Isn't October just the strangest month? Sure, we have none of the freezing conditions or snow of December to March (or these last few years seemingly November and April), none of the long and sometimes hot days of May to September. But wait, 30c on October 1st! Frost overnight the week before last, strong wintry winds and a proper soaking for me during last Thursdays club speed session.
It's transition time, in summer I can usually just pack a tshirt, shorts and windproof for a normal outing; in winter, tracksters, underlayer, windproof and/or waterproof top. October it seems anything goes and I've found myself wearing most of the above kit in some combination and packing all of it. Its quite pleasent really though, reminders of whats passed and also a taste of whats to come. Afterall I like winter running, with the right kit, motivation to train big-miles for a new years events and christmas overindulgence to run off why should cold weather be so bad? My biggest mileage month ever was January 2010 and there was no shortage of snow then. "Bring it on!!" I say
For me October comes to a close on a conservative high. I'd ended September tentatively upping mileage following a sprained ankle. I'd missed out on the Hardmoors 60, which was disappointing, but would have been running suicide - undulating coastal trails, stony, uneven, possibly muddy - on a weak joint. Then fate intervened to give me a diahorrea overnight before my first planned event of October. Weak as a kitten the next day it was another DNS, this in the excellent Hope Moors and Tors 20 - with its superb event-signature climb of Grinds Brook clough that always excited me so much in my first few years of trail running.
Not a good start, but back to harder training with the club on Thursday nights and the second weekend in the month saw the start of the Cross Country season. Over the tough trail loop on the Wolds-edge course at Bishop Wilton I set out a good effort. Not tiring too much into the last few miles I was happy, if a bit pace-less.
So back to it next week with back-to-back-to-back sessions before a mini-break in Rome. Great place for a break, loads of walking between sites had me appreciating the lack of a massive underground transport system like in so many big cities. The next weekend I joined Clairster to bag 25 miles at the John O Gaunt 25m LDWA challenge. A lovely scenic and undulating event around the Resovoirs of Nidderdale. It wasn't easy, the great LDWA catering (as nearly always) got me through as the legs felt stiff and sore from about 15m onwards. But with these miles in the bag, I felt I'd given my body the awakening it needed.
This last week has been better still, a few short runs focusing on technique then the first Thursday speed session of the month where I felt I was getting pace and stamina back. Saturday morning came and I was pleased to knock out an 18m+ local, undulating to hilly route in less than 3 hours, can't recall when I last did that kind of pace on any off-road route without absolutely bashing my pan out.
Roll on November, its going to get cold, thats innevitable. But, things are looking up for the Rosedale Ultra 40 miler in three weeks time. A new event to enjoy and a distance I couldn't have done this time last year whilst I was still recovering from injury (another small victory) :¬)