Autumn (Well it was then.....)

Posted on: 02 Mar 2020

I'm still trying to get caught up - though having read Liz's tale of her epic double ultra, I feel my endeavours are decidedly on the tame side. Oh well, there are photos, if Realbuzz will let me include them.

The Bireggwald figured quite a lot; sometimes running, sometimes just walking. On one occasion we witnessed a contretemps between a robot mower and a cat on the lawn of a house up at Oberrüti. Said mower seemed to have a malevolent streak - whenever it turned round, it headed straight for the cat! - it reminded me of a scaled-down version of 'Duel'. It was hilarious (though the cat may not have agreed!) On another outing I noted 'some lovely Disney toadstools.' In fact, it was altogether a very mushroomy autumn. It wasn't all nature-spotting; there was hard work too, notably hill training up 'That Hill', which never seems to get any easier. Likewise some sessions at the school track. At the time, I was still considering a mountain marathon (the Transruinaulta), so trying to put in a few longer runs too. One of these was a solo effort starting from Friedental. In the back of my mind, this was the  decider - on the basis of how this went, I would enter. Or not.  Out past Trumpf Buur to to Buchrain and back to Rathausen, then along the river Reuss to Perlen. The toilet at Rathausen was locked, so I had to take my 'comfort break' al fresco, about 2 metres away from the busy motorway! (but shielded by thick bushes.) At Perlen I crossed the river and ran back on the other side to Rathausen, then over the ridge to Rotsee, finishing up at Ebikon station. At 22 kms, it was not the longest of long runs, and certainly not the hilliest, but it was cold and windy, and doing it alone felt like an accomplishment too - I'm used to having J keeping me company. But I generally felt good, running quite fluently, not lonely or bored, just spooked out a bit at one point by a man ahead loitering at the side of the path. He kept stopping - maybe he was looking at his phone - but I didn't want to catch him up, so walked a bit. Even so, I was catching him up, so eventually had to run (fast, trying to look confident) and overtake him. I was glad to see another runner coming in the opposite direction soon after. The wind really picked up in the last few kms - I was glad of my jacket. I still had doubts, but with some pressure from J, who also wanted to enter the race, I logged on to the site that evening........ and found it sold out. The previous day there had still been places available, but there must have been a late rush, or maybe the list hadn't been updated for a bit - anyway, that was it: decision made for me. In truth, I was probably more relieved than disappointed. Lovely though it might be, it was all trails, and involved 1800m of elevation. It's not the uphills that bother me so much as the downhills. I am not good at downhill running, especially on steep, rocky, slippery trails - a combination of stiff knees and nervousness makes it painfully slow (literally). Also there is a cutoff at 23 kms. Perhaps it was never an altogether realistic idea in the first place. Maybe we should just walk it some time,  taking the time to enjoy the landscape without the pressure of a race. J was a bit disappointed, so I offered him the more local Napf marathon as an alternative. But this presented the same problems, and was a week earlier.

So the running reached something of a dead end as far as purpose was concerned, and lapsed into a more relaxed regime of 'running for fun'. Well, that ticks my boxes too. And walking (of the type that used to be called rambling, and Americans call hiking) certainly does. I love walking. And autumn being a prime season for it, we had some great walks. Picking out three that have photos: the day of the Napf marathon, we walked up there from Menzberg, a route new to us. The runners were all through by the time we got to the top, but we had a Käseschnitt in the restaurant before tackling the downhill on the other side. A few years ago I did the half marathon, over the second half of the route, and this same path was the way we had to walk UP, to get to the start!

On that occasion it had snowed, and as well as snow at the top, there was every possible permutation of mud on the way down - though 'down' is not strictly accurate; I remember saying at the time, "For the 'down' half, it certainly has a lot of uphill!" No snow today though, it was a gorgeous autumn day.

Back in Trubschachen, we went to the marathon finish, but it was all over. The refreshment tent was packing up, but we managed to buy a beer, and drank it on a bench by the children's playground, before walking back to the station, and our train home. Just over 20 seriously hilly kms altogether.

A few days later, an outing from Wiesenberg to Wirzweli. The main objective was a competition run by the tourist office of Kanton Nidwalden, which involved taking pictures of benches and uploading them to a map of the region. I contributed one I was fairly confident no-one else would, as it is on an obscure path that goes nowhere...... and did in fact win a prize: a pair of return tickets for the Stanserhorn cablecar (though I think this was by luck rather than merit.)A little further on, J customized a signpost (in pencil, so no permanent vandalism.)