I don't think that I am directionally challenged - or I did think that. Now I am wondering if I am not only losing my marbles, but I am losing my bearings.
Last Sunday it was during a race - on a course that I have run before - where the pre-race instrucions were simple: "run with the reservoir always to your right". Of course 7 miles into the race I was off course, nowhere near the reservoir, instead on a game trail, waist deep in tall grass, waking up wild turkeys who clearly had not seen any other people that morning. I was definitely where I should not have been. It ended up being a 1 1/3 mile detour.
Then there was today, somewhere between Manitou Springs and Crystal Park, when I was surrounded by nothing but scrub oak, not a trail anywhere close to me, sort of knowing how I got there and kind of knowing where I needed to be going. Only I couldn't. I heard a voice somewhere nearby yell out to me: "You're trespassing! Turn around and go back".
I thought about dropping to the ground and hiding. I couldn't see who was yelling at me, but they could clearly see me - hopefully not through a scope. So I turned around and went back, I think. I found a trail, sort of. I meandered around trying not to trespass, trying not to be seen, trying to run. Eventually I found a paved road and made my way back to Manitou Springs. I had 10 miles, a few scratches and over 2 hours on the legs.
I was a little frustrated and needed to run some more in a familiar place. 2 reasons: I wanted 22 miles on the day for my last long run before the 50K in 10 days. The other reason: I needed to prove to myself that I was capable of running and not getting off course.
So I ran up Barr Trail to Bob's Road and back. It's a trail that I have run on dozens of times before, one that I am familiar with, I have a comfort in knowing where it goes, how it goes and how long it goes for.
I got my 22 miles for the day in. I ran / walked / hiked / wandered aimlesly for 4 1/2 hours. I gained about 5200' feet of elevation. By the time I was done I found where I parked. I found my car keys. I then found my way back to my apartment. I was in familiar surroundings - not off course any more.
I have a big race coming up, I don't want to get lost and go off course on that. It's not something to really plan for, but it is now certainly occupying space in my already occupied mind. I was reminded today and last Sunday to pay attention to where I am when I am running. I should look around and enjoy the scenery but also keep track of the track I am on.
If I see a bunch of wild turkeys again or if I hear a booming voice yelling at me for trespassing - it is possible that I am having a directionally challenging moment. I think it was Hansel and Gretl that left a trail of things behind them so as to know where they were. Maybe I should do that to.