Another reason I was so paranoid about running last weekend is because I had big plans for the week ahead.
I was going to Disneyland!
It’s kind of becoming and annual tradition for my mother and I. Unfortunately, part of that tradition includes me being sick… every single time. So when I felt a sore throat coming on, I hibernated in hopes of kicking it to the curb. Not so much but I was able to get through 2 days of Disneyland and California adventure and 2 mall stops. Whew.
Disneyland was awesome, we hit all of our favorite rides. Made it into Star Wars land which looked amazing but the ride was kind of a snooze. I had higher hopes.
California Adventure was awesome- it was the first time I had been there. Riding the River Ride at 9:30 in the morning might not have been a good idea but oh well. I managed to ride the Incredicoaster without running away screaming. However, I literally screamed my way through the Guardians of the Galaxy ride. Like the entire time. A nice woman next to me warned me that I needed to stow my purse much better before we started and then laughed while I screamed. Holy crap, that thing needs a better warning.
If characters are your thing, this trip was so much better than the last too. Last year, we saw no characters but this year- Chip and Dale, Stormtroopers, Rey, Woody, Jessie, Groot, Captain America, Lightnig McQueen and Mater. I feel like I am forgetting someone too. Oh- Chewie!
Then I made it home in time on Thursday for a later showing of Star Wars with my brother- another kind of tradition.
Friday rolled around and I told myself to go run but this introvert was tired. I kind of just hibernated again and recharged.
I did make it out for some miles on Saturday and crossed 5K off my list. I overdressed since I still wasn’t feeling great and alterated between being to warm and freezing. Probably not a good sign,
Sunday brought the pouring rain and an intensified cough. So instead of risking making things worse and running in the rain, I kept my workout indoors. I did 10 miles on the stationary bike and a few minutes with the kettlebell. It is sad how 6 minutes with a kettlebell exhausted me.
Is it sadder that I want to count all the days of walking around Disneyland as training for Napa? Oh, and I still need to tell you about Napa. Oops.
And the lake path and I are breaking up again. There are a few reasons but let’s chat about the main one. Remember this post?
So yeah. I crack jokes at work that one of the unstated descriptions of my job is that I have to have stalker skills. I need to be able to pay attention but not seem like I am totally creeping on conversations. I like to think that some of that “talent” comes in handy when running. I try to always pay attention to my surroundings and the people around me. Being honest, 2 of the places I run can get a little sketchy at times. I love them but there have been a few shady incidents. If I run with headphones, I only have one earbud in and the other is usually tucked under my bra strap. Lately, I don’t even run with them. But I know I miss things. Like tonight, when I ran by a house I don’t recall noticing before. Oops. But I do my best to keep an eye out. As all runners should.
Last Tuesday I headed out for a run. Still being super sore after Firehouse, I figured the nice flat lake path would be a good place to run. Plus if it hurt too badly, I was always fairly close to my car. Once I parked I realized that I had forgotten my running belt. My belt has my pepper spray. Oops. So I ran with my phone in my hand. It wasn’t horrible. Full disclosure- I was running and tweeting at the same time. I wanted to run and participate in BibChat at the same time. Silly, I know but I was still paying attention to my surroundings. I said hi to all the usuals and nodded to all the other runners. I also dodged all the road construction (the other reason the path and I are taking a break).
I did my 3 miles and walked back to my stretching area. The lake has 3 exercise stations around it and I love the ones with the parallel bars. They are the best way to stretch my legs. They hit me around mid rib cage. So again, full disclosure- my leg gets kind of high, but I was also wearing pants. However, even if I had been in booty shorts, what happened next was still not ok.
As I was stretching, I was listening to the people walking or running past. They would pick up in volume as they grew closer to me and fade as they moved away. One lingered longer than it should- it hadn’t faded and seemed very one-sided. First, I figured I was overly paranoid but I looked around stealth-ily. A man was standing behind a tree, staring at me. He was on the cell phone so I gave him a little benefit of the doubt, maybe he didn’t realize how creepy he was being.
I made eye contact. He noticed and starting walking again. I went back to stretching but watched him out of the corner of my eye. He got about 20 feet away, stopped, turned and stared again. WTF?! I made eye contact again; once again he moved on. Another 20 feet, another stop and stare. He moved on without my prompting this time but only to go another 20 or so feet before venturing down the side of the lake to stand behind a bush and stare some more.
I’m out. I headed back towards the lot acting like I was looking at my phone. Dude changed direction and followed me. I did my best to ditch him in the lot, found my car and bolted. I watched the rear view mirror for the next 10 miles.
Could I be paranoid? Yes. Could it be coincidence? Yes. Either way, why risk it? Bail. No workout is worth it. Move on and change your patterns. I try to be careful about what I post. I never post town names or even name the river or lake but if you know the area, you know where I am running. I would like to trust everyone but unfortunately things are just not that rosy colored. It’s life but I hate being reminded of it.
Every run now will be shaded by this. It may have been nothing but it’s going to feel like something for a long time.
Keep running and stay safe everyone.
No questions today, just share your thoughts please.
Saturday was my first day of this half enforced, half by choice vacation. How did I ring it in? By doing absolutely nothing. Ok, I did some errands in the morning but I spent the afternoon and evening vegging about in comfy clothes and watching a couple of movies. I also didn’t feel guilty for procrastinating my laundry. 😄 I won’t lie; it was nice. Well, until I ended the evening with the latest episode of Doctor Who and some crying. Boo.
Sunday was a different story. My mom, S and I headed out to hike the East Cuesta trail. “Hike” is kind of a misnomer, it’s all fire road. What makes it fun is that it’s 4 miles up and then 4 miles down. Nothing like a good climb to start your day right?
My plan was to power hike up then run back down. My mother and I had hiked East Cuesta before about a year ago. It has some amazing views but it was also a trail that freaked me out at a few spots. There were a few places that I let my overactive imagination run away on a very overcast day. 😃
Sunday was the opposite of overcast. In fact the temp hit the high 70’s. Hey California- fall would be nice right about now! I was interested in seeing what had changed. Not only has California been in a major drought but East Cuesta was actually the epi-center of large fire a few months back. Part of the freeway was shut down and a nearby town was evacuated.
Overall, things looked better than I had expected. It’s interesting how much it seems that fire has a mind of it’s own. Two sections could be black and charred with a healthy, so to speak, section in between. You could see where nature is making a comeback. Which is awesome, but if we have the El Nino they are predicting the charred sections are likely to turn into slide zones.
I maintained a good pace going up and was feeling pretty good. The forest line has changed so I couldn’t remember where I had been spooked before. 😃 Near the top, there are 2 off shoot trails and I am not sure where they lead. I headed up one for a bit but ended up turning around. I knew if my mom and S made it to the tv towers before me, they would be alarmed. Once there, we rested a bit before heading back down.
My goal was to run down at a nice comfortable pace. My stomach was having none of that about 10 minutes in. My fault, I had eaten a fairly large piece of pink champagne cake the night before and my stomach has not been a friend of sugar lately. From then on it was a run-walk down. All was good until the gun shots. I froze in the middle of trail. Do I keep going or do I go back up? I figured it was probably someone shooting at targets, I’ve heard it before on trails this was just the first time I was completely by myself and it sounded closer. I know people like to go shooting in rural areas and it was at consistent intervals so I chose to move on. But then I remembered the 2 game warden trucks that had passed me on the way up. What if there was a mountain lion sighting on the trail? Aaargh! That freaked me out and after a quick text to my mom, I ran down the trail.
Once at the bottom of the trail, my feet were bothering me so ditched my shoes for some flip flops before heading back up to the trail head to wait for my mom and S. They hadn’t heard anything while on the way down but were feeling sore from the 4 mile descent. We headed off for a well earned lunch in SLO. I’d say we earned our pizza. 😃🍕
8 trail miles on very warm Sunday? I was a pretty happy Slacker.
Saturday was a little rougher than I had hoped for. I faced a long run I was afraid of as well as a fear I thought I was past.
I was really nervous, more like freaking out, about this week’s long run. I had never actually completed 12 consecutive miles outside of a race before. My previous longest training day was 11.5 miles that was split into a 7 mile run followed later by a 4.5 mile run/ walk. Something about 12 just seemed so far and impossible. I had a headache Friday evening and it was lingering Saturday morning. I checked the weather and it was only predicted to be in the 80’s so I figured I would run then and get a little more rest. I had a route mapped out of 3 loops of 3.8 miles. I would add one last hill to that last loop to bring myself to 12 miles.
I was already thinking about calling it at 10 when I set out, did I really need 12? I did my first loop and since I felt tired I decided to do the extra hill then instead of last. Even though that got that hill out of the way, somehow it really screwed up my mileage, I lost a mile. I figured it out around mile 9, I didn’t have enough road left to hit 12, so I looped another street to add it back in. As I was running up one hill for the third time, I realized why I may hate long runs so much. My long runs are usually loops of hills- I’ve been doing hill repeats in disguise and never figured it out! Hello, blonde runner over here. This run had an elevation gain of 920. By mile 9.5 I was done. I stopped at the middle school and doused myself and my visor in water at the fountains. I walked the last 2.5 miles but I did it!! 12 miles done! This fear was mostly overcome.
I honestly thought I was over my fear of dogs. I had been bit before as a teen but the worst was when I had just started running. I want to say it’s been more than 4 years since I was attacked by 2 border collies while running. Ok, let’s be honest, I was walking. It was near the top of a street that I had probably walked 100 times by then; I had never even noticed the 2 dogs in that yard until that night. The standard Poodle who stood guard at the second to last house at the top, sure, we had had conversations before. I first noticed the dogs on my way up the street, they were in the front yard and their barks sounded less than friendly but I didn’t think much of it. There were kids playing in a nearby yard and a woman gardening. I went all up the end of the road and turned around like always. On my return trip, both dogs rushed out of the yard and ran my way growling and barking. I froze because running away makes it worse right? Plus I thought they were just going to be noisy and not actually do anything. Wrong- one got around behind me and bit me. On the ass, nice. I was in shock. By now the owner was running out for the dogs and the woman gardening had come closer to observe. The owner informed me that he had just removed their shock collars to give them a bath. Umm, what? By now I had determined I was bleeding so we exchanged numbers and I started the trek back to my car, it was about a mile away. About a block later, the shock wore off and I burst into to tears and started shaking. I had 2 puncture wounds and a gnarly, scary bruise. I later found out that I was not the first person the dogs had attacked. It hurt to run for weeks after- you know you need to lose weight when your butt hurts because it jiggles while running. I started carrying pepper spray on my runs and I still have not gone all the way up that street since that day.
I was afraid of all dogs for a while. I was once rushed by a yellow lab who just wanted to have fun and I freaked out. But over the years, I thought it had eased. There are dogs in the office all the time, ranging from Chihuahua’s to Pits to Dobermans to Bouvier’s. I had come across a loose pit bull on a run once and been ok about it, I told her she was pretty and we went our separate ways. Like I said I was over it. Until Saturday. I was finishing my long run and had just turned up my driveway. When I day driveway I mean street, but there are only 7 houses on the street and with the exception of 2 houses, the rest of us have been here for 10+ years. All the houses have some land so while we don’t all know each others names we know what is usual behavior. One house I call the Victorian has 2 Bouvier’s. Ever seen one? They look like bears, gentle nice bears, but huge all the same. One of the Bouvier’s passed away a year or so ago because I have only seen the gray one. Saturday, there was a gray one and a white one, I still didn’t think much of it because it’s my driveway for crying out loud. I was just passing the first house when I heard them bark. I looked up from pausing my Nike+ app to see them tearing out of their driveway my way, the white one in the lead. Once again I stood still, I had a water bottle in one hand and had been screwing with my phone in the other so I couldn’t even grab my pepper spray. I should have thrown the water bottle but wasn’t thinking that clearly. The white one looked possessed, it looked like it wanted me for dinner, the grey on was just along for the ride. The owner was now yelling, trying to call them back. It got within three inches of my waist before listening to the owner. Crisis over right? Nope. It got about 10 feet away and decided it didn’t want to listen the guy anymore. It turned around and came back at me growling and snarling. Screw standing still, I started backpedaling as fast as I could go. By now the owner was running and finally managed to grab the white one’s collar. As soon as the white one was contained, the gray one was perfectly behaved. He apologized but I was having troubles stringing words together to make a sentence. I finally just bolted up the driveway. I lost it just past his house, again sobbing and shaking. I was shaking so badly I couldn’t get my gate open. I had to stand there for a few minutes before I could get it unlocked.
So yeah, still not over it. And now I am afraid to go back down my driveway. What am I going to do when that customer brings her 2 Bouvier’s into the office? What about the dogs that are always at the lake path? Even just typing this kind of freaked me out again. One step forward, two steps back.
But I did my 12 miles! Sorry this was so long, thanks for sticking it out!