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.