I'm in Tucson taking a SQL class and needed to run 4 miles today. I asked at the front desk if there was any good places to run and being non-runners of course said no but did say there was a loop nearby. After class I laced up my new Nike Lunar Glides (they are still so pretty and white) and headed out. I ran around for a bit and then went by the hotel and right behind the hotel is a ditch and what looked like an old road. Things were going ok until I had to cross another ditch. I felt something stab me through my shoe and was going to look at pulling it out as soon as I got out of the ditch. When I felt something stab me in the leg I had to stop and look. I had a small, probably only 2 inch section of a jumping cactus stuck in my leg.
For those who don't know what a jumpin cactus is let me explain. Its real name is Cholla Cactus and it has thousand of very sharp spines. It gets the name Jumping Cactus because the cactus has many joints and are easily separated. Brushing up against one can cause a whole section to lodge itself into your arm or in my case my leg. I think I just picked one up in my shoe and when my shoe came close to my leg, it jumped over to my leg (I still had some spines in my shoes too)
A year ago a friend was doing some work for me and all of a sudden he yells out. In his hand he had a 8 inch section securely lodged into his hand. John grabbed the pliers and worked on taking this thing out of his hand. Because of the multiple direction of the spines, it took a while for the cactus and then all the individual spines to be removed. Remembering his ordeal I wasn't sure I would be able to get it out with my bear hands. I briefly tried but but wanted to get pliers and headed back to the lobby. I had a brief moment when I had to consider running or walking with this thing in my leg and decided to give it another try. Luckily I was able to get it out, counted 9 small stab marks and head on my way to finish my run. A couple of times I thought there must be blood streaming down my leg but it was my imagination. I finished my run and am soooo happy the event is just a funny story and not a horrifying event.
Moral of the story...if you see Cholla cactus as a plant, on the ground or even in a picture stay far away from it. Those things are jumpin mean.