Saturday morning, after dropping Husbando at the fair, I headed on over to Oxford parkrun. This is a newish parkrun, and I took part in the 12th running of the event. I think there were 57 runners in total. I was 4th lady to finish, which sounds great, until you look at the times! Over 26 minutes to run a measly 5km! The first to finish took nearly twenty and a half minutes, that's at least 3minutes slower than the normal course time at Basingstoke - the course was fairly flat, so no real reason for it to be slow.
Today I set off for a planned 8 mile run (I was being gentle with myself after being thoroughly demoralised by Saturday's run). A friend who used to live in Oxford recommended that I head on out to Shotover Country Park, so that's what I did. I looked at a map before I left and planned my route: up a long steep hill to the park, round a marked track in the park and then back down that long steep hill for a nice strong finish, simple really!
I have a good sense of direction, and it has never failed me in the past. Today I think I left it behind. Somewhere in the country park I must have taken a wrong turning, probably because I was too busy making sure I didn't fall over and break my neck on the very rough paths. I came to a road that looked the same as the one I'd run all the way up, I even asked a local if this was the road back to Headington, they said it was ... it wasn't! When I got to a place called Wheatley I realised I hadn't got a clue where I was! Well, obviously, I knew I was in Wheatley, but I had no idea where Wheatley was in relation to where I needed to be. I grabbed my iPhone and got it to plot a route, looked at the route, shoved the 'phone in my back pocket and ran in the opposite direction to the one I'd just come in, back down the big hill I'd just climbed, more importantly I'd also run in the opposite direction to the one shown on the iPhone (and I used to be good at map reading - my friend Penny and I came top in our map reading test when we were in ULOTC). I don't know why I checked again, but I did and realised my mistake so headed up the long hill again, until it met the A40! "This can't be right!" I thought as I looked at the fast moving traffic on the dual carriage way and checked that I had indeed asked for a pedestrian route.
There was nothing for it, as far as I could see, but to jump over the crash barrier and run on the very rough verge. I was almost glad of the headwind by now as it meant that I didn't know if the tears running down my face were from exhaustion, frustration or the wind in my eyes! Pretty soon I notice a cyclist on the opposite side of the road obviously on a cycle path. This seemed a much better option than dodging discarded disposable nappies and avoiding pot holes! But, but, but the A40 is a very busy road - even on a Sunday morning! Thankfully it had a wide central reservation at that point, and years of thinking 'Frogger' was an awesome game with amazing graphics paid off and I managed to get safely across the road.
From there on it was plain sailing really. Uphill, into the wind, plain sailing for a lot of the way, but at least I knew where I was going! And the last mile was, thankfully, a gentle down hill. I ended up running 11.7 miles rather than 8, but I'm not sure it counts as a long run as I had to stop so many times to scratch my head and try to work out where I was! I was under time pressure too - as I had to get back to the book fair to pick up the car, drive to the hotel, shower and pack all our stuff before the check out deadline of 12 noon.... I did it, but only just!
Next time I go for a run somewhere I don't know I am going to remember to take money for a bus or a taxi!