Get lost!

Posted: 14/07/2013 in Laughingly Called Training, Running

No, not you, come back! Sorry, I can see how that might have confused matters…

Three weeks on from completing The Wall, and my knee and toe seem to have recovered sufficiently to plod off about the place again. Thank goodness, as I’m not sure how much longer the stabbing pains could have kept my agitated brain at bay.

I’ve discovered a new hobby – getting lost. In essence, I plod off into the woods, take paths at random and marvel at the bizarre places I come out at. The gingerbread cottage with the nice old lady with the enormous over was perhaps a tale for another day, but there are other examples.

Earlier in the week I headed out to the bottom of the woods, down near the river. I took a few random trails and ended up running alongside the river. Very nice, and I didn’t know you could get that far down. I ran merrily along, enjoying the watery interlude until I came to a big ol’ swimming hole (well it would be if we were Americans, but we’re not, so it was jolly swimmy bit). Then the path ended – this was clearly the thing people had headed to at one time or another.

I could either run the half mile back along the river bank to the main track, or I could find another route. As luck would have it, a ridiculous dirt path, near vertical in places appeared at just that very moment. Um, I wasn’t thinking about climbing actually, so I closed my eyes, hoping it would get a little less vertical.

Open eyes, no luck.

It’s this or nothing, I thought, so I gamely started to head up, small step by small step. By graspy handhold, by delicate foot-placing by remembering “three points of contact!” from when I climbed poorly for a short while. A couple of times I slipped, a couple of times I teetered. The roots and stones made for halfway decent holds and I hoisted my (thankfully less bulky) frame up and up. A climb up a few actual rocks and the scramble levelled out – I was drenched in sweat – did I mention it was rather warm? Up a tiny teetery track and a few toed in steps and I emerged from the bushes back onto the main track.

Lord knows what I must have looked like, dripping sweat, dirty hands and knees, emerging from a bush. Like a hedgehog in shorts, I reckon.

But it was fun – heck it was fun.

So I went back a couple of days later with my GoPro and video’d my rubbish ascending. You can see it here:

Video – if you don’t like the Pixies (that means you mum) then turn the volume off.

See what I mean – what a fool.

I ran a similar way again today, though avoided the path to the gorge – I was out for a quick jaunt about, not an exhaust-o-fest, but I ended up there anyway – I swear the gorge is stalking me now.

In the same three runs, I managed to get lost another three times – each time I found somewhere new and exciting (one through the sheer volume of ants you can find in one hastily stepped-past nest – yikes!) and fully intend to get lost again in the near future. In a way I’m already sadly looking to the day when I know the woods well and getting lost will not be an option. I think it’s a good few months off for now.

Not sure that it went away, but my running mojo has certainly come back.

Thinking ahead and I’d love to have a pop at the Jedburgh Ultramarathon (40 miles) at the end of October. Whether time, money or life allows remains to be seen, but as I used to live up there it attracts me something rotten. Next up is the Great North Run in September.

I am still the owner of both big toe nails. This, it has to be said, is something of a shock to me.

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