I've lost nearly 3 hours tonight planning my route for the weekend. I love pouring over my battered OS maps. They are tattered and crinkled and show signs of some heavy use in bad conditions.
OL12 & 13 in particular have had heavy use and seen better days. Last year's Taltbont Trial took OL12 to the edge of being any use at all (although it's ruggedness hasn't quite been captured in the photo attached!). The weather and visibility were both very poor and I remember running past a stream that was 'flowing' up over the cliff edge and into my face. At one checkpoint I joined a chorus of anonymous voices calling out in the thick cloud as we used each other's calls to home in on the checkpoint.
The map now has patches of empty space where the weather and the friction created by pushing and pulling it in and out of my pack has removed the print. The marks and annotaions I have made remind me of each event and trip. Different colour dots and broken lines mark out routes that I've planned and run before. I suppose it's like comparing real books to the kindle. I love my GPS, but love the real thing more.
For me, the Friday run starts at the beginning of the week with planning the route. First on the map, then transferring the route to the GPS via Everytrail. I also start recording any radio programmes I want to listen to that will keep me company on the trip. Then towards the end of the week, I start preparing my kit, making sure my comfyest gear is clean and ready to go. Packing hats, gloves, putting clean clothes in a dry bag for when I get back to the car, buying any food required and so on. Then, come Friday,I'm ready to go!
I love the ritual of planning for a long day of running on the hills. It completes the experience, heightens the anticipation and adds to the memories too.