My typical Monday routine is a 5-6 mile tempo run and even though I had just run the half marathon 2 days before, yesterday I was feeling great and ready to jump right back in. Plus it would be a real shame to let these perfect fall daytime temps go to waste! I planned out what I thought would be a great new 6 mile route with Map My Run, featuring some challenging rolling hills.
I set out at lunch time with every intention of keeping my pace down. This wasn’t a race and I had an hour to kill. What ended up happening was a personal best time of 6 miles in under 47 minutes and I think I have the grasshoppers to thank for that.
Let me explain to you why I will NEVER EVER EVER EVER BE RUNNING THIS ROUTE AGAIN:
Everything started out fine. I was on a familiar stretch of busy road with a nice, wide sidewalk, traveling north and eventually around mile 3 I would hang a left and make my return trip on a parallel road. The hills were going great. I unexpectedly lost the sidewalk at one point and had to run uphill in the grass, which at the time was really annoying, but in hindsight would be the least of my problems.
With around 2 miles left, the route becomes very industrial, running past a recycling plant and a gravel quarry. I prefer to run on asphalt, but it is too dangerous to do that around there with all the big trucks that travel that road. I know from driving it a million times myself that there is a sidewalk on either side so I would be safe. What I didn’t know because I’ve never gotten out of my car around there is that for whatever reason the whole place is completely infested with grasshoppers big and small.
It was seriously like a plague.
I only noticed a few at first, but as I kept moving, they were suddenly jumping around me and colliding with my legs by the hundreds. The small ones were probably about the size of the tip of my pinky finger and the large ones…well let’s just say that I leaped over one that was easily as big as the palm of my hand. And what could I do really? I couldn’t take the road because of the trucks so instead I was reduced to running as fast as I could, near tears, screaming, flailing at the grasshoppers as they would jump up and bounce off my outstretched hands. It was horrible and gross and probably hilarious to anyone who drove by me at the time. I got a little break from them at the entrance to the quarry road so I stopped for a few moments to eat a packet of Hammer Gel and frantically brush at my clothes and hair. I felt like they were all over me. Frankly I’m surprised none of this made an appearance as a nightmare last night.
Although the extra speed was kind of nice. Maybe the Maryland Zoo will have some grasshoppers they can throw my way during my 8K next month. Just for the last mile or so.