Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lookin' Over My Shoulder

Lately I've been getting back to running and biking in typical summer fashion.  Just building back up fitness on the trail and pavement.  On our way back from the MS Ride I ran both of our road bikes under a senseless pole in an open overhang.  If you've done that before you know its a sickening feeling as you assess the mangled mess of bikes, bike racks, and car damage.  I called the property owner and was told the pole is there to limit the "weight" of vehicles coming through their parking lot.  So I've been consumed over the past couple of weeks with finding a new road bike to add to my stable of two-wheelers.  I'll have to do a post on my bikes some day.  Like you care.  But I heart bikes.

Anyway, it's been fun getting back to my running routine.  My enthusiasm is outpacing my ability at this point, but that's ok cause half the fun is getting there.

So out of all of the recent trail running, the hashing through swamps, briars, tunnels under interstate, and the 5:30 AM training runs, the craziest running was yesterday.  It wasn't planned or welcomed.  Nor was it a very long run.  Here's the story.  My wife dropped me off at the doctor's office after lunch.  She had to get back to pick up the kids so I decided to walk the mile and a half back to my office in downtown Atlanta.  I quickly realized that to get back I would be walking down Boulevard and Ponce de Leon through some of the roughest areas of Atlanta.  That's fine, I thought, I'm pretty urbanized after riding MARTA, living in College Park, and riding my bike home from downtown in the middle of the night.  Also, its the middle of the day.

So I'm walking along and an older kid rides up, drops his bike, and starts walking pretty aggressively right behind me.  Then another one appears out of nowhere and is walking right beside me.  I say, "hey what's up?"  They shrug.  I get nervous.  But it's the middle of the day on a busy street in Atlanta!  So I wait for some cars to come by and step into a quick jog to cross the street.  They start to run but then stop.  I glance back a couple of times and realize I'm in the clear.  Pheww!

I keep walking, clearly out of place in this neighborhood but eventually turn on to Ponce and make my way to the office.  All of a sudden, the same guys run up behind my again!  This time they have a couple more kids with them.  Still walking close.  Still middle of the day.  Still a busy road.  One of the kids pulls up beside me and we exchange greetings...."hey man what's up?"..."hey what's up?"  As he starts to introduce himself I turn to face him....uneasily.  Then it comes....he hauls back and throws a big right hand at my head.  It's on.  I duck.  His fist grazes the back of my head.  I'm out.  I take off running.  After a 20 yard sprint I glance back and one of the ruffians is winding up with a rock.  It sails over my head and hits a car.

Somehow danger was averted.

The rest of the way back to the office I'm looking over my shoulder about every 10 seconds.  I was still pretty shaken and amazed that something like that could happen in the middle of the day in a big city.  But I had a pretty good story for my coworkers.  Oh well.  I realized I've been a little lax in the ATL lately and  probably need to be a bit more on guard.   Especially on Boulevard and Ponce.