Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Wildlife Encounter

I've been a slacker when it comes to blogging for the past week or so.
Let's see... Thursday I had to go in to work in the morning, so I only ran an easy 2.5 miles that morning.

Friday I ran 7.48 miles; it was the 7 mile tempo run I should have done earlier in the week but we had a friend here at the time (and it was 96).

Saturday was an off day to rest for my distance run today, but we took our pup to run with her doggy friends in the morning.  After they ran, the humans stood around talking, and for some strange reason, our dog decided that this would be a good place to stand.  With her head right between her dog-boyfriend's legs. Nice, Molly.
That's my dog's head.

At night we went to a friend's house for dinner; I was good and only had one glass of red wine then had lots of water so I would be hydrated for this morning's run.

This morning's run was my long run for the week - 10 miles.  I got a nice 8+ hours of sleep last night.  When I got up, I had a piece of cinnamon raisin toast with almond butter and a glass of water, then got ready.  I had one of my Strawberry Shot Bloks right before leaving the house and brought the other 5 with me.  I had one basically at miles 2, 4, 6, and 8.  I brought along a 17 ounce water bottle and drank all of it.

The weather was great for a long run this morning - it was 71 with 76% humidity, and overcast so no direct sun.  Not much traffic on the roads leading me to the tow path where I sometimes run, and not a lot of other people on the towpath.  It was a very peaceful run... then around 3.5 mile a raccoon pops out of the weeds between the canal and the towpath about 15 feet in front of me and hisses at me. Really loudly.  Wow, was that scary.

The info I uploaded from my Garmin watch confirms how startled I was.  My HR jumped from the upper 170s to 196!  Anyway, I started to back up slowly, hoping the raccoon would forget about me and go on its merry way, but it started to run at me!  I then turned around and began to run away from it, but it was surprisingly persistent.  I ran away a little bit, peeking over my shoulder to see if it was still following me and once it stopped, I stopped running.  The raccoon was going back and forth between the growth on either side of the tow path (I don't even know where it was hiding, it didn't seem like there was that much room).  I was relieved to see another runner coming and I warned him that there was an angry raccoon ahead.  I think he was a little confused at first; he said from far away he assumed it was a little dog because of the way it was following me!  We watched the raccoon disappear into the weeds again and it looked like he was far enough away from the path, so we slowly approached (making noise, talking loudly so it would hopefully be afraid and stay there) then we ran quickly past that area.  This was probably a stupid idea, but for some reason I felt safer quickly passing through that area with another person.  Luckily I did not see the raccoon again!

Raccoon picture from this website

As this was an out-and-back run, luckily I had the option of running on a parallel road for that section.  It's kind of a narrow road, but I ran facing traffic and there weren't too many cars that drove past me for that half a mile before I could get back on the tow path.

Somewhere around mile 7, I encountered a teeny tiny baby painted turtle!  It was in the middle of the towpath, and so I tried to scoot it over to the edge.  (Or else it was going to end up smooshed and on its back, exactly like its brother that I had seen nearby but earlier in my run)  It looked a lot like this:

Baby Painted Turtle
Picture from this website

It looked almost exactly like the above picture, but darker.  I was surprised by the (what I consider to be) longer tail.  The size of the shell was about the length of the end section of my thumb (if that makes sense).  When I stopped running next to it, it pulled everything inside it's shell, so I just scooted it over to the edge.  Hopefully it's safe!

I've started carrying my phone with me on my runs more often, just in case.  Today, I decided not to though.  I told my husband where I was running, when I'd be back, and there was a strong chance of rain so I didn't want to get caught 5 miles from our apartment in a downpour with my cell phone.  It ended up not raining for my run, but I was bummed I didn't have my phone on me.  If I did, I could have taken a picture (from afar) of the crazy raccoon, and a picture of my little turtle friend.

I did call up Animal Control for my town when I got home (even though it had been over an hour) to report the raccoon.  Maybe it had babies nearby, but I'm thinking it was rabid since it hissed at me unprovoked and was out in daylight at 10am.

Hopefully my next run is not quite so eventful!

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