Wednesday's run was an odd one, and I let it throw me off my game. There was lots of wildlife of the two legged variety. My plan was to do my new modified loop - grasslands, north fortuna, shepherd's hill, south fortuna, kway paay. All told it should take me between 3 hours to 3:15. I've only timed it once, and it was 3:10, so that was the goal. Well, I was well on pace going up north fortuna, and I was trailing a figure that was maybe 400 yards ahead of me. Whoever it was was matching my climb up to the top perfectly (time -20 min. - that's good!). So North Fortuna has a couple of bumps on the ridges as you come to a peak, then down and to the real peak then a third false peak, and then a small rise by the highway before a rocky descent off the ridge. Well, as soon as I hit the first peak, I started motoring and caught what turned out to be a girl by the second peak. When I was about 20 feet away, I yelled that I was coming behind her so as not to scare her when I came bounding up along the trail. It had the exact opposite effect and she screamed. I apologized as I scooted by her on the narrow trail, but she shrank from me with fear and revulsion in her eyes, none of the mirth that usually follows a scare that turns out to be a false alarm. She was clearly freaked out. I wondered why she was out there by herself. It was almost 7, and for a hiker, it meant at least an hour back to the nearest trailhead, wherever it was, which meant she was going to be out here alone. Given the unfortunate events of Chelsea King, who was found about 5 miles north of the park (for any out of towners, Chelsea King was a 17 year old cross country runner who was snatched and killed while trail running in Lake Hodges apparently by a sex offender out on parole - very tragic), I can't blame her for being spooked, but for christ's sake, lady, don't be out in the middle of a giant park at night by yourself. Show some common sense. Speaking of which, I'm probably lucky I didn't get maced.
The rest of the run went fairly uneventful for a while. I was on a good pace, when three things happenned. First, I started to get really hungry. These long, post work, skip dinner runs need to be better thought out, and I need to bring a sandwich with me. Gu's aren't getting it done. Second, it started to get dark, and on a technical trail, I was surprised how much it slowed me down. Third, I ran into an episode of the Jerry Springer Show. Well, almost. I ran into two people who were barefoot(!) hiking down from North Fortuna who had forgotten that it gets dark and who were stubling along the trail. Since I had a light, I offered to walk them in, shining the light behind me. The lady struck up a conversation and told me all about herself, and that she was a great runner, a great navigator, a great seamstress, had great night vision, etc. You get the point. Her boyfriend was an ex-marine living in Pacific Beach. He told me that he had just gotten his second DUI, while the girlfriend had just gotten out of jail after a DV stint for attacking her father and kicking in a door. Great. After we reached the trailhead, they still needed help because, for some reason, they had stashed their cell phones and shoes under a bush instead of at the car 100 yards away. Finally, left them at their car (how they were going to get out of the locked gate is anyone's guess) and headed up Kway Paay, but at this point I'd loss massive amounts of time. I did the Kway Paay climb and called it a night instead of tacking on the extra 1/2 hour I was planning on running in the park.
I did love my new Wildcat trail runners. The did a great job on the loose DG of the saddle and Kway Paay, and my foot didn't slide too much. So far a success. Listened to the Lakers drop their last game to the Clippers. Clearly on cruise control waiting for the playoffs.
Thursday, had a late deposition, so took Gator in the canyon for a run, but shorter than I had planned and skipped a chance to run that night and again this morning. Feeling lazy and eating a lot. Need to beat that. We'll see what this evening brings. I forgot my running clothes, so if I go home, I doubt I will go back to Mission Trails and waste time. I will probably do a reverse loop in the canyon or something along those lines. Not as much climbing as I should get, but we'll see. Tomorrow maybe a short one in the mountains and then Sunday a challenging double new loop, so hopefully somewhere between 6 and 6:30 of hilly technical running . . .
Til then . . .