Runner Blind

The plan was to ride my bike to the Army Ten Miler up in Arlington and DC and see three friends who were running. Megan was doing her last run before a triathlon in a couple of weeks. Kelly is my co-worker who underwent hip surgery earlier this year. It’s incredible to me that she’s well enough to run ten miles. I met Chris during the Cider Ride in 2013. He passes me occasionally on our rides to work. I rarely recognize him.

When I left the house the temperature was in the forties. Eeep! I broke out my long wind pants and some winter gloves. Who’s idea was this? The first five miles were shrouded in fog.

Not wanting to run afoul of Alexandria’s finest, I rode down Washington Street and endured the traffic lights. At the north end, an impatient driver coming from the north turned across my path. I yelled at him and he held his hands up as if to say, “It was the car’s idea.”

I decided not to ride to Long Bridge Park at the northern edge of Crystal City. This would mean that I could bypass the two mulch detours on the Mount Vernon Trail. Unfortunately, Crystal Drive was milled for paving. I managed to make it to the race course without losing any fillings.

I took up a position on the west side of Long Bridge Drive so that I could be in the sun. The runners were being directed to the left lane of the divided four lane road so I was right next to them. I watched as the wheel chair athletes came through. Then a pack of runners blew by. Then the mob came. Waves of runners. I looked for Megan who I expected to come through first. Since the start is staggered there was no way to tell when she’d arrive but I guessed that she would be the fastest of the three.

I watched as many Megan lookalikes came by. My friend Veronica is super fit with long curly red hair. Even woman with long curly red hair distracted me. Then came the occasional blade runner, amputees with a carbon fiber prosthetic. Dang. Just dang.

I started to think that I missed Megan then on the far side of the two lanes next to the center island I saw a woman in a lime green shirt. She looked at me and wave. Ay!!! GO MEGAN!!!

And then she was gone.

I waited and looked and looked and waited. Thousands of runners went by. After a while they my vision blurred. In winter you can go snow blind. At big road races you go runner blind.

The opposite side of the road was open to runners. Now I had four lanes of people to sort through. I realized that this was getting futile but I couldn’t leave because there were no breaks in the flow of runners.

I checked my phone. Chris had finished 30 minutes ago. I later learned that Kelly finished too. She was wearing long bright green socks. How I missed her is beyond me.

After waiting another 30 minutes the field thinned. I headed for home. It was no longer cold. In fact it was downright perfect.

I took my time enjoying the weather and the ride of my new Cross Check.

Once I got home, I took a book out on the deck and read in the warm sun, the air devoid of humidity. It is perfect sweatshirt and shorts weather. It is also perfect weather for a nap. I took full advantage.

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