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Monday, August 19, 2013

The Things You Learn AKA The Scariest Thing

Sunday was one of the best long runs I've ever had.  I also experienced the most terrifying thing ever while trail running.  The thought of running for an hour by myself in the pitch dark on the trails was just too scary, so I started off at 5:30am in the neighborhood surrounding Coyote Hollow trailhead.  I mostly just ran laps around Draper Temple because, despite being a rich swanky neighborhood, they have very little street lighting.  After 5k in the street, I stopped at my car to change my shoes and don my long run trail gear.  I headed out on Ann's just as it became daylight.  I ran out and back, using my car as an aide station at mile 12.  Then I headed back out Ann's to the top of Maple Hollow and back, then a little jaunt on Clark's.  On the way back is where scary came in to play.

It was about 10 o'clock and I was in the groove.  I was nearing the end of my run and feeling fantastic.  I had in one ear bud and was focused, jamming out to my tunes when I heard the cry of death.  I ripped out my ear bud, slowed to a fast walk, while crouching and trying to look up the hill.  At the time I had no idea what it was, but it wasn't human and it was certainly in mortal peril.  The sound was unbelievable and it was directly above me on the mountain.  It was screaming like nothing I'd ever heard, followed by a loud rusting in the bushes above me that was getting closer and closer.  My immediate thought was that a goat was just eaten my a mountain lion.  I wanted the hell out of there, but I knew I shouldn't run in case the predator who just caught his lunch decided I looked like a better snack.  I never saw anything, and once I got around the bend I hauled ass!  I can't tell you how scary that was.  It was intense.  When I first heard the branches breaking and rustling of the trees above I thought that whatever it was was coming straight at me.  OH. MY. GAWD!

After my National Geographic experience I was still feeling great.  I checked my pace and realized I was going to come in at under a thirteen minute pace, which fueled me even further.  I finished strong and exhilarated (some thanks to the death of a goat/deer/jackrabbit.)  

Things I learned on yesterday's run:
- No matter how swanky the area, I'm a scaredy cat running in the dark in an unknown neighborhood.
- I don't care what you're really doing, but if you're driving slowly around a neighborhood at 5:30am stopping here and there, I assume you're a homicidal rapist/robber.
- Any time a street light goes out as I run under it, I feel like it's some sort of conspiracy against me.
- Even the smallest animals make a hell of a racket in a field of dried leaves and twigs.
- I'm like a newborn baby.  I must eat early and often at the start of a long run.
- When shit hits the fan, I can actually remain calm.
- Eating while hiking uphill is good.  Gives the hamstrings and lungs a break and lets me refuel for the fast downhill.
- The cry of a wild animal being attacked/killed is not a sound I care to ever hear again.
- A white, wet bandanna hung over the back of my visor is heaven in the heat.
- There is a drinking fountain at the top of Maple Hollow and Maple Hollow goes down the backside of the mountain! (I'll have to run that another day.)

At around mile 8.
Nice and cool with my wet bandanna!
Another new trail, also must try on another day!
Maple Hollow has the softest dirt.  This felt like walking on clouds!  Delightful!

From the top of Maple Hollow.  It was about 6100'.

Beauties, aren't they?  I love these ladies!  They never steer me wrong!
Oh Snap!  Look who killed it!

22 miles
12:43 average pace!  

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