Seeking Directions

on Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 11:26 PM

A couple of times a year, I get stopped during one of my runs by someone seeking directions.  Sometimes it's someone walking around and other times, it's someone who pulls up besides me in a car.  Usually, I have no problem pointing them in the directions of the nearest highway, major arterial road, liquor store, etc., but sometimes I get stumped.

Last week, I got stopped by someone in a BMW asking for the location of an obscure side street, Glen Springs Drive. Sounded familiar, but maybe it could have been that almost every side street in the area includes the name of a water feature.  I was about to say that I couldn't help, when the woman started describing directions she had been given and based on that, there was only one street that I could think of that fit that description (that is BTW, neither near a Spring or a Glen) so I gave her directions to that with the caveat that if that wasn't it, she should stop to ask someone else. As it would turn out, I did give her the right directions and funny enough, it's actually part of one of the common running routes I use. I have ran on that street hundreds of times over the past decade, but I just never bothered to realize what its name was.  In fact, I realize that I've probably run on every side street in my area at some point in my running career, but I only know a handful of their names.  Of course, during my last long run, I found myself noticing the names of all  the side streets and trying to make a mental note of what they were, which got me thinking of what other types of info I've accumulated  about my neighbourhood.

Over the years, you come to realize some things about the houses you run by, not necessarily consciously, but based on general familiarity that one gets from years of running. For example, today, in the middle of summer, I can point out to you the houses that don't shovel their sidewalks and those that keep them meticulously free of snow/ice during the winter. I can point out the house with nice landscaping and the one with the old chinese woman out front who's constantly weeding her lawn. Sometimes, it's not the houses, but the people. In the early morning, you start to see familiar faces, who cheerily say good morning as you run by, or the man walking his two dogs who I've learned to give a wide birth to because they always bark and try to chase me as I run past. 

I've always thought that running the same routes over and over again gets boring after a while, but I've come to realize that there are always new things to see and notice on every run, you just have to notice and appreciate them.