I ran in Buxton near the end of my work day yesterday. Buxton always confuses me. The roads don't run straight across at nice angles to each other, they kind of criss-cross at strange tangents and never seem to come out where I think they should. I get confused driving in Buxton and just have to trust my GPS without using my own sense of direction. Since I don't use a GPS running, I should have known I'd get into trouble running in Buxton.
I had a few hours to kill before I could see my last patient. I usually look for a school, post office, or library to park at while I work in the car. I located a little elementary school using the GPS. But after an hour of working on the laptop in my cramped little car, I was getting claustrophobic and restless. I changed my clothes and went out into the rain for a nice run. I figured I'd run 30 minutes out and then return the same way. The 30 minutes out felt great. The rain was a lot lighter than it had been earlier in the day and the temperature was near 50 by my estimate. Unfortunately, I was day dreaming throughout the run out and when I turned around to head back to the car, all I remembered was that I had crossed the Saco River at one point...not a lot to go on.
Retracing my steps the best I could, I occasionally saw something that looked familiar. Then I'd ask myself, "is it familiar from this run or from driving past it during my work day?" I did cross back over the Saco River on the same bridge I had crossed earlier, but after another thirty minutes went by I realized I was not on the road the school was on. I was on a road with a lot of big fields and an occasional farm house.
Just when I was wondering what to try next, I saw a woman walking an enormous white dog. I approached her from behind and scared the bejeepers out of both her and the dog. After they settled down I explained that I was trying to find my car, which I had parked at "a little white elementary school." It turns out there are a few little white elementary schools in the area. She gave me directions to them.
The first one I tried was the wrong school. I was still feeling good and having a great run, but I still had to get to my patient's house. I started to feel a little twinge of panic. I back tracked and then followed the woman's directions to the second possibility. I was almost sprinting at this point because I really had to get back to work soon. Suddenly things started to look familiar! I was very excited to find my car. I put in over two hours of good hard running and hit the towns of Buxton, Hollis, and Saco. I made it back in time to change my clothes and arrive at my last visit wet, but a few minutes early. I woke up with sore legs this morning. There's nothing like a little panic to make me push the pace!