Over the last few weeks, I've started running again. Not every day, and not very fast, but I'm doing it.
My minimum is 3 miles. Last Saturday I kissed my husband goodbye and said I'd try to be back by the time the current cartoon was over. I sorely underestimated. I have a bad habit of getting curious while I run: I wonder where this road goes? How long would it take me to detour around that lake? As I ran through yet another over-planned community (I live in one, too, so I accept some responsibility), I was feeling pretty good until it occurred to me that I had to consider the run back. At 43 minutes, I finally made the turn onto the road that I knew would bring me home. In my mind, west and southwest twisted together, and I believed that I was two-thirds of the way through a 5-6 mile loop. There I was, jogging on the side of a highway without shade, knees brushing against chaparral and duping myself into believing that I'd see the next familiar landmark "just around that bend." I figured it would take me about 20 minutes until I was back in my own neighborhood. 3.7 miles later, I spotted the familiar landmark for which I was searching.
It's not as though I'd never been here before. I've driven this way dozens of times--on my way to other towns. On the plus side, the adrenaline of feeling stranded and in slight danger numbed any pain I might have felt in my legs. My better half confessed later that he nearly packed the kids up in the car and started driving around, but of course I didn't tell him which way I was running. Smart. I had neither a housekey nor any form of ID. Maybe I should have used a Sharpie to write my address on my shoes in case I get hit by a car.
When it was all said and done, I ran 8.5 miles. Everyone was in the backyard playing soccer when I finally got home, panting and red-faced. The love of my life kindly offered to hose me down, which was actually pretty wonderful. I'm proud of myself for running so far, but next time I think I'll do it a little differently.