Bear poop, bad back and a bummer week

Last week was a bust. I ran a total of six miles. Yeah, six miles–my weekly total. Worse still, I wasn’t able to run in the Alaska Endurance Trail Run. Instead of mindlessly and joyfully running a six-mile trail loop for 12 hours, I lay on the sofa, a heating pad tucked beneath my lower back as I stared mindlessly out the windows at the birch trees.

My view for two days–isn’t it lovely?

The week started off well until Wednesday, when I pulled a muscle in my back. I had no idea a back could hurt that much. I cried and moaned and felt quite sorry for myself. Finally, I took one of my partner’s Tylenol with codeine (left over from last year’s dental appointment), a desperate move since I never take prescription drugs. Ever. The last time I took medication was over 30 years ago.

So there I lay, flying high on codeine for most of Wednesday and Thursday, and I stupidly thought I’d still be able to run for 12 hours on Saturday.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Instead, I spent Friday night binge watching Offspring on Netflix and stuffing food into my mouth because I soon discovered that when you’re flat on your back there’s not much to do but watch Netflix and eat.

Finally, by Sunday I was feeling a little better but mostly so sick of myself that I shuffled out the door and ran a whopping two miles (two miles!). And thank god, too, because I really can’t stand myself when I’m not running.

The night before I killed my back we walked on the beach and saw bear tracks right through the sand. It was so neat. Kind of like we were walking the same path as a mama bear and at least one cub. How often do you get a chance to do that?

Anyway, I’m back running this week but only six miles a day and supplementing with a 60-90 minute bike ride, to keep my heart rate up. I ran my first few runs on the Coastal Trail, in order to avoid rough footing, and though I don’t love pavement I did love this run because I was, whee!, running again.

Seriously loves to adopt this pose whenever I shoot a picture. I think she thinks that it’s her best angle.

Tuesday and Wednesday I hit the trails for easy runs and it’s funny how much more I appreciated these runs, how much more I noticed, how much I looked around and breathed and just soaked it all in.

And today, we saw this on the trail, a big pile of bear poop.

And what was so startling about this is that it’s on a place where I always feel safe, where I’ve never seen any scat before, when I begin to relax because I’m going up the last steep hill and after that it’s mostly downhill (zoom!) to the trailhead. So I guess the moral is that bears are everywhere and you never know when or where you might encounter one so you’d better stay on guard and not relax until you’re back to the car, thank you very much.

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