Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Surprise encounter at 4:00 AM

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

I've probably done close to 250 runs at 4:00 AM. Through that time I've seen a handful of walkers or people leaving their houses. A couple of years ago I was spooked to see what seemed to be a race walker pass me like an apparition one morning. There was no acknowledgement of any kind from this person who slipped by less than two feet away from me.

This morning I had my second close encounter and it was a different experience. I was running well and had just reached the halfway point of my route when I noticed movement about 200 feet ahead of me. It was very dark and this person was out of headlamp range, but I thought it might be someone walking in the opposite direction. Suddenly, as I rounded a bend, I saw it was another runner, heading my way. A young guy, teens or 20's, no reflective wear or headlamp. Not even a shirt. We got within ten feet of each other before he reacted with a startled sideways jump and a gasp.

He quickly realized that I was just another runner on the road and I yelled a friendly "Good Morning!" and he responded in kind. He must have been in the zone not to notice me until we practically met but I understand that as well. 4:00 AM running can be a little hypnotising until you get used to it. I'm hoping that my shirtless friend learned a lesson today about staying alert. Perhaps the next time I see him he'll have his own headlamp and reflective vest.

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