Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Mosquito March

Well....I thought I'd go ahead and get another long run in this week, even though I just did one four days earlier, on Wednesday.  I just couldn't see how I was going to fit it in any other way, since every morning this coming week is taken up with play rehearsals.

So out of bed, running clothes on, a $10 bill folded and tucked away in that cute little zippered pocket on my running top, I headed out the door.  I thought I'd run over to the McDonald's on FM-518 about 6.5 miles away.  I'm really into their cappucino and their fruit & yogurt parfait, and this will make for a nice "destination" run. 

It was very pleasant outside this morning...a slight low mist hanging over the fields, a certain dampness in the air that we've not felt here in a long time.  My circuit through the neighborhood complete, I then headed out through the gate and onto the sidewalk running alongside the main roads,  past that nice pond I've referred to in previous blog posts, the herons still working the water's edges, a handsome Muscovy duck watching over her half-grown ducklings still grey with their downy baby feathers. 

When I was about a mile away from that "destination" McDonald's, I could almost taste the richness of their cappucino, feel the frothy milk on my tongue.  The thought of the yogurt and fresh fruit parfait was making my stomach rumble.

The cold air inside the store gave me a chill, as I briefly ducked inside the restroom to use the toilet and to rinse the sweat off my face.  I stepped up to the counter to place my order and the friendly woman at the cash register asked, "Have you been running?  Good for you!  You're making me feel guilty.  I should be out there too!"  Come to think of it, she looked like she could be a runner.  She was about my age - and about my size - and said that like she meant it.

I sat down inside to eat my parfait and, when finished, locked that little cap on the lid of my cappucino into the open position and headed out the door and towards home.  I'm getting pretty good at locomotiing while holding a to-go coffee and, after about 1/4 mile walking and sipping, I began to run again. 

As I got out of the "strip mall development" area and back into more rural lands, I began to notice that the mosquitos were starting to swarm and actually make a landing on various parts of my body.  Let me preface the rest of the story by saying that, because of the very dry spring and summer we've had here in South Texas, the mosquitos have been dormant.  But we had a good rain here two weeks ago, and all those mosquito larvae that had lain dormant for all these months hatched - all at one time - and are now after blood!  It's the worst mosquito infestation we've had in years, because they hatched all at one time.

I was running at a fairly slow pace, mostly to enjoy the coffee and keep it from sloshing out of the sip hole.  But I clearly had a large mosquito target on my back and was going slow enough for the mosquitos to land and start biting.  By instinct, I flailed my arms to dislodge the mosquitos, forgetting that the hand at the end of one of those arms was holding the coffee, and liquid flew out the hole, into the air, and onto my hand. 

I picked up the pace a bit, until I was moving fast enough that the mosquitos couldn't land on me.  They managed to keep up with me, though, and whenever I looked down, I could see a cloud of them swarming around my lower torso and legs.  If I slowed just one tiny bit, they were able to land on my legs and arms and start snacking.  Ughh!!

My legs were starting to "flag," reminding me that I had just done a long run four days earlier.  "Why are you doing this to us?" They were hollering at me, trying to get my attention.  It didn't matter.  I wasn't listening.  I was in self-preservation mode, legs be damned!  Just 3 more miles of this torture, and I'll be home!

It truly was torture!  What a predictament I found myself in!  My legs were really balking at this pace, especially after 8 or 9 miles yet, if I slowed down, the cloud of mosquitos surrounding my body would immediately alight. 

Finally!  My house came into view!  When I got up to the front door, I did one last little dance - flailing arms and legs to disrupt and remove any lingering mosquitos - and then dashed quickly in the door, into the safety of the house.  Whew! 

When I logged my distance and pace into my Runner's World online running log, I was astonished at the pace for such a long distance.  As far as it being one of those LSD (long slow distance) runs...it was a long distance, just not a slow distance, thanks to those mosquitos.

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