Welcome to Wednesday Word, a weekly linkup for everyone, not just health and fitness bloggers. Each Wednesday you will have a single word prompt to write about. Let your imagination run free and share with your readers your interpretation of that word, or simply use it as inspiration for your post. Today’s word is lost….. I’d love to have you link up, and if you do, please remember to follow my six simple rules.
Lost – unable to be found;
not knowing where you are or how to get to where you want to go;
unable to find your way
One of the first things my friends ask when I tell them about my Ragnar adventures is if it’s safe – especially on the overnight legs. They worry that I might get hit by a car, attacked by a wild animal, or lost…
Lost – something that I never worried about during one of my Ragnar legs, especially when jumping out of a van only to be picked up a few twists and turns and about ten miles later. But that ‘s exactly where it happened – in a parking lot about a quarter mile from the finish line no less, not even on some trail in the West Virginia wilderness.
I hopped out of the van around 4:25 AM to run my second leg of the 2015 Ragnar DC and quickly found myself in the middle of nowhere on completely dark and narrow country roads. Pretty early on two other runners and I missed a right turn, but we were lucky and a van driver saw us going straight, rolled down his window, and yelled for us to come back and follow him to the right.
With that little mishap less than a mile into my run, I promised myself to be more vigilant and pull out my iPhone and use the Ragnar app to track where I was in relationship to the course if necessary. For the most part I could see flashing tail lights at a distance in front of me, and headlamps behind me, giving me confidence that I hadn’t veered off-course again.
Less than a half mile out from the finish of my 9.6-mile run, I thought I could hear cheering, and smiled because I knew that I was closing in on my run. I caught up with a woman just as a young man caught up with both of us. The three of us ran together as we saw the traffic circle with the trail to the right that we knew we were supposed to finish on. A race volunteer walking toward us dragging a cone cheered us on and said, “Follow the path!” to each of us as we ran by.
We soon came to a point where the asphalt path ended beside a parking lot entrance, but continued on as a concrete path straight ahead. We stayed on the path as directed and circled back around behind a school just as another runner came flying past us. We questioned if we were going the correct way, and he seemed confident that we were. We followed him and the path eventually took us perpendicular across the road where we had just been and toward a huge parking lot. I could see porta potties in the distance so it made sense that we were headed in the right direction. Once we got to the end of the path and over a little hill, we realized that the parking lot was completely empty! Not a person or van in sight…
We ran to the back side of the church and the second parking lot was empty as well… The young man who was now running along side of me, yelled for the speedy runner to come back. Knowing we were lost, we stopped and I pulled out my phone and opened the Ragnar app. We took a look at the Ragnar leg 24 course map and could see that our little blue blinking GPS dot was way off course.
The three of us turned and headed back in the direction we had just come from, now maintaining about an 8:00 minute pace, trying to make up some of the time we’d lost. Speedy guy passed us again, and I was now hanging with my new best friends. I told the young man at my side that I was hanging with him to increase my badassery status when I finally came into the exchange. He offered to let me finish in front of him, but I told him we were in it together (i.e. lost), so we’d finish together.
Once we got back to where we made the wrong turn, the volunteer we’d seen about ten minutes earlier was in her correct spot at the corner telling us to cross the parking lot entrance and continue on the path on the other side. The runner next to me told her we’d gone the wrong way before when she told us to stay on the path, and that we’d run over a mile out of our way. She quickly apologized and we told her, “No worries,” as we sped away.
Just as I heard the cheering at the exchange chute in the distance, Van 1 drove by on their way out in search of me. I heard them calling my name, so I waved. Little did I know that my team had already contacted Ragnar to report me missing and that they’d also called Bill to see where I was on my Glympse app. Unfortunately, I had turned on Glympse, but had failed to invite Bill or any of my teammates to follow me – rookie mistake on my part on a new to me app.
Bill had run leg 24 the year before and remembered that it had been harder than he’d expected, so he assured my teammates that I was probably just running slower than planned. Running slower, plus getting lost twice had added up to a greatly delayed arrival for me. Also, getting lost had turned my 9.6-mile run into a 10.78-mile run.
As I sprinted into the exchange, I could hear my team captain cheering and calling my name, happy that I wasn’t lost and happy that our next runner could take off and we could get in the van and drive to our next major exchange.
As soon as I stopped, I realized that I had two missed calls and multiple texts from my teammates wondering where I was. One of my teammates immediately called Bill to tell him all was well, and that the little lost girl had been found!
When have you been lost?
Grab My Button!
Next Wednesday’s Word: Delirious
Note: Parts of this post first appeared in my 2015 Ragnar DC Recap – Part 3.