Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Better than Expected

This morning's dreaded 800 session on County Road went better than expected. By starting a little later, I took advantage of the sunrise for course illumination. These rays of hope also put the nocturnal critters in sleep mode and I was able to run unobstructed down the lonely back road of Eastport for my morning workout.

As a point of clarification, I encounter the "striped one" often in my morning jogs. I generally go to one side of the road and Monsieur Le Pew goes to the other. When traveling at low speeds it is an annoyance (and a reminder just how early in the morning it really is) but nothing more than that. On a few occasions though, the encounters are more than annoying - they are disruptive. To briefly recall: One day Pepe decided to illegally cross the street a few yards ahead of me as I was tearing up said lonely County Road. I downshifted to a crawl to let him complete the crossing when he unaccountably decided to pace me by running in the same direction. Incorporating the traditional skunk weave, he successfully prohibited any approach and pass leaving me walking at the estimated safe distance behind for what seemed like eternity. When I arrived home (10 minutes late) I had to decide if my log was to record a last 15 minute mile or a shortened run.

A second disruptive encounter was a startling one. I was running down a side street near the water when I ran right up behind a skunk foraging in the bushes. I didn't notice him and he didn't notice me until I was right there. That skunk did a jump and turned back-to with the tail ramrod straight in the air faster than a cat leaving a bathtub. My heart stopped as did my feet as I tried to determine in the milliseconds left before disaster if I was in the kill zone. Thankfully, the skunk determined I was at a safe distance and did not take any preemptive action. I ended the run shortly thereafter having expended all my energy in the one adrenaline rush needed to go from "runner" to "statue" in less than 1/2 second.

A third and this time possibly injurious encounter with a skunk was when one ambled out right in front of me while I was doing 440's on Washington Street. Here I was, tearing up the road in my all out sprint when stinky crosses. I came to such a screeching halt, I was sure I pulled something. I think the skunk was deaf because he didn't even flinch or scurry but continued to amble like he didn't almost just get run down by stressed marathoner. I've done speedwork on ice, snow, through rain and wind, dark and cold, but nothing stops a workout faster than tripping over a skunk.

But that's all in the past. Today the only animals I saw were three deer crossing in front of me (about 100 yards). The last and youngest deer stopped in the middle of the road and eyeballed me for about 10 seconds as if to get a better understanding of what I was trying to do. You know, it's hard to concentrate with all this wildlife around. I can deal with cars, potholes, and a stray cat now and again, but this zoo is driving me nuts.

Ok, back to the mundane. I was able to do 4 x 800 today instead of only 3 like last week. However, I had to slow it down on the 4th since I was out of juice: 2:48 / 2:43 / 2:54 / 3:01. Eric came along when I was about to run my last so he went with me. I felt pretty good about the last - since last week I wasn't able to do 4. At lunch, I got in the standard 6 on the River Trail in 45:58. No dead bodies to report today. I tried to eye the lineup of cars to Canada to see if I could pick out a felon in hopes of a floater in few days but to no avail.

As I hit the "publish" button, whoever ordered the rain is having it delivered all at once...


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