This morning, I went for a run.
Now, if you’ve read this blog, well…ever – then you know that this is not unusual for me to do. But upon more careful observation, itreally was kind of unusual. See, today is a Tuesday – my regular run days are M,W,Th,S and Su – but since I am running a 10K Saturday and moving my 20 mile run to Friday, the whole schedule is readjusted. But, I digress.
Anyway, I popped up and out of my bed at 5:29 AM, ready to run – and a full minute before my alarm went off. I did the regular readying routine and was out in the crisp air by about 5:30ish. I had 6 on the schedule today, with 5 hill pickups, so I took a roundabout route that would take me through some hills a little after 1/3 of the way through the run.
As I descended down a gradual slope and up over a bridge, I saw something in the distance. Something moving. I couldn’t tell if it was headed toward or from me. In about 2 minutes, I realized what it was…
A three-headed shadowy monster.
The monster had six legs, moved from sidewalk to street and was cloaked in darkness. I kept my distance until my pace forced me to find a safe way around it – and when I did, it didn’t even seem to notice.
I ran a loop past the monster and back through a well-lit area when it reared its ugly head(s) again. It had slowed down a bit, and now was creating a wide barricade, so I put on my polite but firm voice:
“Excuse me! On your left!”
It made some sounds, but did not respond.
“Excuse me! Coming by on your left!”
Still, no movement or reply. Last try:
“Excuse me! Passing on your left!”
Finally, one of the heads acknowledged my presence and mumbled something to the other heads. I set off, with a strange feeling, forming in the pit of my stomach.
See, I am sure you figured out that it wasn’t actually a monster. It was three young women running in the dark with no reflective gear, only one headlight (that I could see) and not a great sense of awareness of their surroundings.
These ladies were running – literally and figuratively- in the dark. It made me really upset to see them not only running in the road without safety gear, but also dominating the sidewalk in a blockade-style formation. I felt compelled to stop and share some links with them, like my running in the dark post, point them toward my editor Kevin’s tips for night-running tech- but to be quite honest, I was in much too shock to even collect my thoughts this morning.
The only positive thing I can muster about the situation was that they were, in fact, together. If something were to happen, they’d have back up…but the way they were running, it only seemed like “something bad happening” was a matter of when, not if.
So, to those runners of Rio Road and Route 29 this dark morning – please heed my advice – it doesn’t take much! Let’s all run safely, together!
How do you stay safe on your runs?