Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Left turn at Albuquerque

Last Monday we headed up to the Catskills for a little R and R for the Fourth. As usual the weekend before was totally hectic and I just didn't get to do as much training as I had hoped so when we finally arrive at the campground around 5PM I decided that it was the perfect time to go for a run. I planned on doing somewhere between 7-10 miles which would give me plenty of time to get back for dinner. Unfortunately I had failed to map out any routes prior to arrival and the cell service up there sucked so I checked out Google Maps and estimated a route. Looked simple enough, go down the road, across Rt 52, up the street and take my first left. Then take the next left and I was back to Rt 52. If needed I could add in another loop that would bring me in the opposite way. It was tough to tell how long this was going to be but it didn't look too bad. Here is what it would have looked like:

Note that I said "would have looked like".

The run began and was right on track, I passed the synagogue on Synagogue St (shocking, I know) and then came to the first left hand turn. Why did that sign on the road I was just on say Towne Rd? That's odd. I turned left and kept running.  The road went for some time, longer than I had anticipated, so at the 6.5 mile mark I stopped. Luckily I had put in the coordinates for the campground into my GPS watch so I pulled it up and set it to navigate to that site. The watch was telling me that it was nearly 4 miles directly behind me. Impossible, I thought, I should only be one turn away from heading towards it. I hesitated, started running back the way I came and then turned around again after realizing that even if I followed my path back it would be 11 miles. Might as well keep running forward.

Finally I came to what looked like a major road (for that area). Time to turn left again and then I should be back on Rt 52. Except this said it was Rt 42. It was now painfully clear that I had no idea where the hell I was. Furthermore it was getting dark, still raining, and there was absolutely nobody out that I could ask directions from. My watch was indicating that I was doing a loop around the campground and it would fluctuate between 3 and 4 miles away so I wasn't even getting any closer. I kept an eye out for any cross streets but there were absolutely none. All I could do was keep running and ration what water I had left.

Around mile 10 I was passed by a volunteer fireman going to a call. A mile later I happened upon them finishing up a call and starting to get into their cars. I sprinted towards them hoping to ask for directions. At first I was afraid they would get in the car and drive off but luckily he had to put something in the trunk so I started yelling at him to get his attention. I told them that I had no idea where I was but was trying to get back to Rt 52. Just up ahead is the intersection he said. Finally some relief.

I made it to Rt 52 and turned for home but it was still 4 miles away and darkness was descending. This was the opposite way we had come so I had no landmarks to guide me, I just kept running up and down the endless hills. With a mile left I was confused if I should turn up a road or keep going. I went up it but then quickly turned back, it didn't seem right. A few minutes later I ran into a couple in a car and I asked them where the campground was; he pointed over my shoulder and said that it's right there. Sure enough, there was the sign for it right behind me. With darkness falling I made it back in just under 2:30 hours and a bit over 17 miles done. A bit farther than I had planned.

Distance does not include the times I retraced my route

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