I inhaled several bugs on my run this morning.  Maybe they didn’t like being bugs.   Maybe they were hovering over the trail in suicidal swarms, waiting for someone like me to run past and breathe them into the afterlife.  Maybe they are insect adrenalin junkies looking to tempt fate.  Several bugs lucky enough not to evade inhalation ended their insect existence stuck to my sweating chest as they drown in salty perspiration.

This was by no means the first, nor will it be the last time I finish a run with several tiny insects stuck to my chest and in my lungs.  Running has allowed me to breathe in over 20 years of bugs and other air-borne debris.  Since my high school days running for the Mighty Lambkins, I have been sucking in the occasional flying gnat.  In college we would run 17 miles on a dirt road called “Magnolia.”  Every time a car would pass, I gasped and wheezed a wonderful mixture of dust and exhaust.  Later, I moved to Honduras and spent two years huffing and puffing in the slash and burn haze of March and April.  In Dubai I spent 5 years panting enough sand filled air to create a new beach in my bronchial tubes.

Sometimes at night I dream that the bugs in my lungs are still alive, relaxing on the bronchial beaches filled with Dubai sand.  They taunt me like lost spirits wrongfully killed before their time.

Of course the non runner also gets to enjoy these respiratory environments but without the aches and pains of, sore knees, twisted ankles, black toenails, and chaffed skin that make it so worth while.  Non runners only get to inhale a small percentage of these airborne aliments compared to the vast quantities consumed by the avid runner.

Maybe it would be healthier to live a more sedentary life.  Perhaps breathing in more bugs, pollution, smoke, dust, and sand than I have to is a bad idea.  Perhaps killing all those innocent gnats floating in the air is an act of cruelty.  Still I am an addict and these health and moral considerations mean nothing as I lace up my shoes ready for another fix.

    • Jim Catalano
    • June 2nd, 2010

    Now just think about all those insects caught in the throats/lungs of people who ride bicycles, ride in the backs of trucks, and who just trudge through fields and forests. What did they ever do to earn such a tragic demise?

  1. Awesome stuff Cat! I’ve swallowed a few myself but not intentionally… as warrior-like as that might be. I know it might sound cheesy but I really think there’s a profound message behind the tons of insects that you’ve digested, and if so(which probably is); I really like how you portrayed it

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