I love running through the fields. I discovered the route with Sweatshop last summer, and revisit the route frequently when it is light.
In the summer some of the route looks like this:
Some of the route has no path- we follow tracks or just run around the edge of fields. But what’s not to like? In the autumn I picked blackberries from huge brambles as a little breather during runs.
I love seeing the flowers in the summer, I love being away from the traffic, being in some green space, seeing birds and rabbits. <3 it.
On Tuesday morning I was off out on a run and wanted to do 5 miles- this was perfect because I can loop around the fields and make it exactly that distance. (The weather was not quite the beautiful blue skies of summer)
Well, I got up there and there is a part where you go through some gates and through a cow field. Normally you can’t even see the cows. Today they were very close to the path. And their horns looked even bigger.
I actually stood there for a few minutes looking at them and deciding whether to carry on or whether to retrace my footsteps. I mean, I have heard that people get killed by cows stampeding, and I think if they see someone running they are likely to join in? Or have I made that up? Anyway, I proceeded cautiously through- you can just about see on the left of the path was a smaller cow and I was worried that if the parent cow was about she might not like me running between her and the calf. Anyway, as soon as I got to the calf I sprinted like crazy- seriously I don’t think I have ever run that fast!
Of course the cows just stood about staring, but they do make me very nervous so I was very glad to get to the other gate in one piece!
Then this greeted me. I had my trail shoes on, so puddles and mud was fine, but this was ankle deep. The path was meant to go from top left to the bottom right corner of the photo, but in places it looked like pond weed was floating about. There were logs at one point that I think someone had moved, but they didn’t seem in a great place so I just got wet. Of course I could have turned back but that would have meant the cows…
Later on I had to climb on a gate- at the end of the tarmac path the entire path was deeper than ankle deep in water right up to the edge. There are huge metal gates that are opened, and the one on my side had a big metal lop at the bottom so I ended up clambering along that and hoping that the gate would not start to close with me on it!
Then I got within half a mile of home and misjudged yet more water logged ground- I ended up in freezing cold water up to my ankles so the water filled my shoes and I squelched the last half a mile back home.
I had mud all up my running tights, my socks were very brown too.
But it was fun. I was slow (partly because I kept stopping to look at the cows/ take photos/ decide which path across the puddles I should take) but I loved it. Andy thinks I am mad but the mud is quite fun really. I am also glad on another point that my hip is behaving itself- I was worried that the movement would aggravate it but so far it has been fine (and yes I did stretch when I got home).
Are you a fan of road running or cross country? I feel safer running by roads at night- I would not be going out alone on the fields (there have been some attacks on the old railway line near me for example) and of course for races road running is faster. But nature is so much prettier, and it is more exhilarating to be fighting through mud too. I have done two cross country races (here and here – the second one also included a cow!) and I did love them both- I think I would love them more now I have trail shoes.