of wild cats and water

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I'm all for mountain lions in controlled, educational environments like the presentation put on today in Napa by the Wild Cat Education and Conservation Fund, but I really hope I never see one of these beautiful beasts on any of my trail runs. (And yes, mountain lions do make appearances in Annadel every so often.)

Thankfully, today was not one of those days.

Instead, I saw water. Lots and lots of water -- gushing, dripping, trickling, pooling, you name it. We had a howling, rain-slapping-sideways, objects-being-tossed-around-in-the-wind kind of storm last night, and it took its toll on the trails.

Instead of paths, there were rushing streams. Instead of running, there was creek-walking upstream, sloshing through puddles the size of small brown lakes and yes, even fording what seemed like a miniature (yet very forceful) river, with icy cold water that came up to my thighs. And there were the fallen twigs, branches and tree trunks. At one point, the downed trees were impassable, so we had to turn around and run all the way back the way we came (which meant fording the river a second time). My eight-mile taper run became a 10-mile run/hike/wade/survive.

And it wasn't really fun. To be honest, I was actually pretty close to miserable out there. I was frustrated that I couldn't just flat-out run, because every few feet there would be a deep puddle that I couldn't see the bottom of or a tree trunk across the trail or a descent that had turned into a partial waterfall. (And with my ankle the way it is and a race in six days, I am absolutely terrified of re-injury.) And I was plagued by that awful this-trail-is-never-going-to-end, I'm-going-to-be-stuck-on-a-hillside-in-the-rain-forever feeling.

I found myself really questioning my sanity.

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