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There's a car on our tree!

June 28, 2009 - Erik Brown
I know what you’re thinking. There’s a typo in the headline. It’s not a typo.  
Last Saturday Deanna, our twins Michael and Mark, and I visited the Flowing Springs entrance to the Lower Trail for an 8 mile run at about 5:00 PM. It was sunny when we arrived so Deanna had parked our 1996 white Chrysler Cirrus in the shade on the left as you first enter the parking lot (near the port-a-john for those of you who are familiar with this access point to the trail).  
I would have been tempted to blog about the run itself, because trying to keep up with Deanna and the boys resulted in my best training effort so far in 2009. They were cruising at a comfortable (for them) 8:30 pace while I was chugging along at about 8:40 per mile. So, although I didn’t actually keep up, I only lost sight of them on the curves. But it was the scene back at the parking lot that has me writing this post.
When Deanna and the boys finished, they walked back toward me to give me high fives as I came through a little over a minute later. None of them had noticed what we were all about to discover.
I wasn’t wearing my glasses and there were a couple of large vehicles partially obstructing our view as we headed for the parking lot but I knew something was wrong because all I could see where our car was parked was leaves. About that time Deanna yelled “what the heck?” and we simultaneously realized that a large tree had fallen on our car. The branch that came to rest on the roof was probably five inches in diameter. Another equally imposing branch was jammed into the rear door on the driver’s side. Making matters potentially worse was the fact that the tree on our car had hit a second tree on the way down partially uprooting it. The second tree was hung up in the branches of a third tree. It looked secure there, but anything seemed possible at that point.
This is where the story gets funny – for you at least. It will be funny for the Brown family at some point in the future.
Before I proceed, I should also note that Deanna’s version of this story would probably be different in a few insignificant respects. But hey, it’s my blog and fortunately, she never reads it.
Deanna, God bless her… To almost everyone who knows her, she’s a sweet, cheerful, pleasant little lady. To be fair, that’s how she truly is, most of the time. But watch out when we suffer a financial setback.
At times like this I try to stick to (rational) questions with useful answers, such as “Does our insurance cover this?” Whereas Deanna asks (irrational) questions that simply don’t have answers, like “Why didn’t the tree fall before we got here?” or, when she really gets going, “Why didn’t the tree fall on someone else’s car?” So, while I was on the phone calling our daughter to come get us, Deanna was asking why and getting just a little worked up.
When I hung up the phone, she was tugging on part of the tree in a hopeless attempt to do what, I don’t know. That didn’t seem like a good idea to me, what with the second tree leaning in the same direction the first tree had gone. So, in my usual, caring tone of voice I told her, “Dear, please step away from the car. I’m afraid the other tree is going to fall on you.” I may have also said something about acting irrational because that’s when Deanna said, “Rational? I’ll give you rational! There’s a bleeping car on our tree!” (except, she didn’t say “bleeping”). Michael, Mark, and I just looked at each other. None of us had the guts to tell her it was a tree on the car, not vice-versa.
Although the car was “totaled”, the story has a mostly happy ending. The Lower Trail folks were very kind and very helpful. They had the tree removed the next day. Thanks also to my insurance agent, Paula, at A&A Insurance in Lakemont. Ironically, I had contacted Paula just three weeks ago about reducing my coverage on the car. She suggested I wait until later this summer when my policy renews. Good call Paula! Best of all, no one got hurt. Things can always be worse.
What’s Happening!            
Wednesday, July 1st - Ultrarunner and bestselling author, Dean Karnazes will be interviewed by Joe Shuta on Wednesday, July 1 at 6:00 p.m. The interview can be heard on Joe's sports talk show, Leading Off, on WFBG (1290 AM).

Dean Karnazes was ranked by a TIME magazine poll as one of the "Top 100 Most Influential People in the World." He is a recipient of an ESPN ESPY award for Best Outdoor Athlete in 2006.  In addition, he authored the National Bestseller, Ultra Marathon:Confessions of An All-Night Runner and his latest book, 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days -- and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance!

Dean Karnazes has completed a number of endurance events, mostly running events, but also a swimming event. Most notably, he ran 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley in 120°F temperatures, and a marathon to the South Pole at -40°F. In 2006, he ran 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days, finishing with the New York City Marathon, which he completed in three hours flat.
Saturday, July 4th - The Central PA running community will celebrate Independence Day in style with the 35th edition of the 4th of July races in Altoona. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the Altoona Running Club for organizing this wonderful tradition and shepherding it for so many years through all of the logistical challenges that an event like this entails, and a special thanks to the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA for its many contributions to the races’ on-going success. Yours truly will be working a water stop on Sixth Avenue near the new AASD Junior High School (the first time I haven’t run in this wonderful event in quite a few years). Click here to register online or contact the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA for race entry info.
Saturday, July 18th - The 2nd Sloppy Socks 5K Run will take place on Saturday, July 18th at 8:30am at Legion Park.  This off road 5K will take you through small creeks and mud, over rocks and logs.  Last year’s race was well attended and everyone had a fun time.  Remember to wear old sneakers that can handle the dirt!  Register online at .  Early registration rates end July 8th.
Saturday, September 19th - The Hollidaysburg Haul 5k and Kids Fun Run will be held on Saturday, September 19th at 9:00am.

Brian Sell will run the New York City Marathon this year.

Thanks for reading Against The Wind!

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