Thursday, September 2, 2010

Carrying a torch

It's encouraging to have a practical purpose to inspire a run. Like you need to drop a letter in the post office box a few miles away, for instance. Or ... well, that's pretty much all I can think of.

But this morning I ran back to the house with another purpose. With a message. Last night, my housemate, a videographer, mentioned that he'd always wanted a classic shot of a rattlesnake striking the camera (affixed to a broomstick, of course). Conway Ranch Rd is the place, I said. Then, around 10 am, about three miles in, there a snake was, reclining lazily in the sun on the soft sand at the edge of the road. Heck, I thought, I'll just run back to the house to rattle off an alarm.

So, I drew a line with my shoe across the road's sand--opposite the rattler--to mark the spot. Then I giddy-upped the 3.5 miles yonder to Mono City, finishing my run earlier than I'd planned (only 49 minutes). But I felt like a scout relaying an crucial message (kind of like the fabled Pheidippides, who ran from the Battle of Marathon back to Athens to deliver an announcement of victory ... and then keeled over dead with exhaustion). There was umph to my step. Never mind that the news was slightly ludicrous, deranged. It felt good, too, to run in a new direction on 395, back toward Mono City.

J, I said, rattler! Lickity split, he duct-taped a pink, plastic coat hanger to the end of a spare crutch--the perfect implement for wrangling. We piled into his truck and drove over, noting that there were probably a thousand snakes nearby, and here we were chasing just one.

Of course, it was gone. It'd been about a half hour since I'd seen it. The snake had seen enough sun, I guess, and the chase was half-baked idea, in the first place. But at least I made the effort.

AM: 7 mi, 49 min; up 395 to the back side of Conway Ranch (rattler!), and back

PM: 5 mi, 35 min; Lee Vining Creek Trail and around town

Wednesday, 9/1: 15 mi, 105 minutes; down old 395 to Cemetery Road, around Dechambeau Ranch, then through it, and on til Mono City

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