Let me tell you a story
Let me shovel some dirt
Running in the pre-dawn hours in Wellesley can be fraught with peril even when wearing a headlamp and reflective gear. Deer have nearly flattened me while bounding over a fence on Pond Road. Drivers operating at speeds they might not get away with during the day have come close to clipping me. And then there is the usual combination of ice, branches, darkness and my own clumsiness that can take a guy down.
But I experienced a whole new level of running trauma on Tuesday morning, when a shovel came flying off a truck rattling its way west on Rte. 16 and spiraled right toward me.
I wish I could report that I summoned my inner Usain Bolt to speed away from the airborne tool or conjured up my inner Michael Jordan to jump over it, but that wasn’t the case.
I wish I could tell you I got the vehicle’s license plate number, but…I HAD A SHOVEL FLYING TOWARD ME!
The shovel careened off my left shin and ankle, then settled on the road. This caused another vehicle to swerve out of its way before I had a chance to pick up the shovel and lean it against a split-rail fence along the Hunnewell Estate.
Where the shovel was supposed to be going I cannot say. Perhaps one of those staged groundbreaking ceremonies. More likely a work site.
As far as I can tell, the driver of the vehicle that sent the shovel soaring did not return to the scene of the crime. I was not about to stick around for a confrontation, both because I trotted away unscathed and have read enough Wellesley Police Logs to know that’s an awful idea.
Interestingly, as I set out to run this morning I thought my biggest concern might be a coyote. I’d seen reports this week of a big one boldly patrolling the Wellesley College area where I happened to be running by.
But no, a flying tool turned out to be my nemesis this morning. How many times have Mrs. Swellesley and I, while driving, veered away from trucks or cars in front of us with items secured in a sketchy manner to avoid the possibility of a smashed windshield or worse? It never struck me to be on the lookout for this while in the running zone.
But then again, maybe it shouldn’t have surprised me. Last year I got bopped on the head by an apple that fell off a tree in Natick along Rte. 135 (if it had happened in Newton, I would have commented on my rediscovery of gravity…). I’ve had every manner of insect fly into my mouth while running (mmm, protein), and I once had a flattened beer can attach to my shoe in the homestretch of a road race. I also recall another Wellesley resident’s story of coming across a giant garbage bag while running not far from the shovel incident.
As for the shovel, I should have run home with it, in hindsight. We broke one during the last storm. Now I suspect the shovel won’t be where I left it when I get back from work today.
I hope at least someone makes use of it to clean up from today’s storm.
Related: Did second place get a shovel?