So much humanity in one run…

Met some friends this morning for what we decided to call the “Black Friday Run”, explained in the previous post.  Admittedly, since the dawn of online shopping, you would be hard pressed to get me out to a mall under any circumstances, much less on Black Friday, so I had no idea what I was in for.  I arrived on scene fully at 5:45am expecting to either see the legions of blurry eyed standing in lines waiting for stores to open or perhaps even a tent or two.  What I saw was terrifying…

First, the parking lot was nearly full (did I mention it was 5:45am?), most of the stores were open (some had been since MIDNIGHT) and the cars coming and going in the parking lot were already LOADED with boxes and presents.  The throngs of people flooding out of (which implies they had already been there a while) the mall (Target, mostly) were pushing flatbeds full of TVs, appliances, toys, etc.  Everyone was cheery…  too cheery…  Although most of them looked at us in our running clothing like WE were crazy…! 

Then, as we started out the run, we passed one of the cheery people in the parking lot and she said “Happy Black Friday!”  …since when is Black Friday a holiday?  This troubled my thoughts, but not for long.  We had purposefully chosen to run around the mall, and when we got across the street into another parking lot full of big box stores, the next vision appeared.  Please understand that it is 28 degrees outside and still dark.  So as we round a corner we see…

A clown…  Complete with big shoes, face paint, little… honking horn thingy… the whole bit.  Very disturbing…

The clown honked at us as we went by and I found myself REALLY looking forward to getting down to the trail…

The route then took us through a neighborhood and up to our next destination, Walmart.  We got to the top of the hill by Walmart and it hit us.  The.  Lot.  Was.  Full…  Even the Starbucks in the parking lot had a 10 car line (it was 6:15am).  I had intended to run through the Walmart parking lot and past the front doors but… umm… no.  Too risky.  I’d rather run in the middle of the street.  Thanks.

Once past all that horror, we settled in to a local neighborhood and all was right with the world.  Until we started heading down a big hill.  It was then that this nice older woman in a red Taurus slowed down next to us (we were running in the bike lane) and informed us that the long concrete thingy next to the road was called a sidewalk.  Well.  I had no idea!  Thanks for the insight Ms. Scrooge.  My apologies.  I didn’t realize you needed YOUR lane AND the bike lane as well.  But, Happy Holidays to you, too!

Finally!  We got on to the trail and were rewarded with a spectacular view of the sunrise over a misty Twin Lakes.  That view was worth the whole trip.  Gorgeous…  And not a soul around to share it with.  We saw 4 people and we were on the trail for 4 miles.

By this time Andy and I were the only ones still running and we split our time chatting and dodging cars on the ever busier roads we encountered on the way back towards the mall.  Once through the neighborhoods, we popped back out across the street from the mall only to be met with rush hour like traffic.  Amazing.  And, already, the mood was turning from festive to surly for some.  Horns honking, the whole bit.  Reason number… the next one…  why I don’t like holiday shopping.  We took our lives in our hands and made a mad dash back through the parking lot to finish up at Panera.  In all, just short of 11 miles (and way too much of what is wrong with society) all before 8am on Black Friday…!

Closing thoughts:

Andy’s bagel at Panera had exactly 3 ingredients on it.  Ham, cheese and egg.  Somehow it managed to get to us without the ham.  When an item only has three things on it and you manage to forget one of them?  There is a reason you work at Panera…

I looked up at one point from my coffee and bagel (mind you, it is still before 8am) and saw something I just didn’t get.  Walking through the mall was a woman.  Perfect hair.  Perfect makeup.  Little black dress.  High heels.  My only thought (besides chuckling to myself because one of the boxes she was carrying was a Craftsman drill) was “What time did have to get up to look like THAT by 8am?”  By the number of packages and bags she was carrying, two things were obvious.  First, she didn’t work at the mall.  Second, she had been there A WHILE.  Say… several hours?  It was just so out of place it was startling.  Since when do we have to “dress up” for Black Friday?

The run?  Oh yeah!  It was fun!  It is amazing how much faster 11 miles goes when you are trying to process all the pre-dawn craziness that is Black Friday.  I will definitely do this again next year!

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