TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Time To Run Again

I rested Sunday.   Monday I visited the gym and cycled for 17+ miles, did some core work.  Wanting to gradually get back into it, I rested again Tuesday, then back to the gym I went on Wednesday for about 6 miles on the elliptical, weight training and more core work. 

Today, came the day to run again.  Due to time constraints I ran this 9.5 mile loop at Aliso Wood Canyons, the one I’ve been timing lately:

My Activities 9.5 loop with rattler 3-10-2011, Elevation - Distance

I felt fatigued early on and thought maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.  The weather was quite hot and the wind blew at my face.  Thankfully, the wind was cool.  But it was still the kind that chaps your skin.  I hit Meadows Trail a couple minutes late.  But then as I began running that climb, I felt amazed at my strength.  Still, that sun blared down and the wind continued to blow at my face.  Nearing the top, I glanced at the garmin to see that I still ran a couple minutes behind.

I kicked it up some heading toward the trail marker at the top.  Grass grew waist high in the meadows at my side.  And then, as my feet pounded harder toward that trail marker, I glanced down.  There was something stretched across the trail, something as long as my arm span. 

I didn’t really think the following, I more like felt it in my mind in the SPLIT SECOND that it occurred.  Is that a snake?  Why, yes it is?  A rattler?  Becoming disoriented, I couldn’t quite figure which was his tail end as I searched for rattles, when suddenly my mind felt, remember, not thought, “Why the hell are you looking for rattles?”

At that instant, the same instant that the snake coiled up, I ran backward as fast as I could.  Faster than I would have imagined I had the energy to run (and backward to boot!)  I didn’t not stop until I was probably five times his striking distance.  That snake had whipped itself into a coil so amazingly fast, I’m very fortunate that I backed off not a second later. 

He stayed like that in the middle of the trail, his head high, poised to strike.  His rattle was unbelievably loud.  I took a couple steps closer (still safely far away) to snap a picture.  Then I phoned my husband, because I just had to tell someone about this amazing sight.  He could hear the snake’s rattles over the phone!

Well, that dang snake stayed there for quite some time.  There was no way to run past it, except to run through the grass.  And last thing I wanted was a tick latching on.  And so I waited.  And I waited, until I eventually called off my “timed” run.  Several minutes later, my rattling friend uncoiled and slithered off into the grass.  I ran past when I could still see his tail.  I wanted to be absolutely sure I could still see his tail when I finally made my trip to the ridge.  I wanted to be sure he didn’t turn around coil up, and wait there for me. Smile

The Snake I Almost Stepped On About To Slither Off Into The Meadow

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Well, let me tell you!  That little event sure awakened me.  Though this was no longer a timed run (it shouldn’t have been anyway, I should have planned a nice and easy recovery run), I couldn’t have felt more alive and excited after the ordeal.  I ran along the ridge feeling elated.  I ran all the way back in, joyfully, full of the running spirit that I sometimes lose, and reassured that rattler season is here, and that I should never stop looking.

Miles logged today:  9.5

Moments After Running Past The Snake

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8 comments:

  1. Wow. I'm so glad you didn't step on that snake!

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  2. Shame your weren't wearing a HRM! Can you say spike!

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  3. Though dangerous, still a cool interaction!

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  4. I hate snakes with a passion and would have turned around running faster than I ever have in my life.

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  5. Thanks Green Girl -- it sure kept me awake for the rest of the day!

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  6. Stuart -- thank for reading. I don't think you're advocating doing anything harmful to a rattlesnake on county property ; ) Anyway, goggled "HRM" and got "Human Resource Management," "Her Royal Magesty," and "Hudson River Museum," among other things. LOL. I'm sure you didn't mean that. Still wondering, what's an HRM?

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  7. Thanks for commenting Kovas -- yes dangerous, but I relived it all day long with delight (wouldn't be writing that of course if it turned out differently.)

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  8. Thanks for stopping by AJH. A lot of people hate snakes. I don't really hate snakes (I hate ticks!!!). Anyway, if you just give rattlers their space, you're okay (that of course means always watching during rattlesnake season, which I wasn't!)

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