Wednesday, September 26, 2018

WWU - Do You Smell Smoke?

Listen, in my defense, it was earlier than usual, it was a Saturday morning, when, during college football season, a lot of people are smoking brisket or ribs for tailgating, oftentimes overnight.  Never mind that it was an away game; not being interested in the local university's team, I didn't know that.  So when Diane and I were running one direction on the new new road (not to be confused with the old new road, and yes, that's how I label them when I create the routes for our group), and she asked if I smelled smoke, I said yes, but it was probably someone's BBQ.  Again, not unheard of in our town.

This was after we'd come upon an armadillo right next to the sidewalk; my startled scream did scare him into turning around and running back into the bushes so no regrets there even though I did nearly give Diane a heart attack.  And then a short distance later we hit a thick patch of sludge on the sidewalk that sent Diane skiing through it - I do not know how she managed to keep her balance, but she did.  I didn't fall either but our shoes were coated in mud, thanks to the overnight rain that had stopped so we could run, but made conditions a little treacherous as it turned out.

We turned onto the new new road as planned, running it the opposite direction from our marathon group - they had a longer route and by doing this, we expected to cross paths with them somewhere along that section.  Well, it was much darker than we anticipated, thanks to cloud cover obscuring the moon, no streetlights yet, and we'd hit it earlier than usual because the marathoners started at 5:30 since they had 10 miles on tap.  So we were already a little jittery thanks to the armadillo and the mud skiing, and then we smelled smoke.  We didn't see anything, so as I said earlier, we chalked it up to a BBQ.  About halfway through the new new road we saw Brian coming toward us - he was running faster than the rest of the marathoners.  We warned him about the muddy area that he'd be approaching and then he was gone.  We finally reached the part of the new new road where the streetlights were working, turned, and sure enough, saw the rest of the marathoners coming toward us.  We waved, warned about the mud, and passed each other in the night...er, darkness of early morning.

Diane and I turned around and ran back on the main sidewalk, managing to avoid the muddy area this time, and when we reached the main intersection, she went on to run several more miles while I headed back to the clubhouse.  Eventually the rest of our group started trickling in; conditions were downright brutal with a temperature of 79 degrees, a feels like temperature of 87 degrees, and nearly 100% humidity.  Everyone was wiped out by that one and several curse words were uttered.

But wait, you must be wondering - didn't she go on and on about smoke?  Was that the end of the story?  Not quite.  When Jeff and Cary came in, we discovered that they not only smelled the smoke but could see a fire in the distance.  Mind you, this is undeveloped land, and we'd had a lot of rain, so how could something be on fire?  Also, how did neither Brian nor Diane and I not see it?  Cary did say that from the direction we were running you couldn't see the flames, so I felt a little less stupid about, you know, not connecting smoke with fire.

They went a little way into the field to investigate, because it could have been just someone burning trash, or also as Jeff was worried about, a hobo.  Yes, a hobo.  Because we're back in the 1930s and hobos are riding the rails out here, LOL.  It really was a fire, so Cary called the fire department and they waited for the truck to arrive so they could direct them, as the new new road we were running on is actually not open to traffic.  Side note, after she said this, I do remember seeing a fire truck heading that direction as we were running back, but it didn't have lights and sirens going so I didn't think anything about it.

Anyway, that's the story of our run on Saturday, and quite honestly, it was much more interesting than writing about how hard the run was.  Some of our marathoners saved the day by actually noticing the fire (Brian later said he thought the smoke was from the BBQ restaurant nearby - see?  It wasn't just me with that thought) and calling for help.  Now, as long as we don't come across a dead body in the woods (note to self:  do not route group through the woods), we are good with that kind of adventure.  All's well that end's well, right?
New new road.  

For reference, near the #1 is where Diane and I smelled the smoke; the fire was somewhere on the horizontal part where it's just land and trees and scrub, and we came across the marathoners near the #2.  Clear as mud, probably, but in the spirit of the story I wanted to give you some idea of what we were dealing with.  Also, the part with the #2 is the only stretch with working streetlights.  Diane and I have already decided that we won't be running that road again unless we are with a bigger group or it's lighter in the morning...we scare ourselves too easily otherwise.
Logan's face when we told him the story.

12 comments:

  1. Those conditions sound miserable. I remember training for one of my marathons in similar conditions, Pete and I kept trucking along and dragged our butts until the end. It was the one time it paid to be a slower runner - all our fast people had been picked up by the car that drove around to check on us. Honestly I think we were so slow anyway it didn't bother us that we were even slower while the speedsters were trying to keep up their 8 minute miles. Uh, there's a reason it's called long SLOW distance.

    If the new, new road is not open, does it even have street lights? Do you wear headlamps? I mean I even have trouble seeing well with a headlamp if it's overcast so...

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    1. LOL on outlasting the speedsters!

      Most of the new new road doesn't have street lights. When it's really dark, Diane takes out her phone and turns on the flashlight; I used to carry a tiny LED flashlight when we ran several years ago. I can't do a headlamp, it feels too awkward on me.

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  2. I've called 911 a few times while running--I call myself Mrs Kravitz. No fire tho. No dead bodies. I hope I never find one!

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    1. Well heck, if you see something that should be reported, by all means, Kravitz away!

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  3. What a story! I have never seen an armadillo, and I'd love to see one. But not be surprised by one. Logan's face is priceless!

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    1. Pretty much every time I've seen an armadillo, it's been a surprise...

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  4. Runner's always encounter the most interesting things, right? It's a good thing Cary called the fire department.
    So, not while running, but my mom was walking on Monday and saw a bank robbery!

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  5. It surely wasn’t a boring run!!! And those types of runs do keep you from focusing on the pain, heat, and any attached misery!!!!

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    1. Well, sort of - but when the weather was that bad, even all the excitement couldn't quite mask that misery, unfortunately.

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  6. LOL @ Logan's face!

    I'm glad they saw the fire and reported it. Odd the truck didn't blare its sirens.

    And I am really glad you both didn't fall in that sludge. Gawd, that could be BAD!

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    1. I asked Jeff tonight - he said because they told the 911 dispatcher that it wasn't a structure, just a fire in a field, they didn't use the lights and sirens.

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