Sunday, March 16, 2008

It's Good To Be Alive...

I don't mean this in the cheesy I had a great day sense, but rather in the being alive is better than being dead sense. As in I probably came closer to dying today than I ever have in my life.

I did my longest run since the Ultrasport today, about 11 miles. For most of the run I was zoned out and not very aware of my surroundings but as I got close to home my left knee was bothering me quite a bit and I had a large blister forming on my right heel (I was giving my Hardrocks one last chance but they just don't fit my feet and I'm not going to wear them anymore).

I was about a mile from home when I really started to feel that I just wanted to be at home and I was trying to look ahead of me on the road to find a recognizable landmark so I could tell just how far I still had to go. Nothing ahead in my line of vision looked familiar so I glanced over my shoulder to see if I had just passed anything that would look more familiar to me.

Just as I looked behind me I saw an SUV sliding sideways in the road heading directly toward me at 40mph, about 100 feet away. My first reaction was to speed up and then after two or three strides I came to my senses and realized that I was not going to outrun a vehicle moving at 40mph. Without even thinking about it I bolted through the small snowbank on the side of the road and down a hill into the woods. I headed right away for the largest trees I saw, knowing that if I got past those trees I would be safe because the vehicle would not be able to get past them. And then a split second later I heard the crunch of metal on wood, and I stopped.

I ran back to the SUV which was smashed up against the trees just behind me, about 10 feet away! Luckily the woman behind the wheel was fine because the passenger side of the vehicle took the brunt of the impact. I stuck around for a minute to be certain she was okay and that she had a phone with her and then I basically sprinted home, almost hyperventilating before getting safely into my living room where I collapsed on the floor and just laid and stared at the ceiling for about 10 minutes.

When I finally calmed down and began to move on with my day I had one very distinct memory of the incident that will likely remain in my mind forever: I was listening to the NPR program, "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" as this was unfolding. After I ran into the trees and heard the SUV slam into the trees behind me I immediately ripped my ear buds out of my ears. And then as I ran toward the vehicle I could hear the car stereo playing the same program I had been listening to. The gap in the audio was no more than 2 seconds. I don't know why but the sound of the voices being ripped out my ears, but then returning gradually louder and louder as I approached the smashed up SUV has been left so distinctly in my mind. Perhaps the most ironic thing about this is that the program I was listening to was all about memories in the brain and why we remember certain things and forget others.


Fonk said...

Holy Shit! Smart/Quick thinking on getting behind those trees! I can't even imagine how scary that must have been. I'd probably be changing my shorts after I got home, too... ;-)

Chris said...

Glad you're okay Geoff! Holy crap.

Anonymous said...

Holly shit Geoff! Glad you turned around! Monika

WheelDancer said...

It wasn't your time but it might be a good time to buy a lottery ticket! Glad you survived.

WynnMan said...

Geoff, glad to hear you are alive and well. These types of incidents are what make you really appreciate each day and being able to run each day. My buddy and I were running roads this time of year last year and had two "close calls" as well. Ya just have to becareful and be alert. If I do run on roads now I don't wear headphones anymore.

Hopefully recovery is going well. The 2-3 week post-race period is when you find out the true carnage of your last race typically 100 miles+ Strange how that happens, rather than immediately after the race.

WynnMan said...

Geoff- in response to your comment in your previous post... You have a tremendous year. It is hard to point out one great event you did in particular that over-ruled another. Each was so different. If anything I look at your race much like mine in the fact that they varied in distances. I felt like my strength was versatility, running strong in multiple distances.

However with that said I would say that your 24 hrs. of Light was a great performance because you showed another endurance side and you did it with conviction.

Anonymous said...

What - no pics? :)

Anonymous said...

Phew! That was a close one Geoff. Good thing your instincts kicked in as quickly as they did or you'd be a hood ornament!

Anonymous said...

funny, near death experience for this cylicst, whose blog i read right after yours....

brittany said...

um, ok. so wow. i hope you immediately went home and drank six shots of tequila within three minutes. i would have.
glad you are still around.

Anonymous said...