Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Scary Run

I know its Thursday, but I need to tell you about Monday's run. Actually, I can't really qualify it as a run. It was more a runish-walk, if that.

I was having a crazy start to the week. You guys know the drill. Just way too much to do and not enough time to do it. And it seemed like there was a deadline looming for every single thing on my To-Do List. So I would work, work, work on something Sunday night that was due Monday morning. Then I would work, work, work on something all morning that had to be submitted at 1pm. And then get the daughter somewhere at a certain time, and pick the son's friend up at a certain time, and, oh crap! I need to get gas cuz the Mountaineer does not work on love and kind words alone. For the record, it has been like that ALL week. On one hand, I'm being uber productive. On the other hand, I'm sleep deprived and really looking forward to the weekend.

Okay, back to Monday. So I knew I had to get five miles in. And most of the day it was just in the back of my mind, but there was certainly nothing I could do about it in the midst of my chaos. Around 5:30pm I stopped to take a breath and feed the children. The lingering thought in the back of my head, you know, the one about those five miles? Well, it found a way to jump to the front of the line and I couldn't ignore it any more. I got dressed, laced up the shoes, and headed to the trail.

Once I got there I knew I had made the right decision. I needed a break from sitting in front of a computer and the peacefulness of the trail was a welcome change of pace. I didn't care about my pace right then. In fact, I told myself I would walk the first mile just to decompress a bit. I tried to pick up the pace after that, but the legs weren't moving. I wasn't sore or anything. It had to be a mental issue. I didn't have it in me to push myself. I tried to give myself permission to just walk/jog/wog the thing. But I felt guilty the whole time.

At 2.5 miles I reached the turnaround point and enjoyed the serenity of a gorgeous sunset. It was postcard Wisconsin farmland with a painted violet and orange sky offsetting the silhouette of a solitary barn and silo. It was like I was on a movie set. And then it dawned on me. I started this runish-walk awfully late. And I'm moving awfully slow. Its bound to get awfully dark once that sun goes down. I sure hope I'm not on one of those scary movie sets!

Now anyone who knows me knows that I am easily startled. I can not handle scary stuff. Complete wimp over here. So I tried to pick up the pace. I mean, I wanted to get out of there. But my legs were not cooperating. I had to fight for every inch of ground I covered. Had I known I was gonna totally flake on this run, I would've stayed in town. I don't mind walking in town at night with street lights and other humans nearby. But on this trail it seemed much darker and I was very much alone out here. We all know that is when all the really bad stuff happens in the scary movies.

I tried to keep the positive thoughts flowing, but they were interrupted by the wildlife scurrying around. Remember me? Easily startled? I wish I had my heart rate monitor on just to see the effects those furry friends were having on me. Plus, have you ever heard of the Beast of Bray Road? Here's a picture of him:

I don't know if its just a Wisconsin thing. But, apparently, we have werewolves here in the Land O' Cheese. Normally, I would not be inclined to believe such tales, but I live about one mile from Bray Road. And my mind is still traumatized from watching Pet Semetary when I was a teenager. So I really didn't want to take any chances. I just wanted to be back at the car.

So I'm practically speed-walking by now. Because, for some reason, the legs were not running. It was all very slow motion - you know, like in the scary movies. I used to read a bunch of Stephen King when I was a teenager. I don't know how on earth I did it. 'Cause now I get nightmares if I see a bad movie poster or a trailer for a horror movie. They say those things are approved for all audiences....but I beg to differ.

You wanna know what I see next? Someone had written the name "Kelly" in the mud of the trail. Really big. Like two foot high letters scratched into the trail. Oh. My. Gosh. That is totally part of the foreshadowing thing that happens in those scary movies. I seriously couldn't breathe. It was getting pretty dark by now. And after a second or two I realized the name written was "Katie". Whew! Thankfully the scary ending was meant for someone else. But my heart was still beating at a mighty fast clip.

Still. I needed to get the heck off of this trail. I was only about a mile to the end and the adrenaline was helping me move a little quicker now. Then, right at the head of the trail, at the entrance by my car....guess what I see? A man in a Carhartt jacket with his hood up. Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously? There are no houses around. They guy was clearly not working out. Just standing there. With his hood up. Right at the entrance to the parking lot. Waiting to kill me.

It was really dark by now. And I had nowhere to go. I totally had to run up to the guy. This was it. I was gonna die. I knew running would kill me some day. I mean, who would be on a trail at this time of night just lingering around?

I was worried the man could actually hear my heart beating. It was pounding away like a high school band at homecoming. I hoped he wouldn't sense my fear as I said, "hi". Hopefully, he would be disgusted by my fat, sweaty self and just walk away. But he said "hi" back. In a creepy, soft-spoken, I'm-gonna-kill-you-and-hide-your-body-in-a-cornfield kind of a way.

Then I saw it.

The most welcome sight I'd seen all night.

A little rat terrier came bouncing out of the brush. Whew! That's what scary-looking, hoodie-disguised men do on a trail at night. They let their dogs take a pee!

I got in my car. Locked the door. And swore never again to be on this trail at night. I better start that 8 mile run that's on the schedule this week reeeeaaally early!


  1. Best blog post ever... I got a real kick out of this. Tee-hee!!!!!!! Love it. ;-) Glad you weren't killed and hidden in a cornfield... that would make it really tough to run.

  2. I was laughing out loud at this post! I'm easily spooked, too and get soooooo creeped out when I'm running in the country by myself. Every once in a while when I'm on the trail by my house, some guy will be out there by himself - no dog, no nothing - and that ALWAYS gives me the heebyjeebies. I mean, who walks alone just to WALK???? (Ok, maybe lots of people do, but it's still creepy. At least it is when I'm alone.)

    I'm glad you weren't killed on your run! :)

  3. Thanks guys! I'm glad it made for a funny story. And I'm really glad I wasn't killed either :) Its crazy the things that go through our heads out there, huh?

  4. You are so funny - this post was GREAT!!

    I'd have been in heaven in your situation. The scarier it is, the better I run. How cute that in the end your beast was just a little doggie doing its business in the bushes!

  5. (followed you from Daily Mile)

    Hahah you sound like me. I am always thinking about the what-ifs with my outdoor runs. Today I made my fiance come with me to the forest preserve because I was worried it would be too deserted. I wish I wasn't such a worrier!

  6. RR - Thanks! And you would think I could run faster with thoughts of strange beasts and cornfield killers, right? Sadly, I was the embodiment of "scared stiff". I'm so glad no one was filming 'cause I'd have been the stupid girl who always trips and ends up on the wrong end of a chain saw.

    Rachel - Thanks for stopping by! I think I totally ruined it for myself on this trail. I had never been out there at night before, so the crazy thoughts hadn't entered my mind. But now, I'm not so sure I feel safe out there during the day. I need to hook me up with one of those fiances like you have! Then I wouldn't have to worry so much :)