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A week of micro-adventures

by kirsty
Thursday 2nd October 2014

Run247 columnist and Berghaus Trail Team member Kirsty Reade has yet to find her next big challenge but, inspired by the LED Lenser Epic Adventure Night, she embarked on a week of small adventures

A Week of Micro-Adventures

Ever since I did the UTMB a month ago friends keep asking me what I’m going to do next. Then they say (depending on how well they know me): ‘MdS? PTL? Ironman?’. Disappointingly for them I just say that I haven’t got anything major planned. I feel like I need a bit of a rest, to reacquaint myself with all those things people forgo when they’re training for something big, to grow some new toenails, to think about what I really want as my next big goal.

But, at the same time, I’m really missing having a big race to train for and all the little adventures that involves, such as dragging a tyre up a hill, getting a bit lost, running at night, running with a rucksack without feeling a bit ‘all the gear and no idea’ (or ‘all hat and no cattle’ as my friend says). So, feeling inspired after going to the LED Lenser Epic Adventure Night (www.ledlenserepic.com), I embarked on a week of quite small adventures to keep some excitement in my life.

I started very small and worked my way up to small. Monday was a rest day. I had to pace myself.  Tuesday was a normal run but I deviated from the very overgrown and nettley footpath onto private land. It was getting dark and the prospect of farmers with guns was small.

Wednesday was the day when tiny adventuring kicked in. On Wednesday I ran home from work, from Kings Cross to the small village in West Berkshire 66 miles away where I live. This will sound a bit less impressive when I tell you I used the train for 50 odd miles in the middle. I ran the not very impressive 4 miles along the canal from Kings Cross to Paddington. Not particularly adventurous (though I was a bit concerned about the consequences of falling into the canal with a fairly heavy commuting backpack on) but I hate my usual tube journey with a passion so running that journey instead of standing with somebody’s armpit in my face felt like a big win. I was sticking it to the man, and his armpit.

I can’t say I really enjoy running in London, even along the canal. And the next stage of my journey was a cramped, delayed train and I still wasn’t really feeling ‘adventure’. Examples of things that say ‘adventure’ to me are mountains and fresh air. The 6 o’clock train to Didcot Parkway was more slobbering, snoring men in suits and the faint whiff of McDonalds. However, once I got off the train and started running again, I quickly escaped the roads onto a cycle path on a disused railway line and left my commute far behind. Suddenly everybody said hello; this is definitely not a feature of my London runs.  As I got out into the sticks and cycle path turned to footpath it felt more like an adventure, especially when it started to get dark, and I felt further and further from the stresses of the day.

Few things say adventure to me more than running at night in the middle of nowhere. It’s a nice feeling to trot along with a headtorch on, your world becoming just the 40 metres in front of you.  In fact I enjoyed it so much that I went out for another headtorch run in the sticks with my friend Tom on the Thursday. We did a lovely off-road route, we didn’t see a soul and it just felt like we might be the only people for miles, running for the pure enjoyment of it, chatting along as we went.

A Week of Micro-Adventures

Friday saw my return to tyre dragging, after a five week lay-off. My friend Pip wanted to try it and I confidently told him I’d show him the ropes.  I think I looked pretty proficient until about halfway up our first hill rep when I felt like dying. I completed a not very impressive five reps and I can’t believe that I was doing 12 reps before the UTMB. Mental note to get out with the tyre again.

My week of micro-adventures concluded with an impromptu ultra. My friend Mel and I are organising an underground ultra, an invitation-only social run for friends, starting in Bournemouth and taking in some beautiful coastline.

We made some loose plans to test out the route on bikes, on foot and driving. However, the night before Mel (also known as Mel the Merciless) dropped the bomb that she thought I should run the whole 50k to test it out: half with her husband, half with her. Having said that there was no way I was going to run that far I then got sucked into a lovely day of sociable running with Mel, James and our friend Lucy, taking in the prom, the coastal path, some harbours, woodland paths and stopping in at friends’ houses for drinks. While I got let off the last little out and back bit I still clocked up ultra mileage and it was one of the nicest runs I’ve ever had. A nice little adventure to round off the week.

While I’d love to be somewhere exciting having a big adventure I’ll be making do with small ones for now. I fully intend to run to avoid the tube, to use a headtorch to avoid the pavements and most of all, do anything to avoid the lure of the sofa.

To get ideas for micro-adventures see Alastair Humphreys’ excellent website and book: www.alastairhumphreys.com/microadventures-3/

Share your Adventure and Win an Epic Winter Holiday for Two in Austria. The prize includes flights, 1 week 4* hotel half board for two, night snowshoeing, jackets from @berghaus and head torches by @ledlenseruk. See everyone else's adventure pics and share yours at www.ledlenserepic.com/entries/

About The Author

Kirsty Reade

I’d describe myself as borderline obsessed with running, racing, reading about running, and watching others run so hopefully I’m fairly typical of Run247’s visitors. I tend to do longer races, particularly off-road marathons and ultras, but am pretty much a fan of any distance. I'm passionate about helping runners of all levels to improve through running communities I'm involved in, such as Underground Ultra and Free Range Runners. 


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