By Eric Noel Roman
The temperature is typical for a January evening, it is Saturday night, Sunday morning 2:00AM. I just finished working and am sitting in the Aventura Mall parking lot lacing my running shoes. I am the only car in the lot and there is a stillness everywhere. I have to run a minimum of ten miles tonight before bed. Not the safest time to be out running, luckily I chose an affluent area to hit the pavement. I have a goal, in three months I have to be prepared to run a 100 mile endurance race.
Aventura mall has become a tourist destination, filled with high-end shopping and opportunity to see a celebrity. Fancy high rises create a three mile circle using the mall as the main gate. Just behind the mall sits Turnberry Isle Country Club and golf course. This city is beautiful, by day the hustle and bustle of commerce act as the heart beat of the city. At night, the city has many wonderful restaurants and social spaces to gather. The golf course has a walking path circling it measuring a whopping 2.8 miles.
This city is gorgeous. I began my run this late night looking around. To one side I have the lavish lifestyles of some of the more affluent residents of South Florida. To my other side, I have the golf course sitting quietly, unlit, seeming to hide something scary.
As I ran along the path with Frank Sinatra in my headphones playing quietly, I noticed a black cat perched on a pole of the wooden fence watching me. A few hundred feet later I see something scurrying along the same fence. I changed my running path from along the fence to the opposite side. I turned the volume down lower on my headphones and could hear things scurrying alongside me.
I finished one lap around and did not see the eerie cat again. However, I managed to catch a glimpse of what was causing all of the rustling of the bushes. As soon as I noticed what was running alongside me I could not help but realize that this city has the same problems every city has. Rats, and quite a few of them. I have seen these rats all over Miami in the past: buildings, homes, businesses, schools. You name it they are there or have been there.
Rats, found in every aspect of life, no matter how pretty things are, or how well things are kept. There is always a dark side to things. Sometimes it is unavoidable to find yourself in the dead center of their environment. It does not take much to run past these rats. Just put a bit more distance from you and them and keep running. Keep the focus on your goals and you will finish with little to no issues.
That night I managed three laps. I finished at 4:00AM. Only to be nine and a half miles closer to my training for my 100 mile race. I paid no mind to the rats, stayed focused, and met my goal.
Eric Noel Roman DJ, obstacle racer, motivational writer from North Miami Beach, living life one day at a time, and making a difference one person at a time.