Please note the asterisks. Explanations are below.
So, the day started ordinarily enough. The plan was to run 1.3 miles into town, meet up with the DART group, run the 6.3 mile loop with the group, then tack on another 4.3 on my way home, for a total of 12. Since I'd be doing almost 6 miles on my own, I decided to bring the iPod. Mistake number 1.
The run into town was uneventful, except that Wednesdays are trash / recycling days in Davidson, so Concord Road was a bit of an obstacle course. Our town allows residents to just pile yard waste on the street for pickup, but since Concord is a busy road with a very narrow shoulder, most residents just heap piles of branches on the sidewalk for runners to trip over in the darkness. I suppose that's better than getting it strewn all over tarnation by passing pickup trucks. Instead, the passing runners leap out into the street to avoid the branches, and they get strewn all over tarnation by passing pickup trucks.
Somehow I made it into town unscathed. When I met up with Chad and Jeff, I took off my earbuds and put them in the pocket in my shorts, leaving them attached to the iPod, which was still strapped to my upper arm. Mistake number 2.
We took off at an easy pace, 8:30-ish, while Jeff regaled us with hilarious stories about his experience this past weekend at the GUTS Reactor 50 mile run, which was conducted in a nonstop downpour on a poorly-drained trail, with 6- to 8-inch deep mud along the entire route. That wasn't the funny part, unless you count Jeff's descriptions of the places he found mud after the run. The funniest parts are not appropriate for this family-oriented blog. Suffice it to say they involve half-naked Canadians. Jeff told us he didn't want to run the extra half-mile spur that puts the DART loop over 6 miles, so Chad and I decided to go with Jeff so we could hear the rest of his stories. Mistake number 3.
The DART loop takes us back along Concord road, the same route that was littered with, well, litter, awaiting pickup by the trash collectors. All the way, Jeff kept us entertained with the stories of his experience in the mud bogs of Georgia. As we approached town three abreast, the better to hear Jeff, my iPod headphone cable got snagged on something -- I'm not sure exactly what -- and was ripped out of the iPod. I wasn't sure whether the earbuds were still in my pocket, and looked back to see the cord dangling out of my pocket. I reeled the cord in, then turned around to resume my run. I was actually running on the parking strip and was now leaning dangerously towards the road. As I teetered along, I started running on the 4-inch wide curb like a balance beam between the grassy parking strip and the gutter. It was then that I noticed the car. A large, white minivan loomed in front of me, and my momentum was carrying me straight toward it.
Okay, so the minivan was actually parked, but its rear-view mirror was precisely at the level of my genitals, so if nothing else, the family jewels were briefly in some danger. I managed to avoid involuntary castration and any other injuries by pushing off the van's hood. I kept running, only to be mercilessly mocked by Chad and Jeff all the way back into town. After a brief stop at Summit for water, I left Chad and Jeff to their coffee, still chuckling about the headline that might have been if I had done a full facial into the van. I then started up the iPod again and finished the run without incident.
Details of the workout are below.