Why I Don’t Run First Thing in the Morning

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Why I Don't Run First Thing in the Morning Listen to this article

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
Editor in Chief of Gear Diary, Secular Humanist, techie, foodie, hoarder of Kindle eBooks, lover of live music, and collector of passport stamps.