I bundled up in fleece pants, down jacket and fuzzy gloves. Sure, I'm a cold-blooded Southern Californian but with temperatures in the 30's, I felt justified. Koan and I headed to Kona's favorite trail. The trailhead was empty of cars, a rarity after sunrise. I wondered if the threatening clouds kept our fellow hikers inside.
The weekend brought another Fall rain and the first dusting of snow on our lower peaks. I can't remember so much green this early in the season. In fact, I remember several years when the foothills never changed from their Summer brown hue.
The high peaks to our North held onto their snow cover. While the closer ridgelines sit at lower elevations and rarely get snow, the clouds provided a special winter cloak.
Heading up the trail with trekking poles to support my knee, Kona nearly spun with energy. We explored every flat nook and cranny we could find. I can only walk down a certain downgrade, which significantly limits where and how far we can hike. Taking advantage of the extra exploring helps Kona use up more energy plus, she loves exploring.
Despite having to hobble some, Kona kept a smile on my face. She was a genuine spazz. Her energy level exploded to the point of losing her self control. She seized my moment of slow reaction time to pounce another dog. Fortunately, Kona's pounce victim was a forgiving lab. I knew the lab wasn't too bothered, as she stuck close by, despite being off leash. While the lab turned away from Kona to sniff the ground, Kona looked at her from the corner of her eye. I saw the gleam in her eye grow, followed by a goofy grin. Thankfully, Kona's second pounce turned into a playbow.
As we headed toward the car, Kona still had a bounce and a half in her step. I knew I hadn't done much to wear her out. Some of you asked what's going on with my leg. I suppose without an MRI, I can't be certain but I'm pretty sure I have a wickedly inflamed and unhappy IT band. IT band syndrome is a common overuse injury and I'm sure some of you know the debilitating pain. I delt with IT band problems a year ago but I'm concerned about the level of pain I have. While IT band syndrome pain usually subsides when you stop running, I have pain while I walk and even if I sit or sleep "wrong." Unlike some running aches that I can push through, I can't even imagine running at this point.
I'm really trying to keep my chin up but boy oh boy, I have a hard time being around myself when I haven't had a good workout. I know the coming weeks will be a balance of trying to heal and getting Kona the exercise she desperately needs.