Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scary Night Time Running

I knew I had to run tonight due to no running the night before and no work out at the gym today. I left for the track around 9:30 without Annie and the lucky dog for the evening, she was too exhausted from today's shopping excursion. As soon as I started the first lap, a white pickup truck pulled in behind my vehicle, lights on halted for about 10 seconds. The truck then peeled out and away, sorta swerving a bit. I did think it was strange, but continued to run. Then lights appeared in the right side parking lot of the track. I looked over and realized the same white truck was now on the other side of the track. My heart began to beat a bit faster, but I remained calm, telling myself that this is Wink and there is nothing to worry about.

I was just starting my 3rd lap and really wanted to do two miles, but wouldn't it be rather silly to find myself in some danger just because I wanted to finish my run? Well, the truck left and I assumed that the person was probably looking for someone, thought maybe that someone was me, but then realized it wasn't and went on. I felt a bit better, until on the 5th lap, the truck returned. This time at the back of the track, next to the elementary playground. It moved slowly along side me as I took the curve. This sudden reappearance of the white truck couldn't be ignored. By this time the adrenaline was definitely pumping and flowing. I didn't want to go to my vehicle alone, I kept waiting for the usual runners to arrive, but no one did.

The white truck then turned left, went back on the road used in the beginning, behind my truck, to the stop sign, took a left, went behind the gym, through the school parking lot and ended up parking right outside the tennis courts about 100 feet away from the track. I nearly broke my neck watching and keeping my eye on the truck. By this time, I think I began to lose a little focus on the run. I started thinking about when I had been this frightened before all alone. Only one other time I had found myself in a similar unsettling situation. That was over 15 years ago when I resided in Louisiana. That experience led to the purchase of a handgun.

I kept waiting for someone I knew to come to the track. In the evenings, there are usually other runners, but I had gotten off to a late start and most likely no one else would be arriving. My mind raced. It's hard to keep your imagination in check, all sorts of horrible and outlandish situations play out in your head. All this fear and worrying lead to the total abandonment of any pain that I was experiencing due to the run.

I stayed on the track, running. If any of the instruction from the self defense courses I took while living in Houston lingered with me it was this advice I remembered: "Don't panic. Stay aware of your surroundings." I have never thought of Wink as a place that I'd run into any harm. I've been to the track now for a month or so, and have never had any encounters. AND this may all be explained away as well. It could just be a case of mistaken identity.

My decision was to continue running and only leave the track when I no longer saw the white truck nearby. The truck remained at the tennis courts through 4 more laps, putting me on lap number 12 (or so I thought). The truck pulled off slowly, heading away from the track up to the stop sign and made a left. This put the truck out of my sight and it was time for me to get as quickly to my vehicle as I could.

Seated in my truck, doors locked, fumbling for my keys, I backed out and made my way for home. As I was traveling along 1st Street which runs in front of the elementary, I noticed the white truck was sitting at the stop sign. The driver pulled out in front of me and sped off to the next road and turned left. I'm not sure if any of the driving and parking of this person was directed towards me, but I continued home, and after arriving home locked all my doors and windows.

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