Running in new places always puts an extra kick in my legs. There’s nothing not to love about not knowing what’s ahead (triple negative = 3 points). Plus it renders the mileage map in my mind moot, which is a nice summer break from the routine. It also means my mileage is all over the place from one day to the next, but so far the weekly adds up to above my usual 50-mile average.
Longer runs is one welcome side effect of helping with two moves in two weeks. First it was over to the Poconos to help one sister and her family move into their dream home complete with a pool and mountain views. I adore my nieces, but moving furniture in and out of a truck with a 7-year-old sitting in the doorway and a 5-year-old jumping on my back was an experience I hope to never repeat. Their intention is to raise the girls there so fingers crossed this was their last move for at least a decade.
Happy as I am for them, I found myself struggling with a bit of envy while we had coffee by the pool those first foggy mornings. Why, I didn’t know, hence the long runs. I’ve never wanted the kind of wonderful life she’s built with a husband, kids, big house, pets, barbecues and all that. But I do envy how content she is and I really envy all the open hilly running outside her door. These rural roads seriously lack shoulders though. Why is it so hard to lay down a bit of shoulder so cyclists and runners can get around safely?
To recover from a week of swimming and swinging the monkeys around, I headed to New Jersey to help another sister move. Her apartment backs up to some beachy woods with some trails. This morning I headed out for a first exploratory run, hoping one of the trails led to water. There were a lot of dead ends to other housing developments. Finally one opens up to a small field and continues through thin, low trees over sandy gravel. I’m patting myself on the back for getting out so early, feeling lucky to have these lovely quiet trails all to myself, especially on July 4th weekend.
Then a red fox steps onto the trail about a hundred or so feet ahead of me. We didn’t look into each others eyes and find a deep magical connection. Also, our souls didn’t swap bodies. I froze and it froze. My first thought was that I was too tired to outrun it. My second thought was on how ridiculous this first thought was. I couldn’t outrun a fox on my best day.
Running brain was like What’s a survival instinct? Let’s sit down on this nice stump and see what happens.
I read somewhere that wolves or foxes never/rarely attack humans, but these factual tidbits aren’t very helpful when you can’t recall which one. Apparently they don’t usually bite unless they’re rabid, which is also rare. Foxes are skittish, or this one was. It ran off the trail in what looked like the direction I wanted to go, but it was hard to tell. The fox was fast. Me? I cut a good and much-needed run short and have been a grump about it all day. You know when you’re a few miles in and a second wave of energy makes you feel like you could build a house or climb a mountain or basically do anything short of outrunning a fox?
Good luck is my compensation. I just decided it’s good luck when a jerky red fox crosses your path and steals the rest of your run. Tomorrow I might run back there armed with zero additional knowledge on foxes in general, but I’m pretty sure this one isn’t rabid. Or maybe I’ll head over the bridge to the beach. Foxes have very sharp teeth.