Fear and running in Sandy, Oregon

I’ve been working with fear for the past couple months.

At the end of August I saw a Facebook post in my neighboorhood watch group that a mountain lion cub was spotted sleeping in the middle of the path of a popular trail that winds through town. The cub was seen at around noon on a Friday. Well. We all know what it means when a baby is spotted. It means a mom isn’t far away. I recalled how that very morning I did my usual Friday Morning 4 mile run along that very trail, right around day break (when they are most active). I probably ran right past it.

I am very afraid of mountain lions.  And I have reason to fear. They actually attack humans. I recall at least two news stories when I lived in California where a runner and a bike rider were killed by mountain lions. So yeah. It’s a rational fear.

Yet It was bugging me because, while it is something could could possibly happen  I was really letting it get to me.  I wondered if it went from being rational to irrational. Yes, there have been attacks on humans, but what, really, were my chances of getting attacked?

I tried running on parts of the trail, but the fear of getting attacked was so great that I ruined the relaxing nature of the run. I had to finish it on the street. Each time I would go out I would try to talk myself into running on the trail, but when I got to the trail head and saw the sign I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Finally, one Friday,about three weeks later, I woke up and I wasn’t afraid anymore. I didn’t wake up with that dread of fear. I decided that this was the day I would run on the trail again. So I did. And it felt good. Oddly, all of the signs were taken down, so apparently the threat moved on.

It makes me wonder if that fear I was feeling was my gut telling me to avoid the trail. Maybe primal instinct was keeping me off the trail while the mountain lions (it turns out it was a mother and 2 cubs) made their home there. And then when they left, so did my fear.

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7 thoughts on “Fear and running in Sandy, Oregon

  1. Always pay attention to your gut! When it’s bugging you, there’s a reason. It’s always worth trying to figure out that reason and think about it in terms of likelihood and impact — how likely is the bad thing to happen, and how bad would it be if it happened. The cougar thing — low likelihood, high impact. I think I’d’ve given the trail a break too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes trust your gut. But maybe leave the fretting aside. I know what it is to have anxiety and it sucks! As it says on the sign, do not run , do not turn your back, I think you had a good reason not to be on the trail for a jog. You could have inadvertently turned into a greater-pussy’s dinner!

    Liked by 1 person

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