I suppose “Poggle on my doorstep” would have made a bit more sense, but it wouldn’t have alliterated quite so well. I could have gone with “Doggle on my doorstep”, but “Doggle” is a stupid word and clearly made up.
For those of you new to the blog, a poggle is basically anything I come across during a run that captures my attention and looks a bit out of place. There has to be some degree of permanence too, so while a stone bench carved Mount-Rushmore style to resemble the faces of the Beegees is a prime example of poggleness*, a duck wearing a fez is not**. If you really want to know more about what constitutes a poggle, you should read the original post here. And possibly get out a bit more.
The thing that started me thinking about the P word was a run I had last week. To begin with, it was one of those horrible disheartening plods where your legs feel like they’re made of clay and hatred, and every step leaves you wondering why you bothered leaving the house. After a couple of miles I was firmly in the mindset of “sod it, I’ve done my bit, I’ll head back and do more another day”.
But then I spotted a footpath I hadn’t noticed before. Admittedly, I was trying out a new route, so pretty much everything I saw was something I hadn’t noticed before. Veering from my intended course I decided to have a bit of an explore, and headed off down the path to see what I could find. I’d always been a bit disappointed by the routes on offer right outside my place of work, a mixture of residential streets and footpath-less country roads. There are a few lovely places ten minutes away by car, but I also wanted somewhere a bit closer for those spur-of-the-moment runs where you use the element of surprise and throw yourself out the door before you know what’s hit you.
As I headed along the path I was pleased to see it open out into a gently rolling grassy expanse, littered with trails for me to play with. Within a couple of minutes I’d spotted something that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. To the untrained eye it was a pile of logs at the side of the path, but to my finely tuned PoggleVision™ it was something that had been put there for a purpose. Sure enough, closer inspection revealed that the logs had been carefully stacked and secured into position, making them ideal for clambering up and over. On its own this wouldn’t have been anything too exciting, but then my eye was drawn to a sign. A sign that contained the word “Playtrail”. Looking at the map underneath, I saw that dotted around the area amid the paths and bridleways was a series of what the sign modestly described as “natural play features”. Of course, to my excitable mind this translated directly as “here be poggles”, and I may have started giggling and drooling slightly at this point.
I used my phone to take a picture of the map, and then spent the next fifteen minutes or so hurtling from one poggle to the next and probably looking more than a little bit like an orienteering hobbit. One of the unsung benefits of poggle-hunting is that it lends itself well to interval training, following the following complex formula:-
- Dash up to thing.
- Look at thing for a bit.
- Dash off to the next one.
It’s sort of like being a bumblebee, but with stuff instead of pollen.
Pleased that I’d discovered a great new route right on my very doorstep (well, my employers doorstep at least) the rest of my run flew by with smiles and light-footedness. It wasn’t just the poggles either; the paths undulated just enough to keep things interesting, there were muddy bits, grassy bits, picturesque-y bits. I’ve been doing a fair bit of road-running lately because of the wet weather and general winter murkiness, but this little adventure put me in the mood to use those conditions to my advantage and I vowed to try and “go off road” a little more often in future. Maybe it’s just the pig in me, but there’s something about coming back from a run plastered in mud that brings with it an added sense of achievement. I also like the fact that these routes often feel untouched, even when they’re within spitting distance of civilisation. I always feel like a bit of a pioneer when I’m running in a place like that, as if the only people to even know that it exists are dog walkers and the occasional murderer looking to hide a dead body. If I ever decide to buy a spaniel and extract my bloody revenge on society, then I’m sorted.
Right, off to buy some trail shoes and Kendal mint-cake.
*Or should that be “poggledom”? Or Pogglicity? That’s the problem with made up words. Could just as easily be “poggliwogglidoodah”.
** But it is still brilliant.