I was almost "that guy"... a cautionary tale.

Blog entry posted by swedishpimple, Sep 17, 2010.

So.... yesterday after work I decided to go for a BFR in my neighborhood. Sure the sky was dark grey and it was raining some... and before heading out I heard something aboutsevere thunderstorm warnings on the radio and what not, but how bad could it be really? I'll just do a quick loop... I'll be back before the worst of it... besidesrunning BF in the rain is fun is right?

So I threw on my gear, kicked off my work shoes, and headed out the door.

In the first 1/2 mile my internal dialog sounded something like this "This is great... I'm running in the rain... yippee." And it was fun too... so much fun that I hardly noticed as I trotted along that the rain was picking up and with it the wind.... "was that lightning?".

I'm 3/4 of a mile in now... I'm at the halfway point of my neighborhood loop... the furthest I get from my house on that route. So it almost goes without saying that it is at this point that the weather goes from "iffy at best" to "OMG awful". The sky is black, the rain is now a full blown deluge, and the wind is blowing so hard that I was just sure the 50-60' tall oaks and maples that predominate my area were all going to choose this moment to come crashing down. My happy go-lucky internal dialog from earlier has now been replaced by a voice saying stuff like "Oh crap", "Now you've done it", and "Your wife is right... you are a dumb-ass."

I thought about hunkering down... waiting in a safe place to let everything to pass. But by now there was indeed lightning... and a lot of it too, and the only safe spots I could see were under the lightning rod branches of the tall swaying trees. So I decided to press on... "I'll be home soon". By this time I am going all out... my feet are a blur as I scramble over the sidewalks and streets, trying desperately not to think too much about how bare feet would fare in a lightning strike or downed power line scenario.

I pass people looking out windows and in cars... "witnesses" I'm sure at this point to the last moments of my life. I can see the headlines now "Barefoot Runner (read - "Nut") Killed in Thunderstorm".... with a quote or two along the lines of "He didn't even have the sense to be wearing shoes." ... Yep I was sure I was going to be "that guy".

I'm at a full sprint now as I crest the last hill before home and despite the wicking materials of my shirt and shorts I am drenched. I catch a glimpse of my house at the bottom of the hill and I press on.. "Almost there". By now I have turned into the wind therain is now directly in my face. I am taking in water with every breath... I manage to chuckle at the thought of going for a run and drowning. 300 yards to go, 200 yards, 100... "I'm home... I'm alive".

I throw my clothes in a puddle and grab a couple of towels... As I come in mydog looks up from his dry dent on the couch just long enough to give me a "you're an idiot look". I look out the windows at the storm... I hear the sound of a transformer blowing up somewhere in the distance.


I found out later that evening that some of those very trees I nearly took shelter amongst on my run did come down and at least one section of power lines fell as well. I feel lucky... albeit a little foolish. Not for running BF in the rain... but for nearly winning a Darwin Award by ignoring thunderstorm warnings and common sense just to go for a run.

Oh well... live and learn right?

S. Pimp.