TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Retro Run

Hubby dropped me off in the coastal hills today.  I asked him before departing, should I run through the canyon and up Cholla?  Or should I go up Meadows?  He knows both of those trails, Cholla quite well. 

“Through the canyon,” he said.

“What????” I exclaimed.  (I wanted to climb and climb hard!!)

“You already know how to run hills.  You need to work on speed.”  True.  True.  He definitely knows what he speaks of.  But I love running hills.  I hate working on speed.  And I’m just not ready to get back to working on speed.  I promise myself that I will – just not yet. 

Today was a “retro-run.”  No, I wasn’t wearing Dolphins shorts, nor was I wearing Nike’s (that was the first running shoe I recall – though it was actually probably Adidas).  Today was a “retro-run” because I wore my husband’s ipod again.  And since I (we) grew up in the seventies (though he is OLDER than I Smile), I got to listen to lots of “old” music like I did on yesterday’s run.  And boy, did I enjoy myself.  I found myself actually acting goofy running up Meadows (and that’s quite a climb) as I ran “march-like” to the tunes of Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick.

“The Poet and the painter casting shadows on the water -- as the sun plays on the infantry returning from the sea.

The do-er and the thinker: no allowance for the other -- as the failing light illuminates the mercenary's creed.

The home fire burning: the kettle almost boiling -- but the master of the house is far away.”

Entering the House of Meadows (Oh No!!)CIMG9708

It all seems so innocent enough – lovely orange flowers growing along the trail’s edge.  CIMG9710

Last chance to look back as I cross bridge on Meadows Trail.  I pause to look over onto the dry creek bed (Yes, those are my feet : ) And that silvery thing on my laces is my identification.CIMG9713

Though much of the coastal grass in the meadows is brown, still, lovely spring flowers dot the climb up.CIMG9721

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I didn’t see any runners on Meadows.  The trail was also void of hikers.  A mountain biker politely passed me on his way down.  I nearly jumped out of my shoes because I was so much in another world that I didn’t see him (good thing he wasn’t a rattlesnake!).  I apologized profusely for not noticing him ahead of time.  But he said, “no worries,” he had seen me from a ways up the hill.  (I need to run smarter than that – and usually I do, mostly anyway :)

At the top of Meadows Trail, I didn’t even pause to snap a photo.  I kept on running.  Running up the next incline (it was oh so tough), I met a hiker that said, “I’m impressed!” 

I love people with positive words.  I mean, I was struggling pretty well, and she said, “I’M IMPRESSED!”  Little phrases like that make a world of difference.  And I learn from little phrases like that, and try to pass them on.  I don’t always remember to pass them on, but hikers like this lady, without even knowing it, do a world of good helping me to remember.

At Top of the World I reward myself with coconut waterCIMG9726

I finished my coconut water running up and down West Ridge Trail.  I felt high, giddy.  That’s what running up Meadows to Top of the World does to me.  (That’s what running to Top of the World does to me period, no matter the route). 

From there, I took Rock It Trail down.  After Sunday’s run down Horse Thief, I figured some technical downhill practice was a good idea. 

Rock It Trail -- trails like this gave me the bad habit of looking down.CIMG9730

At the end of Rock It, I took a right onto Coyote Trail run.  I knew I was going to be about ten minutes late meeting my husband.  I picked up my pace some, relishing the shady areas and quiet creek below. 

Out of the shade I suddenly heard the loudest unmistakable rattling.  You wouldn’t believe how loudly I could hear this rattler, even with headphones on (really, no need to take off headphones to hear a rattlesnake – though I don’t play the music super loud).  I knew the snake was extremely close, and that it was to my left.  There is no way I could mistake that rattling sound.  It doesn’t sound like a single other thing, except a rattlesnake!  I used to think cicadas were rattlers.  Their little creaking doesn’t even compare to a rattlesnake’s rattle. 

Upon hearing this, I didn’t really think.   Letting instinct take over, I simply ran as quickly as possible, to my right, AWAY FROM THE NOISE.  That of course lead me off trail into the dry grass.  I thought, “Oh great, I just ran into tick land and there’s probably another another rattler a few feet away!”  Mind you, this all occurred in about a half of a second.

Well, I flung off the earphones and the sunglasses and searched for the rattler.  Aha!  There she was, across the trail, rattling like mad, coiled up, prepped to strike. 

Well, they can only strike half their body length, so I crept on in and did a photo-op.  She looked REALLY pissed off.  So, I decided to stop the pictures and took off running (but be sure to scroll down for picture).  A couple minutes later, a mountain biker came up from behind.  We excitedly relayed our encounter with the rattler.  He was a little freaked out how close to the trail it was coiled up ready to strike.  “I like to give them their space,” he said.

So do I.

And then a few minutes later, I came across a hiker.  He was wearing full length sweats with a zipper sweat-shirt to match, chatting on the cell phone (I can rarely get service in the canyon).  I said, “There’s a rattlesnake off the trail a bit back.”   He seemed annoyed with me and said, “I’ve seen them before!”

Hmph.  Just trying to be helpful.  Well, actually he would have heard her.  I just wanted to talk, I guess. : )  Seeing a rattler close up and personal excites me a little. 

I ran strong all the way in.  Thirteen minutes late I was, according to my husband.  He was not amused.  But then again, he hadn’t made the trip to our son’s school from that park EVER.  And I knew we had plenty of time.  I told him “No worry,” and for some odd reason, he didn’t believe me.  And I swear, he drove slowly on purpose (really, though, he’s a swell guy : ).  Still, we made it in plenty of time to pick up our cheerful kindergartner and his friend.  All was well. Smile  I don’t know about the snake though. 

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Miles run today:  11

ps.  I bought a new ipod shuffle today.  Thankfully, they are not that expensive.

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