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!

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6 responses

  1. I love your writing! Great Run. One of the things I lvoe about running as well is that there is so much to see when one is out there. I am so glad your tendon healed and you are able to run again. I'm on the second to last day of my pred pack and mine might be on the way to healing enough, we'll see.

    December 20, 2009 at 11:29 am

  2. Thanks! It was a great run and I'm very grateful to be able to run again.
    Call me crazy, but I don't consider long run to be a "real" long run unless it is at least 20 or 30 miles long. My tendon is now pain-free, as if my injury never happened. I hope it continues to do OK. I won't know for sure until I am back up to 50 or more mile runs again.
    I know how prednisone makes you feel; I just took a few days myself for an exacerbation of reactive airway that just wouldn't go away after bronchitis in October. Prednisone can be both a miracle drug and toxic poison, depending on what it is used for and for how long.
    Yes, people are funny about their dogs.
    In Wisconsin a German Shepard and Black Lab mix ran towards me and didn't stop. Their owners sat on their porch drinking beer and laughing. For some reason, many people hate runners and enjoying sicking or at least not preventing their dogs from chasing them.
    The German Shepard actually had his mouth open and was about to clamp down on my hand when I pepper sprayed him (I now carry a large pepper spray, the kind they use for Grizzly bears). When the dogs ran off wiping their eyes and mouth, the owners weren't laughing anymore- they started yelling obscenities at me.
    I told them they had better keep their dogs under control. If they wanted, I would have no problem spraying them (the owners) next time too.
    The thing is, if the dogs did actually bite me unprovoked while I was on a public road, I could take legal action and demand the dogs be put down as a danger to the community.
    However, I'd rather not do that.
    Such behavior isn't the dogs' fault- it's the owner's. Too many people just don't get that.

    December 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm

  3. [esto es genial]

    December 20, 2009 at 6:42 pm

  4. Me too… Yes, I'm still planning on Syllamo… 93 miles in 3 days will be great training for 100 miles in less than 30 hours.

    December 20, 2009 at 10:30 pm

  5. Always love to read your reports

    December 22, 2009 at 9:06 am

  6. Thanks!

    December 28, 2009 at 5:20 am

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