Spontaneity is a bit of a rare occurrence when you have two kids, or maybe its just me and the fact that I plan EVERYTHING in advance. If you were to ask my close friends they would probably concur with the latter. Yesterday however, after a confluence of episodes that are too mundane to be delved into, I decided that once Dylan finished school we were skipping town to the countryside to see their "Nana". Nana lives in a place called Pontgouin which is about an hour and a half south-west from Paris by train. Now its not exactly the Trans-Siberian Express but when one of your kids hates trains as much as my little Pearl does then it becomes a bit more wearisome. The fact that it incorporated three train changes had me thinking it was going to be quite the challenge.
However, like getting over the sound of hairdryers and vacuum cleaners she has to start get used to such annoyances and where better to start than the deep end. It turned out to be a beautiful trip as she sat with her brother playing computer games and looking at her book, the sun shining in the window I couldn't keep the smile off my face. It went so much better than expected and before I knew it we had landed in the place where time had not so much stood still, but more like reversed it's ass out of this place altogether. And this was just the town where the station was, we still faced a ten kilometre drive into the heart of never land (and I ain't talking Michael Jackson here) I was glad I had packed my running shoes for the next morning. Don't get me wrong the scenery and tranquility is a tonic for the soul and from a trail running point of view it's top drawer, its just....... I don't know, it has this weird undercurrent vibe about it, the way people look at the new folk in town. It feels like Deliverance minus the banjo's. I couldn't help but think of all the Libyans currently shouting for revolution whilst the inhabitants here were shouting for evolution. No shops, no Internet, no phone reception just a few cows and and a church every five kilometres, kind of pointless when there is barely any people to go into them :) maybe they're holy cows? who knows. Any who, after a splendid feast to rival the last supper (bit of a religious theme has crept into this post, eh?) it was beds all round and boy did we sleep.
This morning meant one thing, trail discovery, the great joy of not knowing where the road will take you is a pep to the step. So with camera in hand I headed off hoping to end my training week with an easy 15-16km through pastures new. The sun was breaking through a thin veil of mist and the quietness was utterly blissful. Zero sounds apart from crackling twigs and birds a chirping. I meandered my way through some single track paths that led me to a series of lakes and river crossings, stopping occasionally to snap away with my camera and keep alert as to my bearings. I manged to meet some farmers out in the fields and was greeted warmly with a hint of mild bemusement. One if the things I found really different on this trail run was the excellent conditions underfoot, my usual trails have been hacked up and dug into by more and more mountain bikers. Whilst last spring in Viroflay it was a throng of trail runners taking to the forest it now seems to be bikers galore, this is awesome to see so much activity but it has left some of the trails in a state of sludge. This morning in my new playground however it was like I was the first man on the moon, untouched canvas all around with no one to paint on it but me. Below are just a few of the photos I took.
So after a glorious afternoon it was all back on the train to return home. As I write I have two satisfied but exhausted kids, I am not far behind them. Tomorrow we are Vincennes bound for the finish of the semi marathon de Paris. Very excited about this as it will be my first time to see the finish of an elite race and Paris draws some pretty fast guys and gals, my friends Tim and Rene are also going to be there so can't wait to catch up with them. Huge thanks to Nana for looking after us, maybe when they get online in ten years time or so she can read all about it ;)
See you round the bend.