Wednesday 20 September 2017

One day one photo - 20: Orienteering

You probably know already, dear reader, that I like running and regularly take part in running races. And sure, I enjoy doing them. Running is something that I have done since I was a child, and I couldn't imagine a life without running.

You could say that cycling is my passion, where running is more just like my daily bread. In order to curb the monotony of running I vary the places I go to and the surfaces I run on. From where I live I can get out to South Norwood Country Park, which is all off-road and flat, I can do Crystal Palace Park, which is multi-terrain and hilly, or I can do South Norwood Lakes which is multi-terrain, gently undulating, and in the winter time can even make for a good cross-country running course as the grassy field holds the rain well! Then there's Betts Park, which is really close by and is good for a quick leg stretcher. Sometimes I travel out to places like Richmond Park, Banstead or Dorking and run on the hilly trails around there, and enjoy the sights around the Surrey Hills.

So I have managed to keep my running interesting by varying my training locations. More recently I have also managed to vary how I run. In the last few years I have discovered orienteering. It was always something I was a little afraid of doing. Those maps looked like a mixture of Greek, Arab and Sandscript! Years ago, when training for a half marathon I wanted to do a rehearsal race, and the only event I could find was an orienteering event which involved 12 miles of running. I hadn't a clue how to read the map, and ended up just running round the course with a group of sympathetic guys who knew what they were doing, and didn't mind me tagging along.

We got round the checkpoints so quickly that I ended up winning the prize for first female! I was in shock, and felt such a fraud!

Since then, and while with my ex-boyfriend who was big on orienteering I managed to learn a bit about it, and have carried on going to the odd race. I did a few events while I was in Macclesfield, and have been doing the ones organised by the South London Orienteering and Wayfarers Club (SLOW). The race I did today was a Street-O in Fulham, in which you have to find clues to things on lamp posts and pillar boxes within a particular neighbourhood. The locals must think we are weird, running around scrutinising street furniture! I was pleased with my result. For once I didn't come last!

Whatever, my result I do enjoy doing this activity. It gives an added dimension to my running, and jazzes up my run. Also, when an event is advertised as 5km I generally end up running twice that distance! But hey ho, it's all good training!

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