It was a cool, quiet, dark pre-dawn morning as I pulled into the parking lot. I was the first. Out of the darkness appeared another, and then another, then 2 more, with one final one showing up rounding out our 6. As we gathered and shared pleasantries, I was nervous. I had never gone as far as I had planned to go and wasn’t sure I was going to make it. With that fear lingering like a dog fart, we took off. Into the morning we ran, oblivious to what would come…
We weren’t far into our journey when it happened. Our route took us down a main thoroughfare and then under a bridge to connect to a trail that runs throughout most of the city. What was lurking under that bridge? It was the horror, the unfathomable…the bridge hobo. At first it was hard to make out in the greys and blacks of the pre-dawn morning. One of our group had a headlamp and its yellowish tint briefly splayed over the object in question. Nestled up amongst the shadows was a patch that was decidedly not rock. Not fully believing what we saw, we quickly ran past. No matter, the damage had been done…THE CREATURE STIRRED! We had woken the HOBO IN THE MIST.
Oblivious to what terror had been unleashed we moved on, wondering if what we saw was real. It was turning into a very nice run. The sun was rising, cutting through the darkness and lighting the path ahead. The group was lively and moving at a decent clip. And then it happened. Due to prior commitments, they turned back. About half the group returned to brave the creature under the bridge…never to be seen again. (Until next week)
The rest of the outbound journey was uneventful. More bridges but a suspicious lack of hobo nesting. Finally, after just under 7 miles out it was time for me to turn around and face my destiny. It would be 6.5 long miles back to that point, to that shifting mass of uncertainty. The closer I got the more I worried that I may not make it out alive. And then around the bend I came and I could see it, looming. Under the bridge my eyes scanned the darkness as my legs ached; this was the longest I have ever run. Would I have the intestinal fortitude to do battle under the bridge?
Hell no. I am not dumb. That dude could be crazy and I was alone. I would prefer to not turn up on a Dateline NBC show. I cut up above ground and skirted the bridge, running across the open street. I could see the parking lot in the far distance so I dialed it up a bit. I LOVE finishing strong. Finally, FINALLY I got to my car. 13.93 miles under shoe I had eclipsed the half marathon distance I had been chasing for so long now. Of course, as tired as I was, I had 2 young kids’ birthday parties ahead of me. In the end, I think I would have been safer fighting the…HOBO IN THE MIST.