Somewhere out on a run, absent-mindedly flowing through the miles, we see or hear something that serves as a reminder (wanted or otherwise) of a world we have temporarily escaped.
The other day, I passed a broken iPhone in the road. Only later did the thought even cross my mind to empathize with whomever was unlucky enough to have lost such an item, but for the rest of the run, my only thought was how out of place the device seemed to be.
Cruising down the street freely, I wasn't noticing much beyond my own rhythmic breathing and striding, but when something did catch my attention, it was a child on a bicycle or a lady walking her dog. The smashed iPhone seemed somewhat anachronistic.
Perhaps I allowed myself to get pulled into a nostalgic feeling, but I think there was more to it than that. I think that on those few runs where everything "clicks," we get caught up in the experience, and seeing the coolest new techno-wonder invade such a run might in some way pull us back to the realities that we have, if only for a brief time, sidestepped.
Along similar lines, perhaps it was only appropriate that it was broken as I passed, at least in a philosophical sense. Yes, I'm aware that a mint-condition iPhone wouldn't last in the middle of a road for long; yes, I realize how much of a headache this inevitably was for the owner of the phone; and yes, I realize the obvious irony (hypocrisy...?) of such commentary being typed on a computer to be posted to the interwebs...