You wouldn't think that running in suburban South Florida would mean coming across much fauna, but you'd be wrong. I see many creatures on my running routes -- granted, most are smooshed -- but I especially see a lot of lizards. Lizards are all over the place here in SoFlo and they vary from the small ones that are barely the size of a large bug to the large iguanas that can sometimes be seen sunning themselves on sidewalks or golf greens. Most are about the size of a human finger and they tend to kamikazee their way across the sidewalk when I'm running.
And I'm ashamed to admit that a few have been casualties of my Brooks. But mostly, I can dodge them despite their propensity to dart out in front of my oncoming shoes at lightning speeds. But, lizards are not the focus of this post; no, another Florida creature also litters the sidewalks of South Florida, but they certainly don't move quickly -- snails.
Snails aren't out in the midday -- too hot for snail sunning -- instead, snails are a night creature and an after-the-rain creature. Unlike lizards, whose deaths at my feet have maybe totaled 2, snails have frequently been squished by my shoes, and the number of snail fatalities that are my fault are countless. But, in my defense, it's easy to see how: They are slow, it's dark, and they look like rocks. But when I hear that unmistakable "scrunch" under my shoes I know I have taken another snail life; thus, I am honest-to-god careful of stepping on snails. Especially on a evening like tonight.
We had heavy rain for several hours, and when I went out for my evening's 3 miler (29:25), it was sprinkling and it was dusky: Prime snail hours. They were all over the place -- large and small -- leaving their snail trail across the wet cement. It was like running a very intricate gauntlet and I found myself starring down at my feet the entire time trying to avoid crushing the small animals. The effort, I am proud to say, paid off, and I can boast that not one snail died, under my feet, tonight.
That's not always a claim I can make.