This is how lazy I am.

Dear friends,

I have lived in Missouri for exactly 649 days.

And for exactly 649 days I have complained to anyone who will listen to me about the ratcha-fratching hills.

Last fall, I showed you this photo of the hills by my house that I despise every single moment I am running up and down them.


(You commiserated with me. Thank you for that.)

What I haven’t told you is that while it’s really hilly where I live, there are some relatively flat stretches in town. In fact, there’s a municipal bike/walk path about five miles from my home that is pretty darn flat and that I have inexplicably ignored.

See, that’s how lazy I am. If I can’t throw on my shoes and run out my door, I’m not interested.

I have a twitchy fear of complicated, ambiguous undertakings. (Actually, most of my work life is complicated and ambiguous, so I avoid those characteristics in my personal life. I haven’t succeeded, but still I try.) And figuring out where the path goes, or the best place to start and finish, or where to park, well . . . that seemed like a lot of effort when I could just open my front door and go.

But Friday night, Mr. Mom and I went to a dinner party and noticed  a good stretch of the path ran through our friends’ neighborhood. So I came home, determined to overcome my fear and investigative inertia, and I spent a half-hour on the internet using various search terms and looking at Google maps trying to figure out the perfect route.

And I found it — a 7.3 mile route that appeared to offer minimal ascents and descents (or so it seemed to a girl who can’t really read Google maps). So I scrutinized the map, looked for landmarks I could remember, determined where to park, and tried to commit the route to memory.

I headed out Saturday morning and found a trail-head right where I expected it to be. And 20 minutes into my run, I realized I had wandered off course when I crossed a busy highway that I didn’t expect to encounter until much later in the route. (Two workmen were standing beside the highway as I ran by. I heard one of them say to the other, “See, that’s what we ought to be doing right now.” Not a bad boost for an old woman.) It seems I was lost and had no idea how to get back to the path. Worse, I didn’t have a clue how I wandered off it.

Which is exactly the kind of complicated, ambiguous result I had been steadfastly avoiding.

So I just kept running. I wasn’t lost-lost. I was familiar with the part of town I was in. But I was turned around and didn’t know how to find the route I was originally pursuing, or whether or not I’d make it back to my car without calling Mr. Mom for a rescue.

Fortunately, I made out just fine. I never did find most of the route I was looking for, but I found another section of the path that proved scenic and satisfyingly flat. And I made it back to my car  precisely when I was ready to quit anyway, at one hour, 25 minutes.  Success!

I estimated my distance to be at least 7.5 miles based on my time, which means I broke my Missouri distance barrier. (Around my house, I have never run farther than six miles). More success!

Which made me wonder why it took me 649 days to give it a try.

With gratitude {for the post-run healing power of bubble baths},

Joan, who figures there’s probably an app for charting runs but also has a twitchy fear of the iPhone app store unless somebody tells her straight-up which one to download


  1. I’m similar in that I wouldn’t want to figure out a new path or drive to a different part of town to run/walk. When I was a jogger (short-lived) I would only go right outside my door or it would never get done.

  2. I’m with you on the “out my front door” approach to running. No logistics. No research. No firing of cortical neurons. Just double-knot my shoe laces and GO!

  3. When you figure out how to download apps, let me know. I’m sure we could both do it, but I’m afraid that I will donwload something I don’t want or that would cost alot of money. I still don’t run, but would love to start walking again. I just have another year and 11 days until I can schedule my surgery. WooHoo! Then I will be out there walking.

  4. IrishJenn says:

    Get a garmin watch!

  5. I’m currently ignoring not one but two walking trails that I am fully knowledgeable of, parking included. I am similarly not stepping out my front door and simply hoofing it around my neighborhood. My activity is focused on working the garden beds, (sporadically) and cooking now it is finally cool enough to enjoy both the heating up of the kitchen and the eating of the warm foods thereafter.

    It is partly avoiding the cedar pollen, but only just. The heat/drought shoved me into survival mode last year and I still haven’t snapped out.

  6. I guess old dogs can learn new tricks after all.
    Reference to dogs and tricks in no way should be taken personally.
    Respectfully yours,

  7. Dana — you made me chuckle! It’s funny to me how easy the new tricks are to learn, and yet how easy it is avoid them!

  8. You should get mapmyrun. I use it online. There is a street view, a satellite view and a hybrid view. I use the hybrid view so I can see the trail and the streets for reference. It’s free although a little slow sometimes. Good luck and keep running!

    • I decided if I’m going to recommend the App I should try it. Here’s the skinny. First create an online account and download the app. Both are free. You will then create your map online and save it. It’s pretty simple to create a map. And, it’s been a while since I used the program and they have made some really good changes. Just click on Satellite view and you will see the streets as well as trails. On the left hand side you can enter a specific address or a city. Choose your starting point and click. Keep clicking along the street/trail until you have reached your desired distance/destination. (There is a loop button in the toolbox which I have not used and there is an Out and Back which I have used.) Once you have completed your route save it. At this point you can bookmark the route or have it sent to your phone. The IPhone app and the online program work together. Good luck.

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