Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Tale of Errant Wildlife - Part 2 - Goldilocks Enters the Woods

Alternative titles for this post:
- My Sunday LLR of 15 miles
- Proof that Runner Gal can act her true hair colour (um, which is blonde by the way)
- Things to not do on a long run
I realize this is a bit out of order as it has now been many days since my 15 miler. Originally I wasn't going to post about it, but aw...why not... My parents will probably give me a stern what for after they read this.
I awoke on Sunday morning to snow falling in Banff. Brrr...the promised cold front had come through. After breakfast it was time to hit the road and get back to Calgary. The roads through the mountains were kind of gross and at one point we saw a couple of cars in the ditch. Thank goodness I wasn't driving. After a trip to the south side of town to pick my fur balls up from kennel, then a trip back all the way up north to head home, have a bite to eat and change - all of a sudden it is about 2:30 when I leave my house for this run. I really wanted to run Glenmore Reservoir as it had been quite a bit of time since I had been out there before. I wasn't really thinking about the time change and how it would affect things, but I knew I was in for a 3 hour run. That I started at 3 pm. And it gets dark at 5:30 pm. And big portions around the reservoir are not very populated...
Anyhow, it is -1 deg C (30 deg F), overcast and with the odd errant snowflake falling in the sky. I'm bundled up in tights, warm socks, a short sleeve base layer and a really warm and fuzzy outer layer. I run along the north side of the reservoir and through the detour around Glenmore Trail. Since the loop around the reservoir is 10 miles I decide to deviate along the Elbow River pathway for a bit to get the extra miles in. This takes me up to Stanley Park and I turn around. Given my previous creepy experience around Lindsay Park a bit farther north I'm not too keen to run any farther than this portion since I'm still in a pretty swanky area of town. On my way back I'm running into the wind and feeling the cold and all of a sudden I cross paths with a runner in shorts. Now that is hard core..!! As I return to the Glenmore pathway I think about whether I should cut things short, take a 12 mile run and just head back to the car. Naw...I really want to get this 15 miler done so I continue along the Glenmore loop - past Rocky View Hospital (where a bear entered the ER back in September) and past Heritage Park. All of a sudden I'm at Glenmore Landing with about 3 or 4 miles left to go and I realize how little light is left in the sky. Once you pass Glenmore Landing you have a stretch of quiet area, then the yacht club, then the most desolate area of all through the forest at Weaselhead Flats. I'm starting to get scared. I decide to cut out my walk breaks to try and make it back to my car a little faster. Forget how far I'm running now, I just want to be done and soon. I can barely make things out in the dark as I hit Weaselhead flats. Yup, I'm really scared now. All of a sudden I stop in my tracks at the yellow sign directly in front of me. "Bear sighted in area - use caution." What do I do now? I'm 2 miles from my car... I call up my answer... I call DGB and when she answers I start crying on the phone. D asks if there is a date on the warning sign...nope. She advises me that bears naturally want to stay away, but the worst thing you can do is startle a bear that is eating or protecting a cub. She asks if I want to keep her on the phone while I finish my run. I decline, but she advises me to make lots of noise while I'm running so that in the event that this bear is still in the area I don't startle it. She advises me to sing and makes me promise to call her as soon as I'm at my car. Now seriously...I'm no singer at the best of times and any songs I know have immediately vacated my brain so I'm belting out a pretty tuneless "dum dee dee dum dum" type of song punctuated by the odd "yo ho, yo ho" from Pirates of the Caribbean. The lack of light is playing tricks on my eyes as I think I see things moving in the trees around me and I jump at any sound that isn't my voice or my footsteps. There are patches of snow on the pathway and I'm amazed that I didn't take a tumble at any point in time. After crossing a bridge I hear footsteps behind me and I swear that if it were possible to be any more scared at this point in time I sure was. The pursuer shouts "on your left!" and I have a moment of relief because thank goodness - here's company in the form of another runner! I say hi and he comments that it sounds like I'm having a lot of fun on my run. "No sir," I say, "I'm just pretty freaked out about the bear sign." He mumbles something about at least not being surprised then if we should see one and he zooms right past me, full speed ahead. So much for company! I'm back to being on my own, singing, and running as fast as my legs can carry me after this long run. I was never so happy to see my car in my life. 15.37 miles. I will never be looking to repeat that experience again....


Marcy said...

Thanks for stopping by!!

OK bears?!??!? Ohhhhh no, no, no, no. Talk about me pooping my pants if I EVER saw a sign like that. I've heard the same thing . .to make as much noise as possible so they know you're there. I'd be belting out Britney Spears tunes like no one's business (I'm kidding, I don't care for BS LOL)

Maddy said...

Running in the dark is scary when you're alone. But the thought of having to deal with a bear too?


Glad you're safe.

greg said...

I'm sorry - I just had to laugh imagining running down the road singing, "Yo-ho! Yo-ho! It's the pirate's life for me!" at the top of my lungs.

"No bear in these woods will get me tonight, 'cause I'm so fast on me feet. Yo-ho! Yo-ho!

Anonymous said...

I don't know how many times I have been out on runs and found myself a little too close to a bear. Very scary stuff, especially when they stand up to look at you!

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