TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Travels of an Accidental Adventurer

I lugged my swim bag to the gym this morning, locked it up.  My leg still actually ached from Sunday’s Stinging Nettle.  Then I commenced to do a weight workout that tired me immensely – mind you no increased weights, no increased repetitions.  Still I pushed myself through, did some foam rolling.  By the time I finished an ab workout, I knew.  I knew there was no way I was going for a swim.  I was TIRED.  I suppose running around the mountains in the rain kind of did me in for a Monday morning cross-training session. 

By mid afternoon, my energy returned.  But off to work I went (I packed my running gear, hoping I still felt good enough to run home).  You can bet, I ran out the classroom door at quitting time, and took the dirt trail down to the road. The weather was cool, the breeze crisp, but not chilly.  My goal was form.  Just form.

And then I decided, “Hey, why not take the equestrian trail instead of the road.  It looked innocent enough:

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The trail was empty.  It felt oh so nice on the feet.   As I ran this trail it became less groomed and naturally I enjoyed that.  I came upon two horseback riders and stood to the side like they were mountain bikers (I didn’t want to spook the horses).  The riders looked pleased and thanked me.  And I had to wonder how many runners used this trail.  I didn’t see any.

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And then the trail ended.  I ran across the street that I usually run to get home.  Instead of running through a sports park, down some streets to the bike path that leads to what I call the “riverwalk”, I picked up another equestrian trail with the grand idea of taking a shortcut to the bike path.   I ran joyfully on a path that meandered but remained plenty wide.  The sand was thick, like the dry stuff at the beach.  Strength-training, I told myself. And then the trail turned into a single-track.  Lovely! 

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I do after all have a single-track mind.  Vegetation grew thicker and thicker and I kept my eyes peeled for Stinging Nettle.  It grew so thick that I found myself bushwhacking.  I heard a rooster call out twice, which really spooked me.  A rooster?  Really, a rooster spooked me?  It just seemed so odd, like a dream or scary movie.  I mean, where the heck was this rooster in this thickness???

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But I kept running through the massive growth.  I took the earphones off, my eyes peeled for trails or anything suspicious or unusual.  And then . . . and then, I found myself boxed in!  (Here we go again – except this time it’s evening, and this time I haven’t told anyone what I was doing, just in case something bad happened).

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I didn’t want to back-track.  I hate back-tracking.  My whole family knows this about me.  I don’t back-track in the car.  I avoid it even walking around the grocery store.  I could hear the freeway, oh so close.  The bike path couldn’t be too far off. 

What I thought was bushwhacking earlier was nothing compared to traipsing through the green that I found myself doing next.  I let the bushes scrape against my arms and legs while remaining absolutely focused on my surroundings.

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The sound of cars whizzing by grew louder.  And I could see a clearing through some extremely thick vegetation.  I was betting I was no more than a hundred yards off from the bike trail.  I’m gonna do it, I said to myself, just plough through the wall of thick vegetation to that clearing.  So I lifted my feet up high so that I came down upon some thorny weeds (that is instead of scraping against them).  And . . .  then . . . I . . . saw . . . this:

Stinging Nettle!  I slowly backed away like I had come upon a sleeping rattler. 

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I backtracked a good half mile, maybe more, relieved to see this horse staring at me, and several more afterward.

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And then finally, I came to the end of that park that I usually run through.  I happily, joyfully ran through it, kind of laughing at myself, hoping that I would make it home before dark.

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Arrived home before dark, I did, with 7 miles run today. Smile

6 comments:

  1. Only bummer part of spring... the over growth. Nice run after the 14 (with a lot technical miles).

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  2. Hahaha! This post made me laugh out loud! I love that picture of the horse like "hey..." I hate it when I can't do a loop of some sort. Back tracking sucks. Glad you had fun and glad you didn't get stung again!

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  3. I can't believe how much some of these trails are overgrown Jeremy. I barely even recognized Trabuco on Sunday.

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  4. I'm glad I didn't get stung too. But I was laughing also. I still haven't told my family about this run. (They don't read this blog : )

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  5. That'll learn ya for not running with your macheté!

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  6. Windnsnow -- excellent idea! Now to find a machete that will fit in my pack : ) (seriously, I like the idea.)

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