Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mountain Lion Mayhem

Ever been running with a rock in your hand?  Of course you haven't, that's ridiculous.  But it's also because you've probably never had the fear that a mountain lion might rip out your throat around the next turn.  One had been spotted a few times around these parts.  So what did I do this morning?  I ran with a rock in my hand.  Did I feel stupid for doing so?  Like. An. Idiot.  Was I being a bit paranoid?  No doubt about it.  Did the rock make me feel better?  Marginally.  But did I still put in my long run this morning?  You bet those awesome calf muscles of yours I did!  While the mountain lion that has been sited in and around my neck of the woods has me slightly terrified, am I going to let that overgrown alley cat stop me from running?  Obviously not if I'm willing to run down the street looking slightly awkward as I grip some caveman weaponry in my hand.   A lady passed me and she was running with a dog.  That would make me feel safer for sure.  Perhaps I could borrow my brother's dog, Tank.  He's a sweetheart, but he doesn't look like one.
My brother's dog, Tank.  When he stands up, his eyes
hit me at about my mid-waist.  He's huge!
Thinking back on my run, I'm not sure what a rock would have done to stop a mountain lion attack.  Perhaps I could have lodged it into his mouth before it had the chance to clamp onto my jugular.  Perhaps I could have hit him in the head and temporarily disoriented him while I sprinted to the next house.  Who knows how I was supposed to use that rock, but I carried it anyway.  The conclusion I came to was that I have entered into the crazy runner state.  I should I have realized this when I started running 3 times a week with my sister-in-law at 5:30 in morning.  We have to wear headlamps that early in the morning, and quite often, it's rather cold.  What the heck am I doing running that early in the morning, especially when my life as it is right now gives me no fleeting hopes of a nap later in the day? Now I'm running a few streets over from where the last mountain lion siting was.   Crazy!   Do I wish I didn't have to run that early.  Yes, desparately yes.  Do I wish mountain lions would just stay in the mountains?  Yes, definitely yes.   But I don't like early mornings or big cats telling me what to do.   So I go running when I actually have the time to go and I go running despite fears of being a large animal's next meal. 
Most of you probably don't deal with the mountain lion threat, but many of us have obstacles standing between us and the next run.  I challenge you to bulldoze your way through those obstacles.  Whether they be those 2-3 foot creatures living in our homes, that nasty dog at the end of the block, the darkness of early morning, or thoughts of the day ahead of you.  The one thing that has helped me time and time again is, "Don't think, just do."  If I tried, I could think of a whole bunch of reasons to stay home.  "I'm tired."  "I have to much to do today."  "My legs aren't up for it."  "There might a mountain lion outside my door."  But if I just don't think about all of those reasons, and just do it, I get out there and I'm ALWAYS happy that I did, and I'm ALWAYS stronger because I did.  There are times during my runs when I feel so stellar that if a mountain lion did cross my path, I imagine taking him down like a sack of potatoes and still finishing my run.  What other activity makes you feel like that?  If you go on that run, I promise it'll pay you back ten fold.  Control your obstacles, don't let them control you.  Don't think, just do.

Disclaimer:  I do not, in fact, recommend tackling any kind of animal, much less a mountain lion, and taking it down "like a sack of potatoes." 

Sidenote:  I am purchasing some pepper spray to run with, so you can all stop worrying about me.
(This last bit was added mainly so I don't get worried calls from my mother.)

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