Thirty- something speaks
Drivers in need of directions should never seek them from a jogger. They shouldn't ask the power runner with the legs of a Kenyan, and they definitely should not ask the poor, fat guy sweating profusely as he struggles mightily alongside the road cussing at himself for making yet another doomed New Years resolution. Drivers are likely to find themselves hopelessly lost and traveling in the complete opposite direction they're supposed to be whether the advice comes from a marathon runner or the weekend warrior.
I understand the temptation to ask a jogger running alongside the road. Most joggers are local, and they can't be too far from home, so they should know the area. Plus, drivers don't even have to get out of the car to ask a jogger. They can just roll down the window and yell. Half the time, they don't even have to stop the car.
But asking joggers for directions is a little like asking a basketball player in mid- dribble where the concession stand is. He may know, but he can't stop, pick up the basketball and say, "Go straight up aisle nine in section A over there, take a left by the guy selling the big foam fingers, walk just past the bathrooms, and it's on the left." He's not thinking about the poor schlub looking for a bag of peanuts. He's thinking about getting the ball to the hoop. Joggers aren't much different.
I can only speak from my own experience. I fall somewhere between the marathon runner and the fat guy sucking wind, with a solid lean toward the fat guy. When I'm running, I'm not thinking about much more than reaching the finish line, which in my case is usually my driveway. I'm not thinking about how to get to Farrow Road or where Columbia Country Club is. I'm thinking about the hill coming up and wondering if the cramp under my right rib is working its way toward debilitating. I'm thinking I shouldn't have eaten chilidogs the night before. In other words, I'm thinking about myself and how much longer it's going to take to get myself to my driveway.
Chances are, I'm also wearing my wife's i- pod listening to some rocking tune designed to help me forget about the fact my legs are killing me, and I can't breath. The last thing I need or expect is some yokel to ask me the quickest way to Hard Scrabble Road.
When that has happened (and it has happened more than once), I'm afraid I've sent some people well on their way to Lake Wateree when they were looking for the Colonial Center. I may have even sent a poor couple looking for a house in Blythewood to Swansea. I don't do it on purpose; it's just that my brain has blinders on during a run. When someone forces me to remove those blinders suddenly, I'm about as useful as a politician. I can talk a lot, but none of it's going to make much sense, and it sure isn't going to get anyone anywhere.
So unless a lost driver gets lucky and happens upon the big fat guy stopped on the side of the road with his hands on his knees looking for a ride and thinking more about a plate of Buffalo wings than jogging one more painful step, I'd find a gas station and a helpful clerk for those directions.