Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Run forest run

I do at least 90% of my running on the road, because I don't have time or opportunity to run anywhere else. So usually it is a case of kids go swim next door, and I bolt out the gate straight onto the tarmac, and off I go.

But having experienced a bit of trail running in the past few months, I have found that I really like it. It is quite different to road running. Road running is monotonous and rhythmical. Your feet plod and you can tune out, not thinking about what you are doing at all. You can listen to loud music and you can go into your own head and explore what is going on in there. It is a great way to have time to yourself to THINK and make decisions.

With trail running you have to focus. Each foot fall needs to be considered and you have to think about your every move. Also because trail running is generally in or near the mountains the terrain tends to be steeper and there are more hills and steps and obstacles. It is definitely tougher and more of a workout.

Last night the boys had their cubs meeting in Newlands forest, because they were doing an orienteering hike. It was a perfect opportunity for me to have a run through the forest. I droppped them off and by 17:45 I was on the trail. I saw about 6 other runners in the first 15 minutes (all men) and after that it was just me and the mountain.

I will admit I was a tad nervous, because there have been quite a few muggings (and worse) on these mountains in the past few years and at one stage runners seemed to be getting targeted, but my rational brain told me that because I was traversing up the hill, where no one else seemed to be at all, it seemed rather unlikely that some 'baddie' would be lurking, waiting in the hope that one lone sod like me might eventually come past. I decided the odds were pretty low, so I went on my merry way. But I am not stupid so I did keep my music low enough so I could hear ambient noise and stayed relatively alert. I am not a paranoid person at all. But I am sensible. So far it's worked for me.

Anyway that wasn't the point. I ran, looked at the ruins from the old Dutch East Indian company and read some historical facts. I ran on the jeep tracks, and then chose some smaller meandering paths, which go through beautiful ferns and peat, and found quiet paths where I was literally running through cobwebs. It was beautiful and magical and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I ended up following a sign which said 'Contour Path'. Yay I liked the sound of that. But this path had no bearing on a contour unless it meant 'crosses lots of contours' oh my word it was steep and unrelenting. This part of my run was more of a hike/scramble! When I realised I had gone half way up the mountain and to the very top of the Jeep track I decided it was time to descend again. This time via the jeep track, where I could let loose and really run. With gravity helping me all the way. That's the best part. Just going. Thinking fast as you plant your feet and staying 'light' enough that if you mis step you can correct quickly. It is so freeing and exciting and quite simply FUN.

I love it. It was a fantastic way to start the week-end.


  1. Sounds like it was a lovely run, albeit difficult. what a lovely opportunity to actually have that place close by

  2. I completely admire your ability to do this. I am struggling with just the walking! It seems to be getting harder somehow. Anyway, be careful out there and always take your phone with you in case you are injured. Duh. I suppose i didn't need to say that.

  3. Nothing better than a different challenge.