Update on countryside running. Glorious but a few (ahem....) challenges!

Update on countryside running. Glorious but a few (ahem....) challenges!

Just moved to the "country" 6 weeks ago so still exploring the area. Thought I'd give the arboretum a try so went for a little jog on Monday.

I didn't plan a route but just "went for it" which was a tiny error on my part. It was beautiful but there were lots of winding paths, I didn't know where I was going, I kept doubling up and running around in circles and I couldn't really get into a stride. I passed the same people about 3 times and I'm sure they wondered why this nutty woman was running around this little bit of park when there were 600 ACRES for heaven's sake! Took a photo to show you fellow runners. Isn't it beautiful?

Anyway, I thought today I'm going to plan this better. Get a map, choose a route, etc etc.

So I drive 5 minutes to the arboretum, pick up a map and work out a route. This is great methinks. Much better to have a plan. I park the car and realise I've forgotten my phone! Now when I lived in the suburbs I didn't always take my phone with me. Ok so I should have but didn't. I reckoned if I fell some passing motorist would notice. But in the countryside I've got to remember to always take my phone with me. Where was it? Oh yes, in the kitchen charging!

Ok, I'm not going back home, I'll just go for it.

I check my Garmin, start my 5 minute warm up walk. There are lots of dog walkers and mums pushing prams. No other runners though. Beautiful weather. No twinges from my body (I've been out for a while with minor pains).

The warm up walk is over and off I go. Everyone says hello (so much friendlier than where I lived before). Am feeling good. After a few minutes I start to feel that this is hard work. Is it just me? I look ahead and realise that the path in front of me as far as I can see is a gently sloping incline. Oh bug*er that didn't show up on the map. I don't know about you but when I see a steep incline but you can also see the top, you know you have to make a big effort to get up, you somehow find the energy to do it but once at the top you can whizzy on down the other side. This forever gently sloping incline was hard work. When was it ever going to end? It wasn't even that steep but it felt so tough. Anyway, I kept thinking it was good for my bum and on I went. After a while the path seemed to settle and became flatter. Thank God.

The weather was gorgeous and the scenery stunning. Bluebells were still around, there were daisies galore and rainbow coloured rhododendrons showing off. This was heaven I thought.

So I tootled off, getting into a nice little rhythm when I hear the Garmin bleep. I haven't done 1k already I thought. I looked down and realise I hadn't set the Garmin to record so all my efforts up that (mountain) hadn't been recorded! I set it to record and away we go (again).

The 1k bleep goes, the 2k bleep goes, then I see this gate up ahead. When I reach it I realise it's a cattle grid gate. It slows me a little to open it as I daren't chance jumping across the grid. I run a little bit further and then I see another gate. This one is bigger that the last one so I tried to open it like the last one. It didn't open. I tried again. Nope. Wouldn't budge. I looked behind me. No one was watching. Tried again. Nope. I'm getting frustrated now. How hard can it be for gawd's sake? I try again. No, it's not moving. I consider climbing over it but dismiss this idea as it's going to take time. I feel an idiot (from the suburbs), turn around and find another path, running into a couple I had just passed a few minutes before. "Hello again!" I say. They look at me strangely. I must learn how to open all these cattle grid gates.

I find a much nicer path and make a mental note to take this route next time and avoid that horrid gatey path. Wish I'd brought my phone as there were lots of lovely photo opportunities here. Next time.

After a while I turn back and head towards the car park. I don't know exactly how far I ran due to the mix up at the beginning but think it was about 5k. But I loved it.

Got home, found note from hubby left on the hall floor:

" honey, your running shoes are filthy. You've just made a trail of mud across the floor".

Oh dear. The joys of living in the country.

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  • What a lovely description. Sounds like it was very enjoyable, despite the few obstacles along the way.

    As for hubby's note: My partner makes the same point by saying "It is soul destroying to see the dirty floor when I have spent so much time cleaning them". I respond "honey, will you please drink your tea from your hands.... it is soul destroying to see dirty tea mugs right after I have finished washing up."

  • Love it! I thought he'd left me a love note but alas no. We've been together for too long!

  • I love it!

  • Make the most of that arboretum: it sounds lovely. The cows have just been turned out in one of the places where I runโ€ฆ It's not just the cows one has to dodge but also the cow pats!

  • Oh no I hadn't thought about that one! Still, I hear cow pats are really good for certain ailments. Is that true? I have so much to learn.

  • Lovely descriptive writing there IrishP. Sounds a lovely location you have to run in. Have you tried entering the location into google maps and taking a look at the terrain before you go out next time? I find google maps and google Earth very useful for spying on a future running location!

  • Thank you danzargo (chucks, feeling bashful now). Lucky bashful. No don't go there. I've had a few glasses. It is a beautiful location. Thank you so much for your tips. I will "google map". That slightly sloping mountain probably won't even show!

  • What a wonderful post! Sounds like a really beautiful place to run and the picture is lovely - not many bluebells where I am. Ah well, so you went on a bit of a magical mystery tour - it happens at times. Once you learn a few routes you'll be well away. Good luck with the running in your new area and very best wishes.

  • Aw Fitmo it's glorious. Can't believe we live here! So excited about exploring but need to get better organised. Still, what fun! Thank you so much for your best wishes.

  • Welcome to country living and running! The arboretum looks like a lovely place to run.

    As a fellow country-runner, can I suggest you buy the OS 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 scale map of your locality, so when you plan routes you can check the contour lines to see the gradient. Also, the map will be a very useful for showing all the local footpaths. I don't know where you are living - if Scotland, we have brilliant countryside access law - but elsewhere in the UK (or Ireland?) you'll need to stick to the official rights of way.

    Oh, and mud when running or walking is just there, so hubby better get used to it! And/or you always take off your shoes at the back door! Earlier in the week I had to strip off everything at the back door (inside!) when I got home from my run! :-)

  • Thank you swanscot for your lovely welcome! I know where to come for advice! Good tip about the map. I do like maps and am very good at reading them (despite what the stereotype says!) so will definitely buy one for this area. I live in England so will need to abide by all the rules!

    I must say my hubby would be very pleased if I stripped off at the back door. Not sure what the neighbours would say though!

  • Lovely post Irishprincess, what a beautiful place to run. I love your picture too. I am sure you will get to grips with all the gates and find many more places to run. Enjoy x

  • Thank you no-excuse it is beautiful. I'm very lucky. I must take lessons on how to master those ruddy gates.

  • Some gates are just stuck. You can always climb them (at the hinge end).

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