By just looking at this route on the map, you would think it would have been pretty straight forward. Keep in mind also, that I had just run a horrible route in Holdenville the night before...so I was really hoping for a nice smooth run.
The goal for tonight was 13.5 miles. Good long distance but not completely exhausting. I was a little sore from the two rolled (left and right) ankles from the night before so I had a long Epsom salt soak before heading out. Elise was a little bummed that I was spending two evenings in a row on longer runs so she headed out to go eat dinner. In the interest of running somewhere new, I mapped out a loop that I thought would be a well populated area.
I started out of the neighborhood and headed North. I had run the first section before so no big surprises yet. I then turned down a pitch black road (this should have been my first sign). This is also where the nice wide sidewalk I was running on disappeared. At first I thought, well probably a dead road, not much traffic. I was wrong. I couldn't see the ditch and there wasn't enough room on the shoulder to run and safely avoid the oncoming traffic. So I switched lanes depending on which direction the traffic was coming. Inevitably, traffic came from both directions and I was forced into the ditch. This went on for almost 2 miles before I finally a street light. I'm not exaggerating, there wasn't a single source of light until then. It was a turn in for semis into some type of oil lease. I continued dodging vehicles and lucking out when I was forced into the ditch that I didn't trip, step into a puddle of water, etc.
Another 2 miles later, I came across a neighborhood and across Bell Helicopter's manufacturing plant. So a little more light and more importantly it allowed cars to see me. Most at this point were swinging wide around me as they passed. My nerves were finally a little more at ease but still asking myself why in the hell am I out here running.
It was only a half mile later or so that it went dark again. Again, really not much shoulder to work with but enough that I could get a foot or two off the road if needed. Cars were seemingly still able to see me but not until a lot closer to me. Finally had a car that didn't see me and at the last second, I went to step off the road into the ditch and nothing was there. The road had washed out that spot creating a three foot hole. I slammed hard into the sharp edge of the washed out road with my right shin and elbow soon after. I came to an immediate halt stuck in an awkward position in this hole on back road in Arlington. Great.
I hopped up quickly, initially thinking "well at least I avoided the car" and secondly "damn it, this is really going to kill my pace"....what is wrong with me? I could barely support my weight on my right leg at first and was just doing well to manage some sort of limping jog. I was determined to get my miles in so I carried on. About a quarter mile later, I was finally at a decent pace again and managed to get back to a proper gait. Still, it was painful to run. I came up on the first civilization I had seen in almost 5 miles, I seriously contemplated quitting and having Elise come get me. I kept running.
It wasn't long after, that I was back on the pitch black roads dodging traffic and more now than before I was determined to avoid the ditch. There was a little less traffic on this road so it didn't require avoiding all that many cars.
Headed up a hill I saw a couple of silhouettes in the distance under a street light. Dogs. Lucky for me, they hadn't noticed me yet. I turned around quickly and decided this week of running was just about over. I made it back to the Chevron and went inside to call Elise. I tried explaining where I was at but didn't really know. My directions were something like "head West out of the neighborhood onto Oak something street, drive North a little ways and turn on to Green something..it's a dark road and will weave for awhile before you see a Bell Helicopter plant, stay on that road for awhile and the first sign of civilization will be a Chevron, I'm there, come get me please..." She didn't seem too impressed with me on the phone.
A little while later, she came to my rescue. She seemed even less impressed in person. I got in the car and got an ear full about the where I had been running and made to swear that I would never again run somewhere I hadn't already driven in the car to check out.
Honestly, I didn't completely disagree. I was lucky something serious didn't happen. I won't be running in ultra dark places like that anymore and have purchased some reflective bands to wear on late night or early morning runs.
Stats: 11.55 miles - 1:39 time - 8:36 pace