As a woman being cautious, I run my weekday runs on the exact same route. I run super early in the dark and feel a bit safer in my chosen route. Not to mention that I sometimes have company and at least meeting someone to start a workout with is nice. We meet in the same marina parking lot that has bathrooms. Woot! It’s not the most exciting route but it’s not completely flat and again, safety and running buddies trump anything else.

Every morning that I run, I see the same people around the same times doing the same things. I always wonder if they have nicknames for me as I have do for them. “There goes that running lady at 5:30 in the morning again.”

I’m a people watcher and I’ve never met a stranger so I have spoken to or at least said hi to all of these familiar faces. And being paranoid about running in the dark, unless I see a person more than a couple of times, I am suspicious. I can’t help it. Too much Dateline.

Anyway, here’s an example of the people I see on my morning run:

1. The SUPER early dog walker. I see this nice, older man every morning at 5:40ish when I hit my first or second mile. He’s walking a large, breed-unknown black dog. We always exchange “good mornings” and I like knowing he’s out there. With a very large dog.

2. The older male jogger. He’s new-ish on my path but he shuffles along and we also exchange hellos. He’s another dude I’m happy to see on my route.

3. Various fishermen. There’s a little bridge almost to the first mile marker of my run and there is pretty much always at least one guy fishing off of it. I don’t normally exchange any pleasantries with them though. I don’t want to scare the fish.

4. Triathlete guy replete with compression socks and all the gadgets. Now, I’m not knocking compression because I’ve recently been wearing them but this guy just screams triathlete. You know the look, tight shorts, compression socks, headwear of some sort… He always gives a little wave because he’s always running hard.

5. Older lady with a strange gait who appears to be hauling ass. I always find myself in awe of the women who get up and run in the dark by themselves. Again, I’m in a SUPER safe area but I’m such a chicken-shit. I always wonder how fast she is going and one of these days I will turn around and chase her just to see. For some reason we are always running in opposite directions.

6. The not-scary-to-me-anymore-guy-with-the-hat-who-never-makes-eye-contact. The first time I saw this man I was scared of him. He’s a big, burly dude with a beard and a ball cap. He seemed to just be strolling along. He isn’t exactly in workout gear and he didn’t make eye contact when I said good morning. He freaked me out pretty good that day. But, I’ve seen him several times since and he’s moving a bit faster these days. Still no eye contact. Maybe he just hates mornings and exercise?

7. Jim Henson with the limping dog. So, he isn’t really Jim Henson but he says “Good morning to ya!” as if he were a man who voices puppets. That’s how expressive his voice is. He’s seriously the most outgoing of the whole bunch. I tend to see him a bit later so that could be why. He’s already had his coffee. I spoke to him one morning on my cool down walk and he happens to have a son who raced Kona. And his dog had surgery but even with the limp she’s super happy to play fetch and is so sweet. I need to get their names.

8. Mysterious Flutist. One morning when it was still dark I heard what sounded like a flute or a recorder (remember those?) coming from the nearby gazebo. It was sort of haunting to hear that music at God knows what time in the morning. My buddy Jen and I looked at each other and wondered what horror movie we had walked into. I hear this musician on many of the days I run and still have yet to see him or her. It’s not creepy to me anymore, just another back drop to my AM workout.

9. The Pier People. As I finish my run there’s always an assortment of older folks who hang out at the pier where I park my car. I think they like to drink their coffee, watch the sunrise, and just enjoy the views and each other’s company. There’s a guy with a little fluffy dog, there’s a guy who uses a walker, there’s an older lady with a little poodle, and on occasion, one or two other older gentlemen with or without dogs. I talk with them the most. They ask about my run or comment on the weather. I like seeing them and after I retire (in a billion years) I will become a pier person. After I’ve finished my morning run that is.

Who do you see on your run?