Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coyotes and bears, oh my!

Miles: 7
Pace: 10:45?
Total miles: 7.5

I knew when I got up this morning that I wanted to go for a long run. I had to attend a Friends of the Library meeting tonight, so I was working the late shift and had all morning to myself. I decided to run on the trail, although it was a difficult decision for me. My mom told me that she saw a coyote in the backyard at 5:30 PM yesterday. I was kind of freaked out that it was out in the daylight, and I didn't really want to run around my house. Then again, it would probably make more sense to run on the road in a residential area than on a trail in the middle of the woods. But, the sun was strong, and I preferred the idea of running in the shade of the trail, and the surface was softer and flatter, so I went for the trail. As I was debating all of this, it occurred to me that it would be great if I had someone to run with. My usual running buddy (who just ran her first half-marathon on June 20th), is recuperating from a foot injury that she got during her training, and she'll be resting for at least the next month. The thought occurred to me then to start a local running club. I don't know if I will pursue it, but it was a thought. It would be so nice to have a group of people I could call for company (and protection) on a run.

It figures that, once I did get on the trail (at least, a mile and a half down it), what did I come across, but a bear crossing the path. I actually saw two walkers ahead of me stop and pull out their cameras, so I knew something was up, and then I noticed the black shape ambling across the path into the brush on the right. It looked small to me, and I was afraid of coming across its mother, but one of the walkers said that it looked at least a year old and that there probably wasn't a mother taking care of it, so I cautiously continued. It's been a long time since I came across a bear on the trail, and I ended up talking to myself for the rest of the run as a way of announcing myself to any creatures that I might meet.

My bear encounter reminded me of the Eowyn Challenge's Walk to Rivendell: when I first began the Walk, I likened the bears to Black Riders. Black, scary things lurking in the woods... The Walk was also what got me into running longer distances. I would go for long walks on the weekends at college, and after a few miles, my legs would just start itching to go faster and break into a run. I finally got into a schedule where I'd walk a mile and a half to a bike path, run four miles on the path, and then walk a mile and a half back, for a grand total of seven -- which is what I did today.

It's been exciting and confidence-building to run longer and longer distances. The point of the Eowyn Challenge was to break free of the cages imposed on us by weight, health, and/or self-esteem, and my journey has definitely helped me to do that. I never thought that I could run 7 miles without walking, but today I did, and next week I'll go even further. I plan on running in some more 5Ks this year, with the hopes of breaking my PR, and I'm going to sign up for a 10K in September, to try something new. I don't want to get stuck in the mindset that I can't do something.

"What do you fear, lady?" he asked. "A cage," she said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire." -J.R.R Tolkien's Return of the King

No comments: