Get the reference? Anyone, anyone?
Ok, my girl Stephanie may be the only one to really grasp this reference in all it’s glory. She and I backpacked through Europe in 2004 and this phase was wailed multiple times daily throughout our travels.
“Oh no. I’m lost! Where’s the line? What do I do?
We’ll be stuck here forever!
Do not panic, do not panic. We are trained professionals. Now, stay calm. We are going around the leaf.
Around the leaf? I don’t think we can do that.
Oh, nonsense. This is nothing compared to the twig of ’93!”
Ok, not the phase one hopes to utter when embarking on a long run. It was an adventure though and my meandering off the planned route hardly ruined the run. In fact, it was a fabulous, gorgeous excursion than I’m already itching to do again.
First, a little back story. As you know I live in Baltimore (aka Murder Capital of the US). I know I knock Baltimore a good bit on this site, and I’ll get into why it’s hard not to in a bit, but first I want to clarify: I love this city. I do, I really do. It’s lush and green and loaded with amazing architecture and history. Growing up in California, I was hard-pressed to find any of that all in one place, so I really appreciate what I have found here. Much of Baltimore is stunningly beautiful… except for the parts of it that aren’t.
Which brings me to why I knock B-more so much on this site. I live in a 1930’s Craftsman bungalow in Hamilton, a charming little transitional neighborhood northeast of the city. Key word here is transitional. What does that mean, you ask? Well, aside from the fact that it means we are boarded on 3.5 sides be neighborhoods that are not so nice, it also means that planning runs longer than three miles can get a little, shall we say….hairy.
Yesterday, I was set to do a nine mile run. Typically these runs are done in loops around Patterson Park while Kirk is playing two-hand touch with his team. This week though, they were slotted to play on a high school field in Dundalk, an area I’m not familiar with and which doesn’t have the best reputation. So rather than traipsing around Dundalk in my booty shorts asking for trouble, I decided to give MapMyRun a shot. I’ve never really used the site much because most the saved runs I’ve seen are mapped out downtown, a twenty-minute drive from my house. Yesterday though, I was more than willing to travel for the sake of safety and thought I’d check it out.
One route over in Mt. Washington caught my eye. I used to live in an apartment in the area and know the main roads pretty well. The route was exactly 9 miles too, so without any further to-do, I laced up my Brooks, strapped on my CamelBak and hopped in the car. When I arrived, I immediately felt a pang of regret that we had bought a house and moved away before I began running. It’s a stunning area. There are patches of untouched greenery and woods everywhere you look, quaint little storefronts, rolling hills and a creek that I ran alongside for miles. It’s absolutely lovely and I was thoroughly enjoying myself.
Until I took a wrong turn. I know exactly where it happened. I remember clearly the street sign that looked askew, as though a car had swiped it and no passerby had bothered to realign the sign that was now pointing toward Fallstaff rather than Cross Country. A few blocks later I happened to glance up at another street sign and realized my faux pas. I considered backtracking, but felt confident in my navigational abilities to continue on and make my way to where I was supposed to be. I wasn’t counting on the cul-de-sacs and looping roadways though; I knew which way I needed to go, the roads just weren’t cooperating. All together now: FAIL.
I came across a woman out watering her flowers and stopped to ask for assistance. I told her I was trying to make my way back to Cross Country Blvd and that I’d left my car in Mt. Washington Village. This was my second mistake. Upon hearing how far I was planning to travel, she determined that it was not in my best interest to do so and refused to help. “Oh, no. You can’t possibly be looking for Mt. Washington. That’s miles away!” I sighed. Look lady, I’ve already run 6 miles, another 3 isn’t going to kill me. Somehow I managed to convince her that yes, I did intend to run there, and yes, I was that crazy. I guess she finally figured that if I wanted to kill myself, who was she to stop me because she eventually succumbed to my pleas and sent me on my merry way with some complicated, but surprisingly accurate directions. Thanks, Ma’am.
Mt. Washington Village is adorable and enchanting. It features a Whole Foods, a creperie, spas and boutiques. And a Starbucks. It was this Starbucks and, more specifically, a chai latte that I was running to those last couple miles. Did I mention that it was windy, and cold? Unfortunately, I had forgotten my gloves. Mistake number three. And, I realized upon reaching my car, my wallet. Four. After all that dreaming and salivating over the warm goodness of a latte, it was not meant to be. I did however, log a total of 9.5 miles when factoring in my detour which makes me feel extra accomplished, and does nearly as good a job of filling the void that a warm, delicious latte would have done. 🙂