We start well, Penyghent gives in easily. 40 minutes sees us on top in the mist and making good time back towards Ribblehead, now in full sun, the miles tick by on good undulating tracks but mainly down. Sam is stamping out a good tempo. 10 miles in at the tea shed, all is well and nearly half distance done.
We take Whernside direct. It is steep, boggy and unrelenting. The ridge looks a good way off. There is a keen wind chilling you down as the slope steepens to hand territory at the top.
Sam is shouting the odds, threatening my death over route selection but he should be quiet, he is way out in front and unlike me can still speak. Matt is keeping him company as I hit my VO2 max and engage crawler gear.
The top is a windy freezer, no place to linger. I shuffle off to the valley, but the writing is rapidly on the wall. My legs are cold, solid and empty and sub 10 minute miles are but a memory of past glories, even though only an hour ago. I am the shambling man.
I stumbletrip down the track but I'm barely passing walkers, cramp is kicking off leftrightleft. Sam and Matt are now walking faster than I can run. We chat, they know the undead when they see it and I persuade them to keep going, I will self-rescue to the pub. What a trooper.
So here I am, there is a log fire. I contain some very nice sausage and mash and I'm just starting my second pint. I should be annoyed at a poor effort but that's the furthest I have run post op and the pace was ok. Even my disappointment is tinged with happiness.
Oh and Matt and Sam get to run a negative split on the last leg and smash 6 hours.
There is still a lot of work to be done by me, some of my long term goals look distant, but I have come a long way in 7 months after major surgery. The price of ultimate success is initial failure and I now know where my limits currently are. Good Day
Location:Horton in Ribblesdale