One early morning last week found me in the middle of the Fort Ord open space, knocking out the miles of a long solo training run. It was a morning like countless other mornings – I had already been awake for a few hours before the sun came up, running on trails that are so familiar I could practically navigate them in my sleep.
That’s why I was somewhat surprised as I neared the crest of a two-mile climb and saw a lonely skeleton of a bush silhouetted against the stark gray sky, and thought to myself, I don’t remember there being a bush right here.
My eyes then darted to the top of the bush, and that’s when my mind started acting really funny. Sometimes the combination of sleep deprivation and prolonged physical exertion makes me see things in an unusual light … and as I approached the bush in question, I was wondering why someone left a Kleenex on the top of this skinny shrub in the middle of the night.
It was only when I slowed down and walked up close that I finally figured out what I was looking at …
… it was a flower. (And sorry about the poor picture quality. Remember, I was sleepy.) Our unseasonably warm weather must have tricked it into thinking it was springtime already – or maybe it was just anxious to get winter over with and jump right into the joys of spring. Clearly, this was a flower I could identify with.
I’m still not quite sure how I’ve never noticed this bush before, but that doesn’t really matter. More importantly, this little flower was a nice reminder that Monterey County’s most beautiful days are right around the corner … as are the ultras that are looming on the calendar in preparation for the big one this summer.
Either one of those things would have been enough incentive for me to keep running – so having both realizations hit me at the same time gave me twice the inspiration that I needed. In the middle of a solo 20-miler, that’s a pretty cool feeling to have.
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