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Jacksonville, FL, United States
In Life as well as in running the secret is Pace.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dude, Where's my car?

This story really starts on Monday evening…

I head out on a run in a city which I was visiting for the 1st time… Meriden, CT

I will often research an interesting route or locale to run in when I’m on the road but this time I was just doing a quick trip… only one night so I was just going to wing it.

I went out the front door of the hotel, hung a left, and just started running… w/in a couple of miles I was feeling pretty loose and already kind of out in the countryside. Beautiful evening… 80F or so… greenery all around… canopy road… I was having a good time..

I’m not sure what it is tho… my Cherokee ancestors… RATS… or what but I seem to have developed a trail running soul… anytime I run on the road… my eyes invariably roam to either side of the road looking for a trail.

I’d gone out 3 miles and turned around to head home… I picked it up a little on mile 4 and just past that point I came to a road that I thought might loop back to my route. I took the road… it did not curve as I expected but it did lead to what looked like a park… closer inspection showed a nice reservoir and a board on which a trail map was pinned under glass…

Kismet I thought and without much of a glance at the map I launched myself at the trailhead.

I enjoyed the twisty, turny, bed of fir needles… with roots running every which way. A smile spread across my face. A quick glance at my watch told me that I could add a couple of miles without risking stumbling around in the dark. A mile or so in… right where the trail forked I turned around… and a plan began to form in my head… I’d come back in the morning and run the whole thing.


0415 – as usual my alarm goes off…. Too early.. no sense bumping around in the dark

0515 – finally quit hitting snooze

0530 – get up

0554 – standing in front of the trail map… based on the faded image in front of me and my recon from the night before… I made a plan. White trail… to red… then catch the blue trail all the way back around the reservoir… 5ish miles I estimate… or SWAG

0619 – I reach the top or the ridge… the sun is fully up now and the view is spectacular… I’m sweaty and smiling… so glad I’d come back.

0635 – Following the blue trail now… it is super technical… slow going… but I know I’m going in the right direction. Over half way methinks

0705 – I’ve left the technical section behind… nice doubletrack… just as I expected from the map… only a mile or so now.

0707 – I emerge from the woods and find myself in a subdivision… WTF? “hey, lookie there. More blue markers. Along the road” a slight detour I think…

0708 – no more blue markers.. I have no idea where I am. Yet I keep running down the road… exit the subdivision… think about flagging down a motorist then… I see it! More blue markers leading me back into the woods!

0711 – this trail looks mighty familiar… but the direction *feels* right

0725 – still on the same doubletrack – have not seen a “blue marker” for a half mile or so… I just keep running

0744: I skirt around a gate… look back over my shoulder at the sign on the gate “Private Property – Keep out” it reads… I am now on a dirt roads with houses… and moving in a direction that dos *not* *feel* right…

0745 – standing in the road with my hands on my hips… wish I had a GPS

0745 (a few seconds later) – realize I have a GPS on my wrist

0747 – figure out how to get my GPS to show me where my car is.

0747 (a few seconds later) head off in that direction – and (eureka!) find a trail – life is good

0752 – realize that there are dozens of trails… dirt bikes and 4 wheelers must teem in these woods on the weekends… keep heading in the general direction of my car

0757 – Civilization! – I see parked cars… Yes!

0757 (a few seconds later) – I realize that it is a junkyard

0759 – Apologize to the junkman for trespassing… and ask for directions… he chuckles as if he’s heard this before and points me to the road…

0802 – I know where I am at last! I have found my turnaround from Monday’s run.. the old canopy road

0814 – I’m back in my car… dirty… sweaty… tired… and late. I still have to get cleaned up… packed up and check out of the hotel…

0849 – I get a call… from the guy I’m supposed to interview at 0900 telling me that he is in the lobby. I tell him, “I’ll be there in 10 minutes. I got a little lost this morning”