LOST> SELF (no – not in a lame abstract way. I got lost.)

Sat – 3hr ride
Sun – 1,2,3,4,500, 1×1.5k, 250m kick (=3.25k)
Mon – 90-120min run (guestimate due to time spent trying to locate self..) + 30min core

The punch line of this blog is probably pretty obvious from the above.. still, it should provide amusing reading for anyone who knows me even a little bit.

For the next few days I am inhabiting parental-ville, translated, being fed and watered whilst I revise. Having got bum out of bed early and completed quota for the day by lunch time, I decided to go for normal ‘long run’ (60-75min) in this beautiful forest near my home.

The forest is used for army training – and it never ceases to amaze me. It is the perfect training area. It joins Aldershot, Fleet, Church Crookham and Farnham, and it is unforgivingly hilly. The only problem is that it really is a very large forest, and it basically all looks the same.

About 45 mins into the run and I was having a wonderful time. I’d just made my way up a tough climb, reached a flat section, and was soaring along thinking that running to old school punk rock in the great outdoors was probably the most perfect demonstration of freedom outside the gates of heaven. I passed my ‘start point’ and decided rather than finishing the last half hour of the run around the neighbourhood, I would simply head back into the forest for a while.


About 90mins into the run and sugar levels were becoming dangerously low, and the emotion dial was hitting the ‘despair’ section. The situation might be easily resolved on a sunny day, where dog walkers are plenty and help is at hand. But of course it was -2degrees and most sane dog walkers had hung up their boots and chucked the four legged friend into the garden for a half hour or so. Or purchased some sort of doggy-treadmill.

Anyway – as I said – despair was approaching. Not only was I totally alone, there was no way of finding out where I was, my core temperature was sinking and my blood sugar levels were pretty similar. At this point, I had two choices: Panic, or take stock and figure my way out.

First step: listen for the road. The wonderful thing about this forest is that it is ringed in by main road. If you can hear the main road, find it, and you will probably be safe. Locating road, I went that way.

Then – I noticed a sign I recognised. Followed by some waterworks I recognised – and actually – a path I recognised. Feeling a little calmer, I resumed my energy-conserving jog and hoped I’d got it right.

Then, a situation that was already brightening up suddenly lit up. A fluorescent orange beacon of wonder approached me. A runner (wearing a floursecent orange jacket – i’m not exagerating the orangness of this garnment..). I stopped – beamed at the runner with all my heartfelt warmth and goodness (you know the kind you suddenly discover you posses when you really, really need some help?!).

This kind man not only knew the way to get me home, he also happened to be going in that general direction. At first, he offered to pull me along with him, a gesture I declined as i’d resigned myself to crawling. However, a few metres travelled and I realised I was actually catching up and perfectly capable of running alongside. And the idea of following him from about 2metres behind seemed pretty stupid.

There was one final hill before out paths split and I would be nearly home. My lovely shiny fluorescent friend pretty much pulled me (mentally) up the hill. I probably sounded like I was about to die but he didn’t say anything.

Emerging onto the open plain, the hill behind me and flatness ahead – I have never been so thankful to see the main road. Also – I noticed I was actually quite capable of taking on the incline, and once i’d found my bearings, I was really perfectly content to run back home.

The experience taught me three minature lessons:
1) When lost – don’t panic. The world is not going to fall apart.
2) Try not to get lost. Start taking a map if you’re unfamiliar with the area.
3) Your body is probably capable of more than you give it credit for. If you let negative thought sink in, total mental/physical shut-down is very easy to conj our up. Just keep calm and carry on, and it’ll probably all be ok in the end.

Published by michellearthurs

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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