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Archive for the ‘trail running’ Category

Nobody panicked, nobody got frostbite, but yes it snowed for the Tyler Arboretum Trail Run today.  When the gun went off it was just cold drizzle..then it turned to sleet.. And by mile 4 there were big fat flakes of snow falling.  Days like this I wish I had a GoPro because there was a moment when we emerged from the woods into a snow covered field with daffodils..that I would like to see again.   Space blankets were distributed at the end and I managed to stop shivering in the car on the way home.   Lesson learned..never forget your extra shoes.

This is always my favorite race.

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Just some scenes from recent runs in the northwest section of Wissahickon Park.

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I ran the Trail Blazer 5 mile trail run on my birthday.  This post is a reminder to myself in case I decide to run this next year.  Self, pay attention!  There is a long hill about a quarter mile into the run.  And I mean long.  Interminable, really.  And then around mile 2 or so it’s all down hill from there.  Until you get to the end, and you can hear the spectators cheering so you think you’e going to open up a can of whup-ass and go flying through the finish?    And then there’s another hill.  So, self, don’t go out too fast, and save something for the end.

A really nice summer evening race, at Paradise Camp, which is apparently some sort of overnight camp near Downingtown, PA.  I saw cabins, but no sign of campers.  Or camp fires, or tepees, or any of that.  Maybe camp hasn’t started yet.  Or maybe it’s one of those ghost camps.  Anyway, it was an out-and-back course that passed through a nice bit of woods, and made a circuit around a meadow or two.    This was really a very well-run race.  There were multitudes of helpful volunteers, two water stops,  good markings, and Victory Beer at the end.

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JHNWR is a freshwater wetland that’s adjacent to the Philadelphia Airport.  It’s hard to see in the pictures, but you have a view of the city in the distance from the marsh.  Whenever I go I see some wildlife, and it’s a nice place to do 8 easy miles with no traffic.  Seen on the trail this time: turtle, weasel, many egrets, some sort of oriole, bluebird (‘of happiness’?)  a kayaker on Darby Creek, and a gaggle of  middle-school students on a field trip.  Most got away too quickly to photograph.  Not-seen: alleged river-otters (the Nature Center claimed they do exist!)

 

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Just pictures today..

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Sometime Friday night or Saturday morning morning this giant sinkhole of doom opened up on Forbidden Drive near Gorgas Lane. I ran over this exact spot on Thursday afternoon. If you gaze into the void, not only does the void gaze back at you, but you can see the creek and a mysterious stone wall.

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I’ve been running in the Wissahickon for years, and have encountered an array of animals on my trail runs: chipmunks, snakes, hawks, foxes, groundhogs, horses, chickens, wild turkeys, lots of deer, and even a couple of goats, but by far the most frequently encountered non-human animals out there are dogs.  I like dogs.  I go out of my way to run through the dog park at doggy rush-hour just to see dogs.  In my life, I have owned the world’s best squirrel stalker and all around wonder-dog (a golden-retriever blend) and the world’s most scary-smart dog, a Keeshond-Australian shepherd mix who, if she were my child, would have been in the gifted program for sure.   So generally I don’t worry  about dogs when I’m running, they are mostly friendly, or on leash, or both.   I do carry mace if I’m going to be running alone, as a general precaution, but it’s more for rabid raccoons and ill-intentioned humans.

Last Saturday, however, I didn’t have my mace.  It was a beautiful day and the trails had plenty of people on them.  As I was running on the white trail, I saw a young couple up ahead, each with a large dog on a leash.  The man, who looked pretty strong and able, had a large German-Shepherd type dog, and as I passed them on my left, this dog somehow got the better of the guy and lunged at me, and he was able to jump up on me and put his paws on my left shoulder as I passed.  He didn’t bark, or bite, he just sort of shoved me hard with his paws,  and I stopped.   The couple seemed pretty surprised, and asked me if I was OK.  I checked my shoulder, and it looked like a scratch, though I couldn’t really see my shoulder very well, but it just hurt a little, so I told them it was no problem and continued on.  Of course, when I got home and looked in the mirror, I had a little gouge from the dog’s claw, surrounded by a big purple splotch the size of a German shepherd paw.  But, I figured dogs don’t carry rabies in their claws, so I’m OK.  It’s weird though, because the last time I was attacked by a dog while running was about 20 years ago, and then it was also a German Shepherd, and he also pushed me with his paws.  Both times it seemed like an aggressive gesture not a play behavior.  And that first time the dog wasn’t on a leash and he pushed me with both paws on my shoulders from behind and then ran off, silently, no barking at all.   I was passing by the dog’s house so I can assume it was a territorial thing.

Anyway, the story continues.  Today, I was out again, and I came upon a couple of frolicking black labs up ahead, with an older lady who was sort of nominally walking them but not really paying much attention.  The only labs I’ve known personally have been dumb as dirt but harmless, and generally they are not a breed I have found to be aggressive, but today I wasn’t in the mood to take chances.  I’d had a bad afternoon and I was irritable.  So I called out from a few yards away to the lady, and apparently one of the labs (did I say labs are stupid as sticks?) thought I was calling him and came barreling up to me and jumped on me.  Yes, again.  So I stood still being jumped on by the lab  because I intuited that if I kept on running he would run after me and continue “playing” with me and the woman would never catch up.  Through gritted teeth (I was not really in the mood to play) I  asked the lady to please control her dogs.  Eventually she managed to.  But now I am wondering, what is it with me and dogs?  Could it be that bacon-scented shampoo I’ve been using?

Anyway, it’s interesting.  In the case of the shepherd, I think my running triggered a predatory behavior, and in the case of the labs, I think it was more of a chase and play thing.  Either way, it was annoying..at 100 pounds and 5 foot 3 I imagine I could get knocked down pretty easily  by a big dog, thought it’s never happened.  I’m thinking maybe what I need is to get a couple of dogs of my own to run with.  But in the meantime, next time I see those labs, I’m gonna mace them!

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