I have spent almost the last decade of my life living in tourist-philic locations. There is something I've noticed over the years. Maybe other runners can relate to this, too?
Tourists love to ask runners for directions.
I guess there is something about someone out for a run which screams, "I live here! I know my way around! Stop me and ask me all your burning questions!"
I'm generally very happy to stop to help tourists out (If I'm in the middle of a tempo run I may blast past 'ya, though -- I don't think this has come up yet -- I once ignored someone calling to me from their car but more because I thought that could be dangerous). If I see someone holding a map looking puzzled I'll even stop and offer my help (Golden Gate Park is hella confusing).
I do my best to get the blood flowing to my brain as I stand there panting for air. I try really hard to give good help. But then after I've given directions and trot off, I spend the next few miles feeling utterly guilty. I replay what I told them in my head and always decide I could have been more specific, more clear, or more just plain right.
The worse I ever felt was in Central Park. Two men stopped me to ask for help. They had tickets to a taping of the Letterman Show and had to be there in 15 minutes. They were walking in the totally wrong direction and I seriously doubted they could make it there in time. But I gave them some advice and sent them on their way. A few minutes later I realized there was something different I could have said that would have been so much clearer. I felt SO bad as I pictured them lost in the jungles of Central Park missing their show. Guilt.
Lost in Central Park? Just flag me down.
Recently I was running in Golden Gate Park and two guys stopped to ask me, "How far to the Pacific?" "The Pacific Ocean?" "Yes, the Pacific Ocean?" I stopped and really thought about it. I know that from the westernmost point of the park to my house is 2 miles. I was probably a smidge under a mile to my house. I told them a little over a mile. They seemed content with this answer. I told them to just keep walking in the direction they were headed and they'd get there. We parted ways. I immediately regretted my advice. It was probably closer to 1.5 miles if you tag on the little leg out of the park to the beach. And that extra 0.3 miles will feel very far to them if they're walking. They'll probably lose hope. And it wasn't exactly straight. At one point they'd have to choose which way to exit the park. Guilt.
I've had two requests for this location in the past month and a half: Japanese Tea Garden. And yes, I can approximate in minutes how long it will take you to walk there. Though, I calculate it in running time in my head and add a few so I probably second guess that number as soon as you depart.
Tuesday a young man stopped me. "Is this Golden Gate Park?" "Golden Gate Park? Yes." "Where is the bridge?" "The GOLDEN GATE Bridge?" "Yes." "Umm, you aren't very close to it. It's probably two miles that way." "Where is the best place in the park to get a view of the bridge?" For the life of me I couldn't think of an easy one. I thought about sending him up that hill on Stow Lake but that is pretty complicated to explain plus I wasn't sure if you could even see the bridge. "I can't really think of a place you can see it from the park." He mentioned something about driving. He had a car parked nearby. So I proceeded to give him directions on how to drive to the actual bridge. "... once you get on that road just keep following it all the way to the bridge and get off at the last exit on the right before the toll booth." After he left I regretted the way I had described things. It is a pretty far drive to the bridge. He might think he went too far. I should have told him there is a tunnel to go through. Guilt.
Am I the only person this happens to? I always replay my advice and feel bad about it after. Maybe I am just bad at giving directions? Or maybe I am too hard on myself and too critical of my advice?