Yesterday was my last medium to long run of my training for the US Air Force Marathon. Let me tell you, I went out on a note higher than Mariah Carey can produce.
I wasn’t sure I was going to get the full 13 in I had planned just because it was dark, there were no street lights, and, I admit, when it comes to those two things, with the quietness of the night, I’m a bit of a pussy. What happened to me this evening on my run is pretty much why.
A little build up so you can kind of get a sense as to why I decided to go against my judgement and run underneath the starless sky.
At mile 9 it was starting to get dark, it was around 7:50pm. I figured, I’ve only got 4 miles left so I’ll run around this lake twice, it was only 1.6 miles each lap (ch-ch-ch-ha-ha-ha) and head up the road, right next to the woods, back to my house. Did I mention there were no street lights….or any lights?
About half way through the first lap it was dark, almost completely dark thanks to the cloud cover. I continued on despite not being able to see my feet hit the ground.
On my next time around I hit the bridge that crossed over the lake.
I could see a light at the end of the bridge. It was a small red illuminated dot about five feet off the ground, glowing a bit in the night. I realized as I got closer I could make out a gentleman just standing there leaning against the railing smoking a cigarette.
Staring at me.
As I got closer I noticed another man that I hadn’t seen until I got right up close. An older man, ghost white with a sunken, old face and what looked like tired eyes. He was dressed all in black with a small-ish type top-hat and trench coat. Just staring as well, following my gaze as I passed.
Needless to say I picked up the pace a bit. I looked behind me and thought I saw them out of the corner of my eye, like a coat-rack you mistake for some sort being waiting for you to turn away in the corner. About another 10 seconds went by and I looked back again expecting them to have cut the distance in half methodically stalking me.
I didn’t see them, but it didn’t stop me from looking back three more times before I finally felt comfortable enough to try and forget them.
The fact that I heard a whooshing noise rush up behind me about 3 minutes later didn’t help me in forgetting. The guy on roller blades speeding past me must have thought it funny when I got enough hang time to prove white men could jump.
All of this is of course absurd, but in the blackness of the night, when the only sounds are your own breathing and the crickets, sometimes you can’t help but hear footsteps coming up behind you. Persistently. Never stopping. I wonder if anyone would have been able to hear me scream?