On footpaths, getting lost, and the wetness of rivers

I've said it before, and I'll say it again – running does weird things to you.

Not just the bizarre pains and injuries from hours and hours of training, but it messes with your mind.

Last night's 11-miler, from the safety and warmth of the next morning, isn't an unpleasant memory.

But, at the time, I know that I really wasn't enjoying it at all.

Unlike Tuesday, I didn't start off feeling great, and I struggled to get into a comfortable stride. I put this partly down to the fact my phone's music player refuses to play anything but one album, and I'm getting a bit tired of that now.

A couple of miles in, when it was still light, I was faced with the sight of the river coming over the banks, and in places, being on the road.

This wasn't too bad as it wasn't totally submerged, but still had to wait for traffic to pass so I could run in the middle, using it's camber to find the dry stuff (good use of “camber”!).

It wasn't quite the same story a bit further up, as the below pic shows, but there is a way around this one, so it thankfully didn't mean me swimming.

To get to 11 miles I have to run my normal there and back route for about four miles, then do a loop round to get the miles in.

I hadn't done this since last year and the mist of time had obviously descended as I'd completely forgotten that my part of the world hates pedestrians, so discourages them by refusing to include footpaths on wide stretches where there is clearly room.

I'd cross over to be on the right side for a turning, but then have to cross back as I was faced with oncoming traffic that refused to believe their cars weren't as wide as a house so must be close to the kerb.

This became irksome.

I also got a bit lost as I thought I'd missed my turn on the loop back, as it felt like I was a million miles from where I should be. A quick check of where I was on GoogleMaps via the phone showed I was ok, but I really need to learn these things.

It was dark by the time I rejoined my usual route by the river and as it had risen onto the riverside path I had to run in the road more than usual.

Despite the hi-viz I was wearing, people still seemed to strugle to see me - with a few late swerves by oncoming cars adding a bit of excitement.

As I got back to where the top pic was taken, I realised that rivers carry on rising, even when you're not there.

It was now covering the road completely.

Now this stretch has a couple of hundred metres of path on the non-river side so I figured I'd just wait for cars to go past so I wouldn't get drenched, then take that.

However, when there are no cars, there are also no car lights, and what I hadn't noticed when watching the spray from traffic passing through, was that the path was flooded too.

Not just "wet" or "a few puddles", it was past my ankles.

Blissfully unaware, I waited for a gap in the traffic and got a good pace up to avoid being caught out by a speeding car.

This meant I hit the water hard and got absolutely soaked.

I don't know if you've ever tried to run through ankel deep water in the dark when you had no idea it's there, but I can assure you it's not pleasant.

My initial reaction was to stop, but then I immediately thought to try to run on the side of the path where the verge was a bit higher.

It was also a lot muddier.

And slippier.

So I bit the bullet, found the tarmac again and ran through.

Once at the other side I stopped to try to get the excess water out of my trainers as it was somewhat "squelchy".

I didn't want passing cars to think I was shirking on my run, so tried to compose myself in such a way that my body language made it clear that I didn't really want to stop, but had shoesfull of scanky riverwater I needed to get rid of.

This involved wagging my legs in a fashion not dissimilar to a dog, and I think I pulled it off so I don't have the spectre of judgemental motorists hanging over me.

So, on reflection, it wasn't much fun at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment