The sun was already going down when I headed out. My legs were creaking along like the Tin Man without his oil can. I walked for a quarter mile before I decided to try to 'force' my legs to loosen up by breaking into a jog. It was the most awkward looking jog anybody ever saw. My legs wouldn't move and I looked like I was dragging them along with me as I motored down the road. After a bit of that I stopped and tried to shake out my muscles. That was just painful. Nothing shook out except pain.
It was pretty obvious at this point that my run tonight was going to be a difficult one more focused on not injuring anything than much else. I had actually been thinking about trying to do a little fartlek workout since I was so short on sunshine, but once the reality of my uber stiff muscles became undeniable I knew that was out. Maybe next time?
The run was unremarkable. I did maybe 2 miles and it was darker when I headed down the final stretch for home than it had been on Tuesday. I wouldn't have had time for a longer run even if I'd wanted it.
As I tried to speed up my strides on the final stretch to my imaginary finish line, passing down the long dark stretch of 2-lane road shaded on both sides by enormous trees, something ran out into the road ahead of me. This was the exact stretch of road where all my neighbors keep seeing the bobcats. Believe me, that was on my mind as I looked ahead and saw the big, furry shape looking at me from the center of the road. I strained my eyes to try to make out what it was. Hmm, if it's a bobcat it isn't a full-grown one. Too big to be a housecat or a skunk. Maybe a coyote? Young bobcat? Big raccoon?
I kept running, but I suddenly felt more motivated than before to pick up the pace. I was wheezing as I 'sprinted' past where the mystery animal crossed the road, but instead of dropping into a pace and trying to control my breathing I found myself looking behind me and speeding up. A bobcat will circle around and come up behind you if it wants to jump on you. Or at least I think they will. I'm no expert. But in my imagination that's exactly what it was doing. I was pathetic and gimpy, but at this point I was moving the fastest that I had all night long.
I went up over the 'hill' where I had petered out so pathetically on Tuesday and kept going. I was going to puke at any moment if I continued my bobcat fartleking so, having cleared the dark section of tree-shaded road and reached the populated neighborhood section again, I stopped and walked, wheezing and pouring sweat, still looking behind me. But now I was right on top of the skunk family I had seen the previous run, so I was looking backwards for bobcats and looking forward again for skunks. I was looking like a sweaty, wheezy, paranoid drug addled lunatic. I'm sure my neighbors were thrilled to see this site coming towards their houses.
As I turned and speed-walked up my own street I passed an elderly neighbor man. He looked at me and the sweat pouring off of my body and said "do a lap for me, OK?" I told him I'd turn around and go do that very thing in a second. Then I went home and collapsed into the shower. Maybe I'll do his lap on Saturday.