Monday, September 16, 2013

The Angry Bee

I don’t know if it was the ending of the summer, or the early-onset darkness, or the near-doubling of my commute time.  Perhaps it was the Florida-like humidity, or the concrete collecting in my legs, or my bewildering inability to find sleep.  Maybe it was a feeling of post-partum after the completion of my Summer of 48, or the embarrassment of yet another speed workout gone wrong, or the realization that my Sub-3 hour goal for Baystate seems more and more out of reach every day.

Whatever the reason, there’s just no denying that, last week, I was one cranky bastard.

In my heart, I know I have absolutely no reason to be angry.  I have had a great year so far – both in and out of running.  My two older children are thriving in college and seem to have things well under control.  My two younger children amaze me every day with how much they’ve grown and we enjoyed a fun (albeit busy) summer together.  I accomplished a huge goal by running up NH’s 48 tallest peaks – in 7 days.  And I’ve been able to race whenever, and wherever, I want.

So, what’s my problem?

My wife reminds me that I get this way every September.  I start acting like a bumble bee in autumn – actively buzzing around, stinging everyone in my path and otherwise raging against the inevitable coming of the cold.  This came as a complete surprise to me. But, after thinking about it for a while, I realized she was right.  Even though I do enjoy the cooler weather for running, the change of season always leaves me a little bit down. I think it's because it feels like the good days are ending and dark days lie ahead.  Summertime sadness, I suppose.

So, I guess it must have been Karma that gave me a little taste of my own medicine during Mile 4 of the Pisgah 23k Trail Race this past weekend.  I was just running along, happy to be out in the woods again and racing in my element, when all of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my calf, followed by another, and another.  Bees!!!  I had run through (over?) a nest and I was now paying the price.  Fortunately it was on a bit of a downhill section I was able to get away fast.  I’d hate to think what would have happened if I was on one of the steeper (and slower) climbs.  Ouch!

Other than the bees, the race itself went pretty well.  I fell twice and puked once, but still finished strong.  I ended up 17th overall and just squeaked under my reach goal of 2 hours.  The weather was near perfect and the 14.3 mile trail was mostly dry & completely runnable.  I also won a huge jug of NH’s finest maple syrup and enjoyed a great post-race spread.  All in all, a great end to my seven-race foray into the WMAC Grand Tree Series.

I’ll definitely be back next year. Maybe even for the 50k!

And to my loving family, I sincerely apologize for the way I tend to bee  :)


  1. I love that what we do can involve puking once, falling twice, and being stung over and over, and still be described as great. Well done, Michael!

  2. Yup. A bad day on the trails beats a good day just about anywhere else!

    1. Yes, I also got stung 3 times and in places I won't even mention. Never heard the man on top of the little hill that there were bees because i was busy listening to music and counting my steps. lol. The price you pay for i-pods when running. My first trail (23K) and bee stings and all I had the best time. My kids meeting me at mile 12 to finish with me made it that much better. Hope to see you next year...

  3. I heard someone yell, but before I knew it I was yelling too. I'm not sure the warning would have helped. Congrats on finishing your first!

  4. Oh good. Yelling. I am glad since I was self conscious about dropping my water bottle and not going back for it. I ended up with 8 stings.