If like me, you find creative stimulation in the random juxtaposition of different ideas, then I’m sure you appreciate the FOSTER concept of post-rationalisation.  I guess that it could be taken to mean the hard times that inevitably follow when companies are nationalised, or even sending a letter detailing the ratio of n to a dog called Alice (think about it?).

But here I am simply using it as a proxy for catching up of two weeks of missed posts.  However, whilst I guess that strictly speaking the term suggests a certain correctness of chronological order, I make no apology for their randomness of time.

So it was that yesterday, after, what, two weeks off, I turned up at Bok Park and donned my runners.

You may remember that last time I ran here, the Bok got us hopelessly lost and I vowed that I would not return until he bought a map.  This he had done, and he had also mentally prepared a route for us of about the one hour mark.

Some early banter involved, once again, his old trainers… having bought new ones (pictured above) the last time he was in the States, he has so far only wafted them across in front of my eyes and as this morning threatened a vague shower of rain so they were once again left firmly tucked up in their shoebox.

If I ever see them in action, I think it would be rude of me not to christen them with whatever mud I can find… although I suspect that might involve my blood being spilt in the process!

Anyway, back to reality.

I have no idea which route we took other than there seemed to be some vacillation of our being on and off of the intended course.  Off-course was worrying, as I still have tender (as in sore) memories of last time around, but the discovery (make that discoveries, as it happened several times) that we were in fact on route (read: in a place he recognised?), were moments of jubilation.

Would I be giving the outcome away if I said that the title of this post was going to be ‘that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into’?  Hmmm.

After thirty minutes we had covered 5km on the super-watch-me-satellite-tracker and had, I think, turned for home, but as the hour passed, the end was not nigh.  Worse, at various points we were breaking the sort of new ground that explorers would have used a machete to get through.  I kid you not!

And I always worry more when the ‘firing in progress’ signs are absent from the signposts, in case they forgot to put them out, or check for trespassing runners, before they started practicing.  Even if, in this case, they were only Sea Cadets.

Eventually, having passed a surprised David Bellamy a couple of times in the thicket, we reached a tall fence which was clearly meant to be very effective at keeping people like us out.  Or maybe in.  That wasn’t clear.

Fortunately, after a little searching, we found the local wildlife had managed to excavate a route underneath and the adrenalin made it easy to slip through.  Into what?  A deep, but (fortunately) dry gully.  In retrospect I am reminded of a computer game, where successfully overcoming each obstacle leads to a new set of challenges.  The satellite watch suggested we needed to cross the VERY big and slightly strange field, rather than slink around the edge… so off we set.

Who was more surprised I’m not sure: Nick or the guy with the 4×4 and all the pumping equipment?  Whoever it was, it was not me… right then pretty much nothing would have surprised me.  Except when I landed from the top the next fence and whilst trying not to end up in the stingers I’d noticed in free-fall, I felt the muscles in my undercarriage soak up the impact!

No matter. the man who was testing the nature of the gas & liquid output from this old landfill site (now a slightly odd looking, very large and surprisingly pretty field) had been very helpful.  And most specific with his directions, which encouraged me to ignore the Bok’s renewed sense of direction.  The way didn’t look right, but it was perfect and we exited through the one gate onto a road that didn’t entail any further adventures.  Unfortunately the road was nowhere near… well anywhere really!

At least the Bok knew the way back and only two things of note stood between us and a very welcome and tasty cup of coffee.  First, Mrs Bok phoned me on my mobile to ask a) if we were lost and b) if we needed to be picked up from somewhere.  This was said as if it were a regular occurrence.  Second, having said that we were very nearly almost back, we got lost in a housing estate!

Just over eleven miles were covered in a pedestrian one hour 54 minutes… what, 5.5mph or so.  Actually, bearing in mind how much lost we did, I think that’s pretty amazing!

Does anyone know a good teacher of map-reading to prevent Stanley getting me into yet another fine mess?

Sunday morning escapade

I awoke from my dreams at 7.55am and whilst it was not the sunny morning I had envisaged, I was rearing to get my trainers on… after a very large expresso, of course. 

The sun was straining through light but wet clouds as I ran up the road and as it was also wet underfoot, I chose not to follow the mud-fest route that Daren, Nick and I often take.  I was in the mood to explore, happy to follow my nose and see what there was to see.  This took me to the south and east of the town where I discovered that the council was in the process of extending the path across an area where I had often wished there had been one.  That they had not completed the aforementioned became apparent as I ran around the boundary of first one large field, then another, a third and a fourth, in search of the exit. 

It had been lightly raining with big drops of warm water, but around this point there was a deluge, almost accentuating that I was going in the wrong direction. 

I eventually came to the boundary of the golf course where there was a gate of the locked variety and no clear route through the golfers playing in the rain.  I soldiered on finding a farm track heading in the right direction, but blocked by a farmyard with some impressive looking security gates on the other side.  I hedged around the boundary and came to a point where a low barbed wire fence and six feet of driveway stood between me and the route onward. 

I almost hope that the owners of the house did see me step over the fence because I can imagine them smiling as my shorts snagged a barb and I was left pinned to the fence for a few embarrassing moments until I figured out which way I had to pull the material to free myself. 

I ran onward, back up through the eastern side of the town, smiling back at the dog-walkers and on back to the house.  Here, a glance in the mirror confirmed that I was a sodden, bedraggled, mud covered monster.  No wonder they smiled at me!

Eight miles in one hour forty.  Not exactly speedy (Nick and I ran just over six miles in 55 minutes two weeks ago, although I did nearly throw up afterwards!) but passable for a wet Sunday morning escapade.

And the sun is now burning through the clouds.  Better late than never!