5:45 at Umstead park in the dark of the night should be a place to relax and enjoy a nice quiet run with your fellow PAX. This always starts out to be true, but too many other people have the same idea.

Have you ever seen somebody everywhere you go? Burt and Coney have some neighbors who happen to run at 5:45am at Umstead every Thursday as well. Too bad they are female or we would immediately grow the PAX numbers, although F4 could get off to a good start. It is confirmed they are not their wives spying on them, but they are neighbors whom they know on a first name basis.

Enough social talk, lets discuss the workout. It has been a couple weeks since we all ran the Thursday morning run. It was dark, and 26 minutes later at our halfway point where we turnaround, it was transitioning from dark to morning. Yes, it is too dark to run on the single track trails, but not too dark to run on the bridle trails. Key West brought his headlamp out.

As we set off and our legs loosened up, the pace picked up. This was mostly due to Burt as whatever he was listening to would change the way he would run. He says his music of choice is Country, but I swear he was moving as if Michael Jackson was blasting in his ears. With an almost full moon and some fog, Coney and CK had visions of a Thriller re-enactment in the depths of Umstead.

Back to Key West and the headlamp. It was dark, and nice to have light in case a frog jumped in our path, or a rock exceeded the comfortable diameter of 1 inch. As Key West was in the back, he had the advantage of casting the light to his advantage. For the first 1.5 miles, his preferred light shadow was to illuminate Burt so that his shadow was that of the Incredible Hulk as a Bobblehead Doll. No, I can’t make this stuff up.

After making it up cemetary hill and turning around, we had a nice 2 miles of mostly downhill. I don’t know any Country song that would inspire Burt to run as if he were listening to Free Bird.  Keeping up with him was hard. Luckily his gas tank wore down around mile 5 so Coney and CK could keep up without getting a speeding ticket.

The run is a simple 3 miles in, turnaround and 3 miles out. Of course the majority of the run is hills, 354 ft gain and loss throughout the run. Total time was between 50:00 and 52:00, better known as 8:20 to 8:40 / mile.