Monday, July 23, 2007

Montana, a bear and a dog

I've been hard-pressed to come up with my craziest running story. Most of them are not terribly exciting, but I do have one that I am reminded of daily because on my keychain is a small black bear.

We were married seven summers ago. Since we had just purchased our first home, we decided to go low-key for our honeymoon. Instead of zipping off on a plane to some exotic locale, we loaded up the Jeep with our necessities, our mountain bikes and our dog. For three weeks, we stayed in various locations in and around Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.

We were training for the local marathon during our honeymoon so we got out for our training runs in all the places we stayed. In Montana, our lodging was at a National Forest Service cabin on a large plot of land high up in the woods. One quiet morning, I took the dog and went for a run. The drive from the main road to the cabin was a 1/4 of a mile so I was doing many, many laps on that short stretch of dirt road. My dog was doing the same.

During one of our turn-arounds at the far end of the drive, my dog began wildly barking. I looked up to see a black bear across the street. He could not have been more than 60 feet from us.

My instinct to save myself and get the *&$# out of there kicked in. I yelled for my dog and took off running back to the cabin as fast as my legs could carry me. This is probably exactly the opposite of what one is advised to do in such a situation, but we were fortunate the bear was not interested and did not follow us. He and his bear buddies probably had a good chuckle over that one.


Suzie Petunia said...

Holy cow! That is an AWESOME running story! The wildest animal I ever encounter on a run is the next-door neighbor's dog. Does your husband still run with you? That sounds like a wonderful honeymoon.

I went on a little hike with my dad and my kids yesterday up a canyon here in Utah. We saw several piles of skat (sp?) on the trail and my dad swore they looked like they came from a black bear... as if he'd know (not exactly a "mountain man"). But I was sufficiently freaked out anyway!

Chelle said...

First of all... I love that this was your honeymoon. Sounds great.

Second of all... WOW what a running story. For a long time I carried pepper spray when running for fear of a crazy dog or human! So far in my running career I haven't encountered either. ha.

I'm also curious as to whether you and your husband still run together. My hubs can't run due to a twice broken hip (can you believe that?).

I think it's safe to say that we all have amazingly supportive husbands. Otherwise not one of us would have been able to take the time to train for a marathon!

I'm loving these stories.

cherl said...

My husband ran a little with me years ago and completed two marathons himself, but he hasn't run in an organized event since Chicago in '02. He'll run on occasion, but not regularly. It just never really agreed with him (unfortunately!).

Ha! Pepper spray. Several years ago I took the same dog on a trail run in Forest Park. We hit some secluded areas so I carried a small container of pepper spray. I had it tucked into my shorts (between skin and shorts) and was not aware that it was leaking. I stopped at one point to give my dog a drink and noticed the pepper spray had leaked and caused a horrible rash on my waist. I inadvertently touched the stuff and later during my run I rubbed sweat off my face and right into my eye went the pepper spray. It BURNS. Having experienced it, I don't think it would deter a perpetrator or even buy the potential victim much time. It isn't debilitating, it just really burns. For about 8 hours if I remember correctly.

cherl said...

You're so lucky to live in Utah. It's absolutely beautiful country! We spent a few days in Moab on our honeymoon to test our skills on the Slickrock Trail. We were ill-prepared. No maps, insufficient water, soaring temperatures, we both had minor crashes (he went over the top and I flipped over backwards)... There were many lessons learned that day, my friend.

M&M said...

That is a scary story. I am jumpy just when I hear a dog bark, I can't imagine if I ran into a bear!

What a great honeymoon. I would love to run with my hubby more. We ran together a little bit pre-kids but then he tore his Achilles. Now he is sidelined with a torn ACL. I definitely agree that our husbands are very supportive of us. And I think it's great that Suz and her hubby are training for St. George together.