This past weekend, I decided to do my long run at a local park that has tons of trails on it. I have already been lost at this park in the past, and therefore knew that GPSs (GPSi?) don’t work very well there. (The GPS will tell you you’re one place, and then suddenly bounce you to another place).
I therefore decided to beat the system by avoiding the GPS altogether. I went to the park website and identified two trails to take. If I took both trails, I would go my 8 miles. I knew that the trails were all marked with signposts, so I didn’t think it would be all that hard. I planned to time the 8 miles, and while that wouldn’t give me much indication of my pace while running, at least I could check afterwards to see how I had done.
I got to the park and found a trail. All was well, because I happened to be entering the trail at a place where the two trails overlapped. Therefore, I could run one of the trails, and when I returned to the place where I entered the trail, I would be able to take the other trail. Perfect!
Or so I thought…
I hadn’t run for very far, when I came to a Y in the trail. The signposts pointed in 3 directions for the trail I wanted: The way I had just come from, straight ahead, and to the right. How was I to know which way to go? I ran straight ahead, and after running for a bit, I realized that I was most certainly going in the wrong direction. Dang it. I ran back to the Y, and took the other trail.
If you're going to get lost on a trail, it might as well look like this!
I figured it wasn’t that bad, I wouldn’t know my pace from today, but I could still somewhat guesstimate time and distance.
You know, until I came to a place where the trail crossed a road…and I couldn’t figure out where it continued on the other side. I ran one way up the road, and realized that it was wrong. Then I ran the other way, and found the trail. This happened several times.
Okay, so I would have no idea how far I had run, but if I just made sure to run at least 80 minutes, I would surely have gone much farther than my desired 8 miles, since that would give me 10 minute miles. (I was pretty confident that I was running more like 9:15 miles, but I didn’t want to cheat on my mileage, so I decided to go for 80 minutes).
Well, that seemed just fine…until I noticed that my running watch was stuck at 49:00. Great. No idea of mileage, or of time. Oh well, I figured I’d finish up this first trail, which was supposed to be 5 miles, but given all my mistaken switch backs was likely more like 6 miles, and then just run a little bit on the 2nd trail, and turn back after a mile or so, to make sure I got my 8 miles.
This seemed like a fine plan…until I reached the same milepost that I had encountered at the beginning of my run that pointed me in 3 directions for the trail I wanted. Oops, I had passed my starting point without even noticing it. Ugh! No sense of direction!
Do you see that gray smudge on that trail? That's Ada the Dog. She's wondering why we're running in circles. Meanwhile, I don't even realize that we've already been here!
I continued on the trail that I had already run, and then turned around after about 10 minutes, confident that I could find my way back to the car, and confident that I had run more than 8 miles.
I then got a little lost on the way back to the car.
I eventually made it to my car.
I'm ecstatic to have somehow finally made it to my car!
I’m thinking that in order to make sure I stay on goal for my training, I have to avoid trails where GPS does not work. I have no idea how far I ran or how fast…
The trails are so beautiful though, maybe I’ll make it an every-other-week thing so I can still try to stay on pace.
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