The time I got lost on an out-and-back run

My family be-bopped around Pennsylvania over the holiday weekend to squeeze in both my mom’s and dad’s sides.  We spent the actual 4th of July at a lake house near Erie, and then spent the next night in a cabin near Pittsburgh, both filled with family, card games, and food.  And more food.

I’ll recap more of the weekend later this week, but for now I’ll share a story about Sunday morning’s run, an unexpected hour and a half adventure.  Also known as The Time I Got Lost on an Out-and-Back Run, featuring a nice stranger and his iPhone.  Here we go!

Some people are equipped with knowledge of street names, others with a sense of cardinal directions, many with visual memory, and a *special* few with nothing…except friends and GPS.  I fall into the category of spin-me-around-on-my-driveway-and-I’ll-get-lost.

On Sunday morning in Pittsburgh, I joined my dad, uncle, and cousin Ally for a DFD run–double father daughter run–on the wooded roads from our cabin.  My knee has been hurting, but I’m cleared to run if I stop before the pain starts (about 4 miles right now), so my plan was to go out with the group and turn around early.  The run started out beautifully: borderline chilly weather(!!), pretty sights, and good company.  I turned around by myself after 18 minutes, and that’s when things went downhill (except literally up a giant hill).

The run back should have been easy because we only made one turn, but somehow I missed that turn and doubled back and forth and back and forth until everything looked familiar yet nothing looked familiar.  All of the street names and trees and houses blurred together and I couldn’t remember if I passed them pre- or post- getting lost.  All I knew was that I was lost, and without even knowing which direction to run, I stopped at the side of the road and thought through my options.  Wait until someone notices I’m gone.  What if no one notices until they pack the car?!  Walk to a store and use the phone.  I don’t see any stores.  Flag down the first friendly person I see.

After an eternity of pacing back and forth, a biker came pedaling up the road and I waved him over.  He was happy to let me use his phone, but I couldn’t get ahold of anyone (phone service was spotty), I didn’t recognize any street names on his map app, and he didn’t recognize the (wrong) street name I told him I was looking for, nor did he recognize my vague description of a gravel road..
…we brainstormed ideas, googled anything relevant, and called his wife for suggestions.  I mixed up Bradsberry and Barberry and got us even more mixed up, and his wife was about to drive me up and down the wrong one until I finally got ahold of my sister through the spotty reception.  I waited at their barn until my family came to save me.

I was lost for almost 2 hours!  I owe an enormous thank you to the nice family for spending their Sunday morning helping me, and to my family for picking me up–thanks mom, dad, Laura, and Aunt Bev!  Though being lost is scary and not funny, it is kind of funny now (knowing that everything turned out fine), and I doubt I will live it down until I can figure out which way is North.

Lessons learned:

  1. I need a running partner, a trail of bread crumbs, or a flare gun at all times.
  2. I should carry my phone.
  3. I can run 6 miles pain-free!

My mom captured me telling the saga of my morning.DSC_0509

More 4th of July recaps coming later this week!

—–
Do you carry your phone when you run? How?
Have you ever gotten lost on a run?

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23 thoughts on “The time I got lost on an out-and-back run

  1. That’s so scary!!!! And frustrating. Seriously, out of all the things I dislike in the world, getting lost is one of the top worst! Thank goodness for nice people with phones and an awesome family 🙂

  2. WOW what a great story. glad you made it back, haha! i got lost for a good hour when i first moved to DC because I didn’t realize the city’s grid system had a 14th Street Northwest as well as a 14th Street Northeast. Cardinal directions can be hard :). And yes, you should run with a phone! I used to not run with one, but now I do — great for directions, emergencies, AND photos for the blog 🙂

    • getting lost in DC sounds scary. it’s so confusing when streets have basically the same name.
      ha good point on the blog pics…though I don’t typically run past interesting street furniture! 😉

  3. PAHAHA I’m only laughing because nothing bad happened to you! You sound exactly like me! I swear, I’ve said this before, but we should never ever explore foreign territory together. You crack me up! And totally jealous that you can pull of tight/stretchy shorts! I look like a biker that lost her bike and is running around looking for it.

  4. That is scary! I’ve never been lost like that nor do I want to. I carry my phone with me in my spibelt. Best thing ever – no bouncing at all!

  5. Oh no!! I got lost once in Houston (visiting my college boy friend’s family)- this was way before the cell phone era!! It was scary – I spent a couple hours wondering in circles basically!!!
    Glad you found your way!!!

  6. I’m catching up on your posts to start my work day off after a 5-day hiatus from work. This post made me laugh, only because it is over and I know you are okay! The picture your mom captured is perfect! I use a Fitletic running “fanny-pack” that I love! I bought it for my marathon and it is comfortable and fits my iPhone perfectly.

  7. Ahhh I’m glad you made it back!! I have the worst sense of direction of all time and also I’m totally paranoid so I carry my phone on every run in my SPIBelt. I’m so jealous of your pain-free 6 miles! (I WANT THAT!!!)

  8. Well I am glad you can run pain free at least!
    Getting lost for 2 hours is really scary! I’m really glad that family was able to help you out!

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  10. It’s funny to read because I know you’re okay! I also love the sheepish/amused look on your face when you were telling the story. 🙂 What a nice guy the cyclist was! You must have been freaking out, it’s such a scary feeling when you don’t know where you are and you’re not sure what you should do.

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