That was one of the phrases that came out of my mouth this morning as I ran around Briones Reservoir alone. Apparently the ranchers have moved their cattle to the reservoir as they felt that there wasn't enough cow dung along the path to fertilize all of the thorns and briars.
It was pouring rain this morning and yet I went out. I hadn't run all week due to work being a little more crazy than usual. Remind me to tell you what it is like working with a team that consists of the client and four different consulting firms. Lots o' fun.
The rain didn't bother me too much as it was a warm rain (50s). The hills bothered me a little and I just decided to relax and go slow. The mud really bothered me. The clumpiness factor on a scale of 1 to 10 was a solid 7. The only solution was to run through the grass, which of course has thorns. Fun stuff.
At about mile 7, I started noticing many piles of fresh cow crap. I wish I had had my camera as there is nothing quite like clumpy mud, fresh cow poo, and rain. I guess it was kind of like running in diarrhea.
About half a mile after noticing the diarrhea mud, I encountered my first herd. Probably 30 or 40 cows. No bulls. However, there were about 10 calves. Remembering the lessons learned from Grandma F's ranch back in the day, I knew that just trying to run by them wouldn't work. I had to scare them off. It was at this point that I started shouting, "Yeaaawwwww! Get a move on! Yeaaawwww!" and waving my arms. I almost took off my hat, but due to the rain, I decided against it. Also, I was looking ridiculous enough. Adding a waving white running hat would have been too much.
The cows moved aside and as I ran by, they all mooed at me. I was a little tired at this point, so I didn't moo back, but believe me, next time I see that herd, we're gonna have us a moo-down. About a mile later, another herd. Only this one had about 60 cows and one bull. Fortunately, the bull decided that I was pretty scary and just took off. I hope the cows remember how he wussed out against a skinny pale white guy dodging cow patties.
I thought I was done with the cows, but at the top of a ridge about two miles later, I encountered a very large herd. Probably a 100 or so cows. The problem with these cows was that they were on the trail and there was nowhere for them to go. Both sides of the trail were just too steep. So here I go with my arms waving and my "Yeeeaaaawwwww!! Get a MOVE ON!!" routine and the only place they can go is right down the trail. We did this for about a half mile before the ridge flattened out and they were able to bolt to the side. Seriously, there needs to be a camera crew following me around when I run. I was herding cows. It was somewhat ridiculous, but at least they didn't slow me down.
It reminded me of when I begged a cowboy at Grandma F's ranch to let me ride a horse when I was seven or eight and he said he'd get a horse ready, but only if I chased all of the cows in another field down a path to another field. Sure, I said just wanting to ride a horse. So he saddled up a horse for me and off I went to the field to chase cows. The problem is that I had no idea how to chase them in an organized fashion so that they would all go down the path. I spent about 30 minutes chasing individual cows across the field before the cowboy came riding up to me on his horse asking me what the hell I was doing. I of course told him I was chasing cows. He spit, told me to go back to the barn and then proceeded to chase the herd down the path to the other field in less than ten minutes.
As you can tell, I remembered that lesson today. All the cows went where I directed them. That cowboy would have been so proud.