Beauty and the Bees

>> Monday, August 12, 2013

It's presumptuous to call myself the beauty in this situation. Anyway, I felt it was a story worth sharing. Getting up early is going OK. I don't love running in the AM and my body is protesting in various ways, but I'm getting my workouts in the books and finding the extra time in the evenings to be a huge relief.

We were traveling this weekend, so I decided to shift my long run to this morning, giving myself a blissful afternoon to . . . clean the house. I had planned to do between 10 and 12 miles, so when my alarm went off at 6AM, I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed and changed into the outfit I set out the night before. I downed a breakfast bar, a glass of water, and was out the door by 6:10.


Three miles in, I made a quick and rather embarrassing emergency stop at the hospital to use the bathroom. (It's the only "public" restroom in my neighborhood.) But that's another story entirely. I was going to run three 4 mile loops, stopping in-between them to gulp a bit of water I left outside our house. I ducked past security guards and headed up the road another mile where I had two choices as far as routes were concerned.

I took the second option and almost immediately after turning onto that street, I felt a frantic buzzing at the base of my pony tail. Before I could even figure out what was happening (because I was still, for all intents and purposes, sleeping) STING. A sharp . . . oh-my-god-ouch BEE STING with the furious insect still caught and trying to escape my tangled tresses.

I plucked the bee out (he felt fuzzy! a chill ran down my spine) while jumping up and down . . . side to side. I may have gone into a fetal position at one point, crying feebly in consternation. If you know me and my history with bees, you might understand why this seemingly silly situation is so d.r.a.m.a.t.i.c. Before today, I had only been stung once in my life -- and that was three years ago.

How did I evade the rite of passage for so long? I run. Far, far away. To me, bees are probably one of the most terrifying forces in our universe. They out-match me in many ways with their tiny size, ability to fly, and keen stinging super power. How am I to fight back? So, I run. And until today, I guess I thought bees couldn't sting me if I was running.

I sprinted the quarter mile home, my neck throbbing and could swear I felt a stinger still inside the point of attack. Stephen says nothing was there, but -- whatever -- I started crying. This is where even I was beginning to feel ridiculous. I am 30 years old and sobbing about a bee sting. In my defense, I was seriously out of it. Oh, and on the topic of caffeine: A bee sting is a much more natural and effective way to wake for the day than any cup of coffee could ever be.

I collected myself and decided to set out again and complete just 8 miles total. The bare minimum I needed to finish to keep up with my training plan. The entire way, I avoided flower beds and low tree branches. I went (way) around any flighted, buzzing insects, even the tamest of flies. Bumble bees went about their business and my knees would turn to jelly at the sight of them.

With the run completed, I felt strong. So, for my cooldown, I returned to the scene to meet my maimed attacker. He was gone. All that remains is this nagging, dull ache in my neck and, well, now this melodramatic account.

Honey bees can only strike once, right?

If you'd like to read some practical advice on running, check out my articles for WalkJogRun:

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