I also considered naming this post, “The Big Gulp”, or “Bugs in Your Mouth”, but decided to go with the cause instead of the result for a title. Southern California has very few bugs, and most places I run are very safe, even the beach is fine. However, I have a lake very near to my house, with a very nice running path and I’ve been running there much more often in the evenings this spring. The combination of the spring weather and later run times provided me with a rude reminder… keep your mouth closed or pointed downward when running at dusk near fresh water! All it took was one really big swarm and I have not forgotten this lesson again.
I’ve also managed to run close to 20 miles in the DC area this spring. Virginia’s bug population put’s San Diego to shame. I’m surprise everyone running within an hour of the sunset does not have a bug screen over their head. I knew running by the Potomac that I would have to watch out for bugs and took the appropriate evasive measures, but I didn’t think about it as much when I got further away from the river. What I did not think about is that Washington DC has no shortage of water features and reflecting ponds in the Mall area. You aren’t safe anywhere from a sudden swarm of small insects. I ran directly into a very large swarm about 2 blocks from the Capitol and got my second mouthful of bugs in one season!
I grew up in the Midwest so this is not the first bug I’ve caught running (or riding my bike for that matter). In Iowa, you don’t even have to be next to a river, lake, or obvious water feature, the bugs are everywhere. If you’ve ever driven down a road in Iowa at night you know this! The last time we were in Iowa we went to a party one evening on the edge of town. Jenny and I thought it would be cool to walk into the cornfield to “check it out”. We were covered in bug spray, a common Iowa evening cologne… but as soon as we got within 2 feet of the edge of the field we realized we would not be safe in there. The buzz sounded more like a small airplane than bugs. We’re heading back for a visit next week, and I know I’ll be running; I have a Half Marathon coming up in a couple of months. I will try to run in the morning to avoid yet another protein filled breath of air.