Monday, August 30, 2010

long with a bit of creepy

This was a good long run. I haven't run long around home for quite some time. I had intended to run three 5.5 mile loops, but once I got started that just seemed so boring. Instead, after running 1/4 of the first loop, I just kept heading north until I got to Old Smelter Road. I've never run it (which is odd since that's where all of the local runners go) because it looked too intimidating. I ran to the top. I did take some walk breaks, but not many.

About 3/4 of the way up, I heard a noise in the brush. It was a quiet, squeaking noise that was strange - kind of like very new puppies when they cry for the mother that has wandered off. I clapped my hands (yeah - like that's going to scare off some coyote or feral dog), and it got worse. At this point, it wasn't a strange noise anymore because now I could place it: a duck caller. This is irritating for a couple of reasons. 1) It's not duck season. It's not any season except the white tailed ptarmigan which would only be applicable if I lived close to the Uintahs. 2) It got worse only after I clapped my hands a few times and looked around A LOT. I was obviously unnerved, and I'm convinced THAT'S why it got worse. Some jackass was just trying to screw with me which was very uncool. It was 5am, dark, and Mr. Hunter and I were the only people on this road. I couldn't see him, and he was squawking that damn duck caller just to freak me out. So, I got my phone out of my hydration pack and had 911 on stand-by. I ran just a little faster, too.

At the top of the road, I finally turned around and practiced my "quiet" running (which, at my weight, is ridiculous). I knew exactly where he had been, and I planned to run as quickly and quietly through that area as possible. I actually turned off my headlamp so that I would hopefully not be seen. Whatever. So, I was running up the hill to the place where the noise had been, and there was the guy - standing on the side of the road as still as a fence post. A really, really TALL fence post. He wasn't impeding me at all, so I just continued to run past him as fast as I could. I kept up the pace for another mile (which almost killed me - a long run is not the time to incorporate tempos). Another mile later, and I heard a bicycle approaching. Mr. Hunter, dressed all in dark camo clothes, sped past me on a dirt bike - yes - a little teenager's dirt bike. I think that the whole time, I was freaked out by a 17-year old. Ass! He really did have me scared. Finally, I put away my phone.

NO - I did NOT take my pepper spray. YES - I WILL take it next time that I run this road (and there WILL be a next time - nice, gentle up/down) in the dark. Like I said, I had just planned to run those three laps, and I wouldn't really need it for that route. I would have felt better about the creepy duck hunter if I would have had my pepper spray, but the phone worked, too.

About two miles later, the sun started to brighten the sky a bit, although it was still a while before it would come up. I found a much needed Honey Bucket and continued my run. I headed down 1000 North on a newly paved road that I've never run before. It was now that the sun finally peeked over the Wasatch and turned Deseret Peak pink and gold. I continued down a farming road next to a field of ripe alfalfa to the sound of field mice scurrying around in the weeds next to the fence and the birds moving away from me as I ran. I finally connected to Utah Ave and headed home.

When I got home, I realized that I could still do another five miles if necessary. That makes me feel good about the upcoming 'thon. I may not have gotten three 20-milers in, but to have this 17.5 run under my belt gives me the confidence that I can finish. It may not be fast, but I will finish.

Stats: 17.5 miles in 3:22:10 for a 11:34mpm pace

No comments: