Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ducks on the run

This morning was my tempo workout.  Today I was doing two sets of three miles, with a two mile warm-up.  I ran from my office on West Broadway, near the USS Midway, along North Harbor Drive, past the airport and to Spanish Landing Park.  I then turned around and ran back the same way a bit and then turned into Harbor Island Drive, which provides a nice scenic loop before returning to North Harbor Drive.  I run this route at least once a week.

I can't say I was feeling it today.  I was trying to get past 6:20 pace and just couldn't do it.  (I think I need to hit the track and do shorter intervals.)  Along the route I passed a number of homeless people.  I pass the same people all the time and now recognize them.  There is the man who does a crossword puzzle on a bench, another who sleeps under his road bike next to a bench and the man with a bike carrying an amazing amount of stuff.

Sometimes I reflect on my position in life and how lucky I really am as I run past.  I wonder how they got to be homeless and what's life like for them.  I then keep running.

On North Harbor Drive, I noticed a woman on the phone, outside her car, on the other side of the street. She was dressed in running clothes and I was wondering why she was on the phone.  I ran past and then the road ends in a cul-de-sac and I looped back around.

As I came back, the woman had begun her run in front of me.  Near her car I noticed a male mallard duck, they are the ones with the green head and yellow beak, in the street.  It was next to something tannish in the road.  I wondered what it was doing.  As I got closer, I realized it was a female, who was not moving and most likely dead.  Presumably this was the male duck's mate.

I ran past and then my first tempo was up.  I stopped and counted to 120.  While I was counting, I watched the male duck.  It would occasionally gently peck the female, as if to say, "Get up, we need to go."  The female never moved.  A raven then flew down next to the pair.  The male would move towards the raven to shoo it away.  The raven would hop a step or two and let out a cry.  It would then move back towards the female.

I watched this all in agony and imagined the woman on the phone called Sea World to see if they could come out and do anything for the female. I felt the pain of the male, unable to do anything to help its mate and wondered how long it would stay by her side.

On the way back, two homeless men greeted another.  Exactly as I passed between them, one said to the other, "See you later Johnny."

John F.
San Elijo Hills Running Club


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