When I was little I was in Cub Scouts, along with various other youth programs all designed to stop you from becoming the kind of adult that I became anyway. The motto of the Cub Scouts, which they drilled into our heads during my short time there is Be Prepared. You might have already known that. It was a motto that I took to heart and one that I still believe in today. Part of being prepared is imagining all of the worst case scenarios that could come your way and figuring out how you’ll deal with them. I employ this technique when I’m running.
For example, I often find myself out running when it’s dark. This is when there are unsavory characters lurking around every corner to get you so it is especially important to be prepared. Each cyclist that you pass could be a terrorist in disguise, sent to take you captive. That woman walking her dog could be an Al Qaeda operative whose mission is to rub you out. When I run at night I imagine that each pedestrian that I pass is a mortal enemy. I look around for reflective surfaces so that I can keep an eye on them without alerting them to my alertness. After they pass me I know that they are circling back around to attack but my Spidey senses are tingling and I feel the danger coming. As though I have eyes in the back of my head I deftly duck out of the way of their initial blow and then turn my defensive maneuver into a deadly counter attack. I spin around with lightening quickness and take the highly trained, combat-hardened terrorist completely by surprise. I execute a roundhouse kick with Chuck Norris-like perfection that catches my assailant squarely in the jaw. Stunned but not knocked out, the terrorist stumbles backwards and I immediately pounce and pummel them with brutal body blows from my steely fists. I put the terrorist in a choke hold and demand that he tell me who sent him. Seriously guys, I make Jack Bauer look like limp-wristed mama’s boy.
Later I’ll give an interview on TV where you’ll still be able to see my bloodied knuckles and sweat drenched shirt. I’ll describe in the most nonchalant fashion how I captured the most highly sought after man in the US and got critical information out of him that will save countless lives. It’s thoughts like these that keep me at a heightened state of awareness when I run, I mean sure, sometimes I almost run right into other runners because I’m so immersed in my daydreams, but for the most part I’m super aware.
Of course none of this has ever actually happened. It usually turns out that my tingling Spidey sense was just indigestion and if anything like that ever did really happen I’d probably crap my pants and faint. Later that night the local news story would be about a heroic woman who revived a runner that had passed out and soiled himself for no apparent reason.