As I was not there to witness the accounts first hand, I am going off Nicole's retelling of the saga, adding in some insights from my experiences running with these two, plus ad-libbing a little bit just because I can, call it adding some writer's flair.
As I mentioned before, Nicole left the house prior to 8 and headed over to meet up with Gail, from what I understand they had an uneventful 3.5 mile run (now don't forget no run is uneventful when these two are involved, though I did not get any details, I will leave it up to your imagination) before Gail packed it in and headed home. Now this is where the story gets a little more interesting.
At this point, Nicole decided to head towards Assiniboine Forest to put some extra miles in, now this is not to unusual in itself, but with the time approaching 9 or 9:30, the night quickly settling in and surprisingly Nicole not at all prepared (no pack, no headlamp, snacks, no toilet paper) with her usual supplies, this had potential to be quite interesting. For any of you that are not familiar with our little forest within a city, this is a satellite map of Assiniboine Forest, it is an area nestled within the City of Winnipeg that covers approximately 700 acres of land between Chalfont Avenue and Shaftsbury Blvd, including forest, marsh and some great trails.
Assiniboine Forest Satellite Map
An Aerial Photo of the Forest
So as Nicole got to the entrance to the forest, she noticed a couple of cars parked in the lot as she headed in not thinking much of it at the time, just some dog walkers or organizers setting the trail for the Eco Challenge that was taking place on Sunday. As she made her way in, Nicole realized she did not have her headlamp, with it being a clear and very dark night and her being alone, I would of expected her to stop and think if this was a good idea or not. Well, I'm sure she did stop, thought it looked good and since she had ran in here numerous times before it would be no big deal, but I am just paraphrasing. So off she went, with her ipod on and a smile on her face (once again writer's liberty, I really do not know if she was smiling, I just know I would be because these are some great trails to run). Once she was in the meat and potatoes of the trails, she started to realize she could not really see where she was going, so out came the iphone with the handy dandy flashlight app. As she carried on she decided to take a new trail, not sure why, but seriously lets run in the dark on a trail you are not familiar with, smart idea, no? Once again, new trail, using a Iphone to light her way, she was starting to get a little bit nervous as the standard thoughts start to creep into your mind. Can we say female night runner, pitch black night , unfamiliar trail, two cars in the parking lot with occupants unaccounted for (its funny how the brain starts thinking about this stuff later). Hmmm, what if the cars don't belong to dog walkers, what if......, what if........!
At this point Nicole is starting to get even more nervous, she pulls her ear buds out of her ears, because she thought she heard a dog, or maybe.........., something was rustling in the darkness probably a deer as they frequent the forest, but then again did someone not say they saw a cougar here once or twice.
Whitetail Deer - Very common sight in Assiniboine Park
This bad boy was rumoured to be stationed within the park and surrounding areas for years, I still tend not to believe it but I guess you never know.
Then Nicole heard it again, some noises that sounded like people talking or singing, some one is playing music in the background...... wait a minute, oops that was the music off her ipod (sorry honey, you told me that and I had to add it, it is so you). So Nicole came to a junction and not being completely sure where she was, she decided to turn to the left and head hopefully towards Grant Avenue (remember this blog post about turning to the left Birthday Run, I figured left would be Grant and right would be Waverley, guess not). So as she followed the trail along she was getting more and more nervous, so she decided to text Gail for some advise (yes text Gail and not the husband, gee I feel really loved right now). So with this text, Nicole then discovered her flashlight app on the Iphone turns off, so she was back in the dark again. So playing light on, light off with Gail for a little while, Gail convinces Nicole to let her come out that way to pick her up. I know what your thinking with their track records, soon we will have two lost women in the forest in the middle of the night, suddenly I am thinking about the scene from the Blair Witch Project with the kid with the panic stricken face and the flashlight looking into the camera, not a pretty sight.
As Nicole continues to run down the unknown path, texting back and forth with Gail (Public Service Announcement - I sure hope Gail was not driving at the time, as this is very is very unsafe and also illegal, Save A Runner - Do Not Text and Drive) in the dark, no its light, no its dark....... Suddenly she hears traffic noises, no its not her Ipod, definitely traffic, she must be close to Grant. Yes, there it is, as Nicole breaks from the wilds of the forest, where is she, in the middle of the Grant strip, so there she waits for Gail to come pick her up for a ride home. Disaster adverted, all is well, until next time..............
Moral of the story, never let anyone go for a run in the forest or any wooded area, familiar or not, without the correct gear, especially if it is Nicole. We have been married for almost 17 years, I would like to keep her around for at least another 50.