Fog Makes Everything Feel Different – 11/30/2020


I haven’t run in that kind of fog in years and I had forgotten how differently running in it can be. No, it isn’t about the 100% humidity, which is bad enough. Running in this kind of fog changes your senses of what is going on around you. You don’t see or hear things as sharply, everything is muted, while at the same time sounds that are usually faint or unnoticed are exaggerated.

This was my view earlier in the morning and it didn’t really get any better until I was almost finished with the run. You can’t even make out the neighbor’s house!

Which meant that I wore my brightest colors to be seen and decided on the route with what I hoped would be very little traffic (I got lucky and only met three vehicles). Although I knew that it would be muddy/slimy until I got over to the tar section on Tiffany. I figured that 5.0 miles in this pea soup would be quite enough, even though with the weather forecast for tomorrow, it will most likely be a DNR day due to weather.

Off I started, on full alert for the sound of approaching vehicles, which I would hear before I would see their headlights. It reminded me of more than a few times heading out to sea from South Portland oh so many years ago when I was stationed on the USCGC SPAR (WLB 403). Anchor detail or lookout duty in those conditions was always stressful and you needed to keep yourself alert for what was up ahead. So I did my best this morning to make sure that nothing up ahead was going to be a problem.

The fog cleared a little once I got on the dirt road section, but not by much. It also made for some eerie images in the trees and there was just enough of a breeze to make the tree limbs rub together, making things even more creepy as I passed by the area with the high banks on either side of the road and the indistinct shapes in the fog that the trees were making.

While I wanted to get through the dirt road section, I really didn’t dare to pickup the pace because of the slime/muddy conditions on the road and the eeriness that that section of the road between the lower gate and Blake Road has anyway, so I just plugged along, not wasting time, but making sure of my foot plant and toe off each step.

Once I got over on Tiffany, I was able to stretch it out a little more, although the mile splits were pretty consistent time-wise, the effort level was a lot easier on the tar than that slimy dirt road. As I got close to the house where the golden retriever stopped me last time I tried to look into the yard to see if he was out. I didn’t see or hear him, but with the fog swirling around I couldn’t be sure. So I kept running at a steady pace waiting to see if he would charge at me or not. Phew, he wasn’t out, so I was able to run without getting the heart rate elevated due to a dog encounter.

The funny thing was I didn’t realize how tense I was going by the house until I got by and relaxed and got into a nice easy stride. I was fully expecting having to go into Harold being Harold mode on the dog today and even had my hand on my pepper spray…just in case. Thankfully, the dog was in the house and there were no issues.

The tar road was wet, but the Cloudflyers were doing great as far the traction on wet pavement and even that right little toe was mostly happy – a very unusual occurrence in my recent running.

I got to thinking about where I wanted to turn around. I could turn at Notta Road, but then I would have to run up the muddy Stevens Hill or I could run out to Davis Drive and stop at the lower gate. The temps were not super cold (low 40s), so I figured that I could survive the 1/2 mile walk to cool-down from the lower gate and turned at Davis Drive.

After I turned, I thought for a couple seconds about picking up the pace and then remembered that I was supposed to be doing an easy run and settle back into my comfortable get it done pace. Sometimes I even amaze myself when I do something almost smart for a change.

It was the correct choice.

It was still pretty foggy and being on constant alert for vehicles and dogs (no, he wasn’t out when I went back by his house), that the old noggin was getting more tired than the legs. Which in a dense fog is what happens, that is the time you need to be more careful, because as I get tired mentally, I am much more likely to make a mistake or do something stupid.

Today, I just wanted to get back to the lower gate in one piece, not get hit by a vehicle or chased by a dog. Amazingly everything worked out just fine. Although I did attempt to pick up the pace the last mile, the slime and mud down-back made the effort too much and I just plodded to the finish.

Looking back at the lower gate and the muddy road

It was a good run and as much as I complain about running in the thick fog, it forced me to be present in the moment and not get into wool-gathering mode. Which in turn made me focus on how I was feeling during the run, so I could make a couple of minor adjustments to my stride in the On Cloudflyers that made them feel better underfoot.

My daughter got me a couple pair of running shoes for Christmas and the first pair arrived this afternoon. It is a brand that I have never run in before 361*, so it will be interesting to see how they fit/feel and do. They are a couple of models ago, so the price point last week was pretty amazing and when I let D2 know, she offered to buy them both for me. Walking around the house in them they felt snug, but interesting and since this pair are racing shoes, being a bit snug is something I expect. We will see how they do in a day or two.

So more running shoes to try, but I know that I am very happy with my Cloudflyers and don’t see them going out of the rotation anytime soon. But the problems with On shoes is they are very pricey, even last year’s models, so I do need to find another brand that is a bit cheaper to alternate them with (they last longer that way).

By the end I couldn’t see a thing and had to take the glasses off

Running in the fog this morning brought back more than a few memories of a time long gone by and of somethings better forgotten than remembered. Not all memories of sea duty in the fog were great by any stretch of the imagination. But those are stories that need to be shared in person over a glass or two, not on a blog.

Now to keep power as we are experiencing a decidedly nasty what I would call a bad N’oreaster if it were snowing, luckily it is only rain, but with winds pretty steady at over 40 mph and gusts into the 50-60 mph range. 2-3 inches of rain is a lot easier to clean-up from than the amount of snow that we would be getting from a similar storm. Plus it is a lot warmer at 53*F than it was this morning so that isn’t as bad. This kind of weather is why we invested in a standalone generator this summer, but even so, I would prefer to keep power and not have to use it.

We will see what the night brings and tomorrow will be a new day to start fresh again.

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