Monday, October 5, 2009

Midnight Mugging

So I've basically done all but fall off the face of the Earth. My last report had me facing the dilemma of whether I should race the Uberman. More on that later, but for now, I'm trying to get back on track. I'm still running every day and typically get it done without much trouble. Today was a bit of an exception.

After a long work week and my first day off, I didn't get to my run until after 2 AM. We've been in a wind storm for a couple days, but it died down. We had a remarkably clear night's sky with a full moon to light the way. The temperature was cool, but comfortable with the proper attire. Shortly after starting my run, the creepy factor went up as I noticed through the corner of my eye that a neighbor's front door was open without any lights on. As I ran past a car, I noticed someone standing there sweeping or something. It didn't startle me, but it just seemed creepy. I'm a creature of the night and don't normally get creeped out, but this did for some reason. I actually looked back a couple times to see if the person that seemed more like a he than she was in pursuit. Both times it was nothing but an empty moonlit road.

As I continued on, I thought about how I was starting to feel good about my running again. I haven't felt heavy or slow for a few days now; moreover, I've actually been running some fair times. As I rounded the top end of the lake, I was pleased to have the additonal moonlight adding to the well-spaced street lights. Deer often run about there and I want to be careful as to not make a buck angry and charge me when I don't see him.

The cool breeze and my nylon sweats made plenty of noise, but it was still peaceful. As I rounded North Park and began to head back, the wind was at my back just slightly faster than my pace. As I exited the park and the shade of the trees, the moon and street lights cast separate shadows while the wind made my running pants sort of echo my foot step. This happened all at about the same time. It was a lot like an extremely vivid dream I had while in grade school. I was riding a big wheel down the road at night and had the same feelings of creepiness sweep over me. As I went past a driveway in my dream, I felt the sense of danger. Just then as I went past a couple cars, I saw someone crouched down between two cars and looking right at me as if he were going to get me. The moment drug on before he ran out at me. I jumped up and started running, but my freakishly fast legs were anything but. I tried to call for help, but nothing came out. Just as I was caught, I was able to scream out ... for real, in my bedroom. I scared the bejeezus out of my parents and the whole house, but nobody was more freaked than I.

My run tonight coming out of the trees, along with the creepy feelings from when I ran past that guy earlier, made this run feel like that dream. What I'll refer to as the sweat pants echo made it sound as if someone was running up on me. I looked back but didn't see anything on the road or coming from the trees. As I looked forward again I went under a street light and my shadow began to stretch out before me. Just then a shadow of another person moved past my feet as someone was closing in on me too fast for me to get away. The sound of my sweat pants echo was drowned out by the fast approaching feet of someone on my six at about 2:45 AM between the wooded hills, the lake to my right and and the pond to my left.

It happened so fast that I barely had time to react. I threw in a powerful burst as I dodged to the right a little all while looking back as I jumped into the air and did my best impression of an impromptu airial back kick while running forward. It felt far from powerful or effective as I was doing it, but my hope would be to land enough force to disrupt my attacker. If I could do that, then I'd have a fair chance to escape. As it was, the person was too close and moving in too fast before I could react.

Long story short, as I completed my arial back kick I looked and nobody was there. I landed awkwardly and dropped the hammer just in case. I looked back again and nobody was there. I then realized that the moon and more than one street light were casting multiple shadows of me. It was my shadow. Ever been scared of your own shadow? That was not fun. As I settled my nerves a bit more, I realized that coming out of the trees caused the wind to shift and amplify the sound of the sweat-pants foot-step echo. There's really not many spectators at that hour, but I would have loved to see that from the eyes of another! Despite being the guy that roams around in the woods and streets at night, I decided the creepy factor was too high, so I turned in. At least I got out there and did it. Now I'm actually updating my blog, so perhaps I'm coming full circle.

What have I been up to since I disappeared from the world of racing? Well, I decided to skip the Uberman. I think I would have been 9th, but that would be too much of a trip for the time, cost and my ability to be competitive. I was peaked up for the race as best as I could be, so I decided to do the Clear Lake Triathlon. I got my wish of being the One-Armed Bandit. Despite falling way behind with my one-arm swim, I caught up to the leader on the bike and ran away for a victory.

I've done a few smaller races here and there, but things continued to unravel with my injuries. I got to the point where I was probably not going over 15 miles per week running without any biking or swimming. I raced a half marathon at Fairchild in around 1:17 or 1:18 (not much stats for this number guy as I don't even remember or care about my time). I raced a 10K on base in just over 37:15 too. I did the Labor Day Family Fun Run surprising myself by running sub 6 pace. I also did the Human Race 5K that was only 2.6 miles, the USATF IE 5K championships here in Medical Lake the day after the Human Race, so I fell apart after a mile. Finally, my fitness hit a new low as I was 13 pounds heavy and in terrible shape when I did the Finch 5K. I was rested up for it, but it was just too much. I hung tough, but was basically left in the dust by several runners.

Since then, I decided to get myself back into shape. My arm is still screwed up as the surgeon doesn't actually want to do surgery. I get to go back every few weeks and he tells me to come back in a few weeks if it isn't better. Nice plan. I'm sure we can keep cutting him a check as I come back with an injury that isn't healing but still have to pay. Anyway, I've lost 4 of the pounds and am feeling comfortable on the road despite having only put in about 25 miles this week. That's easily the most I've done in a long time, but well short of my 35 miles goal.

Aside from the running, I bought the house next door. This will eventually expand on the Bergquist Training Center (BTC) awesomeness. Being in debt is frustrating, but Amanda and I are easily able to handle it. Speaking of Amanda, our top news is that we're expecting a little baby Bergquist in May. Life is always changing, sometimes for the better or the worse. However, this is one very exciting change that I have always looked forward to. It should be quite an adventure. I'm into that.