Yesterday’s soggy weather presented me with the opportunity to do one of my favorite things. No, not kayak, but run! Normally, running is one of my least favorite activities, something I glumly tackle as I know the pay-off is worth it. However, when it is 90+ degrees and the skies open up, I gladly head to the trails to slog through the mud. If I were a race horse, I’d be a mudder.
I headed out to the park for an hour. The trails I run are fairly steep, rocky, and amazingly secluded considering their location in the fifth largest city in the US. Due to the inclement weather, I was one of the only souls on the trails. It takes me a few miles to warm up, and I was just hitting my stride when I spied a few fellow joggers, non-descript twenty-something young men in basketball shorts and sleeveless T’s. They had that youthful bouncy tippy-toe run and seemed fairly athletic.
Now to say I have a bit of a competitive streak is an understatement. I can be so competitive, I don’t even know that I am competing. I saw those young men, and I decided I needed to beat them. So, I quickened my pace, but alas our paths diverged as I headed uphill on a different path and they remained on the flat.
I resumed my pace and zoned out for another mile or so when I saw a flash of blue in the woods ahead just disappearing around a corner. The joggers, let’s name them John and Kyle, had cheated and surpassed me by taking an easier route up into the woods. Now I really needed to beat them.
My pace quickened again. I could feel my heartbeat in my ear drums. As I rounded each corner I would see another flash of John’s blue shirt and Kyle’s green mesh shorts, still ahead, but getting closer and closer. I felt the twinge of a cramp starting in my side, but I pushed on. I knew there was a downhill coming. My long legs make me untouchable on a downhill…. I could go streaking by them.
The rain was muffling my approach. Finally, I was so close I could have reached out and tapped Kyle on the back. I was just about to announce my presence and say ’on your right’, when Kyle sensed me turned and….screamed. Like a girl.
Poor Kyle! I had terrified him! So, I had to make things right so I apologized by saying
“I AM A BEAR”
What? Oh yes, I announced that I was a bear and kept hurtling, rain soaked and muddy, straight past them and downhill as they stood in silence on the side of the trail staring blankly at the crazy woman that had just blown past them.
I think I meant to say “I am sorry to scare you. I am not a bear”. Or possibly, “Don’t worry, I’m not a bear”. However, in my anaerobically induced mental state, I professed that I was indeed a bear. A giant, smelly bear.
So, there are redheaded she-bears prowling the woods in Philadelphia in search of unsuspecting joggers. Everyone watch out!