I wish when I typed in my mileage in addition to "slow miles" and "fast miles" there were "running scared miles" because between races and runs like today I seem to have a lot of those. I think today I clocked about 3 or 4 scared miles.
Today's run started off warm, but great. I went with a group of people doing a long run on some trails I have never run on. They were doing 15, and although I know I can do 15, I also know I shouldn't, since my mileage the past two weeks were only ~18 miles. So I decided to come out and do their first 5 with them, and then turn around for a 10 miler.
The first five were enjoyable, ignoring the flies that kept biting me and trying to fly up my nose even with the layers and layers of bug spray I put on, as recommended by Nancy. I played close attention to all turns so I could find my way back but I was still worried, as I have a horrible sense of direction.
So I turn around and naturally pick up pace, since it is more boring on your own I just kind of wanted to get done. At this time (around 9am) the heat index was already in the mid-90s. Then comes a decision... one trail where I really didn't know which way to turn. I turn left and go about 1/2 mile and it started to not look at all familiar. So I decide to head back and check out the other way. I go the other way and it seems a little more right. But then another decision... another right or left... this time I choose right, since left didn't work for me last time. The trails are all beginning to look the same and I really start freaking out. I kept thinking, what would happen if I get lost. Even if I have to add a 1/2 hour to my run, I could be in serious trouble due to lack of fitness and the extreme heat. I figured I needed to just go with it, or go back to where I know the trail was right and just wait for everyone else. I kept going and I was about 1/2 a mile away from a panic attack and tears when a biker was coming from the other direction. He was probably overwhelmed with my excitement to see him, and I asked him if I am headed towards the Crump Road entrance. He said he had no idea, but if I cross a street I will be on gravel. I said, "Great, that's where I need to be!!" And thanked him and kept heading straight, When I got to where I really knew where I was going I had gotten to my ten mile mark so I decided to walk my way in. There were a few other turns but I was pretty sure I was going the right way. Around 9 minutes I started to get really nervous because I knew within the next few minutes I would either be at the car, or have to turn around and try something else. When I saw the hill that leads to the parking I through my arms up in victory. By the time I finished the heat index was 100. I can't believe everyone else is still running... gross!!!
Moral of the story: I will never run on trails I don't know when I know I will end up being on my own. If for some reason I do this to myself again, I will take a fuel belt with water, gatorade, and my eell phone. I haven't gotten that confused when running for about 7 years when my friends and I got really lost in the woods and actually had to knock on doors and get someone to drive us to the car. Scary and no fun!