The first mile of this particular course will always tell me how my Achilles will react as it is a steady climb and I was pleasantly surprised upon reaching mile 1 how well my Achilles were doing. No sharp pains like normal. That was good news and the CEP socks seemed to be the cause of it!
So there I am, enjoying my 3 mile climb up a singletrack trail. It's a gorgeous Colorado morning, not a soul out there, blue skies, and a comfortable temperature. Now, one thing that I have worked on in the past year is my cadence and I am proud that I can maintain a normal 90 or more strides per minute, even on climbs.
That becomes important in my story because at mile 4.5, as I am cruising up the trail, adrenaline rushes throughout my body and the fight or flight response takes hold. I hear the loudest rattle I have ever heard and as I look down to my left, I notice my left foot flying over a coiled up rattlesnake shaking its tail very quickly. My right foot plants beside its body and in a split second after my brain processes what would happen next, I act like an Olympic gold medal 100 meter sprinter and take off up the trail. I think I hit a 6:00 min/mile for about 50 meters until I realized I was at a safe distance from the snake.
After this encounter, I had another 2 miles on this singletrack and of course the only thing on my mind was trying to spot more snakes on the trail. Luckily, there were no more encounters and my run was then turned into a high tempo pace effort until I got home.
Whew...looking back on this experience, this was my first real animal encounter all summer while training on the trails. I also did not even see the snack which was coiled just on the edge of the trail. It was so well camouflaged. Lastly, many of you know that I am adamantly opposed to using music while training. Rewind my story and add earbuds to the mix and what do you think may have happened? Who knows for sure but I would have never heard the rattle so I can only imagine what would have happened next.
All in all, a very successful run. I logged in 10.25 miles, averaged an 8:36 min/mile pace and my Achilles pain was far less wearing the CEP compression socks.
I am so ready to race Leadville!
Stay tuned to my last blog next week before I head up to 10,200 feet!