I Thought I Could Do Hills, then I Went to The Peak District

I’ve only managed a couple of easy runs this week so far and easy they certainly were. I’ve felt all week like I was recovering from a weekend 30-miler. Was I? Nope, not even half that. In fact, I did just 10 miles on Sunday.

Let me backtrack a little. 38 years ago, I was… not that far back, just kidding! Up until now I’d always enjoyed hill work and, if I’m massively overconfident and too honest about it, I usually backed myself on a hill and generally found that, on the very rare occasion I did pass someone in a race, it was done on a hill.

The trouble is, I do most of my running in Northamptonshire. You know, that famously mountainous area of the UK. Except when I say famous, I mean virtually unknown, and when I say mountainous, I mean flat.

Over Bank holiday weekend, we spent the weekend with family in the Peak District, Derbyshire specifically. First off, it’s a beautiful part of the country and, if you’ve not been, I’d highly recommend it. This was the enticing view from our bedroom window, tempting my running legs out:

In the hills above Darley Dale, towards Bakewell

I was also, therefore, excited at the prospect of a cheeky Sunday morning run in such glorious surroundings. Predictably, this is where my lesson was learnt.

It’s hard to put this, without sounding glaringly obvious. Wow, was that hilly. I’m not talking ‘feel the burn, achy legs’ hills, nope, I’m talking ‘stop halfway and try to learn how to breathe again’ hills.

The sudden realisation that I did not, in fact, truly know what a proper hill was

It wasn’t just the uphills. The stand out part of the elevation profile is probably the long, long downhill:

Although it looks short, the steep hill to finish off was a late gem on the run

I got to the stage when I was actually looking forward to a small uphill, just to give my thighs a break from the continuous downhill thudding. That’s when I knew this was not my usual terrain.

Still, some amazing running country with the views to reward the immense steepness of the climbs. Now when I accelerate up a meagre Northamptonshire hill and smugly think “my, what a fine hill runner you are”, I will shut myself firmly in my box and pay homage to the Peak District dwellers who eat these kind of hills for breakfast.

Descent into Beeley, near Darley Dale
Just South of Chatsworth, a nice view and coincidentally a perfect excuse for a rest

7 Comments

  1. Lovely pics. I’ve got a friend who lives in New Mills and she just has this huge hill at the back of her house she walks up a few times a week. I have some undulations here in Birmingham but you have to go a few miles out to find rural ones with beautiful views!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful view! I can see how you’d be tempted out. We have a few deceptively beautiful runs here in Colorado Springs too — I have been likewise humiliated by them.

    Liked by 1 person

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