Friday, May 30, 2008
New personal bests (and an open letter to trail spiders)
This past weekend's 11 mile trail run was my longest in some years in distance, and my longest duration run ever (1 hour 50 minutes running time, not including walk breaks). There were some neat changes of scenery, from oaks to pines, to open areas with fewer tress, to a (controlled?) burned area. On the way back, I scared a black racer next to the trail, which slid rapidly away, and to my astonishment, it crawled right over another black racer! If I interrupted a reptilian romantic moment, I apologize.
If that was an unusual sight, there were some weird parts to the run, such as a 15' x 10' paved area seemingly in the middle of nowhere, with the trail running right over it. Bizarre. I also ran past a number of white vertical pipes sticking out of the ground, again seemingly far from anything other than a dirt road.
The worst part was the bugs. The biting fly season season is really picking up. Two weeks ago, 2 deerflies. On this date, 18 flies dispatched, a new record. Technically, I think these are actually yellow flies, not deerflies, based on their focus on my legs more than my head. They were on me pretty quickly when I took walk breaks, which discouraged me from taking too many photos, and encouraged me to get running again quickly. Fortunately, they were not up to full speed, and I was able to outrun them without much difficulty. However, as I recall from previous years, as the season progresses, it requires a full sprint to elude these flies.
Another less-than-fun aspect was repeatedly getting hit in the face with spiderwebs, which has prompted me to draft the following...
An open letter to trail spiders
Ok, arachnids. You have my attention. Last weekend, running on the Cross Florida Greenway, I ran through web after web, destroying your beautiful work, quite by accident. You see, I often cannot see your webs on these trails at running speed, and even if I could, avoiding them could be a real challenge. Some of you went so far as to rebuild your webs after my first pass, unaware that I was running an out-and-back course that day. That's a lot of work, without much to show for it, if I may say so.
I would like to propose something mutually beneficial. If you could simply build most of your webs off the trail - there are plenty of good locations between trees there - I would not run through them. This would save us both a good bit of grief. In return, I would leave for you any and all deerfly/yellow fly carcasses you may find along the trail.
Thank you for your consideration!