July 7, 2019

Into the Bedlam. Avoid the Mundane

San Gorgonio from Seven Oaks Trail
It was around mile 15 when the aerial siege descended upon me - with a vengeance. I was under attack. Moments came, then went, when I was flailing my arms and hat - the only weapons at my disposal - at the thickening black cloud. I had to climb 2,000 vertical feet through this mayhem just to get to the ridge where I hoped to find refuge. The worst were the bastards that bit right through my compression socks. Knowing what they were feasting on gave me a sick sense of satisfaction when I crushed them mid-meal.

Then there was that noise. That constant zzzz  zzzz zzzz  that would fade in and fade out. One minute it reached a crescendo as I brandished my weapons, the next minute it faded to the background, when I stopped to catch my breath while hunched over, heart racing and trying to comprehend why I didn't bring a head net. I stumbled deeper into the bedlam, visualizing a ridge with a strong breeze where I could finally sit down.

One of the my favorite things about longer runs, particularly those at altitude, are the random thoughts and experiences that I often stumble upon. Maybe it's the lack of oxygen, the constant drip of endogenous (natural) opiates, or the overwhelming elements nature throws at me, or all of the above, running long in the mountains helps penetrate the mundane.

When I made it to the ridge at the top of Seven Oaks Trail, I sat down on a bench and peered across the valley to Mt. San Gorgonio, southern Cal's highest peak. I realized I'd covered a lot of terrain, from Big Bear Lake to the top of Bear Mountain, down to the Santa Ana River via Radford Rd. to refill my water, then up Seven Oaks trail. But now I wondered, how far would it be to the summit of San Gorgonio from Big Bear?

Maybe next time. With a head net.           

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