Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Kamikaze Ferret!

I haven't been blogging my training walks lately, which is sad because I've got a lot of good stories that I've managed to lose in the clutter that is my brain.

I went on a fairly decent training walk yesterday, it ended up about 9 miles. I originally intended to go 15 miles, but a blister on one of my toes ended my hopes for that distance. I will have better access to medical help during The Walk itself, so I hope it won't be as big a problem if it happens again.

Anyway, being the Fourth of July, I figured it would be either rainy or at least overcast. No such luck. The sun came out early and stayed all day. In fact, it was probably the clearest Fourth we've had in years.

I started around 10 am and headed down to the trail. There were tons of people in the streets of Bothell as the parade was getting set up. I passed the police setting up barriers in the streets, and lots of people who had already settled themselves along Main Street to watch the parade.

Once I got down to the trail, I was nearly run over by a cart that was acting as an adventure ride for a group of kids. As it approached me, though, it's engine died and I was able to walk around it. The driver managed to get the engine going again, but by that time I was on the trail and heading away from it.

As I passed Bothell Landing Park, I spotted a group of Redcoats waiting on the trail side of the bridge. I couldn't resist, I went up on the bridge and took a couple of pictures of them. There were a bunch of other folks snapping pictures as well. When I finally continued on my way and walked past them, I asked about wearing bright red and white in an army... "Aren't you just dressed as walking targets?" I said. I got glared at, and none of them answered. Oh well. In contrast, the rebel army on the other side of the bridge was barely visible among the trees, even though they were practicing their formations the same way as the Redcoats.

I walked on, with tons and tons of bicyclists passing me, most of them headed into Bothell. I also passed a woman walking two extremely cute pug puppies, and told myeslf that I had to tell Eric's mom about them.

After I'd gone about two and a half miles, I reached a long straight stretch of the trail. There were a lot of people on the trail, and I could see what was happening further down quite easily. I saw what at first appeared to be a squirrel run across the trail. Only it didn't look quite like a squirrel. I shrugged to myself, as I figured I'd never see the thing again since it had crossed and probably run off. I was wrong. As I got nearer to its crossing point, the creature crossed back across the trail, but this time there were two cyclists right there and one of them had to hit his brakes to keep from hitting it. There was a screech (did you know bicycle brakes can screech) and even a puff of road dust under the cyclist's tire, and the creature leaped simultaneously backward and to the side to get out of the bike's way, then back into the bushes. The cyclist that nearly hit it was going in my direction, and he continued on, the other cyclist saw me looking and said, "did it get away? Did he hit it?!" "It got across, he didn't hit it." I said, as she slowly passed me. I heard her sigh in relief as she continued on. When I got to the crossing point, I stopped and looked into the foliage at the side of the trail. Looking back at me was a very shocked and shaken ferret. It looked at me. I looked at it. It suddenly shook off its shock and bolted deeper into the green. A family passing by on bikes slowed and asked me what that thing was. I said, "It looked like a ferret!" "Poor thing!" "I hope it makes it!" and they rode off. I shrugged as well... I couldn't have caught it even if I wanted to. I continued walking.

I didn't have much trouble with the walking until I got to around the six mile mark. Then my right foot started giving me some trouble. I found a handy bench and took off my shoe, and sure enough, nasty blister on one of my toes (next to the smallest toe). I wrapped a blister bandage around it best I could, then started off again, but it was clear that the pain was going to make it really difficult to keep walking. In addition, I could feel two other "hotspots" on my feet, and I only had one more blister bandage on me. I decided to cut the walk short, and call for backup as soon as I could locate a spot where Eric could easily find me.

That spot was three more miles along the trail, at Matthew Beach Park. I rested and ate my Clif Bar there, and realized I felt surprisingly good. Except for the feet, I could have gone on much further. Of course, the feet need to be in good shape or I'm not going anywhere. So it was a mixed blessing of a feeling.

Still, not too bad. I've only got two and a half weeks of training left before The Walk itself. I hope I can manage.

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