Finding my way 500 miles from home — one step at a time

How I mapped my run 500 miles from home.

How I mapped my run 500 miles from home.

LANSING, Mich. — This morning’s mission in unfamiliar territory 500 miles from home: fit in a 10-mile run without getting hopelessly lost.

I don’t own a smart phone or a Garmin. I don’t believe in Map My Run. I have a basic watch that came free with my Runner’s World subscription.

So I set off with a crude, hand-drawn map, a small bottle of water and some Clif Bloks energy chews.

I also brought my very basic Tracfone, just in case . . . and I told my girlfriend’s mom, whom we’re visiting, not to worry unless I didn’t return in 90 minutes. And off I went after — full disclosure alert — consulting google maps on an iPad and sketching out a route.

I ended up having one of the best 10-mile solo runs I’ve had in years.

I found well-kept parks with dirt trails to run on (Thank you, Delta Township) . . . The morning was warm and sunny, not humid . . . I came across other happy runners and walkers, heard new kinds of birdsong, saw different kinds of trees. Even the air smelled different. Maybe this is what they mean by the “Pure Michigan” slogan.

As a bonus, the asphalt roads I ran on had soft stone and dirt shoulders to ease the burden on the legs and feet (yes, time wounds all heels). I didn’t get lost, although I made a wrong turn or two but realized it almost immediately and turned around.

I’ve always believed the best way to discover a place is to set out on foot, at whatever speed, and just explore with eyes wide open and all the senses on high alert.

It worked wonders this time, in part because I’m on vacation with a special person and we got away from the daily grind. That alone can do wonders for the psyche.

This, I realize, is a sound retirement plan — travel, be with great people and explore new places, soaking in as much living as possible. And if I can still run while I’m doing it, without getting lost, all the better.


About Jim McKeever

Writer, father, runner, advocate based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in family, Irish Investigations, running and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Finding my way 500 miles from home — one step at a time

  1. markbialczak says:

    Hurrah, hooray, huzzah. You and the special friend are off to a great visit to pure Michigan, my friend. We never had the bells and whistles when we were kids, right? And we grew up just … well, we grew up!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. LAMarcom says:

    Back in the day (not THAT) long ago, the long runs through the country were always the best. When I was in San Dog, I ran every day at noon from SWM (South West Marine–My boat was in dry dock), to Seaport Village and back. Just an average run: six miles. But on the weekends… I would go to Camp Pendleton and put in a 12 or 13 miler beginning at sunrise. Loved those runs.

    Great Post Friend,


  3. Jim McKeever says:

    Thank you, Lance … The noontime runs don’t sound appealing, but the longer ones at sunrise sure do. Especially if it’s with an ocean in view. Great stuff!


  4. This MUST be the post you were talking about!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s