My long run was tough today! I ran with Mary on the enormously hilly tote roads in the national forest land outside of North Conway, New Hampshire. My quads were sore and tired from the first step until the last. I think it was residual fatigue from my mountain bike ride and strength training yesterday. Today I didn't utter one word of complaint during the run and practiced positive thinking throughout, telling myself that having a bad run is better than not being able to run at all. I didn't walk a step or cut the distance short so it was a success!
Mary kept me entertained and distracted from my suffering. She is on a kick about mountain lions lately. Someone she knows claims to have spotted one in the White Mountain National Forest land where we run. Every outdoors enthusiast in the North East has heard rumors of mountain lion sightings, but we rarely hear of any real evidence. For example, there have been no confirmed tracks, fur samples, or photographs in recent years. However, once, in 2002 in the Ossipee Hills (near my house!) DNA testing of scat come back as positive for being from a mountain lion. Officials believe it was from a domesticated animal, (some one's illegal pet.) If mountain lions do exist in the Northern New England woods, they are very few and far between.
Anyway, Mary, who doesn't flinch when a black bear bluffs a charge at her or a big bull moose tosses his antlers around and snorts at her, is running scared from New Hampshire mountain lions these days. There is no reasoning with her so I just told her that if she did get killed by a mountain lion in New Hampshire her carcass would give New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife the evidence they have been lacking. Also, she'd be sure to make the national news so it wouldn't be all bad.
Our route started on that same gradual six mile long climb we ran a few weeks ago. I kept telling myself I'd feel better after we finished the major climbing. Unfortunately, when we finally started the down hills and flats I really didn't feel any better. Mary bantered on about mountain lions, cross country championships, home improvement projects, mountain lions, dating, mountain lions, girls nights out, planned ski trips, and mountain lions. I silently trudged along wishing a mountain lion would jump out and put me out of my misery. I persevered and we finally made it through without succumbing to exhaustion, muscle fatigue, or big cat attack. I have to admit, when all is said and done it feels pretty good to push through a tough run.