided on a local, mostly road run as I wanted to run up onto the moor above Marske because I just love the never ending view there. Being honest, I also thought it would be less messy - ever tried running through ploughed fields where you end up with trainers like divers boots, I rest my case!! Needless to say many of the roads were covered in debris and several were flooded. Usually I am a trail runner, a bit of water rarely stops me, ( I have been known to wade through the Swale on a 'Moon Run'! ) and needless to say, it didn't today, even just under my knees! ( as others will point out here, I am indeed vertically challenged and it would only have been ankle deep on anyone else!! ) Then my arty side appears while in the middle of the flood, loving the reflections of the sun dashing in and out of the clouds, had to take a photo! While I love running and can be competitive, I also love the places I can get to, what I can get to see and how beautiful just the smallest of things can be, whether I am alone, with friends or Kira, for me it is my meditation and inspiration.
Covid has affected all of us is some way or other, for me, as an avid runner, trier cyclist and swimmer, lockdown gave me time to explore my local routes more with Kira, our husky and have run much more safely on the roads. Taking the time to appreciate being out, all the bloom of hedgerow plants and flowers and actually see wildlife in abundance. Our hour out exercising became my meditation merged with my clubs virtual races each Saturday! Although I have missed races, meeting other runners and being competitive, I have still managed to get out there and for that I am grateful! I have found my time out with Kira to be almost meditative, even in the wind and rain! Autumn has been particularly beautiful this year too, stunning trees and brooding skies, perfect for inspiring our arty sides. Even running in the dark has been amazing with the moon, although I haven't been lucky enough to see anything of the Northern Lights yet! I hope you can all find the time to find some peace and calm in these chaotic times.