Sunday, May 10, 2009


I anticipated the snakes. It's May and the spring freshlet is in full effect. I anticipated the snakes, but I did not see them, at least not at first. They were hiding. They knew I was coming. They were going to surprise me. Red Foxes hate snakes.*

Today I ran at Riley's Lock which has become one of my signature training spots. In early spring this place is teeming with song birds, vultures, foxes (wink!), giant painted turtles (today I saw one the size of a Buick!) and snakes. Yes, snakes. Copperheads, black snakes and water snakes. I once saw 7 snakes on a run here. Another time I hurdled 3 within 2 miles while running in the rain. Today, I didn't seen a single snake until a mile to go. A watersnake! It slithered under my feet as I ran by. You almost got me! Red Fox 1, Snake 0! I finished the day with 13 miles and felt swell. I soaked my legs in Seneca Creek and then wondered over to the lock to look for more snakes. I spotted a big watersnake sunning itself on the rocks below. No one else saw it. I get this real weird "high" when I see snakes and no one else does. People walked back and forth doing there thing and never even saw it. I giggle...evil like. I see the snake and you don't. Then I spied a big mother black snake coiled real evil-like in an old rusty water pipe. The snake looked at least as big as the one in "Anaconda" (the movie). A father and his two kids were walking and fishing just under the pipe. I smiled.

GRCers - I regret to inform you that the Scooby Doo banner is gone. Yes, it is true. It has been replaced by a floral banner. It is sad. For those who don't know, there WAS a Scooby Doo sign or banner of some sort on someone's mailbox on River Rd. It was kind of odd. Everyone noticed it because there isn't much else to pay attention to out there. We had a lot of found memories of that sign...(sniff).

Okay, let's get serious for a second. Today is Mother's Day and I wouldn't be wasting my time on this blog if it weren't for my mother. My mom, more than anyone, got me into running. When I was a youngster, my mom would wake up early and put in the miles in the pre-dawn darkness while my sister and I slept. She'd return, make us breakfast and lunch and shoo us off to school before she left for work. In the evening my mom would make us wonderful meals - healthy, home cooked and, most importantly, excellent. She did this everyday. My mom ran 10 marathons before retiring. Her PR was 3:15:01 and she ran that as a master. As a pre-teen (or is it Tween?) I was dragged to road race after road race so track was an obvious sport of choice when entering high school. I could write all day about my mom. She is really great. Happy Mother's Day to you and to any other mom out there reading.

* I don't really hate snakes. I respect and appreciate all wildlife. I am not really even afraid of snakes, but they do startle me. I hate being startled by snakes and it seems as if I am startled by them all the time. Once as an overall-clad youngster I was running through the woods after a coyote (true story minus the overall pants part). I came upon a giant tree which I anticipated to climb in order to spy the aforementioned canid. As I made my way towards the tree I noticed the ground slithering. Snake! Two snakes! Three snakes! There were snakes everywhere. I had walked into a litter of garter snakes. There were baby snakes dangling out of holes and baby snakes slithering between my feet. I shivered and then cautiously retreated. The other "snake instance" took place while I worked for National Geographic about 7 years ago. I was in the middle of the desert somewhere in Arizona in the middle of the night with a crazy herpetologist trying to track down Mojave rattlesnakes in order to get anti-venom. Mojaves are the deadliest snakes in North America. There wasn't a car seat for me to sit on, so I actually had to sit in the back seat atop a metal bucket that contained the snakes. I saw so many snakes during my two week adventure that I had a nightmare that there was snake under my hotel room pillow. I awoke, checked under my pillow and swear I saw a snake. One thing led to another and I knocked my head and got a concussion. Long story short (too late, you say) - that is why I am leery of the snake!


Peter said...

Now I know why its called "tall tales of J.A. Klim"

Also, Anaconda was an awesome movie

KLIM said...

The most incredible parts of my story ARE true

RM said...

Anaconda was a sweet movie. Anaconda 2: Hunt for the Blood Orchid, not as sweet.

Mostly I see small, dead snakes while riding. Apparently they must try to cross roads, like chickens.

I have seen two enormous snakes before while running. One was at Lake Artemesia in College Park. It was huge and scary. Then one time at Centennial Lake in Columbia the day before the Columbia Triathlon. I took it as a sign of good luck, but alas, I had none the next day.

KLIM said...

I once hurtled a giant black snake in Rock Creek while it was pouring outside (I am trying to OUT-snake you).

"Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?"

Who said it?

RM said...

Henry Jones, Jr.!