Good morning! I’m gearing up for my next long run today, but I wanted to wrap up around our last long run at Pennypack Park, which will forever be known as, “the most terrifying run ever”. Okay, it may be a little exaggeration, but it was enough that both my friend and I have vowed we’ll never be headed back to Pennypack Park . Just a warning…this a long one. Skip to the end if you want to get the conclusion and safe running tips!
SO, about 2 weeks ago when we found a list of 5 best fall foliage running spots. Perfect! A whole big list of new, exciting places to run! We found one that was around 9 miles and added it to our running calendar. Friday morning we headed out to the park…well, at least we thought we did…turns out we were headed to the wrong Pennypack Park…after a quick reroute we hit the road again. This should have been our first sign that maybe we should just head back to the Schuylkill trail.
Finally, we arrived at the trail and after a little difficulty finding the parking lot…and the start of the trail…we hit the pavement and get to running. Although the trail was beautiful, it was definitely lacking in the fall foliage…but besides the point. So, we’re running along and about 2 miles in we notice something most wouldn’t want to see when running…police tape. Hmm, this should have been our 2nd or 3rd sign at this point…
We keep running and start to enjoy the views, the multiple bridges, the fishermen in the stream ..damn stream…It just really helped to exacerbate the fact that we needed to find a bathroom…then a miracle occurred! A porta-potty. Oh thank you, Jesus. After using the bathroom, we headed back out along the trail. We hit a few spots that we needed to turn, but we tried to always do right turns to keep along the river and on the path. Although there were a few people on the trail, walking dogs, or talking causal walks… for some reason we just had an uneasy feeling about the whole run. Maybe our confusion getting there? The police tape? Turns on the trail?
At this point, I pulled out my phone to snap a few pictures and check our mileage. I see we are just over 4 miles. I notice my battery is around 50%. We keep running a little more, but agree to turn around at 4.5 miles. A few minutes later I pulled out my phone to check and boom. My phone dies. Or shall I say just shuts off. No reason for it to die, but for some reason there was no way to get it to turn back on. We decided to just turn around and finish the run and get going! At this point we were getting more anxious.
We headed back and saw a few of the same people along the trail. No harm there. We headed up encounter a few people that made us slightly more nervous, but we just picked up the pace a little more and kept going. Almost back to the car. Unfortunately, the trail had limited signs along the way and limited trail markers, making it slightly harder to determine where we should turn.
Luckily, we had recognized many landmarks along the way…the same bridges, benches, dams…but then we saw police tape…hmm, that’s odd… we shouldn’t be passing that again…that’s further than our car…but, maybe there is more than just the one? We ran a little further…and there it was, the same porta-potty from before. OK. For sure, we went too far…we turned around and headed back the other way…
I’ll spare you the remaining details, but finally we ended up getting my phone on briefly so we could find the car. We ended up being lost for over 2.5 hours. It was “funny” when we got home, but in actuality it was really just a wake up call for what we should be doing for staying safe when running.
Although we did a couple of these safe running tips, we definitely learned a better plan for this week’s long run…Here are my safe running tips!
1. Run with a buddy. As creepy as it sounds, its harder for someone to “control” 2 people rather than 1. Your buddy could also be a dog!
2. Know your path…or at least have a map! You don’t need to always follow your same path, but you should be aware of your route. Carry a map and don’t just rely on your phone if you’re in an unfamiliar area.
3. Tell someone where you’re going. And make sure, to tell them around what time you’re going to be done then make sure to tell them when you’re done!
4. Never wear headphones or earbuds. This also includes texting and talking on your phone. Make sure you can hear environmental sounds, such as cars horns, ambulances, bikers, and other pedestrians around you. Always be alert.
5. Run during daylight hours if possible. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible, but if you run in the evening make sure to run in well lit, populated areas and wear the appropriate reflective clothing.
So, after our lesson last week we have decided to head back to a familiar trail for our long run this week. Gotta get back to it and not let last week overshadow our end goal! Get your buddy and get going!