Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Things NOT to Do While Running

Today I went on a run. Just like I do nearly every day. Only today was my dreaded HILL DAY. That translates into running UP and DOWN the most torturous hills in my area. I only do them once a week but I never look forward to it.

Until today.

I knew that today would be the LAST time I had to endure them for a while because the Ogden Marathon (half) I am registered for is in less than two weeks and I am supposed to be tapering! Plus it was RAINING! Always a bonus in my book. I LOVE running in rain.

I ran my hills. But instead of going home on my regular route, I decided to take a short cut.

#1 Thing NOT to do while running.

Do not take short cuts. At least if your short cut requires climbing up half the mountain (AFTER running hills) and then having to climb over a barbed wire fence in your best running pants. Not a good idea. Um...I will leave it at that.

After I crossed the fence and was into the wilderness area, I was grateful it was raining because I knew (or hoped) that meant NO rattlesnakes would be out and the mountain lions would also be in their cozy dens trying to stay out of the rain. So I felt totally safe!

#2 Thing NOT to do while running.

Never feel safe while all alone on a wild mountain. You just never know what things might jump out at you. Things like dogs that are NOT on a leash! But, we will come back to that.

In the photo below you can see the orange netting that is a barrier to keep people like me out of the area inside it.

Well, I decided to break Rule #1 and take another short cut. It was raining after all. So instead of running all the way around the detour, I decided to cut through where there was an opening in the netting. In order to do this I had to either leap across the ravine or go down it very carefully. I chose the latter.

#3 Thing NOT to do while running.

Do not cross wet ravines. Crossing a ravine on a dry day is one thing, but crossing it after it has rained for three days straight is another. The dirt was so soft and unstable that it forced me down without any traction. I flew down that 8 foot ravine and then had to immediately go up the other side. I almost fell back down into the deep rut, but luckily there was a piece of rebar sticking out I grabbed onto. It was all good. Or so I thought.

My NEW shoes were totally covered in mud! Clear up to my socks. I was not sure how I was going to ever get them clean again. Luckily the construction workers have made a little creek to divert the waterfall water. I used that to wash them. My feet were SOGGY now!


All was well. All was well. So off I went. I continued on and saw many beautiful sites of the city below.

You can even the skeleton of the temple steeple in this one if you look close enough. (click to enlarge)

I saw a LOT of puddles and wet roads.

And check out this new look-out point the construction workers have made.
Now you can find your thrill on Aspen Drive Hill! Crazy!

Just about then, I reached into my pocket to get my phone. NO PHONE. I had it on my RunKeeper app to measure my distance and time but had not noticed I hadn't received any updates on it for a while. The lady's voice that updates is so annoying that I am surprised I didn't notice.

#4 Thing NOT to do while running.

Don't ignore the fact that the annoying lady has gone bye-bye.

In my panic I began searching everywhere for it and started to back track. I had a feeling it was either in the little stream coming down the mountain where I washed off my shoes OR it was where I had jumped the ravine. I scoured every inch of where I previously stepped on my way back. Nothing in sight. UNTIL....

Suddenly I looked up and saw THIS coming rapidly (or more like rabidly!) at me!

Remember rule #2? Never feel safe?

Okay I must confess THIS is NOT what I saw.

I had lost my phone so how could I have taken a picture?! For all you know THIS is what I saw! I guess you will never know! ☺
BUT it was something like this only MUCH MUCH meaner and more FEROCIOUS looking with very cloudy and penetrating eyes that were looking right at my throat! It looked like a mini German shepherd only with a Doberman's face.

I stopped dead in my tracks hoping I could buy some time while the owner called him off. The owner called him. But NOT off! He just called his name as if he were running after a ball. I began to panic as I saw him coming faster and getting more aggressive. The owner just quietly called his name again but it was too late. He was ALL over me! Which brings me to the:

#5 Thing NOT to while running.

Do NOT forget your Pepper Spray! I wished I'd had it with me. I would have ripped it out and sprayed it...


He should have had that mutt on a leash even IF they were on the mountain. There are always runners and hikers up there. Lucky for me, the dog was not vicious once he attacked me. In fact, he liked me. And of course, I liked him too even if he was turning my solid color pants and jacket in a print. Dog-paw print. I can't help but like dogs. It's the owners I have issues with!

I was definitely covered with his muddy paw prints! And he just kept jumping on me! Again and again and again and the owner didn't take control of him. I could NOT believe it! He even went and got his paws in the creek and I just knew he was going to jump on me again but now with those wet little paws, but thankfully some kind of divine intervention occurred and he took off. Whew. Even though I LOVE dogs, I am sure if he had come at me with those very wet muddy paws, I would have picked up a rock and threw it by this point! Of course, once again, I would have aimed it at the owner!

Once they took off, I checked everywhere near the little creek for my phone, but to no avail. I kept running back to the ravine. I looked closely but I couldn't see anything. I kept checking and kept praying that I would find it when suddenly I saw a teeny tiny spot of purple showing through the dirt. Could it be? YES IT WAS! My phone! Nearly completely buried in the dirt, but right where I had jumped across.

It was in that hole you can see.

What a relief! It was covered in dirt and I was hoping it was not damaged but when I turned it on, the annoying lady confirmed it was just fine. I had never been so happy to hear that voice in my life!

I got back on the trail and began running when two SUV's appeared from no where and nearly sprayed me with muddy water. Thankfully they had enough consideration to go slow as they passed me. They gave me a funny look when they saw the paw prints all over me. They were probably thinking I was some super hero that had just had a little wrestling match with a mountain lion and won. I just waved majestically.

I began to reach home and since I knew I was safe from rattlers today, I didn't want to take the trail, so I started to climb down the rocks. The VERY WET rocks.

#6 Thing NOT to do while running.

Don't abandon the trail when it's raining. Adventure is fun BUT it is always better to stay on the trail. Especially if it is raining. I took a little slip and nearly sprained my ankle. Honest, I did.

These photos aren't staged at all.

#7 Thing NOT to do while running.

Do not stage photos not matter how convincing you think they are. If you do, people won't believe the rest of your story either!

I got off the rocks and onto the very rock path that led to my home. I must say I was grateful to be alive and well. And here all this time I thought it was mountain lions and rattlesnakes I had to fear while running the mountain. Little did I know it would now become how I was going to get those blasted paw printed stains out of my clothes.

These photos do not even do justice to the fact that I was also covered in paw prints and mud in the back.

I'm trying to show my muddy sleeve, NOT demonstrate how tough I am, even if I did just wrestle a mountain lion.

#8 Thing NOT to do while running the mountain.

Don't tell people that you were attacked by a dog. And especially don't write a blog post about it. Just let the paw prints do the talking. If word gets out you were attacked by a mountain lion and won the battle, you could become rich and famous!