Well, the weather conditions that have been hammering the southwest has made it to the Midwest. Heating up outside which is a bit of an issue. If there was one notable impact on the running front from the 6 weeks with my mother it was in my body’s thermostat. I need ease into hot runs or my thermostat will easily “panic”, immediately dumping fluids to prevent another heat stroke incident (link here). Took a while to retrain the thermostat after that and then wrecked it all again with the heat exhaustion episode (link here) years later. Now I have to be even more careful in high temps and the conditioning takes even longer.
Forced to jump started in the heat, opted to go with shorter more frequent runs starting before the temps reached critical level. All was going well until yesterday when I was sabotaged. It had stormed overnight and the humidity caused fog conditions in Jubilee State Park (7:45am). Started sweating the minute I stepped out of the truck. Checked watch, temps still in the low 80s so set out at a controlled pace. Besides the damn Horsefly sorties over my head, all was good until about mile 4 when things went loony. Out from the woods comes a rabbit (note, this one was normal sized). It hops in front of me, points into the woods and yells “Look, a talking Squirrel!”. So I look ‘cuz, well, who doesn’t want to see a talking Squirrel. Unbeknownst to me, a Raccoon comes riding up on a skateboard and throws a stick down in front of me. Foot lands on stick, ankle goes “marbles” then “frosted flakes” followed by a wave of pain. Disgust came over me knowing exactly what happened and then turning to see the Raccoon laughing so hard it falls off the skateboard which then manages to jump the curb and hit the Rabbit in the chest – serves them right!
Hit the jump – I promise I’ll eventually get to the meat of the post ha!
… bu not just yet…. Runners (especially trail runners) treat their ankles with upmost care. Depending on the severity, you can find yourself anywhere from a 1 week to 6 month recovery. Over the years, I’ve developed my own pain barometer (that stupid smiley face scale can suck it).
- Snapper fireworks – just like the lame firework pop, not much worry, likely just released some trapped air in the joint – continue running
- Marbles smacking together – eh, that one’s gonna sting for a while, continue running and it should push out the swelling
- Frosted Flakes cereal crunch – okay, that isn’t good. it’s gonna need ice, probably a couple of days rest and hopefully some sympathy from the wife. Damage is done, might as well run it off, but don’t stop until you reach your car or you’ll be crawling the rest of the way.
- Sledgehammer – a hard thud on outside of ankle that at first feels like nothing and then you find yourself reliving the end of Old Yeller. The twist was so bad you plowed your ankle into the ground. Likely not able to bear weight, the hobble of shame is on tap and weeks of wobble board exercises on the menu.
- The whap of a retracting sun shade. Luckily NEVER experienced this and makes me shudder when I think of it. This would be the dreaded Achilles rip. Find the closest Deer, have it grab a wet Possum in its hoof and smack you across the face as hard as it can. If that doesn’t knock you out, at least the shock of experiencing the sting of a Possum slap will dampen the excruciating pain in the ankle. Note, this is one of the very few times, Linda is allowed to hit me over the head with a frying pan.
WARNING: the Life Intrigued lawyers insist I mention this scale is not approved or endorsed by the medical profession. They do, however, conceded it IS better than the stupid smiley face scale.
Applied the assessment, no time to stop and give those pesky critters a talking too. Ran the remaining mile or so back to the truck, noted the baseball size swelling and headed home totally pissed off. In light of all this craziness, decided it was time to finally feature this bird (see, told you I would get to it).
Yep, the Common Loon. This particular specimen comes to you from Kentucky Lake. We were on our way to Dauphin Island back in April of 2021, when we decided to stopover at the Land Between the Lakes National Recreational Area. There is a dam there along with large bodies of water making for good birding opportunities. I also like to watch the people bow fishing there – never tried it, but looks like a lot of fun.. or incredibly frustrating. Beyond the 30+ Great Blue Herons hanging out on the rocks there wasn’t much to shoot. Took the really nice bike path they have there and found a nice section of backwater I wasn’t familiar with. Not much there either, so headed to an area we found on our last visit.
There is a somewhat hidden road that takes you to a picnic area right on the lake. The road starts out paved, but then quickly turns to gravel/dirt as you make your way through the trees. We keep our fingers crossed no one decides to come out at the same time or we’ll be holding a tight line to keep from going over the nasty shoulder drop off. Lucked out again, and made it without issue. As soon as we came to a stop, I noticed this Loon come to the surface with a prized catch.
It took forever for that Loon to get that Fish under control. It kept slapping it on the water, letting it go just slightly and then grabbing it back up again trying to get it situated between its bill. Slap on water, release, grab, wiggle it a bit and then repeat. I wish I could relay how the actual consumption went, but a juvenile Eagle went flying by and I took the time to get a few shots of it. Turned back probably 5 seconds later and no more Fish! That was a bummer.
Took a few more shots and was getting ready to head back to the RV when it starting looking around – almost agitated. Left, right, and then up. All of sudden it starting rocking way back in the water – I swear that Fish was trying to get out.
I might have missed the Loon downing its dinner, but maybe I could get a Fish cannon. Slowly it rocked back some more and then started rising out of the water.
The wings came out, the neck extended straight up….
… and in that Loony shrieking clown call screams out “I’m the king of the world”.
Okay, I did not expect that at all. I know, I know, you wanted to see that Fish come flying out didn’t you ha! A talking rabbit, a talking Loon and then a projectile Fish vomit in the same post – now that’s just plain crazy.
Update: Just a quick note. I was able to get the swelling down in my ankle by this morning. Was feeling pretty good about it until this afternoon I walking down the two steps to our garage and landed wrong on it – full Sledgehammer – whatever tendons had survived the devious Raccoon are officially toast. I swear I heard a Chipmunk chuckle. SO PISSED #@$!%!#$%!#$%!#%@#$!!!
Stay cool everyone.