With Bostonians burrowing out from Nemo this weekend, we’re running through strong headwinds to get our training in for April 15 and comparing notes on Bostons past.
Although each Boston Marathon is memorable, the post-marathon days turn out to to be worth remembering as well. Take for instance that beautiful 2009 Tuesday morning in New Hampshire. Post-marathon night was spent with friends before my scheduled mid-day flight out of Manchester. After testing out my legs with baby steps down the stairs, I set out for a 30-minute loosen-up morning walk. My hosts had suggestions for my route. Although Mrs. Host insisted it would be too muddy, Mr. Host thought I might like the nature trail that intersects about a block from their home.
Opting for what was a lovely trail, I found stream crossings, roots, rocks, and many side trails intersecting, overall a nice soft walking surface. Blame it on my post-marathon addled mind that I didn’t take a cell phone or water, but did walk out the door wearing my Garmin.
I made a point of paying close attention to landmarks at the path intersections on what was a planned out and back, but apparently not close enough. On my return, everything was familiar except the most important landmark: the side path back to my trailhead. Here I am, directionally challenged in the best of circumstances, the day following a marathon in heavy woods without my cellphone or water.
My attempt to use the Garmin to lead me back was fruitless. A tool is only good if you know how to use it. Being clear-headed and properly hydrated would have been helpful as well. I was neither. Just short of total panic setting in, through an open area in the woods I spotted a house under construction. There was hope! I left the trail, cut through the construction site, onto a dirt road that led over a hill and down to a real honest-to-goodness road. To the right sat a house with an open garage door, a sure sign people were nearby. A knock on the door brought a cautious “yes?” from a 60ish (roughly my age) woman with a slightly puzzled but alert expression.
After explaining my confusion on the trail I asked if she could direct me back to my host’s street. Yes, she could – out her driveway to the left, down the road to the first intersection, turn right and it should (should??) lead me back.
Thanking her profusely, I asked for one more thing. May I please have a glass of water? Without moving from her position solidly centered at the screen door, her right hand reached for something out of my view and returned with a cold bottle of Gatorade Rain.
What a sweet sight! Unlocking her screen door far enough to hand over the bottle, she immediately closed and relocked it. Hmmm, maybe I’m not the first lost soul who has come knocking at her door.
Her directions were spot-on. A mere 4.1 miles and one hour and 27 minutes after I set out, I return to the home of my hosts. This is where you make that promise to yourself never to embark on a new route without some essentials: water,
and a cell phone.
I didn’t immediately share my misadventure with my hosts, but saved the “lost in your woods” story for a late summer evening while enjoying their company at a lakeside Adirondacks cabin. Dawn of the morning following my confession, I hear the sound of loons and quietly slide out the kitchen door to cover more unfamiliar territory, this time with water bottle in hand and cell phone secured to my body.