After a few weeks of running as time has allotted, I decided this past Sunday to try to step it up. I felt like it was time to get in a little longer workout. The trick, I really haven't felt like running up to an hour, not just mentally, but physically, the legs just don't feel up to the task. The solution, get up at 4 AM, a challenge in itself, and run a little before a tough spin class. I chose this morning to start this new routine because, well, it was a new week, AND I read about the Persiad meteor shower. A little personal note, I have a thing for celestial events. Now, I was fully aware the article I read mentioned the best time to see the event was the morning before, but I was thinking meteor showers have to be pretty big, so MAYBE I'll see some of the tail end!
The alarm goes off at 4, I roll out of bed and head to the gym. A few core exercises inside, and then I take off down the safe streets of Vestavia, "armed" (that word will seem funny in a sec) only with my Nebo 250 flashlight. As one who advises folks on how to run on a daily basis, I certainly don't recommend looking up regularly, in the dark while trudging along at 4:30 AM, but I was really hoping to see a "shooting star" or two! A couple of miles into what was supposed to be an easy jog, I SEE A SHOOTING STAR! I'm all giddy! Then, ANOTHER! My stargazing has paid off!!
A few more strides after the second star, I look up, and SWOOSH! This, what I will describe as massive, owl flies just over my head! I spotlight it with the Nebo, and watch this brown and white striped creature fly up to the limb of a tree. Now, you have to know some of the past stories I've heard in order to properly understand my reaction. First, most Birmingham runners have heard the stories of the "Jemison Trail" owl, and have seen the sign warning of a nesting owl and their aggressive nature. However, only a select few have heard the story of former The Trak Shak employee Cris Picard running down Jemison Trail and suddenly feeling a bump and a scratching sensation on his head! (I don't want to cause a huge owl attack scare. Cris was fine! He just dropped a 4:30 mile to get out of the woods!) Secondly, it's dark, I'm alone (you all can sigh now), and honestly, I just don't want an owl to land on my head!
OK, I'm standing in the middle of the road spotlighting this owl in a tree! I think to myself, "He's happy up there. Surely he'll stay." I proceed along with the run, looking up of course, AGAIN, a little closer this time, SWOOSH! I spotlight him, and see him rest on another limb. Full blown panic hits this time! How do I know it was full blown panic? Well, I have told many customers about the Nebo 250 flashlight and it's self defense properties, but never thought of actually having to USE it! That thought actually entered my mind!
I'm at a crossroad (no pun). I take a left on a cross street thinking maybe, just MAYBE the nest is on that street, and if I head in a different direction, I'm no threat. WRONG!! Once again, here he comes, only this time I have the light on him as I look over my right shoulder. Over my head he goes and up to another limb. THAT'S IT! I do what any owl fearing runner would do! I RUN!! It's only a mile back to the gym. I figure I can out last him to the finish line!
I make it back to the gym unscathed, but certainly not unscarred! I head up stairs to tell the story to a few of my fellow spin-mates. After about 20 minutes on the bike, taking the occasional look out the window of course, I finally calm down, and as only a runner could, I think to myself, "That had to be a looking over my shoulder, mile PR!!!"
STAY SAFE MY FRIENDS!