Why I’m a Morning Runner

Wednesday night, someone asked me whether I was a morning runner or evening runner, and I responded morning because it’s usually more bearable, temps-wise. This reasoning usually makes no sense in December, nor did it make sense this week, when the post-Irene weather has been awesome unbelievably amazing. I’m not even really a morning person; I’m just a night person in disguise. At any rate, at some point in the past, I had decided to run in the mornings, and that’s what I now do. I couldn’t remember why.

Thurday morning, I remembered:  less traffic (foot, bicycle and vehicular) = decreased likelihood of getting hit by an idiotic distracted DC driver.

Five years ago this month, I was doing a short loop through town just before 7am and making really good time when I got hit by a car driving forward out of a nursing home driveway.  I stress that the car was moving forward, not backing, out of the driveway because when I posted this on a RunnersWorld forum at the time, I got flamed for not watching for cars backing out of driveways.  Ah….the anonymity of the interwebs!

So, in August 2006, I was about a mile from the end of my run and on the sidewalk. The car was moving slow enough that when I got hit, I folded over the hood all Matrix-like (and possibly keying the hood in the process) but stayed on my feet.  Go yoga! After my brain realized that I just got hit by a car, I did a quick body scan and yelled at the driver that I was okay.  I figured that if I had just hit someone, I’d be concerned about whether the person was okay, right?  Well, the driver, in turn, yelled at me for not stopping to look both ways before crossing the driveway. Whatever, bitch…you hit me — at least be concerned as to whether I’m, I dunno, injured. I fired back some choice words and ran away. Then I spent the rest of the day telling everyone who would listen, “OMG, can you believe I got hit by a car while running? I got hit by a car while running!”

I’m sure this is about when I started waking up earlier for my training runs and also switching up my routes so that I either beelined for the Mall or for a park trail.

Guess what! Yesterday, I was on the same route, but I didn’t make it outside until just after 7am. I was .75 miles from the end of my run when I took one step into an alley, and a car came barreling out past me and the sidewalk before coming to a stop just beyond the cars parallel parked on the street. I was heading uphill, and I’m so out of shape that I was able to immediately stop, inches away from the car. This car was moving fast enough that I have zero doubt that if I had taken one more step (or was faster), I would have been on the hood. The entire time, the driver had her head turned to her left.  I don’t think she noticed me until after she stopped and found this crazy 5-foot-tall woman dripping in sweat, yelling and pounding her rear window. Then I ran off.  I call that a hit and run.

This week is a step-back week in my Army 10-Miler training.  I know, I don’t feel like I’ve built enough mileage (and I’m not exactly blazing fast, either) to step back, but I’ll take a week where all my runs are no longer than 4 miles.