Friday, August 14, 2009

Back to Nature: Mountain Lion Therapy

Lately I've been doing the majority of my running around a dirt track across the street from my house, as my foot had decided once again not to cooperate with my mind. This is more boring than watching Formula One or the painting channel. But, not to be deterred from the end game, I view this track running as mental prep for Ironman Canada. Clearly, if I can run around this track a trillion times, passing the same people over and over and over again (to the point of knowing the growth patterns of the hair on the back of their heads), then I can run longer with great scenery to keep me company.

Monday, though, I had had enough. I broke up with the track. Bay Area temps had SOARED into the 90s (THE HORROR) and the previous day's bike ride had left me dead tired and crabby. I needed scenery….something to take my mind off my blasted foot. I decided to go BACK TO NATURE. I put aside all my fears of foot injuries on uneven terrain and pointed my car in the direction of Rancho San Antonio Park, my old favorite place to run until last fall when I saw THE Mountain Lion.

Mountain Lion - big, scary, LION looking creature.

Bobcat - overgrown house cat.... NOTE THE DIFFERENCE.

Note to slog readers: This mountain lion sighting is a sore point between me and my husband. I came across this creature hiding behind some rocks examining dinner (deer) while I was running at dusk. I KNOW the difference between a bobcat and mtn lion as I am adept at using google images, have multiple degrees in relevant fields (i.e. poly sci and int'l relations), and spend lots of time surfing the web for inane factoids. My husband, however, seems to think that if this truly was a mtn lion sighting, I would not be here to write this post and complain about phantom injuries.

Anyway, this “back to nature” run ended up having a great effect on my mind and body. Despite the horrific uneven terrain (these are fire roads people, but uneven for me) I had no pain. After a few minutes of shuffling at a really slow pace I got into a rhythm and dropped back to normal pace. Perhaps the pain went away because I was so focused on all the random noises and bush movements that clearly indicated a rattlesnake or mtn lion was prowling about stalking me. WHO KNOWS and WHO CARES. I’m cool with running in fear of mtn lions as I now realize this REAL and clearly rational fear will take my mind off the irrational fear of pain and injury.

If I posted this info on a highly-trafficked website, I’d probably get flamed by all the medical people. However, we are talking about “the slog” here, so for anyone interested, I’ve been reading some work by Dr. John Sarno about the mind-body connection and pain – pretty interesting. I first read about him last year when I found myself lying flat on the ground icing my spine with a frozen chicken breast only days before my wedding. I won’t attempt a book report, but will just say that I have found his work quite helpful. Feel free to hate on the guy if you want!

Anyway, I’m done with the track and am enjoying living in the rational fear of a Mountain Lion attack now.


  1. I hear there are mountain lions on the swim and bike at Canada...just what I heard!

  2. I think I'm with the Newt Hunter on this one.
    1) How did Google Images help you any when you were out running in the wilds?
    2) How are your multiple degrees (i.e. poly sci and int'l relations) "relevant" to wild cat identification?
    3) How did you find yourself "surfing the web for inane factoids" while running in the wilds?

    Must have been a bobcat.

  3. Snow: Any good liberal arts disciple will tell you that a degree in social science/lib arts will enhance your critical thinking skills and memory...hence my ability to remember said mtn lion encounter long enough to run home in sub 5 minute pace and immediately search the web for pictures.

    Slandy: Thanks for the motivation.

  4. cute javelinas.... wittle nice snakes with a rattle tail attached..... jack rabbits.

    All so nice...

    then two freaked out city slickers come along and ruin the fun. ;)

  5. Mountain lions - awesome motivation. I used to run early in the morning in college - in the dark in the ghetto in Riverside. Also good motivation to run fast! ha :)

  6. Yes, Charisa! Certain workouts MUST be completed in motivating (dangerous) locations... I usually step outside my front door and wala, ZONE ZILLION

  7. I would just like to note that slootwitch spelled Lindsey's name wrong on their people to watch this weekend page...anyways, good luck this weekend at Elite Nats! Bring home the bacon.