Sunday, November 5, 2017

Truly Running Scared at Run Scared

When I go to set up a course it is usually dark, it is usually cold, it is usually sort of scary. My biggest fear is hooligans, for lack of better term. Someone who is out late at night/early morning who is up to no good hanging out in a dark, abandoned park. I always have my wits about me, despite the lack of sleep on race mornings. I am hyper tuned to my surroundings and keep my ears and eyes open at all times. My weapon of choice is usually only some mace and all the large sticks and scissors I happen to be carrying. It is not safe, my mother and my husband always tell me that.

But, on the morning of Run Scared this past weekend I was feeling pretty good. There were no cars in the park. It is always nerve wracking to see lone cars parked in the lot at 3:00am. I mean, really, what are you doing there? It was dead quiet, the weather was perfect and I had my morning coffee. It was 3:30am. It was foggy, very very foggy.

There is a section of the course where a major turn happens and lots of signage is needed and the waterstop is also located there. It just so happens that it is blocked to all vehicles. This means I need to make multiple trips with a handcart or with my own two hands up and down that darn hill, many, many times.

So, beep, beep, beep...I am backing the truck down this giant hill, slowly and trying not to run into the barricades. I get as close as I can. Put it in park. Get my headlamp on and give myself a little pep talk. I can do this. It is my exercise for the day, perhaps the week.

The back door rolls up with a loud bang. But, what do I care, there is nobody around.

Now, I don't know if you are aware, but when you turn on a headlamp in the pitch black and its foggy and cold all you really see is your breath. Nothing more really comes through. But, that was ok, nobody was around and I knew where I was going.

I took my first load into my arms, a bunch of cones and some signs on large sticks. I looked down the hill to where I was going and all I see are two eyes staring back at me, eyes glowing from the reflection of my headlamp. Still, silent, spooky. I stop in my tracks. It is an animal, I know that much. But not much more. I am still, he is still. We stare at each other. I move forward. He stays put. I make a loud noise, he stays put. I start walking, he moves to the left and scampers up the hill. As I am walking down my headlamp stays with those eyes. As I get closer I can see that it is white. To me it looked like a giant owl. Then a flash of tail. It was coyote. Mean, nasty, beady eyes staring at me. I dump the stuff at the bottom of the hill, still looking at those eyes.

What it really looked like
In my mind what it looked like

I hightail it back up to the truck, safety! But, there is still the matter of the 10 other loads that need to go down there. I decide to unload it all right there, next to the warmth and the light of the truck. All the while scanning for those eyes. They have moved above to the top of the hill. Then disappear. I cannot find the eyes. Is this beast about to attack me? I have never heard of a coyote attacking a human. But, I am making quite a ruckus and interrupting his hunting time.

I start moving faster, throwing things out of the truck. Someone else on my crew can deal with this later, in the daylight when all they have to worry about it hooligans.

I escape with my life, unscathed and truly running scared at Run Scared!