24 miles in the Black Hills
Yesterday, I went for a long run. Before I set off, I wasn't sure how far I'd go, I hoped for at least 20 miles.
That day was overcast with no wind and the high temperature would be 43. We haven't had temps that high for almost two weeks so it felt like a heat wave.
Only a mile from our house a neighbor parked her pickup on the road. She opened her truck door and her black lab promptly charged me.
He didn't stop, despite my yell. He kept coming, barking and growling. As he jumped on me with mouth open and teeth bared, I kneed him HARD. He grunted as my knee connected with his soft underbelly. Then, he fell back about six feet with the wind knocked out of him.
Lucky for him, he was smart enough to jump up, turn and run back to his owner. Had he decided to continue, I might have had no other choice but to take it up to a level 4 response. (level 1 = strong words or yelling, level 2 = throwing rocks or spraying pepper spray, level 3 = physically defending oneself, level 4 = well, l'll just say that after a level 4 response, no dog ever repeats their behavior again).
The owner then proceeded to yell and berate me for "beating up her dog."
I yelled right back and told her "What the #$%#% was I supposed to do?! Wait until he bit me?!?!?!"
She then apologized. She admitted her dog is kind of a bully (no kidding!) and said he can tell when people are afraid of him (Well, he certainly didn't read me correctly, I wasn't afraid of him).
What kind of stupid dog runs towards a person growling with teeth bared and jumps on them ?
A bully who hasn't had anyone teach them that running full speed towards someone growling and then jumping up with teeth bared is never acceptable. I have no problem with a dog standing at the end of his driveway letting me know that it is his territory and I should not enter. I also don't have a problem with a dog coming up to politely smell me. But I do have a problem with unprovoked attacks.
I've been chased, nipped, bit, attacked and treed by many dogs in my life. Long ago, I promised myself to never allow myself to be bullied or attacked by any dog or pack of dogs ever again. Of course, I now also run prepared, in the event that I have no other choice but to defend myself.
Anyway, after she apologized, I apologized too (though I think she didn't deserve my apology) and we introduced ourselves. There are better ways to meet the neighbors than after kneeing their dog when it charges you.
I continued my run. At Ghost Canyon, instead of turning left and heading on my usual route towards Mt. Rushmore, I turned right towards the town of Keystone. Playhouse Road is rolling through the Black Hills National Forest with many switchbacks, much altitude gain/loss and practically no shoulder. Fortunately, there were few vehicles.
I saw a HUGE female golden eagle swoop low over the trees. I stopped running and watched her glide silently. The wingspan of golden eagles average over 7 feet in width.
What a powerful, beautiful majestic bird!
Seeing this eagle, I was both inspired and humbled. I thought to myself: "No matter what else I see or experience today, being out here and seeing her has made my run worth it."
As the eagle disappeared over a ridge, I said quietly under my breath: "Mitakuye oyasin" and continued my run.
At highway 40, I turned east and headed home. A few miles from home, I called Jeanne and Nathan to tell them I was on my way.
Finally, as the sun set low on the horizon, I walked the last half mile up our snow covered drive. I looked at my GPS: 24.3 miles. One good run!
This morning, I have only a few areas of trace muscle soreness, but nothing that will keep me from our day's chores: cutting firewood.
It is amazing what the human body can accomplish with training, time and dedication. Only 6 years ago, I would have been extremely sore and had trouble walking after only 10 or 12 mile run. 24 miles is now a nice relaxed weekend jog for me. I could do it again today.
Run on and run well!