It takes talent to fall while running uphill, at three miles per hour. I've got talent.
Kona and I headed to the Peak this morning. It's been far too long since we've gone for a run with a sustained climb. I have a race on the calendar for the end of the summer, so it was time to get out for a challenge.
My legs let me know that they have been underutilized on our relaxed, neighborhood trails. Thankfully, I didn't have that "my shoes are caked in mud" feeling. My quads, lungs and heart all felt strong. The problem: my hip flexors. More on that later.
Kona found plenty to sniff, right out of the car. I'm always glad when she doesn't seem too on guard when we first arrive at a trailhead. I think she even had some extra spunk. We've cycled the same two trail systems the last couple weeks, so we were on fresh territory.
All started well, but about a mile and a half in, it happened. A rock grabbed my shoe. There's no other way to explain it. While most of me felt strong, my hip flexors just weren't pulling their weight (or my weight). The problem with that? I couldn't lift my feet very high off the ground. The problem with that? My shoes stayed low enough to fall prey to rocks.
Normally, I knock a rock with my toes, stumble and stay upright. But when a rock grabs your shoe, it's impossible to stay on your feet. So I fell. In slow motion. Like a domino. Literally. In domino fashion, I fell straight down and landed on my side. Everything hit the ground at the same time. I didn't know that was possible.
Poor Kona tried to run away, but only got as far as the end of her line. After I hadn't moved for a few seconds, she slowly took steps in my direction. My sweet, but oh-so-not-a-service-dog, pup gave me the ultimate, "What's up with you?" expression. I smiled and slowly got up. No blood, just dusty.
When we reached the top, I was surprised to see that a dense marine layer had edged its way north as we were running. Downtown sat blanketed in fog. On a clear day, our view from the peak can look like this: (Sorry. This is my attempt to add pictures to my posts while my camera remains in Never Never Repair Land.)
At the top of our peak, we made our way to the best rest spot. Something under a sycamore tree caught my attention. It was the huge rear end of a buck. Soon, a doe came into view. Uh-oh. This could be chaos with Kona. I decided to walk on by. Kona didn't notice them. The deer pair stood frozen, only 15 feet away from us. It was neat to see just how nose oriented Kona is. Only a few feet further up the trail and Kona picked up their tracks. Her nose became frantic.
When she finally spotted the deer, she froze. I asked her to sit. I'm learning that Kona has a great sit stay, but it is conditional. The prey can't move. So we had a good three minute face off with the doe. She actually seemed curious about us and took a couple steps in our direction. Kona stood up, but sat back down when I asked her to.
All was well until the doe turned around to leave. Kona reared. The doe ran. Kona charged. I want to train Kona as though she will be off leash, but she will never be an off leash dog. I can hold rotisserie chicken in front of her nose, and she won't be deterred from deer, not even their tracks. Sigh.
Our return to the car was less eventful. Kona coped with the scary stretch on the street pretty well. When I got home, I hopped into the shower to rinse off the trail that I brought home with me. I noticed a red, golf ball-sized welt on my forearm and thought it strange since I didn't remember getting bit by a mosquito.
It wasn't a bug bite. It was a rock bite. I took home a trophy from my uphill fall.