For the past week or so I've been living in Spanish Fork until I can move into my new apartment. I decided I should go for a run on Thursday night, seeing as I'll be in a 180+ mile relay race in September. So off I went, going west, under the I-15 and into the farmlands. About two miles down a nearly deserted road, I felt a prick on my leg and looked down to see a mosquito. Smacking it off, I didn't think much of it and continued running. By the time I got to 2.5 miles and turned around to head back, I knew I'd made a horrible mistake. The bugs had come out to play, and the party was located on my exposed flesh, free of any insect repellant. As I began my journey back, I picked up my pace slightly, taking the opportunity every few steps to reach back and smack the back of my legs with my hand in what looked like a failed attempt at a square-dance-heel-slap. By the time I reached the house with the attack dog charging at me, I had been bitten at least 30 times and I feared no beast except the demon known as Culicidae. (See: mosquito.) I screamed at the dog to go home and frantically now began smacking my calves and arms, my regulated breathing turning into gasps and yelps and "please make them go away!" cries as I started into what felt like a full-fledged panic attack. Trying to outrun the devils was my folly, as my heart, lungs and legs quickly gave out. With my hands covered in blood from the defeated vermin, I let my flailing arms drop and I walked as quickly as I could, trying to keep myself from hyperventilating. Every so often a car would pass and I would stare into its windshield or side-view mirror, willing them to stop and offer me help. No one did. Every lesson about not getting into strangers' cars was cast out in my desperation to escape. As I neared the railroad tracks, I had consigned myself to being slowly eaten alive with no relief for my poison filled body that itched like -- like -- why is there not a stronger word for "itch"? No stronger metaphor or simile? All I can think of is "Hell." And so, I walked with Hell for my companion over the railroad tracks, fully aware of the pain that would come, when I then swallowed one of the brutes and I was filled with a renewed rage for a pointless creature only on this earth to cause unspeakable horrors to all those afflicted by their thirst for blood. I smacked at them again, streaking my legs and hands with their innards and mine. Crossing under the I-15 once more, the satanic insects began to thin. When I finally arrived home, I was thankful for respite but fearful of what was to come.
In the end, although I haven't counted, I have around 75 bites on my body, the majority occurring on my legs. I've used two tubes of Cortizone, a banana (doesn't work, p.s.), eight antihistamine pills, two cold showers, four ibuprofen, one icepack, and a whole lot of will power to overcome the worst of it. I get sick to my stomach thinking about going outside now, and writing this post made the itching flair up, but I don't think there's any danger of West Nile Virus (good thing I'm not in Dallas, eh?) and ... I was trying to find another good thing to come from this, but nothing comes to mind.
Ah, maybe this: Don't go running in the country by yourself. You might not get raped or kidnapped or hit by a tractor, but if you get the feeling you should head east instead of west, do it. Because it seems a 250 lb. man with a gun is easier to fight off than 3,000 devil bugs.
For visual proof (although this doesn't do it justice) a picture of my legs. (Look at my beautiful pronation in my feet! Gotta love genetics.)