My C25k program is going quite well - 3 weeks are officially finished and my leg isn't any worse, which I'm taking as a good sign. I have found that I am very good with schedules. Following my new one reminds me of when I was first training for my marathon. Granted, this schedule is for 3 days a week with 9 minutes of running each day, but still. I am also trying to do something active on both weekend days that does not involve running.
With that in mind, I decided to head off for a hike in Quicksilver, which I remembered as being very pretty and very popular. If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know about my irrational fear of mountain lions, and today was no different. Ed, being the amazing guy he is, has tried to convince me that I am actually more rational that most people - that it makes perfect sense to be scared of mountain lions, but it certainly is frustrating.
The walk started nicely enough, it was a beautiful late afternoon, with a light blue sky and a breeze upon the air. I made it about a tenth of a mile, when I reached the main trailhead and a huge display about the mountain lion population in the silicon valley. As I stood there reading the sign, two runners came past heading to their cars, but it seemed that there was no one else heading out. I stood there nervous and disheartened, and finally decided that I just didn't have the courage to continue.
I started heading back to the car, telling myself that I would head to the Los Gatos Creek Trail (a very popular paved path near my house) but I was frustrated with myself. Then, I saw her, heading my way. A woman walking briskly, wearing bright green pants, a long sleeved shirt, a pink flowery hat, sunglasses, and carrying an umbrella. As she rushed past me, I had an idea. I had done this a few times before, and it seemed like the best option. I would follow this confident fast walking woman. If I have someone in my line of sight, I don't feel panicked and about to be eaten. So, off I went, essentially stalking this unknowing woman.
With her as my guide, I was able to tackle the trails. I was so impressed by this woman! I was having a hugely tough time keeping up with her, and I was so glad to have someone push me and help me feel safe. As soon as I lost her from my sight, the sounds in the bushes became frightening, but once I had caught up, they became the wind and birds once more. I did start to get worried that maybe she would just keep walking forever, since she didn't seem to be losing any steam, but eventually she suddenly turned around and I got to see the face of my hiking inspiration. She was younger than I had thought, probably in her late 30s, and she smiled at me and said hi as she headed back down the trail. I waited about 15 seconds before I too turned around. I wanted to tell her what I was doing, to ask her if she minded that I tagged along and hoped that maybe she enjoyed the company too, but I stayed silent. I kept hoping that maybe I would get more confident on the way back and let her slip ahead, but every time I attempted that, I started getting scared and would run for a few moments until she was back in my sight.
As we got back to the main trail head I finally let her slip away, spending a few moments by myself on the trail and walking that final tenth of a paved mile back to the car.
All in all, it was an hour of good hiking and I was glad that I tagged along. I sincerely hope that that woman didn't mind me walking behind her, but I'm so thankful to her for giving me a way to hike. I am officially done with my summer job and less than 2 weeks from beginning my new job in my new district, which is a little nerve racking. Ed comes back in a week - and I cannot wait. Life is really good right now, and my being active is a definite part of that. I'm still a far cry from how I used to be (and still have my sore tingly leg) but I'm getting there.