Last night I went out for a run, as I do on a Monday evening after work as I now have a whole two and a half hours to myself. The day before I had run the Fadmoor 10K multi-terrain race in the rain, but I still wanted to do about 5 miles. So, I planned my route across fields and along tracks, with a little road as I could manage – right from my front door. What I failed to factor in was mud.
Plotting my route
I use OS Maps for route planning mostly. I pay for the premium service annually (£23.99) which means I can access through the website and on my phone. I have access to all their maps, but specifically for me its the explorer and land ranger ones I use.
Living on the southern edge of the North York Moors I tend to go north of the A170. However, I fancied a change and looked for a good route to the south of this road.
The human failure of GPS watches
I’m not averse to a bit of mud when I’m running. I actually find it quite fun.
Despite the fact my Adidas trail shoes are not Gore-Tex and waterproof I just crack on with whatever conditions I come across. Last night was a real mixed bag.
The mud will wash off, but the memories will last a lifetime.
The first field I crossed, inhabited by a small flock of sheep, became a bit boggy as I reached the kissing gate at the far side. This was no real bother. The small copse of trees immediately after was a bit trickier though.
The branches hang very low and the path was muddy and slippery. Throw in the fact that Duke was very eagerly pulling on his leash, attached to a belt I wear, and it was a minor miracle I didn’t end up on the floor.
It was shortly after this, and about 1km into the run, that it dawned on me. I had not set my GPS watch to start!
Oh the horror!
I immediately set it going, ruing the fact that I would look short on the distance I had run. How would people react? Of course, my sensible subconcious kicked in and pointed out that nobody will care one bit.
But it just goes to show, even with technogolgy there can, and will, be human failure.
The uneasy farmyrad
I love OS maps. Those little green dotted, or dashed, lines denoting a public right of way are the veins through which my running blood runs. I plan my routes around those lines.
Ocassionally these lines pass through farms. Decades old rights of way that essentially pass through a private area. It always make me a little uncomfortable.
I had to pass through a farm last night. The “path” along side a field becomes a track that leads into a concrete floored farm yard. My presence immediately set the cows of in the barn I was passing. Louds mooing and clangin noises eminating through the rain filled air that I could hear over the dulcet tones. of Brian Cox.
Brian Cox? Yes, I tend to listen to podcasts, rather than music, if I am going to listen to anything while I run. My choice last night was the BBC’s Infinite Monkey Cage. The Period Table, dreams and spaceflight being the subjects covered in the episodes I listened to last night.
Anyway, back to the farmyard…
There were tractors and barking, yet unseen, dogs, and clearly someone was about – somewhere. I didn’t see a human but I very much snesed that one could see me. With the dank and dark weather and a hidden sun that had set anyway it was an eery place to find myself.
A wong turn?
The issue with looking at a map and plotting a route along a green dotted line is that in reality, on the ground, things can be rather different.
The hill I had to climb was through another field of sheep. Once at the top I checked my OS Map on my phone and found I needed to make a right turn.
Instead, I had to go a little off-piste. I went through a gate and then a small yard and came out onto a road. I was in Great Edstone – a tiny hamlet on top of a hill. But having taken a different route I found myself a little disorientated. It took a moment for me to get my bearings and get back on track.
I have to say, this was also a route devoid of any way markers whatsoever. I am not suggesting the land owner has removed them but they weren’t there. I had only map to to trust. But, alls well that ends well and I came through unscathed.
Rights of way that skirt around the edges of fields can be tricky places for us runners. The ground is usually uneven, strewn with nettles and generally overgrown This can lead to twisted
Our plight is worsened after the harvest when the fields are turns, ploughed and scarified in readyness for the next planting.
Throw heavy rain on top and running across or around these fields turns a regular run into a tough mudder. The clag sticking to my running shoes was adding so much weight to my feet that I was in danger of having a proper work out.
During the Fadmoor 10K that I had run the day before I had struggled more than I would have expected. Not just on the hills, but also in getting a good rhythm going.
This run was not like that. Obviously it wasn’t a race so I wasn’t pushing as hard and my mentality was not the same. However I found hills easier and the rythm came naturally.
After my navigational issue I had a lovely track to myself for a kilmoetre or so. It was brilliant and I was striding out with a fantastic rythm.
What this has told me is that I need to train specifically for the next race I enter. Whatever that may be.
This really is my kind of running. Less road that trail and mucky legs to return home with as a badge of honour!
Thankf for reading