Sunday, September 28, 2008

Look both ways

Saturday's run with Anita was almost our last. Ever.

Anita and I met up early Saturday for a planned easy 6 mile run on the Lafayette-Moraga Trail. It was a beautiful morning, clear, sunny, cool. Just the type of morning that looked to get hot so it was great we got off to an early start.

I felt tired from the get-go. I had trouble breathing and as usual it didn't occur to me that it was because I was running too fast. I was just on the level where I could talk, in spurts between breaths. Occasionally I'd make an effort to slow down but then I'd speed back up. It's the downside of my fast runs with Olivia; my legs get used to moving quicker but my lungs don't want to accommodate that. Hopefully my lungs will get stronger soon and keep up with my leg speed.

At the three mile turnaround we were having a great conversation and I had started feeling better and decided what the heck, let's run 8 instead of 6. I neglected to inform Anita of this and she didn't question not turning around. We were trying to do a 9:1 run:walk but I was wearing Mr. Garmin and she hadn't set up her watch for intervals. Since neither of us hears the beep anyway we decided I would just keep an eye on the time. This resulted in walk breaks about every 11-12 minutes that lasted 60-80 seconds.

At about 3-3/4 miles we came to where the trail crosses a street, at a "T" intersection. The street we were crossing had a clearly painted crosswalk and a stop sign; traffic along the top of the "T" (parallel to the trail, we weren't crossing it) had right-of-way with no stop. As usual as we neared the crosswalk we checked for traffic. There was a truck coming down the street and I thought I had made eye contact with the driver. We ran into the crosswalk and he kept coming. I slowed, he kept coming, I yelled, then yelled much louder and as Anita and I came to an abrupt halt he slammed on his brakes, an inch or two from us. I realized the driver had never once looked to his left to see if there was oncoming traffic or anyone on the trail in that direction.

This was a big pickup and stopped, the top of the hood came right to Anita's head. Maybe 10 seconds more and she'd have been splattered all over the street and I'd have gone flying. The driver, an elderly man, was horrified by what had almost happened and apologized profusely. His dog, sitting on the seat next to him, panted happily away while Anita and I stood there shaking in reaction. The sun had been in the old dude's eyes, but that was no excuse for not checking to see if someone was coming on his left. It was clear that he hadn't intended to stop at all, he was just going to roll through the crosswalk and the stop sign, and then turn.

After that we ran for a little bit but then I had to walk to try to calm down my heart rate. Adrenaline was pooling throughout our bodies and reaction had set in. We walked more in that mile than at any other time during the run and that mile averaged 13:45. Finally we felt a little better and began to run again but we never reclaimed the loose, flowing run we had before.

The run back was tough and I continually had to make an effort to slow down my legs. I got the feeling that we should have turned around at 3 miles, as originally planned. We would have missed the codger and had a fabulous 6 mile run. Our last couple of miles were our fastest, as usual on that trail, and I was happy to finish. Overall we averaged 12:30, :22/mile faster than the same run last week.

We took our time cooling down and stretching, trying to find some shade. The morning had fulfilled its promise and it was already quite warm. After a while I moved on to the second section of my day which involved much less adrenaline and much more patience. I spent the rest of my day with my mom.

This week I'm hoping to get back to a higher level of exercise. Maybe it'll even include a higher level of sleeping. And a lower level of work. Hah!

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