Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Never Trust Old People

Never trust an old person.  I know that they say old people have wisdom, and that's all well and good, but if you need actual real world advice, they will completely screw you over.  I found this out the hard way over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early, so I could go for a run and make it back home before football started at 11. I got on the road between 8:30-8:45 (I'm never totally sure of the time because I have a routine of pooping and stretching before I get my jog on).  The beauty of a good run is I can totally get in a zone where I pretty much black out and my brain completely shuts down. I was jamming out to some Metallica, and I probably would have worn out Steve Prefontaine at the pace I was going.

I headed down the road, then hit up the bike trail and just kind of kept going because I was in my zone. After a while on the trail, my brain, working at about 5% efficiency thought that the trail curved up to the road; it didn’t, but I didn’t notice until I had already turned so I decided to just go that way.  This would turn out to be a critical mistake.

I thought that this was going to turn out well, because the road actually curved back to my home so I felt that this was actually going to work out. I took a left, figuring that this road would run into at least one of the roads that crosses over near my house. This was mistake number two.

This road is a major road that somehow crosses no other major road, but I keep going, and going...and going down this road. Finally, I see a bike trail. Even though it makes no sense that it was the bike trail I was on, I decide that this was probably the bike trail that I was on. I do notice that the numbers on this bike trail are in the 400s, and the bike trail I originally was on had numbers in the 300s. Since I am an eternal optimist, this is the first time that I am positive that I am lost.

I see an old lady walking her dog on the sidewalk. and I figure this is a great opportunity to get pointed in the right direction.  I ask her for directions to the Hy-Vee on Mills Civic, since I live right by there. She tells me that there’s Hy-Vee’s closer so I should go to them. I explain to her that I really need to go to the one that I suggested. She tells me I was going the total wrong way and points me towards where I need to go. I thank her and am on my way.

I see streets in the 50s and get excited, because I live on 50th, so that means I must be close, right? I keep trying to take 50th, but it ends every three blocks, so I keep zig-zagging to nearby streets to stay close to 50th. This plan probably could have worked had I been in West Des Moines. I wasn't.  I see the Interstate and get excited, because I know I can’t be too far away. I run across it thinking that it shouldn’t be too long until I’m back home, so I keep running.

I run by a giant cemetery, is this foreshadowing my imminent death? Luckily not. I keep running and I see a street named Franklin which rings a bell with me, so I’m excited. I see a street called Hickman, which I also recognize. This depresses me. I have a buddy who lives one block north of Hickman, and he lives in the heart of Des Moines. Shit.

It turns out that the old lady didn’t give me bad directions; she gave me the worst directions possible. Had I kept just running into the bike trail, I would have run into I-35, all I would have had to do was head north, and I would have been back home in very little time. Instead, she sent me in the total opposite direction.

How bad did it end for me? Well, I never really set a distance for my runs, I go out, run, and turn around when I start feeling like shit.  On a day where I felt great, like I did on Saturday, I probably would have gone 6-8 miles.  Instead, I went somewhere around 22 miles. The first 12 miles were actually really smooth, but I got tired, then depressed when I learned where I was, and I finally turned off Metallica to listen to more soothing sounds. After that, I’d still run occasionally, but it was a lot of walking, especially once my calves felt like they were going to explode from cramping. I ended up being outside, in the bitter cold, while absolutely starving, for a little over four hours. I got home, ate something, got all bundled up in different clothes, covered up, and shivered in my bed for the next 45 minutes until my body finally warmed up. Never trust old people.

And yes, this could have been titled Joe Is An Idiot, but my inner compass was actually working until I listened to that old lady. I would publicly like to retract my thank you to her for the directions. Take that, senior citizens.


P.S.  There's a lot of good advice here, but I especially love "Put the brakes on the mundane, and accelerate into the fast lane."  I'm guessing this is the way that people lived their life a quarter mile at a time before Fast and the Furious came out:

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