Getting lost in the woods

25 August 2013

We are still settling, so much is happening, but in order to establish some sort of routine, I am trying to take up running again. For those who don’t know me – I am not good if I don’t get enough exercise: I get cranky, back-achy and overall a bit unhappy. To keep my family and myself happy, I have tried to get back into my Lyon running routine of doing 3 – 5 runs a week.

I realized the first time round that running here in Sweden is a completely different affair from the civilized 6km morning run through my local asphalt jungle and along the Rhône: Here in Sweden, I have the woods and a huge lake on my doorstep. So out I went one morning thinking I’d do half an hour’s wake-up running. It all started off well on tarmacked paths. Getting to the lake, I suddenly fancied a little along its shore, because there is actually a loop around the lake. “Hoorah”, I thought, “I’ll do a bit of that.” So off I went along the lakeshore, in brilliant running weather,  and with no other person in sight, just me, the lake and the woods…. It was a pity though, that I had left the sign-posted path pretty much after the first 100m… I kept running and running, thinking that it was not worth turning round, since surely, the lake can’t be that big and that I was half-way round already anyway.

It turned out that that was not the case.  And it turned out that I was lost. I would have had immense difficulty tracing back my steps. So when at some point, with my trainers already soaked and heavy, I realized that I had, by chance, hit the loop again, I was very relieved. Mind you, being on that path does not  mean being on comfy jogging terrain: The path was more like a trail, where I had to climb in places, walk short passages as they were so slippery/ muddy/ rough. I enjoyed it, though, because the challenging terrain just kept me going.  However, the enjoyment started to cease when

A: I realized that the lake is huge.

B: I became very aware of the fact that there was no-one around, I did not have my phone on me, it was getting quite late in the morning. I started worrying about slipping, injuring myself, and then being unable to call help.

To cut the story short: 13km and 1 1/2 hours later I arrived back home. I was glad to be back, and will definitely do that  run again. It will be a great if I know what I’m in for from the start.

By the way: I got lost again the next time I went running and that time was really scary for me. I ended up in a forest without paths, but with lots of boggy places, rocks, and deep, deep grass.  The morning was pretty cold for August (only 9 degrees Celsius), the gorgeous sunshine had disappeared and it was starting to drizzle… I managed not panic and luckily found my way out of the woods again, but I am definitely more careful now:

Lesson 1 learned: The wilderness starts 300m from my doorstep.

Lesson 2 learned: If I intend to leave proper paths and in the future,  take a phone or GPS.

Lesson 3 learned: Running in the wilderness is still a lot of fun…

I am pleased to say that I have now already been out twice without getting lost/ cold/ soaked already!


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