The alarm went off at an ungodly hour of 6:30... usually that isn't ungodly for me, but after being up until 3 am on Saturday morning due to the Lunar Trek Race, grabbing about 5 hours of sleep, working Saturday night and then going to a bar to see my husbands band play, I was pretty whupped. I had made a promise to be out at Clinton Lake by 8, so I got up, got dressed, and got out of the house pretty quick before I crawled back in bed. On the drive to Lawrence I was feeling pretty good, and then the phone calls and text messages started... "umm, I'm not going to make it today" says everyone... by then I was already 1/2 an hour into my drive so it looked like I would run 10 miles by myself. Christy called and said she was just running late and would catch up with me at some point. We decided to do the white trail and she would meet up with me somewhere after the 5 mile turnaround.
When I got the trailhead, the parking lot was almost empty except for 2 mountain bikers getting ready to go... I procrastinated hoping that they would start before me and knock down all the spiderwebs.... just my luck they took the blue trail... Damn! I got through the first mile with only a minimum of screeching, but at mile 2 things got ugly. The webs were thick and the spiders were hanging out in the middle of most of them. Have I mentioned that I hate spiders? I spent a good chunk of my morning screaming like a little girl, dancing around and throwing my hat on the ground, I'm sure I looked like an idiot! One of the lessons that I learned in kindergarten was never to run with sharp objects.... well, I apologize to Mrs. Gedwellis for totally ignoring her rules.... I ran with a long pointy stick today and it was good. I continued the "looking like an idiot" trend as I ran along waving a long pointy stick in front of me. This worked quite well and I became quite fond of my friend the spider moving stick when I rounded a corner to find a momma skunk and her cute little baby waddling down the trail towards me.... I dropped my stick with a shriek and retreated quickly. She kept coming at me so I moved further away and hissed at her hoping she would move off... she turned around and raised her tail at me so I decided it was time to do a sprint interval. She held off squrting, decided the trail wasn't a nice place to be today and she and the baby headed off into the trees. Phew! I got lucky!
I couldn't find my stick again, so I picked out a new best friend and got to the 5 mile marker with a minimum of webbage. I turned around and left my stick behind, hoping that the spiders didn't have time to rebuild all that I had knocked down. I picked up some speed since I didn't have to worry about poking an eye out anymore. About a mile and 1/2 down the trail, I came upon Christy, and whatever webs I had missed, she took care of. She had also seen a copperhead slithering off into the bushes so we kept a weather eye out for him. We gossiped and rehashed last nights race for a few miles until I came to a screeching halt. A huge black snake was crossing the trail... this guy was as big around as my arm and was long enough that we both stood in the middle of the trail and squealed for what seemed like minutes. Yikes! We picked up the pace and made it back to the cars with no further wildlife encounters. Today I decided that I prefer to run with the Trail Nerds at Clinton, most notably the tall, fast Nerds who break webs and scare away all the other wildlife before I get there.