When trail racing, knowing your left from your right is very handy, reading the instructions helps too. These are lessons that I learnt (or didn't learn) last night on the second stage of the 'Three blind mice'. A series of navigational errors or school boy blunders meant I ended up running 6.97 miles, according to my Garmin, as opposed to the planned 5.5 miles. It didn't help that I sped off up the road from the Queen Victoria past the footpath that was the start of the 'trail'. It really didn't help that I didn't turn back for about 3 minutes. Being 6 mins down before the first trail is not a great way to begin. The next few miles were okay, I was either focused on the instructions or following someone, Roy, that I knew could read the instructions. My 5th mile was a spiral of decline. I'd lost Roy to the darkness but was quite a way in front of another group. I entered a field the instructions said SA which translates to straight ahead. This confused me. Straight ahead from where? I went straight ahead from the gate, then straight ahead to the field corner, then straight ahead to another gate..... My Garmin trail shows the confusion. Eventually someone that could read instructions caught up, so I followed them for a bit. We then got on a road section so I decided to try and recapture some lost time, a great idea if I turned left at the junction as instructed instead of right... Eventually I got back to the pub in 1:14 and as it turns out 35 place. Roy won (again) - well done to him. For me it was a longer run than expected but really great fun. Helped by the sense of humour of the Striders who delighted in putting a clipper point in the middle of a stream.
I'm sure there's some scientific reason why trail running is great training, but for me its just a fun way of getting miles under the belt with bursts of speed and bursts of going round in circles. Alternative intervals almost! Next time out - I AM going to read the instructions.