I spent way more time packing today than I should have. I found myslef obsessing over the most ridiculous details. This is partly why I hate traveling. Did I take an entire day to pack last year? I can't remember and last year was more complicated because we went to the Grand Canyon and needed warmer clothes plus had more complicated travel arrangements. Why did I sign up for this? What a hassle. I know I'll have fun once I'm there but I truly hate traveling-the packing, driving, hotels, etc. I loved traveling when I was younger and lived in a place that I hated but now that I live in a place I love I've lost all my wanderlust. I could easily fill a week doing things within a 2 hour radius of Boulder. Whine whine, moan moan, poor me going on a nice trip to Scottsdale to compete with my dogs. Yeah, I know how it sounds.
A hyperactive border collie 'helping' with the packing and a caffeine and sugar laden mocha at lunchtime did not help my nerves today. Strummy kept unpacking things and enticing Lola into crazy out of control wrestling matches that literally involved bouncing off the walls. It seems I spent half the day breaking them up and repacking things that Strummer unpacked. Let's not even get into the barking. I think Strum & Lo were probably wound up because I was wound up and the packing was upsetting their routine. And yeah, they had plenty of exercise this morning, both of them were overtired if anything. Or maybe it's the full moon.
By 4:30 I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown (apparently it doesn't take much). I was planning on one more practice at Biscuit Eaters but decided I was too fried and that a run would be much better. My running goal for the fall is to complete the Hogback trail which is a loop that branches off one of the trails near my house. In all it's around 8 miles or so round trip from my house and previous to today I was up to about 5 1/4-5 1/2 miles, or about 5 minutes up the trail. Well, I was having such a good run and grooving out to the mp3 player and most importantly was not home packing so I got in into my head to do the whole loop. This was incredibly stupid for any number of reasons but somehow I couldn't stop myself. It's been a good 10 years or so since I've done the Hogback so I couldn't exactly remember what the whole loop was like other than that there were some steep steps down that backside on the return. Well, the trail climbs gently for a while then climbs very steeply to the top of the hill. Once on top, the trail gets very rocky, so much so that I decided to walk so I wouldn't twist an ankle or fall. Even more importantly the trail goes through prime mountain lion territory with big stacks of rocks right next to the trail. I turned off my mp3 player though I don't know why. Do I really want to hear the lion rushing towards me so I can experience a brief moment of pure abject terror right before he rips my head off? Wouldn't I be better off enjoying some nice music and not knowing what hit me? It was so stupid for me to be up there so close to dusk on my own. I picked my way along with my heart in my mouth for a while then I heard a snort. I froze in my tracks but thankfully it was another runner who appeared coming from the other direction before I needed a new pair of shorts. I figured if no lions had gone for him I was probably o.k. Nonetheless a few minutes later out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of a large, tan animal moving through the tall grass. I had a moment of panic then realized it was a deer.
Finally the trail smoothed out a bit and headed back down away from the rocks. Once I made it past the big steps I was able to run again. I passed a few large bucks lying in the grass right off the trail but they seemed uninterested in me. A minute or two later I came upon their harem, a big group of females and babies who were on either side of and on the trail. I slowed to a walk and they gave me some curious glances but didn't run away. Some were right next to the trail, so close that if they sneezed I would have been covered in deer snot. Very cool.
The rest of the run was uneventful, I took a little shortcut home but it only cut off maybe 1/4 mile. It was downhill so it went quickly. My legs and knees are sore, it was a stupid thing to do from a training perspective. And do I really need to risk injuring myself right before Nationals? But sometimes you just gotta run. Oh yeah, and I guess I need a new running goal.