Monday, July 1, 2013

A Misguided Attempt to Not Get Lost in Lindenwood at Night

Today: 5
Present: 282
Count: 40

For the first time since the marathon, I felt like I was running again. Not struggling against gravity, not jogging, but running. Too bad the rest of the run was pretty much a disaster.

Maura and I set off from my parents house in Menlo Park at around 9:30pm, a quick evening jaunt before waking up in the morning to sign loan docs to buy our first house! (well, second house, but first house we'd actually be living in). Maura was tired, having already run that morning, and still kind of recovering from her run (and fall) at Huddart the morning before.

After initially requesting a 3-mile run, she agreed to go 5. I had originally envisioned a long, rambling run through Menlo Park that ended at a yet undetermined time, but as in life, sometimes your running plans change. And it was OK, I enjoy running with Maura and am thrilled she is back from the abyss of CPA studying and doing double days.

It was dark, but the weather was running-perfect. Cool, a bit humid, not a breath of wind.

Lindenwood is as dark as dark gets in suburbia, a maze of wide streets lined by mansions and high fences, acre-lots protecting the wealthy from their wealthier neighbors. It's easy to get lost, but I ran these streets throughout high school and had my route in mind.

We started off pleasant enough, an easy pace through the quiet night. But as we wound on, and the roads became less familiar, I began to worry we were not where I thought we were. We passed Oak Grove and I looked out for that right turn I knew was coming. I missed it, and we kept winding.

When I saw the Valero sign floating in the trees to the right and out of the neighborhood, I should have turned back. Or at least stopped to figure out where we were.

Our watches clicked 3.5 miles and I knew we were lost. This was just too far. Maura wasn't happy. She was tired, ready to be home and no longer enjoying heavy oaks and huge ranchers dotting the view.

We turned around. Almost missed our turn (which in hindsight would have taken us directly home), and finally found Oak Grove again. By this time, she was barely speaking to me. Not exactly the run I had in mind.

At mile 5 she stopped, walking the rest of the way. It's not the safest place on earth to walk, no sidewalks, sharp curves and no streetlights. But by the time we schlepped into Felton Gables at almost 11pm, the fight was over, and so was the run.

I had this sinking feeling that by missing the turn we had actually looped all the way around the neighborhood to where we started. And that if we just kept going, we'd eventually get home -- and a lot quicker than turning around. But sometimes the prudent move is cutting your losses.

The lines between risk and reward get blurred, and if the situation doesn't warrant the push, discretion can indeed be the better part of valor.

And as fate would have it, I was exactly right. We turned around about 200 yards from where we started. One final stubborn push would have yielded a far happier wife. But now we have this great, hilarious (in hindsight) story of the night before we signed our lives away to a mountain of debt.

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