Of Hindscarth and hernias

I have been running with a hernia. I'm not quite sure for how long. Longer than I should have been certainly. About a month before the annual Tour of Pendle - a fairly tough fell race of around 17 miles and 5,000ft of ascent - I set out alone to run the route. I wanted a benchmark, a better idea of timings and a confidence boost before the day. Conditions were foul: thick clag, driving rain and high winds. But I quite like it that way, and enjoyed the run. For about 10 miles. After that things became painful and by the last descent the spreading pain across my lower abdomen was severe enough to all but stop me completely. Thinking I'd simply strained the muscles, I walked the last 300 yards, noting a time of 3hrs 30mins. That should have been my last run before surgery, but there were others. A local valley run, 16 miles maybe, though I walked the last three which was a frustratingly new experience for me. A 21 mile coastal route - taken slowly, with more forced walking. I'm sure there were others. And then there was Hindscarth.
Hindscarth is not a summit many will rave about. Set between Dale Head and Robinson, it is out of the way, a rounded inconvenience with no significant features, possessing little in the way of either grandeur or character. At least it might seem that way to anyone intent simply on walking or running the ridge. But follow the path out to the summit and down, heading north, and there follows a wonderful descent, whether walking or running. It was this that I went for, to run what I could and walk what I couldn't.
Looking towards the central fells, Bowfell and Esk Pike the prominent summits, centre left.
And a last look back at Hindscarth as I retraced my steps over Dale Head and down towards Honister. I'd stopped running by then and have not run since. Surgery has been another new experience and it seems there will be a great deal more walking before I run again.

Comments