Running Stories

Today’s Mini Goal: Get back into my no-nighttime-snacking groove!  I’ve been lax about this lately and want to get back on track.  Snacking at ngiht doesn’t do anything for me — I actually feel better when I don’t do it.

I’ve never started out on a run and had to stop before today.  My tummy was wildly unhappy, so I called it quits after a mile and then just sat on a bench and people watched.  This was very head-clearing and refreshing — I had forgotten how much I like to people watch.  And it was so strange to notice how other runners run!  I walked around a bit after my mile and will do another four tonight on the treadmill (I’m going to be at the gym watching the basketball game with some friends, so I might as well).

Eats:

These are my favorite oats: stovetop oats made with tons of cinnamon, extra water, maple syrup, and chopped up apple.  Topped with a big scoop of peanut butter and a little scoop of pumpkin butter.  I made my oats with apples long before I ever tried making them with banana.  To be honest, I prefer the apple — it gets soft, but not too soft, and gives the bowl a ton of volume and sweetness.  If you’re normally a whipped banana oatmeal kind of person, I definitely recommend trying this for a refreshing morning change!

Haven’t eaten this yet, but will soon.  It’s random WF hot bar stuff — I’m most excited about the weird looking mixture in the upper right hand corner of the first picture (upper left of second).  This is baked sweet potato, apple, and fennel.  Sounds like a superstar combination to me.

I am going to attempt a lot of running this weekend because I have some serious catching up to do.  I need to do a total of 25 miles, so tomorrow will be either ten or fifteen and then Sunday will be whatever I don’t do tomorrow.  This isn’t going to be impossible or anything, I’ve definitely done as much or more mileage in such a short period before, but it will be tough.  I will fuel myself with lots and lots of oatmeal!

I actually did 40 miles in three (or four?) days once before.  I was in Marin County (supposedly the trail running capital of the world), just north of San Francisco, for a wedding this past August with my mom and sister.  We stayed at this rustic little bed and breakfast and hit the trails a LOT.  One of my best running stories ever came out of this vacation…

Storytime: Running Disaster

My mom, my sister, and I love taking active vacations — hiking, skiing, kayaking, snowshoeing.  This particular vacation was going to be mostly about hiking.  Well, running for me.  This is where this story’s problem lies: my mom and my sister hike.  I run.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind the occasional hike.  But if I’m going to be spending several days in an area with tons of beautiful trails, I’m going to want to do some serious running.  I like gliding by redwood groves or powering my way up a dusty pasture hill.  I like feeling strong in the wilderness, and hiking just doesn’t usually give me that feeling of euphoric energy and intensity.

On our last day, we headed out to an area of trails along high ridges that went variously through cattle pastures, forests, and beautiful, dusty meadows.  It was one of the most gorgeous areas I have ever run in.  We started around two or three in the afternoon, parking our rental car along the side of the road.  We only had one set of keys, which my mom and sister took — I think we thought they would be back first.  I had my running waist pack with my phone, some cash, water bottle and shot blox.  I planned on doing 16-18 miles (the trail was about nine miles out one way).  My mom and sister were planning on doing a sort of loop on one of the trail’s many off shoots.  I knew I would be really thirsty when I got back to the car, since I only had my one bottle and it was relatively warm, but I had a huge, full nalgene waiting for me, so I wasn’t too worried.  We made our way through a series of narrow gaps in a maze-like wooden fence (designed to keep cows off the road, I believe) and I started running up what was probably the biggest most exhausting hill I have ever encountered.  It just never ended.  there would be brief flat parts, then you would look up, only to realize that there was much, much more.  I had to walk a few times.  The way out was scattered with similarly grueling uphills, but it was so beautiful that I didn’t care.  At one point, you went from field to redwood forest (almost rainforest-esque) within just a few tenths of a mile.  It was absolutely wonderful.

I decided to turn around somewhere between mile seven and eight; I knew I was running 12 or 13 minute miles because of the brutal terrain.  I relized that I would be done in a little over three hours, which would mean that I’d finish a bit before my mom and sister — I think we had planned on three and a half to four.  Whatever, I’d survive.

The way back was much easier and a bit faster than I’d expected; there were far more downhills and my tired legs were finally loosening up.  My first moment of terror occurred just about a half mile from the end.  I was descending the huge hill I had struggled to make my way up at the beginning, and suddenly I was surrounded by massive cows.  Everywhere.  And not just any cows.  No.  These were angry mama cows defending their babies.  They looked like they weighed a good 2000 pounds each.  I didn’t really know what to do.  Should I turn around and see if there was another path back to the road?  Should I run through them really fast?  Should I just go very slowly?  I chose option number three and kept trotting along down the path.  I wasn’t sure if I should look the cows in the eyes or not.  I felt like they were staring me down.   I tried to appear as non-threatening and small as possible, and eventually I made it safely to the gate, albeit with a slightly quickened heart rate.

As expected, my mom and sister weren’t there yet.  I knew I had another thirty or forty minutes and I was getting really thirsty.  My water had run out around mile 12 or so.  There were a few other hikers coming in and out, and I got really desperate and asked one sweet older guy if he had any water (my full nalgene is inches away from me, in the locked car), but he hadn’t brought any that day.  I kept seeing people coming over the top of the hill, but it was never my mom and/or sister.  An hour passed.  I was really thirsty.  My phone was dead (the battery drained really quickly, probably because I was in the middle of nowhere and it had to work extra hard to stay on).  I had to go to the bathroom.  I was tired.  An hour and a half passed.  The sun was setting.  I went to the bathroom on the side of the highway.  It was officially dark.  Two hours passed.  A man and his two sons passed on their bikes and I asked them what time it was.  I think it was like eight o’ clock by then.  More time passed.  I started panicking.  I was absolutely sure they had been eaten by mountain lions and we would never find their bodies.

I realized I was going to have to flag down a car, on this dark stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere in California, and try to get help.  I was afraid that if I got the wrong person’s attention, I would end up hacked into pieces in some faraway barn.  I thought I saw a police car, but it passed before I worked up the courage to wave. Finally I saw a high end station wagon with a woman driver and a kid in the backseat.  Perfect.  I waved at her and she pulled over.  I asked her if she had a phone I could use ; I called my mom’s phone and she said she and my sister were “lost”, but that they “thought” they were making their way back.  Typical.  My mom and sister have the worst senses of direction ever.  My blind great uncle Ahmed, who has never set foot in the US, probably would have been better off in this situation.  It was that bad.

The poor woman realized that I was distressed as I burst into tears and told her that my mother and sister were lost in the wilderness.  My mom lost her signal after a minute or two, but had said something about crossing a bridge that said she was a mile away.  The woman stayed with me for a while and probably single-handedly saved me from having a heart attack, thank God.  After a while I told her I was pretty sure they’d be back soon, and she left.  About twenty minutes later, there they were, walking along the side of the road.  I have no idea why or how they ended up on the road as opposed to the trail, but they were back, they clearly hadn’t been attacked by mountain lions, and I had never been so happy to see my family members — or to have a bottle of water — in my life.

By the time we got into the “town” we were staying in, all the “restaurants” AND grocery stores were closed, so after this epic ordeal, we had to eat instant oatmeal for dinner.  Fabulous.

That’s my best running-gone-wrong story!  What’s yours?

PS — Averie is giving away a jar of coconut peanut butter!  Two of the best things on earth, combines into one.  Sounds good to me!

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. theemptynutjar
    Feb 19, 2010 @ 19:44:39

    Your pictures are so nice. Have a nice night.

    Reply

  2. corie
    Feb 19, 2010 @ 19:50:08

    The day before my college graduation I went for a long run. It was an unusually dry, hot mid-May in MA and I’d decided (after not much common sense thought) to take a route that a friend had recommended using a system of unmarked paths- with no sun screen, quarters (I’m old enough that cell phones were not the vogue), or water. I relied on my memory to navigate, which was the biggest mistake EVER. To make a long story short, I got completely lost and wound up running about 6 miles further prior to trying to turn back- and when I did turn back, I attempted to take normal streets instead of just retracing steps. About an hour later and about 15 miles, I found myself in tears on the side of the road, dehydrated and convinced that I was never actually going to graduate from college (and at that point of my life, graduation was hard-fought, not academically, but emotionally). I wound up hitchhiking back to campus with a very concerned driver and graduated the next day with the worst sunburn of my life.

    Reply

  3. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce
    Feb 19, 2010 @ 21:12:46

    omg angry mama cows! scary experience, glad you lived to tell the tale :). you’re brave to run in the snow. i went down to the marina today intending to jog but it was foggy and drizzling so i skipped it lol. YUM wf hot foods bar is the best! i’m roasting a sweet potato as i type this

    Reply

  4. EE
    Feb 19, 2010 @ 21:41:56

    I don’t have a running gone bad story, but in college I took an ice climbing class. Why? Oh, to impress a boy. Now THAT was a funny trip.

    Good luck avoiding the evening snack monster if you so choose!

    Reply

  5. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    Feb 20, 2010 @ 00:42:39

    Wow girl, what a story!!
    Thanks for the linkage love on the contest I have going on.
    I hope you have a fab weekend!!!

    Reply

  6. Sarah
    Feb 20, 2010 @ 02:41:18

    Fab story…especially the bit about the cows! Most of my amusing running stories entail unplanned toilet stops…need I say any more?! Hehe

    Sarah x

    Reply

  7. Can You Stay for Dinner
    Feb 20, 2010 @ 10:19:37

    What a story! Thanks for sharing!
    And I hear you on how difficult nighttime snacking can be. It’s my favorite time of day to eat!

    Reply

  8. Diana (Soap & Chocolate)
    Feb 20, 2010 @ 11:14:41

    Ugh, nighttime snacking. I hear ya, it’s no good. It actually was never a problem for me until recently, and I’m not sure how it started, but there’s no question that I feel better when I don’t. Usually peppermint tea does the trick for me.

    Reply

  9. Katie
    Feb 20, 2010 @ 12:57:53

    I LOVE the wholefoods baked sweet potato, apple and fennel. The one in London often has pecans in it too and it’s amazing, my favourite thing from the whole salad bar!
    I hope you felt better when you went running this morning. If I feel sick on runs it’s usually because I’m either dehydrated, went out too soon after eating or left it too long after eating and have wonky blood sugar. I actually feel sick if I try and run in the mornings as well, my body prefers the afternoon! I think that’s probably dehydration as well though.
    I hope you’re having a nice weekend 🙂

    Reply

  10. kate
    Feb 20, 2010 @ 18:02:20

    gorgeous running pics! i too splurged on a little WF hot bar today. man i love that place!

    Reply

  11. pen
    Feb 20, 2010 @ 19:33:53

    I love people watching too! But, I’ve never runner-watched. I think that would be so much fun! Maybe I should go spectate more races. 🙂

    And your vacations sound wonderful (except the whole massively stressful thinking your mother and sister had been eaten by mountain lions thing)! But, I love active vacations!

    Reply

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