This post could also be called,
“That Time I Was Lost on a Run and Got Chased by a Goat in Ireland – A True Story.”
We’ll get to the goats and Ireland in a moment. First- what brought this story to mind:
The weather this past week and a half was pretty bonkers!
Start of last week had us sliding through snow (You’ll recall I was on a treadmill running out 20 miles like a crazy person…who is still less crazy than anyone who was out in the white-out conditions pumping out similar or more distance. So. There.). By that Tuesday we were slushing through melting snow and running in weather topped at the low 60s(F).
The rest of the week was “just perfect” for running outside. The sun was warm, and the temps were “high”, but there was still that soft chill in the air and wind because the Earth wasn’t buying into an “early spring” just yet.
I love those kind of days. Sitting or running out in the open air and dragging in deep, whole breaths of just so super-fresh air. It’s wonderful….and, for reasons I can’t explain, it always fills me with excitement – like I’m about to embark on some adventure somewhere.
When I was young I would get such a devastating wanderlust. And though my parents didn’t have a lot of money, we did go on trips…but they were canned trips…the usual tourist stops, some but little exploration. My parents were never very healthy, or fit, and they were actually quite a bit older than normal when they had me.
As a result, on those early trips in my life, we would hike, but that died down after some years because my Dad started hurting too much to do it. So many trips of my Mom and I walking around a tourist shop center and my Dad just staying in the hotel to watch TV and sleep. When I was young, I watched so many adventure movies, like Indiana Jones, and documentaries about Egypt, and I would dream about that kind of travel and sights. When I was young, my wanderlust wasn’t fulfilled. I wasn’t without travel…I just wasn’t getting what I craved.
There was no way I was going to get to Egypt then. Years later, my then-boyfriend’s Mom took me on a trip of a lifetime to Ireland. It. Was. Amazing. We explored, we followed a path but not a plan. We made friends and spoke broken French to other travelers. I sat in on a jam session in a castle! This was some of what I craved.
A few more years after that I got to watch my Mom meet a life-long dream of hers – to travel overseas. We went to Ireland together.
Although it wasn’t all that fun a trip for me, we did get to see a lot of beautiful scenery and I got to watch my Mom enjoy something she never thought she would be able to do in her life time. We spent an inordinate amount of time in the car though, and I don’t sit well… I needed more adventure…to do more…get out and experience, rather than stare from afar.
I found my adventure then by going out for runs (My travel companions weren’t that into me doing this: “If you run you can’t have breakfast. We don’t have the time to wait around for you”). I always opted the run over breakfast (And Mom always made sure I had breakfast). It kept me centered – and awake despite jet leg – and it allowed me to tour the area freely… to get that adventure i needed.
I got chased by a goat in Ireland on one such adventurous run. (See, I told you we’d get to it)
In my defense, I didn’t work in kilometers for distances at the time, so when the desk lady at the place we were staying said,
“Go about 7 kilometers ’round that way, there’s a fence, hop it , there’s a bit of a bog, and then it’ll rise to a disused train path….follow that west and you’ll come on a ghost town. It’s pretty neat. No one knows its there.”
I was so down! 100% for seeing an Irish ghost town! …and had no idea how I was going to judge that distance. You see, I didn’t have a phone, let alone one that could track distance for me… and I didn’t own a GPS watch at the time. I was confident that since I knew that 5k was 3 ish miles, I could “figure it out by feel”…. hahaha…
I jumped one gate a while later…thinking, “this feels like a little more than three miles…”
I have no idea how far it was. I high kneed my run through some kind of boggy mess….which made me think I was on the right path…but it went on forever…and got worse. Mud and water streaked my legs and up my back… I gave up, thinking it was the wrong path. Back on the road I ran for a bit longer and saw another gate coming up. “I could have been wrong about the distance to the last one… This could be it.” I thought.
I hopped the gate and started a slow, soggy jog. Suddenly, I heard an angry noise to my left. Looking over I saw a goat that did not seem too pleased to see me.
I stopped and the goat lunged toward me. With a yelp, I reversed direction and sprinted hard, splashing mud and water (and likely goat poop..ugh…) everywhere as I aimed my body hard for the gate. I’m certain I was muttering “no. no. no. no.” internally… probably outloud too. I hit the fence like a pratfall, and after picking myself up from the grass, I pulled myself over, landing hard and falling to my side on the roadway. The goat hit the fence and backed up, glaring. I was panting and shaking, but I was safe. I know goats don’t eat people, but honestly readers, have you ever been rammed by one of those shits? I have. It is not fun. They can be fucking mean.
I watched in horror, as the gate swung open slowly… and I think the goat huffed something that meant, “And now you die”. I jumped up and pulled the gate closed again before the goat could get through. It gave a loud gobbling yell that only goats can get away with… and then trotted back up the little hill. I took off, intending to just do the loop of roadway around the place I was staying. Really, i was trying to figure out how to get into the fancy castle hotel we were staying at without drawing attention. (I ended up finding a gravel road that turned into a dirt trail, and that got me lost but gave a wonderful view of the mountain range “The Bens”).
I had to face the hotel and my family at some point… so I returned to the posh place we were staying, mud all over me. I stopped to take my shoes off outside the entrance, and I used my wet socks to try and mitigate some of the awfulness of my feet and legs. It did not work. One guest saw me, did a full up-and-down look over and asked, “Have a nice run?” I blushed and hurried up to my room to shower.
My Mom thought it was funny as hell that I was covered in mud. Later that night, the guy that asked about my run joined me at dinner (my travel companions opting out because they wanted to “save money” and “weren’t hungry”). He introduced himself and told me about his triathlon training and about how seeing me come in covered in water and mud made him a little jealous. If I wanted, I had a run companion for the next morning.
Travel is wonderful – when you explore…break the normal route that everyone else is taking. Shows and websites always say to “go where the locals go”, and there’s a huge call for that. It makes the whole adventure more authentic. There’s also nothing wrong with being the blundering tourist who gets lost…who…unwittingly… finds themselves facing off with goats and enjoying a private, lost view of a sunrise over mountains.
Running really helps me contain (or fulfill some) this wanderlust.
Especially when I get out and explore my own hometown as though I’ve never been there.
My running group has really built the experience up as well – taking tours of the different areas of our towns. Finding the random oddities, like a replica of the “Tomb of Jesus”, or a UFO… Or traveling to a race.
So come on spring. Quit fooling around with winter and lets get some adventures started!