08 July 2008

Blogging the Lost in Leeds

I don't know if it's Google Maps, or English roads, or my map-reading abilities (not too shabby in the U.S.), but every time I carefully prepare for exercise by reading a map and working out where I want to go, I get lost.

It started in London, when I was trying to find a particular historically significant swimming pool. I looked at the map, I worked out what streets to take, and set out (jogging; I wanted to find the place first, and swim once I knew I could get there). The next thing I knew, I was at Blackfriars. Similar results the next day. The third day, I worked out what the problem had been, and also that by taking some of the streets I had got lost on, I could get there more quickly. So I got there; and then, trying to reverse direction, I got snarled up in a six-cornered intersection, turned the wrong way, and went back the longer, simpler way I had hoped to do in the first place.

In the meantime, I found a health club that was much easier to get to where I could swim.

This evening I headed out for a run. I wanted to be out for about half an hour; I worked out what roads to turn on so I could do a loop instead of straight out and back, and headed out the Otley Road.

Two and a quarter hours later, I made it back to my dorm room.

I hadn't counted on some small country roads (you hit country fairly quickly here) not having signposts with their names, or only partial names. (Fairly close to getting back, I thought I was on Air Foot Lane, like Airhead only the other end, but it turned out to be Stair Foot Lane when I got a full signboard.) It's true that a faulty sense of direction got me into most of the trouble, but that's partly because the sun is so far north at this time of year that trying to steer by it was my first mistake. I also hadn't realized that in addition to two golf courses north of here, there are two more to the west.

But it wasn't raining, at least, and a dogwalker helped me out when I finally asked for directions, and I'd had the sense to buy a sandwich earlier and leave it in my room so there was food when I finally got in.

And even though it took me in the wrong direction, I don't regret the footpath through the sheep pasture. (This was the point at which the run turned to a walk.) It was a really lovely ramble, and coming down through Adel Woods was even better.

But I'm not sure I'll be able to move tomorrow. The woman who falls asleep and then wakes up groaning during your session? That'll be me.


Shane said...

I'm at Leeds too - hope you're enjoying it! I'm deserately disappointed that the medieval beer session was booked out when I went to get a ticket but otherwise it has been a great conference so far.

Dr. Virago said...

One of my favorite runs ever was from the Leeds conference dorms along part of the Dales Way. Like your meandering, it took me through sheep and cow pastures, some woods, and all sorts of other interesting country spots.

I tend to set out and just run and go where it looks interesting -- I think that's how I found the footpath. I don't know how I keep from getting lost -- a six-point round-about would've thrown me off, too.