When I started running track in seventh grade, we all had to learn how to race the hurdles. As you can guess, I was horrible at them. I'm too short for hurdles and my legs are like mere stubs at the end of what's basically a stubby body -- not meant to leap over anything. I would watch as the taller girls gracefully glided over the appropriately placed fences admiring them as their feet cleared the tops every time. After my first unfortunate attempt (where my foot caught on the very first obstacle, thus hurdling me into the other runners), the coach excused me from ever competing in what was obviously not my race.
But at least the hurdles in track were stationary; here in South Florida, I have to dodge and dart around moving objects. Namely, lizards.
Here in Florida we have a plethora of lizards and lizard types. To begin with, there is a little known creature native to these parts known as the alligator (perhaps you've heard of them? occasionally they get a little newsworthy media attention). Now, if you're running and you come across one of these fuckers, it'll probably be too late anyway and you'll have lost far more than you're new pair of Nike Shox. I've never personally seen an alligator while running, but if you're the sort who likes to run in a swamp, at night, without company, you are likely to get your legs swallowed up. So if you come for a visit, stick to the suburban sidewalks.
Aside from the obvious alligator to keep an eye out for, there are millions of small lizards scampering about. Some get as large as a foot long, but most are less than three inches in length and have a suicidal tendency to dart out in front of you as you come lumbering down the path. If you have cat-like reflexes, you can side-step them in a move that you might have learned doing the foxtrot in seventh grade gym, but if you're not quick-like-a-cat, you'll inevitably squish one.
As I have.
Yes, I feel terribly guilty about it. The little bugger just jumped right into the anticipated path of my shoe, and before I knew it, he was part of my tread. When I returned from that run, I was nervously checking the sky for bolts of karmic lightening that might strike me, but my husband-to-be (couldn't think of how to get that little thing over "fiancee") assured me that murdering one lizard with my running shoe was nothing compared to the cows that have been sacrificed in the name of my blood thirsty zeal over a medium rare ribeye. He always knows how to calm me.
Today when I was running, I narrowly missed a teeny lizard (no bigger than some of the cockroaches roaming through our house) and I believe I clipped his tail. This made me anxious for the rest of my run, and because it was also starting to rain, I decided to turn back earlier than I had originally planned. If this running regimen fails, I'll blame the lizards. They're out to sabotage me, I know it. There's one watching me right now through the window in my office. He must be a scout.