It’s Unbelievable

I want to let you know of some incredible events at today’s American River 50 miler. First, the good news. We’ve had record amounts of rain in the month of March, something like 25 days of rain, and it was looking pretty nasty for today’s run. But the rain stopped after midnight and the sky held back. The trails were extremely muddy and most of the day was spent running through small streams or puddles. But I can’t believe what happened around mile 40. The second half of the course is mainly single track in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Wildlife is abundant. One of the aid stations is called Rattlesnake Bar so you get the picture. Mountain lions and bears are not uncommon when on the trails and when you are running alone, it can get a little lonely and then you are worried about surprising some animal coming around a corner. It keeps you on your toes. So around mile 40 I was coming down a small hill and turned a corner only to surprise a mountain lion right in the middle of the trail and about 10 feet away a skunk. Not sure who was tracking who but they both turned my way. I just about had a heart attack, then came to a sudden stop but neither moved. I’ve been told to make yourself look big and make some noise so I raised my hands and started growling like a bear. Big mistake. The mountain lion started growling too and the skunk raised its tail. Before I knew it I had this awful smell come over me and the skunk started running into the bushes. The mountain lion looked at the skunk then looked at me. Then I made a really stupid mistake. I lowered my hands to cover my nose. The mountain lion must have interpreted this to be some attack signal and started moving my way. I had my water bottle and a Clif Shot in my hands so I started throwing things at him. Even at close range, my nerves got the best of me and I wasn’t even close. Then I started shouting, first at the lion, then hoping another runner was close enough to hear. He kept coming so I took off and ran back the way I came. I made it about 20 yards before tripping on a rock and landing pretty hard in a muddy puddle. But this was my saving grace. Running up were two other runners and seeing three humans must have been too much. He took off. But I had some damage. I landed hard on my side and put my arm down to break my fall. I didn’t feel good. I was wearing my Clif Bar Pace shirt and I wanted to demonstrate how a Clif Bar Pacer always comes through so I sucked it up and finished the last 10 miles. But I’m in some pain. We just came back from the doctor for X-Rays and to see if there is something to get rid of the smell. I have a fractured left arm. Not sure exactly the recovery schedule till I meet with my doctor in Santa Rosa on Monday. I’m hoping to be able to run the Utah Marathon in June but the ER doctor said I shouldn’t do any running for about 6-8 weeks. But you know ER doctors so I’ll wait till the final verdict on Monday. I’m just really glad to be alive. The smell will go away in a couple days and the cast and sling will get me some sympathy for a little while so I really can’t complain.

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