Cows grazing in front of the Jura

Running Through Ankle Deep Water

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Yesterday I went for a run, despite the rain being heavy. I wore a proper rain coat and waterproof trousers. I should have also worn waterproof shoes. I didn’t so I ended up soaked once again. What made this run special is that the rain was heavy from the start.

The rain was so heavy that water running from fields and hills was creating deep rivers that ran downhill along roads, filled with muddy water. Normal people would postpone their run for the following day, especially since we knew yesterday that the weather would be good for several days to come.

I got into the habit of walking and running in all weathers so the weather doesn’t affect whether I will go out or not. If it’s raining dog walkers and normal people are usually not out, so the paths we walk and run are free for us to enjoy.

I ran uphill for the first part and it felt hard. It always feel hard to run uphill but there isn’t much choice. If I run downhill I run along the roads where drivers have no respect for pedestrians. I walk and run uphill because that’s where I feel that the roads are safer from cars.

In this day and age everyone is trying to make towns and cities pedestrian friendly but when I lived in London, when I walked in Paris, London, Florence, Geneva and plenty of other cities I never felt bothered by cars. It’s in between villages and towns that cars behave cruelly towards pedestrians and cyclists. To me roads should be dedicated to cycling, running and walking, and there should be a requirement for dogs to be on leads.

I run up the hill because I know that where I am exposed to traffic the roads are wide and I have space to move away from the sadistic drivers speeding by pedestrians. I also walk along those roads because they’re wide enough for cars to avoid us, when no other cars are coming the other way. Where agricultural roads are used by normal cars, where they are wide enough for a car but not two, drivers drive too fast.

If I was driving I would slow down to walking speed as I pass pedestrians and cyclists. They don’t. They almost never slow down.

Yesterday, in the heavy rain I could have gone downhill and stayed dry. I didn’t. Every single time I walk along those roads I yell abuse at cars being driven too fast, too close to me. Words about wanting people to walk rather than drive are empty when you make it impossible to walk between villages and towns safely.

That’s why I went uphill. That’s why I went to the farm roads that flood when it rains. The fields get saturated in water and that water runs downhill, onto the road, and when it hits the road it runs down the road. Yesterday it rained so heavily, for so long, after several days that the roads were now deep rivers. The rivers were now ankle deep. I put my foot down, and the top of my shoes was underwater for a few steps.

I went to the side, I went to avoid the deep water, but I couldn’t avoid it all the time, so I ran through the river running down the road. My shoes and my socks got wet, and it wicked upwards, onto my trousers, up to my t-shirt. I was soaked from the shoes upwards.

I didn’t feel cold. I wasn’t bothered. It’s only rain and muddy water. I ran for 37 minutes in this rain, before I walked the rest of the way home. When I got home I put my shoes on an empty cardboard box, and hung the socks on the same box, to dry. If the box gets wet I don’t mind. It will be recycled anyway. So will the shoes I used.

A few months ago, or last year I frequently said that I was impatient for rainy weather, to have a rest day. Recently I have found that I will go out in all weather, whether we’re in a heat wave heavy rain or other. The time when I really would think twice about going out is on a cold and windy day. I find that rain is fine. It’s the cold wind that is unpleasant.

In circumstances like yesterday’s there are two choices. The first is to wear quick drying shoes, like I did, or to wear hiking boots, that reach above the ankles. The drawback to such shoes is that they are not good for running. Quick drying shoes, in yesterday’s situation were the best option. Feet get wet but we just change socks when we get home.