Lost in Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a park in Colorado Springs which has some amazing geographical formations. There are marvelous rock features that seem to have been tossed in a careless grouping in Colorado.  Huge coral and sandstone structures provide a spectacular sight to see.  This popular tourist destination is empty except for a few hikers, cyclists and runners like me during the early morning hours, providing a perfect way to start the day.

Normally when I run in a new location I use the Map My Run application on my iPhone. This handy tool tracks my pace and miles. Additionally it has a map feature which plots your path on a map. Many times I have gone for a run relying on this application to visually show me the way home on its map.  Starting out I came to a sign with a detailed trail map showing far too many trails for me to remember. I figured I would just stay on a trail following it until it looped me back to the road. For a while this seemed to be the case until I reached the southwestern quadrant of the park. Here the single track trails wove me away from the rock monuments which had given me a sense of direction. I found myself running trails that linked together.  Later on a map I would see them labeled in such a baffling way as: Chambers/Bretag/Palmer trail.  Chambers is a trail and so is Bretag and Palmer which was confusing but no worries I had Map My Run on my phone.  I would do what I had done so many times before; I would follow the path I had taken backwards working my way out, until I faced the Hansel and Gretel predicament. Map My Run had not recorded my previously run path. All I could see was a green dot where I started. To make matters worse, I had been blissfully running along not paying attention to the names of the trails as they linked together forming a confusing labyrinth.  I was lost.

The only way for me to get out of this maze was to run a bit and see what direction my path created on the mapping program. Apparently I was so far out that the mapping would only track my current progress. Through trial and error I found my way to a street in the park and followed it back to my parked car. The next morning I was determined to do better. Each time I came to a new trail marker I repeated the trail name over and over in my head. I made note of the direction I turned. I never went farther than I could remember the way back. I paid attention to where I had been.  Life is like that too. Sometimes I havenít paid attention to where I have been. Iíve ignored painful lessons only to find myself experiencing the same negative outcome caused by a person, place or thing I should have avoided. I forgot where I had been, what I had learned and consequently I found myself in the same life experience classroom. How did I get lost? I quit paying attention. I got complacent relying on my iPhone application and not my brain. I just wanted to have fun; I didnít want to bother myself with details like what trail I was on and where I had been.  I ignored the fact that I could no longer see the huge rocks towering in the distance.  I just ran disregarding all the warnings and doing nothing to prevent getting lost. Which sums up my running lesson:  pay attention to where you have been and be aware of your surroundings. Itís the same with life, each time we learn a lesson we have the opportunity to commit it to memory, to move on and to grow. I donít want to get lost and repeat the same lesson over and over do you?

 ďYou are your greatest asset. Put your time effort and money into training, grooming, and encouraging your greatest asset.Ē -  Tom Hopkins