I scared a woman running with her dog in Davis this morning, but I really don't think I was in the wrong.
It was about 5:30, still quite dark, and I had just crossed over a bridge over I-80 and was going at a pretty good clip toward 5th Street. I saw the woman and her dog cruising up ahead going in the same direction as I, but I figured she'd hear and see me coming as I got closer.
After all, I was wearing a powerful Petzl headlamp and she could see the light coming from behind her. (I also wear a reflective vest for early-mornnig runs, though she couldn't see that). Also, since it was an 11-miler at sub-marathon pace, I was wearing a hydration vest that sloshes around on my back and makes some noise. Plus, I've got a reasonably heavy foot strike (which I'm trying to change, by the way). No way she couldn't have heard me coming.
Still, as I approached her on her left and said, loudly, "Good morning," she jumped and screamed. The dog seemed unfazed, though.
I quickly looked back and said, "Sorry," but she still looked flustered.
So, the question is: Should I have been sorry. Had I done anything necessitating an apology?
I don't think so.
Often, runners are so zoned out that they are unaware of their surroundings, including other runners heading their way. It really becomes dangerous on the American River bike trail when runners (or cyclists) wear headphones.
This woman wasn't listennig to an iPod or anything. I guess that's just one of the hazards when you run in the dark. Well, at least I got that woman's heart rate going.