Runners are crazy and so are the training apps we use. Nike Run Club, my app, seems particularly nuts. Take the six and a half mile “recovery” run (recovery, really?), or the 15 mile long run. It’s hard to tell which is crazier: the app, or the runner, me, blindly obliging the app’s sadistic inclinations. Then again, protracted running sessions give the mind plenty of time to wander. Think about the 4th of July fireworks’ resemblance to a screen saver or ponder the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Then there are random trains of thought. Here’s a sampling from the aforementioned outing.
- Running down big dry creek trail, there’s a residence surrounded by half a dozen large gargoyles. These mythical beasts are supposed to ward-off evil by confronting it. Only, these gargoyles are facing the house. Are these folks trying to trap evil spirits at their home? Surely someone who’s handsomely invested in this type of sculpture understands the way they work?
- You know summer has arrived when there’s a real possibility your run involves swallowing a mosquito -or two. And they always seem to aim straight for the back of your throat! I suppose a little extra protein never hurt no one. Ironically, these “encounters” seem to take place near bridges where swallows nest —which, given the birds’ diet, should reduce the likelihood of an insect-trachea encounter (you’d think, right?).
- Then there’s the mental math. Having added the 3.5 miles to the water fountain at the dog park to the 2.36 miles to the porta potty south of 120th and the roughly 1.75 miles to get to Sheridan, I get to retrace my steps -1/2 completed! After that, fractions keeps me going. My son Pablos’ friend Alex’s house -2/3. The spot where the city of Westminster seems to be extracting methane from underground -3/4. The bridge over the big dry creek -4/5. The bridge over bull canal -5/6. For the final 2.5 miles, the fractions accelerate exponentially. The next mile covers 6/7, 7/8, 8/9. Suddenly, it starts to feel like a real-life Zeno’s paradox. Will I ever get there?