Since I moved to Dallas in Summer of 2010, I have been going to a boxing boot camp class every week. Misery loves company and there is nothing like sweat and tears to create a bonding experience. Through shared glances that convey what we are all thinking (“The instructor wants us to do what?! He is seriously crazy, I’m not doing that”), encouraging words (“Hit the bags harder, you pansy!”), and forced interactions (“Partner up for this exercise!”), the people in my boxing class have become my compadres.
One woman in particular is my type of friend. She is hardcore. She will do a 60 minute spin class (hard) before a 90 minute boxing boot camp (harder), and then perhaps run a couple miles. I set my sights on her, as my new triathlon training partner in Dallas! I’ve been steadily chipping away at her resolve to focus solely on running, and have been persuading her to add biking and swimming to her mix. At Saturday’s boxing class, I told Amy I would be swimming up north the next morning, and asked if she would like to join. She agreed, and we set a plan to meet at Royal & 75 at 10:30 AM.
I decided to bike to Royal & 75, to get the biking portion of my training in, swim with Amy for 30-45 minutes, and bike back. Royal & 75 is about 10 miles away from my house, if you take a straight shot on the highway. Obviously, I couldn’t do that on my bike. I looked up the route online, and as it turns out, there is a set of trail systems that go from my house all the way to Royal & 75! Due to the indirect nature of the trails, the total mileage would be 14 miles each way. 28 miles total + a swim = totally doable. I could leave at 9:30 am and be back in time for a late lunch! No need to bring food with me! Why would I need to do that! This was only going to be a three hour tour!
Does anybody know where I’m going with this story? Of course you do….
My three hour tour turned into a 6 hour adventure. Knowing I have a propensity to get lost, I left the house a bit after 9am, to ensure I would not be late to meet Amy. I find the first trail system, the Santa Fe trail, with ease and coast along for the next 30 minutes. I then hit the second trail system, White Rock Lake, and at this point I feel very confident I am going to make it all the way to Royal & 75, all by myself! What an accomplishment for my pigeon sense of direction! I can do anything; maybe next I will be a navigator!!
Or, maybe not.
The trails at White Rock lake go in a circle. Theoretically (and, realistically), I could ride in circles all day. There are seemingly endless entrance and exit points on the trail and I had no idea where to exit, to make my way towards Royal & 75. With the clock ticking ever closer to 10:30 AM, I began desperately asking people for directions. This is how most of my conversations with passerbys went:
Me: “Excuse me! Excuse me! (damn their headphones) EXCUSE ME!!!
Confused passerby: “Oh. Are you talking to me?!”
Me: “Yes. Do you know which direction 75 is?”
Confused passerby: “Oh yes, you need to go the other direction, towards the west”
Me: “And by west, do you mean….left? or right?”
Confused passerby: “Hmm, that way” (points to opposite direction I’ve been biking)
Me: “Okay, great, thanks!!”
Me: “Excuse me! Excuse me! EXCUSE ME!!!
Confused passerby: “Oh. Yes?!”
Me: (out of breathe) H….i…Hi. Do you know which direction 75 is?”
Confused passerby: “Oh yes, you need to go the other direction, towards the east”
Me: “And by east, do you mean….left? or right?”
Confused passerby: “Hmm, that way” (points to opposite direction other confused passerby told me)
Me: “UGH. I mean, great, thanks for your help!!”
This happened four times. I finally decided to trust my sense of direction (always a bad idea), and go the direction I felt was the right way. Next thing I know, I am mountain biking on my skinny road tires, jumping barricades with my bike, sprinting across streets and pedaling my little butt off.
45 minutes after our scheduled meet time, I finally arrive at the pool to meet Amy! Luckily, Amy is very gracious about my tardiness, and we have an interesting conversation as I suit up to swim.
(I bring out my goggles) Amy: “Does that help you swim?”
Me: “The….goggles? Yes…. Wait. What? You don’t use goggles?”
Amy: “No, I don’t need them!”
Me: “What! Do you swim superman style (head above water)?
Amy: “No, I just open my eyes underwater… I guess goggles would help the water from burning your eyes?”
Me: “Um, yea. What! How do you swim without goggles?! I must see this. Let’s go to the pool”
We get to pool. Amy totally swims superman style. We spend the majority of our workout learning how to properly breathe while keeping your head underwater and swimming. I flashback to my old college roommate, Lizzy, teaching me how to swim at Gregory Gym. Lizzy literally had me hold the side of the pool, kick my legs and practice breathing while she held me up. I was 19 years old. It was awesome. And, it worked! I employed the same techniques with Amy, and she got the hang of breathing like a champ!
An hour later, I head to my bike to make the journey back home. Flat. Tire. That’s okay, b/c I have a flat changing kit! That I keep on my other bike. Damn it. Not so lucky. But this is: The pool is right next to a bike shop! Bam!
I enter bike shop, get my flat fixed, and ask what the best route is back to Deep Ellum (where I live). The bike guys respond “Oh!! There is a great trail system! Right outside of Royal. It’s super easy. Take White Rock Lake trails to Sante Fe trails. It’s clear as day. You can’t miss it”