There’s a road in the foothills of the mountains out here that I love to run on. It overlooks the valley, and on a clear day it’s a beautiful sight. I used to run on it all the time, but for some reason I realized last week that it had been a while. I set out to change that on a “lunch break” excursion, and was excited for a brief but epic run on a perfect day.
Whereas this season my goals were more centered on long-course races, with 3 Ironman 70.3’s, next year I want to focus more on fast. Therefore, even though it’s clearly the offseason, I’m pushing myself a bit more than I did at this time last year. For example, for this particular workout I targeted a 5 mile run, but getting progressively faster by 15-20 sec each mile. I would start out comfortable, then ratchet things up to finish at more of a tempo pace.
I was giddy as a schoolgirl as I set out to execute on my plan, and could see for miles on this picturesque day. This was truly one of those euphoric “runner’s high” experiences, and my legs felt great as I picked up the pace. With only a mile to go, however, I suddenly had a painful encounter with my Rocky Mountain surroundings... a mountain lion, you ask?? A rattlesnake?? Bigfoot himself??
No, think smaller… much smaller.
What I felt was a small pinch on my wrist. Looking down I saw a thorn of some kind sticking out, as though Mother Nature had shot me with a blow dart. It appeared to be from a cactus or other plant, and I thought little of it as I flicked it away in the breeze and continued on. My wrist was a little red, but no big deal. Right?
That night I woke up at 2am and thought my wrist was on fire. I soaked a sock in cold water and wrapped it around, hoping it would extinguish the flames, and crawled back in bed. It didn’t help. I rummaged around and found some type of medicinal cream that’s supposed to help with itchy rashes and the like, but it made it worse. Finally I found the solution… a bag of frozen peas laid on a towel next to me. For the next four days I regularly ran my wrist under cool water during the day, and each of those nights I slept with the frozen peas. I’d roll over in my sleep, wake up to the burning sensation, place back on the peas, and repeat. Not fun!
Over those days I did some searches on poisonous thorns/plants in the area, trying to figure out what was going on, and considered seeing a dermatologist. I couldn’t really find anything that looked like what I saw, a small thorn with what appeared to be some soft flowery stuff on top.
After a few days, however, I realized I had been duped. What I thought was a poisoned blow dart courtesy of Mother Nature was actually a nasty allergic reaction to a bee sting. Not sure what caused it, as that had never happened to me before. Must have been a species of pissed off killer bees who are tired of runners treading on their territory.
But I’ll be back… I’ll just make sure to be packin’ heat the next time around.