Wednesday, 16 February 2011

One man, a rucksack and a can of Fosters

16/02/2011 - In my previous post I detailed my new "off road" course.  Now the beauty of this new route is that it's still has many "off shoots" still unexplored and many miles of track to run.  So tonight as soon as I got home from work I decided to go out and explore.  Now obviously it was going to be dark but a man with a trusty headtorch is not so easily put off.  I'd seen some paths going off into the woods on my last jaunt and I was determined to explore some of them.  First I have to escape the lure of the Viennese Whirls placed on the kitchen side to catch my attention.

I managed to hold onto my dignity and walk past the Viennese Whirls but having denied myself one pleasure temptation once again wiggled it's boobies in my face.  A frosted "tinny" of Fosters let out a siren call and seduced me into popping it into my rucksack.  So suitable attired in my running gear, trusty headtorch adorned, Fosters in rucksack, rucksack on back and runkeeper activated I set off out the door into the night.

What a lovely night for running.  A slight chill, clear skys and a beautifully bright moon lighting the way.  I could almost have run without the headtorch (trusty) it was so bright.  Now up the hill and out of the village.  On for about a mile before veering left across the road and through the gate into the countryside.  First bit of the run is along pathways intersecting farmland.  This is very open and as you get further in you start to feel a little isolated..... great :-).  It's also quiet a steep climb and a perfect for training for the TR24.

Eventually you start to approach another village so it's a veer off to the left past a football field and down a muddy track.  This eventually brings you out at another road.  Quick check on traffic and it's across the road, through another gate and into the darkness.  Here's where we reach the wooded area.  This is where I want to investigate but not quite yet as I've got some running to do before I tackle the woods.  First I run alongside the woods for a mile or so then it's through some farmland before I go through another gate and head up another hill.  Here I can see the ghostly silhouettes of the horses in the field.

Picture taken of the field on a previous run
So I do a circuit of the field, underneath the power lines that buzz and crackle quiet alarmingly as I run under them.  I'm lucky to keep my feet as it's quite muddy in parts.  Eventually I heading back through the farmyard and once again I'm nearing the woods.  So far I've run just over 8k over paths, road, mud and grass and decide nows about the time for a beer.  There's a picknic area next to the woods and in the middle of nowehere, comparatively.  So pop through the trees and settle on one the benches.  The moon is so bright I can turn off the headtorch, (can I just assume that you'll appreciate how trusty it is from now on? Good), rifle through the rucksack and exhume the can of Fosters.  I was surprize that it didn't spray everywhere when opened and took my first sipping with an appreciating sigh.  Oh it was good, not Peroni good but still.

Party in the Park?

Beer consumed I was ready to commense my voyage of discovery.  Not since the days of Magellan, Cook, Shackleton has one man so capture the spirit of adventurous exploration.  So to the woods.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Again it's running along side the woods until I spot the entrance and path into the woods I'd seen previously.  It's pitch black with the trees blocking out the light from the moon.  I jinx into the opening in the trees and set off down the path.  I have to adjust the angle of the head of the headtorch so that it illuminates the floor less and the branches more.  While this makes it much harder to see where my feet are landing at least I can see the branches that threaten to snatch and claw at my face.  As I get deeper into the woods the view in front of me, as I run along, brings to mind many a horror film.  Am I a soon to be victim watched by some evil predator.  The feeling that a werewolf or perhaps a bunch of loonies ala Severance are hunting me down impinges on the mind. I'm loving it. 

I come to a fork in the path.  Which one to take.  One looks like it heads back to civilisation, the other goes deeper.  I take the deeper path.  I've not had this much fun running for ages.  Eventually I pass a farmhouse in the woods.   At first I'm tempted to see of the walls are made of gingerbread but I decide I can do without the calories and press on.  And on.  Suddenly I break through into moonlight and into a muddy track across some fields. 

A mile or so later I'm at a large gate.  From here I can see the village where I live which was a nice surprize as up to that point I'd lost all sense of direction.  So with quiet a bit of reluctance, I could have easily have turned round and headed back into the woods, I headed home.   15 minutes later and I'm home and in the light I can see I'm covered in mud and my lovely Nike's are encrusted. Best run of the year, 8 miles of sheer bliss going to go for 10 at the weekend.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Off Roading !!

08/02/2011 - In the week I ran my "new" 7 mile jaunt when on the way I noticed a public footpath just off the route I was taking that headed off into the countryside.  That looks interesting, I thought, I'll head that way next run.  So mid week and it was off to try out the footpath I'd seen previously.  First thing first I had to find it and it's amazing how things look differently when your heading in the opposite direction and it's nearing dark when previously it was daylight.  So after I'd run around a bit I eventually found it and set off.  Trusty headtorch lighting the way I headed through the gate and down the dirt track into the countryside.  I'd obviously found a good route as I met a number of runners coming in the opposite direction.  All I'm sure envious of my headtorch  as they ran in the near dark.  I was right it was an excellent route and as I jogged round I saw a number of different routes I could take on future runs.  I could not stay out long so in all I completed a lovely 5 miles.

A few days later and I'd determined to do the run in the daylight so I could see what other routes lay open for future runs.  So back to the entrance of the footpath and off I go.

The start of miles of lovely running
I had decided to do the same run again just to get my bearings which as it goes was a good thing as the wind was terrible.  Some of the gusts nearly stopped you in your tracks.  Still loads of runners out, cyclists and people walking their dogs. 

A river runs through it
Then I saw the signs I did not see in the dark.  It turns out this whole area is a nature reserve lol.  So I do my five miles but notice an addition to the run I want to try on my next run out. 

Before then I needed to go shopping.  We need a new fridge as the old one is on it's last legs (bit like me).  We tried to buy one just before Christmas but in a failed shopping trip we came back with a microwave and an LCD TV.  So determined to not make the same mistake again we set off with the steelly determination to only look at and buy a fridge.  So shopping done and a new home computer purchased I set my self the task of buying a new fridge next weekend and going out for an exploritory run on Tuesday (tonight). p.s. the computer is very sexy, I was seduced.

So tonight armed with the usual trusty torch and the addition of a pocket of Skittles ( just for nutritional reasons obviously) I set off for the exploritory run.  It was quiet late and seeing as I seem to be the only person  in the county to have a trusty headtorch as soon as I'd gone through the gate into the reserve I was on my own.  Lovely clear night and I mulled over the idea of running naked through the fields as it would have given me something trully epic to pop on the blog.  In the end I decided against it and continued on. 

Eventually came to a part I'd never been down before, this was going to take me well off the beaten track.  I sucked on another Skittle and headed on.  It was fab.  I felt all alone in the world, in the middle of nowhere and needed to keep running just to get home.  Then I sort of got lost, well not trully lost as I sort of knew my rough position .... ish....... just not which direction etc I should be going in.    Eventually after about 20 minutes of running sort of in a circle back to where I started  I eventually came to a road.  AHA! I know where I am......about a mile from where I though I was.  Oh Well.  So now I could head for home.  Eventually got in after an hour and 20 minutes and the longest run so far this year a shade under 8 miles.