It's been a great summer for running. The streak is still alive and I've been able to run at home, at the beach and in Nashville. When I glanced at the iphone one day last week after a run I saw that I'd hit a milestone.
My brother pointed out that at 2,500 miles I could have ran across the country. Of course, at 3 miles per day it would have taken a few years, but I guess that's OK.
During the summer break I have the luxury of running in the "cooler" mornings. Don't get me wrong, it's still very hot, but it feels much better than running in the heat of the day or even in the late afternoons. Some days that's meant getting up at unnatural hours just to get the run in before going to do other important morning things but it's still better than running in the blazing sun.
I've burned through another pair of running shoes this summer. I put more miles on my shoes than most of the running authorities tell you to, but I figure my feet will let me know when the shoes have nothing left to give. I picked up these blue beauties several months ago knowing I'd need to change shoes this summer. I'm sure they were on sale because of how bright and blue they are, but since I have no shame with my tall black socks, why not throw some crazy shoes in there too? Regardless of how silly they look, they feel great. And the socks are keeping the chiggers and mosquitoes off my legs.
The heat is not the only bad part about running in the summer. My shoes almost never dry out completely. The grass stays wet here until afternoon so the first lap in the morning my shoes soak up as much water weight as they can hold. This is a minor irritation though compared to the bugs. Once the chiggers and mosquitoes figure out my running schedule, they lie in wait for my lower legs every morning. The mosquitoes are particularly bad this year and they swarm me as soon as I walk outside each day. I figured out the sock solution for that, so while my neighbors think I have a fashion sickness, my legs stay bite free. The worst part, the absolute worst part is this:
I am not a fan of spiders. I don't have a debilitating form of arachnophobia, I just hate spiders. They creep me out. When they stay in their world and I stay in mine, we get along just fine. More often than not, we clash when they invade my space. They'll crawl under the door or find their way into a corner and we'll have to throw down. But beginning in August I find myself literally running into their space. My running track loops around our acreage and on three sides of the almost rectangle there are trees. When the calendar flips to August 1, the giant webs begin to drop down at angles from the treeline. This puts the business end of the webs about face-high right in the middle of my trail.
In our time here on the plantation I've almost stepped on a snake while running. A couple of times I've startled deer the size of small horses and in their panic to get into the woods they've almost skewered me with the giant hardware on their heads. None of this can compare to running full speed into a huge web when the last thing your eyes focus on before hitting the web is an angry, hairy spider the size of your hand. The web flattens against your face and the supporting strands cause the web to wrap completely around your head. The mad flailing about of arms and legs that comes next is a horrific sight that no one should have to witness.
This usually happens on the first lap, leaving me to feel the angry spider crawling around my bare head, neck or back for the next 20 minutes. This is unnerving to say the least. The webs are so predictable I'm forced to carry a web clearing stick with me for the entire first lap. This, of course, adds to the fashion show I'm already putting on. And even with the stick, pretty much everyday I face-plant into a spider's house and have to do some unplanned cardio for the next several minutes.
So for now I'm waiting on Nike to invent some contraption to wear on your head while running to prevent such spidery encounters. Until then if you drive through the middle of nowhere you'll see me with my socks and neon shoes swinging a stick and doing the spider dance every morning.