Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Scariest night of my life.

I am deeply troubled by my run tonight. It was literally the most scared, confused and terrible night I've had in a long time. Here's how it started.

Today my plan was to run and to go to yoga tonight. Normally I pack a bag and go to the gym straight after work and run on the indoor track. I had planned an easy run - 1.5 to 2 miles. I haven't had a long run since my 5K and I wanted to make sure I took it easy on my body. At some point during the day I realized that is was realllly nice outside and I would love to go on a long run outside. Since I hadn't had time forgot to pack a bag, this worked well since I could go straight from home. Matt was meeting me at home at 6:30 for dinner so I left right at 5:30 for my run and planned to be back right in time for dinner with him!

I headed out of my apartment complex and through the park behind it - towards the starting point of my usual neighborhood run. I typically run 3 miles in my neighborhood but walk about a .5 mile warm up and .5 mile cool down - 4 miles total. I was very close to my starting spot when I noticed the entrace for a neighborhood trail. I'd seen this trail plenty of times, as I often run on the streets that it goes under and I walked over to look at the map and see how long the trail was. I also had remembered a blog from Stef earlier in the day where she switched up her route and had great success and I thought this would be a great way to have my first long run in a while.

So looking at the map, I see this:

Click this and it will enlarge for you

Now I'm starting almost all the way to the right side. I'll show you in a minute exactly where. I notice that there are 1/4 mile indicators and if I run down to Bob Eden, I'll have a 2.5 mile round trip. PERFECT! So I start running on the trail. I instantly notice that the first part of this trail is not paved. Hmm. Also, the trail starts bobbing and weaving all over the place and it's in a thick wooded area. Great. In case you don't know this about me, I'm addicted to the crime section of CNN and therefore, I live life in fear that one day I am going to be a tragic victim like alllll these people I read about. This was the first time of the night I seriously thought I might not make it home. Thank goodness I had my road id on!

So the trail has lots of splinter trails that pop off and I have no idea where any of them are going or which trail to follow. Finally we get on pavement and go under the first street and I know exactly where I am. I start feeling much better about this. Around 10 minutes into the run, I start realizing that I haven't seen any trail markers yet. SURELY it has not taken me 10 minutes to run 1/4 mile? Then I tell myself, I know for a fact it doesn't take me a long - I've timed my 1/4 mile a million times in the gym and I can walk faster than that. So I keep going. Meanwhile, I'm feeling a little uncomfortable running. The first mile is always tough for me, but this one was hurting. I didn't feel comfortable until about 20 minutes in, then quickly I started getting side stiches and then felt like stopping. This wasn't good. But, I hadn't seen any mileage markers, so I kept running. By the time I hit 30 minutes running, I was in Bob Eden park. That means, according to this map, it took me 30 minutes to run 1.25 miles. So that's a pace of 2.5 miles per hour. I'm RUNNING. Granted, I'm a slow runner, but I was not walking. I was running at probably a 4.0. At this point, I'm getting really upset.

So I'm entering Bob Eden park and I have no idea what to do - turn around? Take another splinter trail? Keep going until I see another one of these maps? Well a woman who had started in front of me near my apartment was now right in front of me and I saw her taking a splinter trail. I figured she knew the path and so I followed her. BIG MISTAKE. This splinter trail was awful. There was mud EVERYWHERE. It was like wayyy in the woods and I was freaking out. I saw a man and a dog walking way off the trail and not towards me.. so I'm running and the next thing I know, something is jumping on my back. Yeah, it's that dog (scared the living sh&% out of me). The dog tackled me and got it's muddy paws ALL over my tights. Great. The guy doesn't even seem to notice that the dog isn't near him? So the dog runs away and I encounter a lot of hills, at which point I start walking. Then I notice the trail is ending?? Yeah, I now have ended up at the bottom splinter that dead ends into a residential neighborhood.

I've now labeled this for you.

So, clearly mistake #1 of the run was to go on this GD trail in the first place. Mistake #2 was definitely following that woman. And mistake #3 was not turning around and back tracking at the end of this trail. I just started walking through the neighborhood. At this point, I've been gone about 45 minutes and I have absolutely no idea where I am. I had no cell phone. I had nothing with me but a water bottle, a jacket and my runner ipod. I started freaking out. I don't know where I am. I'm in a not that nice neighborhood. Matt is going to be home in 15 minutes and he's going to freak out because I'm not there.

So I started running again. It was the only thing I could do to get home faster. I was running and I saw a sketchy-ish man standing in the front yard of a clearly abandoned house just standing there. He saw me, then started walking towards me, but on the opposite side of the road. And right about then, I decided I was about to die. I kept running, I didn't make eye contact, and thank the lord - he walked right past me. I must have turned around 25 times in the next 2 minutes to make sure he wasn't going to jump me from behind like that damn dog. By now, I was so upset, distraught, confused (that was 1.25 miles???) and upset that I don't even know what to do. I consider stopping at someone's house and asking to use their phone to call Matt. Then I decided that's less safe than still running. The sun is going to go down sometime in the next 30 minutes and I have no idea where I am, or what I'm going to do. I've honestly never been so scared in my life.

I walked for brief, brief bouts during the 15+ minutes I was in this damn neighborhood. At one point I was walking and saw cars going very fast by on a road perpendicular to the road I'm on and I took off. Sure enough, it was a street I know! And it was actually the end of the normal route I run. So I ran the whole way to the road, the rest of the way to my normal stopping point - walked briefly and ran the entire way back home. I was gone for 1 hour, 15 minutes and I burned 950 calories in that time. I did have a few walking bouts, but I estimate I ran at least 55 minutes of that entire time. My max heart rate was 202, which is 103% of my max. OMG that is awful. I've never EVER had my heart rate that high. I have no idea at what point that was - possibly the point I thought I was about to get attacked? Or maybe the time that I actually DID get attacked by the dog? I have to tell you - my feet hurt, my legs hurt and my sides hurt the entire second half of that run (when I was lost) but I kept running because at that time, that was the ONLY hope that I had of making it home before the sun went down and something bad happend. Adrenaline is pretty amazing huh?

I've never been so happy to be home. Lesson learned. I won't be doing that again. I will stick to the road. I will stick to routes I've mapped and driven before I do them. I haven't quite figured out the cell phone part yet, but I might be buying something to fix that problem.

I'm still very very confused about the distance. I mapped it on and while I can't see the entire trail, I can see the creek that it runs along and that creek is 1.7 miles from where I started to where I ended, lost. So yes, there might be some discrepancy but how in the world did it take me 30 minutes to run 1.7 miles? On the indoor track I run 2 miles in about 25 minutes. Hell, I ran 3.1 miles in like 40 minutes. I don't understand? I was definitely running my normal pace and I'm just baffled. According to my entire 1 hour 15 minute route was a little over 3 miles. Impossible! My normal 4 mile route takes me about 65 minutes and I walk a LOT more than I did tonight. I just really don't get it.

I'm happy to be okay and to be safe. I'm happy that I burned 950 calories. I'll never regret my workouts. But, I'll never do that again. Sorry City of Euless. Your trail is bull.

I will say that Matt has been bugging me for a few months to start mixing my water bottle with half gatorade, half water for my runs to alleviate my nausea IN my run. I never do it. Tonight, thank the lord, I did and that's probably one of the only ways that I got through the event without getting sick. Thank god for my boyfriend's wisdom and sort of harassment!

Also - I know I promised a walk through of how to make black bean tostadas, but frankly I've been a little shaken up all night and I completely forgot to take pictures as I made them. My sincerest apologies :( I promise I'll make them again soon and detail it for you.  


  1. That is so scary Laura! I am glad that you are OK. I feel awful that this "off road" run was inspired by me!!

  2. ok, my heart was pumping like I was reading a non-fiction book. I am SO glad you made it back home! I would TOTALLY call the city and say, "WHAT THE ....? Your map shows clearly marked trails, but let me tell you - NOTHING is clearly marked!!!!!" Get that dude from Fox4 on it - he'll get something done about it!