So before I post the delicious details of my Thanksgiving Throwdown 2009, I HAD to regale you with a little story of what happens when I'm left alone to run an unfamiliar trail...
It started off innocent enough on a magnificently sunny Saturday morning in Austin. I had been pressuring Christina to take me to a cool, Austin spot to go running (or "yogging" if you're me) and she promised we could go to Town Lake. Clearly, I was quite excited for my first Town Lake running experience as can be seen in the following picture. Oh, if only I knew the pickle I was about to get myself into...
Since she is an actual athlete who can legitimately run, it was decided we would split up with her going on the 5-mile route and me taking on the 3-mile loop. We figured it would work out so that we finished around the same time. The plan was to meet under the bridge upon completing our runs.
Being the exceedingly wise individuals we are, neither one of us was carrying a cell phone, nor did we make any sort of contingency plan should things not pan out in exactly the way we envisioned. Good call.
We power walked over the bridge and then Christina took off in a flurry of speed, leaving me to casually jog along the path at a snail's pace. I was feeling good utilizing the Galloway method (run, walk, run, walk) when all of the sudden I came to a fork in the road. Curses! I'm NEVER good when it comes to choosing a path to take. I always "take the road less traveled" which in the metaphor of life might be good, but it's always the wrong way in the literal sense.
I veered right because it seemed like the "straighter" way to go, but I think you know where this story goes. I pressed on but soon found myself entering the Barton Springs Greenbelt...definitely not the trail I was previously trekking on. I figured it was best to forge ahead as opposed to backtrack (again, great call on my part), so I kept on truckin'.
About 15 minutes into the trail, I begin to realize the magnitude of my error. The woods began to close in on me, the terrain became increasingly rocky and my hope of finding an exit path was dim. It was probably around this time that Beyonce's "All My Single Ladies" came up on my playlist, but considering the circumstances, I could hardly appreciate the humor. (I do, however, find it pretty comical now.)
Back to story. I'm on this trail, completely enclosed by trees, I was tripping over the rocks and I was waiting for some crazy person to jump out of the woods. It was around this time I knew I was seriously lost and had definitely walked much more than three miles. I also came to the realization that even if I could find someone to let me use their phone, I didn't have Christina's number and she didn't even have her phone. AHHHH! What was I going to do? I was hungry, parched and dying to sit down to take a breather (like I said, I'm no athlete), but I just kept walking the path.
As you may have imagined, I reached a dead end. True story. I came to a bloody dead end, but did not recall seeing a way out prior to arriving at this dead end. I'm tried not to panic, but of course, thoughts of being lost in the woods forever begin to cloud my judgment. I've heard dozens of stories of people getting lost on hikes, so I was waiting for the helicopters to begin flying over in search of me.
I made the decision to turn around (what else was I going to do) and began to retrace my steps. I was praying for God to show me a way out of this menacing forest when I saw a couple coming down from what appeared to be an entrance into the trail. I seized upon the opporunity (while realizing full well I had no idea where it was going to lead) and found myself on a residential street miles away from Town Lake.
I knew if I didn't get back to the meeting place STAT, Christina would either leave in search of me or call the police...neither option would have produced the desired outcome. I turned left out of the trail and proceeded to walk up the street when suddenly my brain kicked in (apparently for the first time that day)...what made me think I was walking in the right direction? I stopped, turned around and decided to stop the first person I saw to ask them for directions or possibly a ride back to Town Lake. This was the first good idea I had all day.
Just as soon as I turned around, I see an unsuspecting guy walking toward me. I had seen him on the trail (probably about 2 miles ago), so I figured he was familiar with the area and could tell me where I went wrong and how I could amend the situation. Here's a snippet of the conversation:
dork face (AKA me): I'm sorry to bother you, but...
guy: are you lost?
dork face: yes! I'm not from here. I'm visiting my cousins and we started at Town Lake and split up. She was running the 5-mile loop and we were supposed to meet back up.
guy: how did you end up all the way over here????
dork face: I have NO idea. I just kept going further and further into the woods.
guy: are you sure you were at Town Lake?
dork face: (starting to second guess myself) ummm...yeah...I'm pretty sure. There was a bridge with water coolers...and a lake...
guy: well, I don't really know how to tell you to get there from here...do you want a ride somewhere?
dork face: YES!!!
To make a long story short, this poor kid (his name was Will, he's from Mississippi, he just recently moved to A-town AND he spent Thanksgiving alone...sad) had to listen to my dramatic tale and drive me back to the bridge at Town Lake in hopes that my dearest fousin was still at the meeting point. He informed me that it was almost noon, meaning it had been about an hour and forty minutes since the fuzz and I parted ways. Even if I was crawling that three miles, I would have most certainly made it back long before then.
I just kept praying she would be there and when we pulled up to the bridge, there she was in all her glory! The poor thing was looking betwixt and befuddled and had actually ended up running the loop a second time to try to locate me. We were all sorts of joyous upon reuiniting (and it felt so good) and thanked my guardian angel profusely for his services.
As an apology for the less than stellar directions, China treated me to a delicious iced americano which made us equal in my book.
After it was all said and done, it was pretty hysterical looking back on the whole ordeal. Suffice it to say, if there is an opportunity for me to get lost, you can bet your bottom dollar I will capitalize on that. But, I scored a free coffee AND an awesome story out of the deal. Like they always say, all's well that ends well!