Monday, February 14, 2011


Take a left after going over the footbridge. I stood there multi-tasking, reading directions and peeing at the same time. I peered over the sign one more time, Robie Trail, Cool - 5 miles away. Ok, I double-check the directions. I had already taken two wrong turns. I pulled up my shorts, tucked in the directions and headed left. After about 5 minutes I thought it was strange to still be heading downhill. I should be heading uphill, up Goat Hill. The trail dispensed me on the Western States Trail. No problem, I thought. I was familiar with this section as it was where I was at about 5 miles into my run. I was now probably 20 miles into my run with an empty water bottle and tired legs. Things stopped looking familiar. I didn't recall campsites. Shit! I forgot to take the little single track that spit me out on the WST. I came across a man in a hat with a walking stick. He confirmed that Highway 49 was a mile up the way, but that Cool was multiple miles up 49. Shit! Ah ha, here was a little trail. I veer to the left. I'm climbing, still climbing, more climbing. Ok this trail is still too far from Cool. I descend. I head towards 49, eyeing my watch, checking in with my legs. I approach a parking lot where two women have just stepped out of their mini-van. I apologize with slightly teary eyes and ask a favor. They instantly take me along with my tired legs and empty water bottle back to the Cool Fire Station. That was a first. Never had to hitchhike. I couldn't thank them enough as I approached Sam who stood by his car. A 3:15 hour run had quickly turned into 3:47. The longest time on my feet post-stress-fracture. I backtracked through the adventure. I was supposed to take a left after the footbridge. Why the hell did I go right? At first I started blaming yoga and pilates, constantly mirroring people makes it easy to confuse left and right. Then I blamed my pit stop because before peeing, I turned 180 degrees. Of course I was just kind of laughing through this internal dialogue. I ran and I was content even with misdirection, extra climbs, and lack of water. Even with directions we get lost. I'm all about it, more adventure and mystery this way. In changing into my flip-flops I noticed my toes had a taken a bit of a beating. I had to laugh some more. I was too happy being out there on those beautiful single tracks to have noticed. Ah what's a little misdirection and blood! So,in the end, I don't recommend peeing while reading directions. I do recommend treating yourself to a hamburger and beer after such adventures.


trailturtle said...

Glad to see your laughter and humor again. I've gotten discombobulated/disoriented on MARKED courses....always glad to see those "comfort ribbons" late in the run.

Oh BTW, don't get lost and "be [over] 20 miles into [your] run with an empty water bottle and tired legs" down in the Grand Canyon. Finding water and hitching aren't options, so laughing about it later probably won't be one either ;))).

Sorry I couldn't make the PCTR Awards dinner (I tried). Congrats on your Award; you have many more to come.
Run well, Ann

Buzz Burrell said...

You're back! Congratulations.
Maybe I am too:
Your picture is terrific.