Four tiny little kilometres, just four, but the problem is I can see every step that I will have to take on this circular run, sometimes running is all about the head, not the legs.
I’ve chosen a route upon the moor that has a gentle up to the start followed by a long, long gradual loss of altitude and finished by the obligatory leg shredding uphill section to get back to the car. The route starts as tarmac before changing to broken gravel track, then finishing on a long road section. Squishy bouncy road running shoes are selected to grace my battered feet.
I’d hoped it would be quiet, being the eventide of the day I expected empty moorland, but the car park was still littered with cars. I put my shades on, fitted the in-ear buds and pressed play.
The music helps isolate me, and the sunglasses hide me from the world, reflecting peoples gazes back at themselves as I shuffle through the little group of returning day walkers. I’m not in the mood for this, I feel fat, am fat, feel unfit, am unfit, my legs are tight and tired, the headphone cord feels strange as it snakes around under my running shirt and the car keys and phone keep slamming into the base of my spine.
Thankfully there are some cattle grazing near to the road, so I stop and take a few photos as I walk by. This then gives me a chance to sort out the headphone cord and pack the phone and car keys into the rear pocket better. Much better, I reach for the in-line audio controls and flick through the tracks until one matches my mood, cranking up the volume I start to run once more.
New Bridge is ahead, and I stop to take another picture and watch the peat coloured water flow by, for a moment. I take the next fork in the track which turns back on itself and heads around the northern flank of East Mill Tor, the surface underfoot is very broken with some large rocks to catch the unwary, I focus on shortening my step and picking my feet clear of the ground, for the next 600 metres I hit that running high, I’m out-of-body, I feel nothing, I breathe in a slow natural state, and my mind empties, even the music which still pounds out its tempo, fades.
And then it’s gone as quickly as it arrived, the music changed tempo and I skitter on a rock, nearly crashing to the ground. Swan like and graceful I am.
I make the next tick point and turn left, uphill to the observation post, OP22. Uphill, I glance upward even though I know what’s there, I’ve walked, cycled, driven and flown over this road many times. It is uphill which ever way you look at it, with the exception of looking at it out of the door of a bright yellow Sea King.
My mind is already giving up, I make a half-hearted promise to stop at the top of the rise and take a photo of the shiny new chimney poking out of the roof of OP22. It makes no difference and I walk dejectedly up the last and steepest part, get out the phone and try to stop breathing so heavily for a second to get one non blurry shot.
The track now becomes tarmac and drops downhill onwards to the ford and sweeping uphill back to the car, I settle into a rhythm and follow a dark line in the road stopping near the ford to take a shot of the warning sign attached to the red and white range posts.
Uphill now, my mind is telling me I’m not going to make it, I believe my mind. the music fades and a new track starts, dub beat fills my skull and my feet pick up. I am going to make this, I will run, it will hurt, but it will not damage me, I tell my mind that I know that my legs are not that finished, I’m at the 40%. My mind is ready to give up but my body is only at 40% done, I grit down and keep pace with the dub beat bouncing happily now, the road crests and the car is in sight.
“We live, we love, we hate, we cry,
we rise, we fall, we reach, we try
we live for the dub, so feel the rise
c’mon and get high.”