How is it that I find myself up to my knees in a freezing cold Welsh estuary water trying to find submerged stepping stones with bemused sheep and swans looking on?
I think we decided to do this triathlon thing because we want to capture that youthful feeling of delight that you get when running through beautiful countryside or plummeting down a hill on your bike or carving through crystal clear waters.
I am the Tri-Sista that did not run. It was my kryptonite – I used to run and I gave it up after my hip was replaced. I can swim and bike well but I needed to get back to running to stand a chance keeping up with the other two (both long legged gazelles with mile-eating strides). So I went to the library and got a book on how to run. Old school.
It was a Runner’s World book and it suggested that I do the 30-30 Getting Started plan. This involved 30 runs of 30 minutes over 30 days. You walk for the first 10 minutes, then alternate 30 seconds running with 30 seconds of walking for 15 minutes, and then walk for the last 5 minutes. This seemed just what I was after – a slow gentle way to get moving.
So I did the first few runs in the area around my home and things went well. But when I had to go to South Wales on business for a week the fun really began. I have run along cliffs dotted with sheep at dawn, along the beach with the sun warming my face, puffed up sand dunes and scrambled over castle ruins – all before breakfast. It has been brilliant.
On my last evening I decide to run along the estuary to the castle ruins of Ogmore. I parked my car and puffed along the grass track to the castle. The river, which ran close to the castle, had about 25 big stepping stones leading to a little village I could just see in the distance. Well it seemed like a good idea.
I hopped from one stone to another and thanked my lucky stars that they were not wet and slippy. Laughing at my intrepid behaviour I run/walked on to the village and made friends with a couple of horses and read the information boards along the way. Finally I decided to head back. Now I really should have known that a tidal estuary will tend to flood (being a graduate of a coastal management course and all) but it took me totally by surprise that there were no stepping stones to be seen across the river. Nothing. Nada.
I checked the map. The nearest bridge was about 3 miles away and then I would have to walk back another 3 miles to the car. I stood there dithering. Should I walk or try to cross? There was not a soul in sight – just me and the swans. Panic set in. I will have to cross.
So tucking my car keys in my knickers, I took the plunge. I could just about see the stepping stones and the water came up to my knees. I had to take little leaps from one to another and tried to avoid falling into the waist deep water either side. It was about half way across that the absurdity of my situation hit me and I started giggling. This was adventure. I was having a ball.
Back at the car after an hour of running, soaking wet and feeling massively pleased with myself, all I could think about was how can I get my kit dry so that I can do it again tomorrow?