Monday, August 16, 2010

Coyote Ugly

Last week was a great week for running if you like getting up early. The weather was hot but manageable around 6 a.m. each day. It was the first week since I was injured that I was able to move my mileage back into the 30+ range. After the Psycho run on Friday, I took Saturday off, and then did a 7.5 miler on Sunday before it hit 100F. The rest of the week went smoothly with runs of 3-5 miles a day; with one exception.

On Friday I set out for a short 3 miler because Eric and I had planned an 8ish mile trail run for Saturday and I didn't want to overdo it. I was cruising back to my house through a fairly rural area when what I thought were two dogs came toward me out of a lawn. I quickly realized that the pair weren't dogs, but were in fact, coyotes. If you recall my coyote run-in from a couple of months ago, these critters in my neck of the woods really aren't scared of people. When the pair were about 20 feet away from me (to my left), I started yelling and clapping my hands to at least halt their advance. They paused and then retreated a few feet. One then took off on a circuitous course ahead and around me across the two lane road. So with one coyote on my left, and one on my right, I had no choice but to run between them. I continued looking at them, talking loudly, and clapping until I felt I was safely away. A couple of cars also passed me. Normally I hate running with cars on that road - it is a small two-lane with no curbs, just ditches, on each side. Friday, however, I was glad to see them.

I've never been afraid of coyotes, but the ones in my neighborhood really seem to be fearless. I spoke with a friend on Sunday, who knows about such things, who told me that there had only been one recorded instance in history of a coyote attacking and killing a runner. Interestingly, it happened this year. A woman was running while listening to an ipod and probably wasn't aware of their presence until they set upon her. I always run with an mp3 device, but am usually pretty aware of my surroundings due to run-ins with deer in my back yard (and the earlier coyote incident). Older coyotes are much more skittish around people. Younger ones that don't know better are much more likely not to look upon us as predators. I've said enough about this now, but if anyone is interested in why efforts to rid areas of coyotes don't work, I can go into it on a future blog (I learned a whole lot about these wonderful creatures yesterday).

Back to running... On Sunday, I got up at 5:30 a.m. Eric cruised by my place at 6, and we drove out to Clinton Lake to meet with Bad Ben and some other trail types for a run on the north shore. I had actually never done a trail run there (even though it is very close to my house). I usually take the SLT paved trails on my runs in the area. This past Sunday there were 9 people who showed up. It was a stunning day for a run. The trails were a bit more technical than the river trails Eric and I usually do which made it more interesting. We turned around after going out 4 miles. When we completed the run, we found that Clinton has some really nice facilities for washing off the mud and plant detritus. I plan to do the runs whenever I'm in town on Saturdays. They do them all year. And again, the trail running community overall seems to be made up of the nicest people I've ever met. To a person, they are fit, enthusiastic, and friendly.

Now for a movie plug: I ordered a French film called Welcome last week. It is a small movie about illegal immigrants in Calais, France who are trying to make it across the channel to England. The direction and acting are excellent, and the screenplay is very well-written (in three languages). I'm a big fan of French cinema, and this is one of the best I've seen recently. I'd highly recommend checking it out of you have a chance.

Until next week, bon chance.

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