Directly after pulling into the hiking trail parking lot, another car -- a black Honda -- followed me, and from the car stepped a man, I'd guess in his upper 40s, with male pattern baldness, and wearing black slacks and a golf shirt with a black, white and gray pattern circa 1990s (my dad has one just like it), and this man lit a cigarette, took out his phone, walked over near the toilet shelters, and leaned against a wooden stanchion.
We are the only two people there.
Being the paranoid sort, this guy starts to bug me, and there I am still sitting in my car trying to decide what to do about this situation. The fighter in me knows I could take him if he attacked me. The flighter says I could easily out run him, which, hey, speed work!
But then, what about my car? What if he's just waiting for me to leave so he can smash my windows, grab my old-time CD collection, and then deflate my tires so he can make his getaway. So I start my car again and leave.
My plan was to hit up the trail, which is just around the corner from my office, and run my three-miler before it got dark. Yesterday was a cloudy day, and it was already kind of dark as I drove away from the creeper.
Instead, I decided to go to Sand Run to run the Mingo trail, where I know the terrain and where it will be populated by other runners and, as Mrs. Viper likes to say, not rapists and murderers.
Fortunately, I brought my head lamp with me, as twilight had descended by the time I started my run. The second half of my run would have been treacherous without a light source to guide me.
Some of the hills were muddy, which the slipperiness made for difficult ascents and nerve-racking descents. I felt an odd twinge behind my left knee and walked a little near the end, but it feels fine today. I blame the awkward footing.
One run down, three to go.