Wednesday, January 05, 2005

It was Costa Rica all over again

8 MILES89:45My house in Seaside, rec trail to Lovers, up to my parents house by Asilomar11:13 per mile

In the summer of 1997 I spent 5 weeks traveling in Costa Rica.
Today's run reminded me of that.
In Costa Rica during our summer months, it rains quite a bit. But it's not the type of rain that is biting or cold. It's refreshing because it relieves the heat.
In a national park on the Pacific side, I was hiking through some of the rain forest. The trails were steep, the heat was a bit overbearing. This particular hike veered towards the peak of this magnificent cliff. More than 150 feet below, the Pacific Ocean crashed and churned. Making my way towards this peak, I was being hunted by a pack of white-faced monkeys. You know the type - the same monkeys from the TV show "Friends" or from the movie "Outbreak."
Yes they are small monkeys but nasty little creatures. Because of the increased human contact, these white-faced monkeys have become aggressive in the National Parks. They are known to attack humans wearing backpacks because they believe there is food inside. Signs warn visitors not to let small children out of sight.
They also hunt in packs - sometimes as large as 7.
On this particular day, I could hear them screeching and jumping in the tree limbs above. Though not particularly scared, I was a bit anxious to lose the pack. I was, afterall, alone on these trails.
The heat only added to the anxiety. As I made my way up one particular small hill, the monkeys made their move. Out of nowhere, the lead monkey jumped onto the trail in front of me, maybe 7 feet. Three more came up the rear, positioning themselves in a classic attack formation. It almost seemed as if they were trying to funnel me to a broken trail to my right.
As I hastily made my decision to go right, the monkeys made a big mistake. Waiting some 5 yards ahead on this broken trail was two white-faced suckers who had jumped the gun. They had tried to set a trap but failed.
Just as I turned back towards the lead monkey, the rain began to fall.
Bolstered by a sense of empowerment, I charged the lead monkey, flailing my arms about and making as much noise as possible. He hadn't considered this move and quickly jumped back. Not daring to hesitate, I moved even more quickly and blew past him. The pack behind did not follow and with the rain falling I made my way through the rain forest and out of the park.

Today, no monkeys tried to attack. Nevertheless, the rain couldn't have come at a better time. I had blown off Segal and the 6:30 a.m. run. It wasn't really my fault, I just woke up late. He's pissed but he'll get over it. In fact, based on my run today, he should be worried.
I pushed for 8 miles and got it. Moreso, today was a truly special day because I did not stop. Not once. Yes, my right foot, which has been as clockwork as Puxitani Phil on Groundhogs Day, did not go to sleep around mile 3. In fact, it did not go to sleep at all. That had never happened.
It felt good to just keep running. I made it to the five-mile mark with no problem. I got to 6 and couldn't believe how good I felt. The last two were somewhat uphill, and I struggled a bit. Still, I cruised into my parents house at nearly full run. My time was just over 11 minutes. And the rain, well, it refreshed me. I don't know why I had been so afraid of running in the rain. Just like Costa Rica, it did more to bolster my confidence that hinder it.

1. I will not refer to Jon Segal as a fat, overweight, out-of-shape, non-athletic guy. My realization is that he is a machine, much like the TERMINATOR. He continues to defy my expectations. So, much like Reese and Sarah, I am devising a way to take out the TERMINATOR.
2. I will not talk any more about my right foot or achilles heel (unless I suffer a major injury). I realize that these problems may never go completely away but are certainly managable. I'm just sick and tired of using those two ailments as excuses. I will run through them, continue to treat them and be advised by experts. But they will not hinder my training any longer.

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