When people say that California is hilly, they aren’t joking! I went for (what I expected to be) a short run around the neighbourhood of Piedmont, Oakland and didn’t realize what I was getting into. To say that I am directionally challenged is an understatement, especially if I am in a new area, so I expected to have to pay special attention to street names and the directions that I turned down on. Apparently I didn’t pay close enough attention.
I started down on Hampton Road and after a few blocks decided to turn at the corner of a baseball field onto a street called La Salle Avenue. The street was on a slight incline with a lot of turns and I soon found that it became a long, steep hill with a lot of turns. Every turn I took I expected to get to the top of the hill, but no, it just kept going up. For those who know Piedmont and La Salle Ave., you can vouch that this is an accurate description. As I jogged, I was getting small encouragement from neighbours watching me pass by.
After a continuous 15 minutes of a long and very slow climb up the hill I finally got to the top and it was beautiful. The measly 5 minutes to get back down (or what I thought was back down) was wonderful. I could actually take in the scenery and lovely homes. I was quite pleased with my 20 minute run for the day and was ready to head back to my Aunt’s home. At the bottom of the hill I realized that I was not on Hampton Road and realized that I must have missed the turn off and started running back up the hill.
I saw a side street called Estate Road and decided to take a small detour since I remembered seeing that street name on my way up the hill. From Estate Road I turned onto Liggett Drive then back to Estate Road then onto Somerset, which lead me to a dead end and so I turned around and ran back up the hill. I asked a nice older gentleman for directions and he pointed me onto a road and I began to run again. As I was running, I saw a turn-off for Perish Road (which I thought was quite fitting) and beyond my better judgement decided to take a look. Within 1 minute I realized the street would lead to a dead end and so I had to turn around (however it was a very beautiful look-out over the city).
I went back to following the course of the elderly man’s directions and realized that it did not lead to Hampton Road but rather La Salle Avenue. Oh no. I had 2 choices, up or down. I really didn’t want to make the fatal error of going down and having to come back up, but I did think that I was much higher than where my Aunt lived and so followed my instincts to go down, crossing my fingers the entire way. Ten minutes into the downward descend I was getting a bit nervous because I didn’t recognize anything. But then, I saw a painted mailbox with a humming bird and purple flowers that I remembered seeing on my way up the hill. Phewf! And then, I heard the yelling of children and it was the baseball field at the corner of La Salle and Hampton! I had found my way back. Horray!
When my 20 minute jog turned into almost 1 hour, I knew that I had to categorize this adventure under ‘Travelling the World’ instead of ‘Try-a-Tri Training’. I had made the unfortunate and also fortunate mistake of taking La Salle Avenue and getting lost. The unfortunate part was that the hill run was difficult and sucked. The fortunate side was the view from the top was amazing and I am so pleased that I was able to run for basically an hour.
It’s amazing the unexpected surprises you find when visiting a new place. What exciting and unexpected adventures have you been on?