Saturday, May 18, 2013

Snakes on a Plain

Running a little better this week.  More consistent anyway.  Now that I have a watch again, it's easier to tell if I'm doing well or not.  I'm doing OK, but not necessarily showing improvement.  I guess when you're already pretty good, you should be happy to stay that way.  But I didn't get this way by not improving.  It's my nature to try and get better.

I'd hardly ever seen snakes at Shoreline Park before the last couple of weeks, but now I see one almost every day.  They're usually a gopher snake, and if not that, a garter snake.  Either way, non-venomous, so I'm not worried (OK, the garter snake is technically venomous, but non-threatening to humans).  I generally find them sitting in the middle of the trail, trying to warm up in the sun, and they slither away as I approach.  When I'm lucky, they stay put for a second, and I crouch a couple paces away to get a good look at them.  At that point, they'll generally wait a couple beats, then slide into the grass (on one occasion, it hissed first).  And lemme tell ya, the phrase "snake in the grass" is dead-on.  One they're in the tall grass, they're invisible.

The other day, at work, someone mentioned on an internal mailing list that they saw a six-foot snake on the trail.  Wow!  All the ones I've seen have generally been 60-100 cm long (2-3 feet).  He also said it was either dead or dying; not moving, and birds were circling.  Kinda wish I'd ridden my bike over there after work just to check it out.

I keep thinking of trying to catch one.  I probably won't.

Tried swimming for the first time in over a year on Friday.  One thing I forgot is how easy it is at first, and how hard it gets as you go.  At work, we have a couple of "endless" pools, the swimming equivalent of a treadmill; it's about the size of a hot tub and you can set a constant current at whatever speed you like.  I like that you never have to turn and it forces you to hold a steady pace, but the major downside is that there's no good way to keep track of how long you've been going or how far you've gone.  There's a clock off to the side, but you have to stop to look at it.  I might try wearing a watch (you can swim with the one I have) and see if it's possible to look at it on the fly.  I kinda doubt it.

Looking forward to tomorrow's race in a big way, for some reason.  I have high expectations.  Will potentially be my first time winning a race in over two months.