After trick-or-treat with the kids and Melissa's raucous Halloween party, I woke up at 6:30 a.m., slithered back into my black widow costume and headed out with Bob and Joan C. to the first trail of the Hiking Spree. The Summit Co. Metro parks Hiking Spree, free to all Summit C. residents, has been going on forever to encourage families to get out in nature, hike the trails, get fit and foster appreciation for the all the splendor that Northeast Ohio has to offer. The object is to pick 8 out of 15 designated trails, anywhere from 1.2 miles to 3.2 miles and varying degrees of difficulty, between Sept. 1st and November 30th; hike them, document them and then turn it in to receive your specially designed shield to mount on your hiking stick. I've done the Hiking spree with my family several times--sometimes all and sometimes in part, as fun, cheap and green entertainment for the family.
Not sure how long Ed G. has been heading up the Zombie Run, which is the basically the whole hiking spree done all in one morning, but instead of hiking it, of course, we run it in costumes. I did it in 2007 and dressed up like a woodland fairy, in 2008 I dressed up like Little Red Riding Hood, I missed 2009, and this year I was going to be a black widow trail spider. I try to find costumes that fit with the woodland environment we're running in. Since black widow spiders are found all over the North American continent, I felt it appropriate. Female black widows are known for their deadly neuro-toxic venom injected from large venom sacs, as well as their occasional habit of killing and eating their men after mating, but I guess this isn't the norm with most species of black widows--just the real nasty ones. In past blog posts, I have likened my love life to that of a black widow spider, in my past tendency to hurt the ones I love most so I felt this an appropriate costume, although I'm really working on that--eating my men after mating--it's just not cool.
The Zombie Run is also a humbling run because while I'm a mid pack road runner, I turn into dead last of the pack with this group. I guess it must be because Ed G. is fast and the people he runs with respectably fast as well, so it's just one of those things. The first few years I ran this, not many people dressed up, but this year as Bob, Joan, and I drove into the parking lot at Furnace Run, the first trail on the run, I saw interesting characters emerge from the cars. There was Joey P. dressed like Popeye; there was Jim C.--a cowboy apparently--hitching up the inflatable bull around his waist that, obviously, wasn't staying put. There was a chicken standing next to a toucan and then Tracy M., cute as she can be, wearing a short light green Statue of Liberty robe, jumping up and down holding her torch trying to stay warm on this brisk cool morning. It was going to be a beautiful day. We've been blessed with an absolutely stunning October--sunny skies swirled with ice-cream twists of white and gray, and autumn leaves still clinging on many trees. The trails would be dry, but getting tricky now with dry leaf litter hiding roots, but still fabulous. I couldn't wait.
Ed always takes a group picture. As I found a place to stand, I noticed a tall, black masked, grim reaper, executioner-type dude behind me. He was creepy. Couldn't tell who he was because he wasn't talking much and when he did, it was short, low-voiced ominous grunts. He was running behind me on the first loop and I didn't like that at all. I bet he didn't read the child classic by Margaret Bloy Graham, "Be Nice to Spiders" as I did and committed it memory. It was taking a little time to warm my spider legs up, so as I expected, I trailed at the back of the pack. Even though these are ridiculously fast trail wolves, Ed is good to make sure the last runner is back before we get in our cars and head to the next trail, which was going to be Deep Lock Quarry. No, rest for the slow and weary, once I got back it was time to go, but not before I noticed a a simple and ingeniously devised costume worn over a running outfit. The woman wore a white slip and across the front, right below the boobs, it was boldly marked FREUDIAN SLIP. Scattered willy-nilly all over the slip, in black permanent marker, were various phrases from the psychological realm like: penis envy, oral fixation, dreams (bad, good, and wet), various slips of the tongue like Nipples, Florida, and West Vagina. The woman wearing the costume said her husband threw this together just the night before. She has a cool husband.
At the next park, Deep Lock Quarry, I saw the grim reaper executioner dude get out of Kurt O's car. This small fact combined with reaper's tall stature would make this no other than John B. I called out his identity and ended the ruse. I was scared no more. Bob and Debi were killing me today. Debi has had an excellent year, overall, and recently ran a 5K PR. Bob claims to still be in a running funk, but you couldn't tell today cause he went out like a bat out of hell, keeping up with the wolves at the front of the pack. Bob likes shorter distance runs, so no surprise he's tackling this like a series of small races. On the other hand, since I'm more of an endurance, get in your groove kind of spider, all this starting and stopping was making my eight legs weary and my bright hour glass just a little dull, or maybe I ate one too many alcohol bloated insects at the party last night. At any rate, I was suffering today.
Ed G. sells Cuyahoga National Park calendars for $8.00. I picked up a few between trails. I bought two--one for me and one for my ex husband who recently forgot my birthday. My kids forgot my birthday as well, because they were not prompted by their father. It's going to be his birthday present with everyone's birthdays listed throughout. My birthday will be written in bold red ink with reminders posted in the margins of preceding months. It's the perfect gift from ex black widow mate. He's lucky I didn't eat him.
At Gorge Park, we ran two trails--the Gorge Trail and Glens trail. I was getting extremely slow and weary through here. Debi ran with me and to keep up with the group and to keep them from waiting, we cut a half mile off the Glens trail to make up for our slowness.
My poor spider legs never warmed up because as the morning passed, clouds and wind came, so by the time we got to the 5th park, I think, at Munroe Falls Metro park, I had to remove my web and run with my jacket. The alcohol bloated insects I ingested the previous evening were long since digested and now all I could think about was getting this run over and going to Bellacino's for some fresh meat. It was a great time, but now all I could think about was feeding, and then, a long nap in the web, which, interestingly, I left at Bob's place.