Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Local Legend???

Running makes life interesting or maybe how I run makes life interesting. I think most people who run have more interesting lives. I did my second run last night after 11:00 pm in sleet and freezing rain. Yesterday's schedule got out of whack a little, but I wasn't going to miss my runs. I'm already known as the crazy guy who runs all the time. My family has been asked if I work, since I am seen running so often. Yes I work, I work for myself, so I run whenever, and wherever, it is convenient. So my running times vary, even late at night. It is kind of fun to be asked, "Was that you running at 1:00 am last week?" Yes. Well that story is from about 10 years ago. Hopefully I am working on the local legend that will be "that guy who has been running around here forever." Since my area is small and rural, there are not a lot of runners in the area. Plus most any guy seen running is assumed to be me. I seem to stand out though, bolstered by the fact that I run at odd times, in any weather, half naked, and all around the area. Also showing up in the local newspapers from time to time, the guy who runs absurdly difficult and long races, probably makes me a little more known.

I'm always hearing, "I saw you out..." or "Was that you...?" "Was that you running up Fancy Gap mountain? Or Oklahoma road?" Yes, both are about 20 miles from home. I should tell people I ran there and back, but I want the legend to be somewhat accurate. Of course if folks alter the story over time, I don't have to correct it. I am well known at Pilot Mountain State Park. I do call Pilot Mountain, My Mountain. I think all the rangers know me for running up the road to the top. I know I'm not the only person who does that, but probably the most regular. There are endless remarks about the conditions I'm seen running in or questions if I run in whatever the recent weather was. Yes, I run in any conditions, some I probably shouldn't. I'm a little extra crazy in that department. If it's time for my run, I go most of the time. Example from a couple of years ago when I ran through a massive storm. It was March 4, my sisters birthday, and I had a busy work day. So the run was at night after cake with family, just as a thunderstorm was said to be coming. At 4 miles it started to rain, then a flood hit with absurd wind. The rain and wind were so hard that I could not see both sides of the road, even with my strong headlamp. It was hard enough that the rain hurt significantly. This route is a loop where in the day I can see the road loop back by at the 6 mile point on the other side of a farm. (I'm known at the farm as it a summer water stop of mine.) When I got to 6 miles, there was debris all in the road and trees were down. The wind had torn 200' off a chicken house. I heard later that the chicken house was scattered over 60 acres. I also once tried to ride my bike through a storm that turned into tornado warning. I had to hitch a ride home for that one as I literally could not keep the bike on my side of the road, 60+ mph winds. These experiences make the comments about cold and heat downright laughable.

My experience back in November was one of the best, it was 60 degrees and a light rain was falling. I had run a few miles out from Dobson to do 1 mile hill repeats on Turkey Ford road. As I was running back down after the first repeat. I was stopped by a sheriffs deputy. Yes, pulled over while running. He asked who I was (how could he have not known?) and what I was doing. He seemed to ask expecting me not to answer. "I'm Jason Bryant and I'm running hill repeats." Someone had called about a guy in his underwear down by the bridge on Turkey Ford. Yep, that was me. I was shirtless in short running short. I have often heard that I was seen out in my underwear, many locals seem to think my shorts are underwear. Getting pulled by a deputy was a new one though. The deputy just laughed and said be careful. Hopefully, someday I will be the really old guy out in his underwear. Maybe when I'm old I will literally run in my underwear. And the legend grows.

This week a couple of students in Alison's class at the community college told her a story about me from high school. Before I had my own car I borrowed my moms. I would sometimes need it on a work day, but she'd need it after work. Mom would get a ride to work with someone. I would then drive the car to her work, leave it there for her, and run home. It was just somewhere over 10 miles, so no big deal. But I guess another "crazy runner" story about me.

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