Getting up in the morning was a feat in itself. It was the first long run in a long time that I didn't have a deadline (someone to meet, a race etc.) Pulling myself out of bed at 5 was NOT easy. I like to give myself plenty of time before long runs to wake up, eat, go to the bathroom etc. I wanted an early start due to the heat as well as having plenty of time for our family day.
I started at Grossmont College so I could calibrate my Nike+. I had to slip through the chains on the fence to get a quick 400 meters in. I was planning on running a mile on the track, but was worried that campus security would come yell at me. I can't believe they locked the track!
I ran from the college over to Mission Trails Regional Park via Lake Murray Blvd. I have hiked up Cowles Mountain with Kenny before on a different route, but I have never gone on those trails by myself. The trail became really steep. In several spots, there were stairs because it was so steep. I had originally planned on running ten miles, but as I huffed and puffed up the trail, I knew that I wasn't going to make it to the five mile point. I decided to turn around at 3.5 miles. I have no idea how far up the trail I made it, but I my goal is to run all the way to the top soon!
As I ran down the trail, I am pretty sure I went slower than the way up. It was pretty darn steep and I didn't want to break an ankle. As I was ambling down the hill, I passed some hikers on their way up. I saw them check me out, with my hydration belt, visor and ample amounts of sweat running down my face. I could tell from the looks on their faces that they thought I was some awesome ultra runner on her way back from the summit... little did they know that I was just a hack, barely making it down the hill. Maybe someday, eh?
As I said before, I haven't hiked much by myself, especially in the desert. Honestly, I was pretty freaked out about the thought of rattle snakes. I have yet to see one myself, but Kenny has come across several while mountain biking. As I was thinking that every scurrying rabbit was a snake, I had no idea what I would be coming across. I was running up a gradual hill, focusing on the ground in front of me. I rounded a corner and holy $h!t....the biggest coyote I have ever seen! I originally thought it was a dog... a German shepherd, maybe. But no.... this was definitely a coyote. What the hell was he doing out at 7:45 in the morning??? Of course, there were rabbits everywhere, so maybe he was trying to enjoy the smorgasbord. He looked at me and walked nonchalantly the other way. I thought they were afraid of humans! Shouldn't he be scampering away??? I then yelled in my biggest, most masculine voice, "hey!! Coyote!! Go away!!" I am sure I sounded like a nut. But it worked. He moved off into the brush in no particular hurry. I picked up my pace after this, just in case he followed me. A few yards down the road, I passed a hiker with a walking stick and felt better that if the coyote was following me, he would deal with him. Kenny is making me buy some pepper spray and carry it with me when I run alone. Maybe it's not such a bad idea...
I hit the road portion of my run, which was all uphill. Not a good idea to start a run like that above the trail head. The hill wore me out. But I kept pushing, thinking about the hill on 6th street that comes at the end of the half marathon next month. Sixth street is a piece of cake compared to that section of Lake Murray! Check hill work off my list for the week.
When I arrived back at the campus, I wimped out. I should have run back arount the campus to my car. Instead, I cut through the parking lot. I was hot and tired and wanted to get home. I didn't realize that I cut off almost 2/3 of a mile. Where I set out to do ten miles, settled for seven at the top of a steep trail.... I ended up only getting in 6.3 miles. With so many hills, I hope that it counts.
Hey, here's handy tip: have baby wipes in your car for after long (dusty) runs. It felt SO good to wipe the sweat and grime off my face.
Oh! And if hundreds of rabbits and a large coyote weren't enough wildlife for my early morning adventure.... on my way home, less than a mile from my house, what did I see carrying a dead rabbit in its mouth? A freakin' BOBCAT. Holy cow. I even pulled the car over so I could stare at it and make sure it was a bobcat. Yup. Funky tail and all. It ran into a small canyon near our house (behind the north corner of Jamacha and Sweetwater Springs for locals wanting to know).
I have been hitting shuffle on my iPod lately to mix things up. This song came on, which isn't usually my style, but I really liked to run to it.