Why I Don’t Run First Thing in the Morning

Yesterday afternoon we had a surprise softball game for Kev’s youngest at 5:30. We made it to dinner at 7, and we were home by 8. Since I hadn’t yet had time to get my run in, I thought I would go ahead and do it before it got too dark.

I was almost to our back gate, a little over two miles into the run, and it was getting pretty dark. I saw a rattlesnake about 15 feet away, stretched out across the middle of the crushed limestone road. There was just enough daylight left that I felt safe getting off the road to look for a stick. I searched around a bit, and I finally found one that I thought would work. That stick was so dry that it broke in half on the first strike (!!), but I whacked that rattlesnake until it was dead.

1-snakes on my evening run

The pic isn’t super clear because my hands were shaking. =P

That’s the first time I’ve ever come across a rattlesnake while running, but I didn’t think too much of it.

So I started running again, and as I was sprinting for the back gate I happened to look down and believe it or not — there was another stretched out rattlesnake in the middle of the road — not three feet from my left foot! Another step, and I would have stepped on or over it! I backed up mid-step so hastily that I almost fell down … and yet the rattlesnake didn’t even move, other than to turn its head and give me a dirty look.

3-snakes on my evening run-002

Snake #2; it was so dark I didn’t even see it until I was almost on top of it!

By now it was too dark to safely step off the road to find a big stick to whack it with, so I threw the small stick that I was able to find, thinking that distraction might at least get the snake to move off the road … but instead, the snake shot out and lunged at me without even coiling up first! Rude! I’ve never seen a rattlesnake do that! It was on! I picked up a bunch of rocks and slung them at it until it was dead. By then, I was totally freaked out; I almost called Kev to come pick me up. =/

The funny thing is that I had the presence of mind to stop endomondo (the run tracking app I’m trying) each time I encountered a snake, so my pace wasn’t affected by my two major pauses!

And all of this should explain why I don’t ever run first thing in the morning when it is still dark (even though I know my pace would improve substantially in the cooler hours), and why I’ll need to be more careful in the future about what time in the evening I start my runs. Just in case you were wondering, snakes will get on the road as the temperature drops because it retains the day’s heat all night long.

What’s the weirdest thing you have ever encountered on a run?

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct smaller.com; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

13 Comments on "Why I Don’t Run First Thing in the Morning"

  1. TMEhrlich | May 24, 2013 at 6:05 am |

    I have already killed one laying by my back door. Needless to say, we take a look before stepping outside now! I really hate those things and never hunt or go got he farm without my snake boots on.

    It is also scorpion season in Texas. We are coming across 3 or 4 a week right now in the house.

  2. Yikes! Scorpions are scary, too! None in the house for us … yet! =P

  3. Snakes AND scorpions?

    I can barely handle house spiders.

  4. TMEhrlich | May 24, 2013 at 6:34 am |

    Everyone in my neighborhood has a lot of scorpions. Not sure why. Bug man cannot do anything about them. They feel like a bee if you get stung. It is not terrible, but is uncomfortable.

  5. Are you allowed to have guineas in your neighborhood? They will gobble up scorpions, I’ve heard!

  6. Wow … I have seen snakes both here and back in Massachusetts – but they are cute little garter snakes and as harmless as bunnies.

    I have encountered more than a few skunks, but generally they are either too busy with trash or lust loping along to really care. Many years ago I had several bats come crashing into me as I ran down the street on a cool but humid pre-dawn day. A fascinating and gorgeous site was this winter seeing a whole family of deer crossing the road in the snow.

    But my biggest worry as I am out running? Guys in pickup trucks. I am always aware of traffic, so I am prepared for the usual swervy cell-phone user … but for whatever reason a certain breed of males aged 20s and 30s who drive pickup trucks think it is fun/funny to edge to the side of the road to force runners off the road. It is 100% men, and 100% pickup trucks. Interesting that it correlates perfectly with that study a couple of years back showing that men in pickup trucks would leave the traffic lane to run over a turtle or other creatures. So if you are a man aged 25 – 35 and drive a pickup truck … I apologize if my immediate reaction is to assume you are an a$$hole until proven otherwise 🙂

  7. I figure it is better to assume someone is an a$$hole and to swing wide than to assume otherwise and get hit! 😉

    I’ve seen a lot of deer, skunks, jackrabbits, and cows … lots of cows … but the rattlesnakes were a first! And TWO of them? Weird! =P

  8. That is just crazy, and would definitely have me taking a second thought about my route! Of course, for your next evening run we’ll probably see a selfie of you packing like Rambo!

  9. I’m actually wondering if I could manage a run with my snakestick. Chances are I will never see another snake if I do that, though … =P

  10. Yeah, but you’d look totally badass! 🙂

  11. As is usually the case. You prepare and you end up not needing it.

    In scouts we had a saying….if ONE kid left their rain gear at home it would pour buckets! Needless to say, usually there was MORE than one who left their poncho at home.

    Scouts have the motto of Be Prepared for a reason….so I’d carry the snake stick! 🙂

  12. Snakes and scorpions were bad at Navy base housing in Corpus Christi, so my mother tells me. She was pregnant with me at the time and tells stories of rattlesnakes sunning themselves on the window sills and occasionally finding scorpions lurking in the cupboards thanks to an empty field across the street being rife with varmints. So I guess while I’m a native Californian, I spent the first 8.5 months prior to birth in Texas. 😉

    Judie, clearly you need to either jog with a flamethrower, or have Kevin drive a steamroller in front of you.

  13. I like the idea of the flamethrower, actually. I’m just not sure that I could run with one strapped to my back! 😉

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