I like to run. I've learned that it really isn't about where you're going, it's about the getting there - the how, the why, the who with. This blog is just a little repository for my thoughts along the way; the setbacks, the lessons learned, and the occasional triumph.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gnats! Oh Gno!

Over the weekend, I rediscovered one of the great perils of running on a summer evening: GNATS.

I got back into the city from work a little after 6:00 and realized that might be my only chance to get in my long run. I set out for 18 miles at 6:30. Less than 4 miles in, the sun began to set, and the swarms of gnats were out in force.

You've seen those, right? They're common everywhere I've ever lived. A huge flutter of gnats, 2 or 3 feet across swarming around in a gnat mating frenzy. (I learned those swarms are known as "ghosts".) I don't know why they like dusk more than any other time. It seems as though they also like to congregate in a shaft of setting sunlight, but they really aren't that picky.

They make running a misery.

Saturday night, they kept flying into my eyeballs. I could feel them bouncing off my forehead and face. I imagined them getting stuck in the sweat on my skin.

And then I swallowed one. I inhaled it just past Belmont Harbor, 5.5 miles in. I nearly choked. Not only because it's just gross, but also because it lodged briefly at the top of my wind pipe. I had to pull up to cough and breathe. They weren't done though. 50 yards later it happened again. I sucked in two within moments. Disgusting. There was a water fountain nearby and I walked down to take a long drink, hacking and spitting the whole way.

The fallout lingered. I had a bad, recurring cough for most of the next 5 miles. And it was an hour after sunset before the gnats disappeared. They were still dive-bombing my eyeballs all that time.

I makes me wish I could run with my mouth and eyes squeezed shut the whole way. If only I didn't need to see or breathe when I run...


Paige said...

I know exactly what you're talking about! They are rampant! I wear my sunglasses or glasses and a hat to keep them out of my hair and eyes, then I have to keep my mouth shut whenever I manage to see a swarm of them ahead. They were crawling all over my face last night, though. Gross!! That will be one bonus to the cooler weather, gno more gnats! :)

Chris said...

When I first read your post I was going to comment that you were full of crap...I haven't had any problems with gnats...until yesterday! Apparently I have been avoiding them since I run mostly in the mornings. Well, yesterday I did an evening run on the trails where there was no wind...and those buggers got me good! In my eyes, down my throat, stuck to my sweaty skin. It was a miserable run. Can't wait for cooler fall weather and the demise of the gnats.

GTI said...

Sorry to hear it isn't just me who has encountered and unexpected additive in his daily diet.

I'm going to have to look into and see if there's some reason for waht seems like more gnats than usual.