Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Skunks and Coons and Opossums, oh my!

I am not a trail runner. I don’t own any of those fancy gator shoe dealies to keep the dirt out, don’t own a headlamp, and don’t even have shoes with big “lugs”. Consequently, my knees are trashed from the sidewalks I don’t see much out of the ordinary during my runs and I normally don’t see a ton of wildlife. For the record, it isn’t because I wouldn’t love to trail run, I just have never had the opportunity (read: I’m too lazy to drive to a trail).

Last night I ran my tempo run with a coworker/friend who is getting back into running after taking 6 months or so off. Because we’re so busy at work, we got a late start and didn’t get out on the road until 8:15pm. It was dark and we were running along a creek with lots of high grass and presumably hobos living under the overpasses. I ran the first 2 miles with him at around 9:00/pace and the last 5 miles at 6:50 pace. It was a solid run with minimal knee pain.

What was different about this run was what we saw at around the 1.5 mile mark. We were running along when all of a sudden out of the corner of our eye we saw a huge black creature standing its ground about 15 feet off of the trail. Only when we got closer, we realized that this black animal had HUGE WHITE STRIPES going down its back. We picked up the pace.

About a minute later we came on a family reunion of critters hanging out presumably deciding who to spray/bite/mame next. The culprit? CAT FOOD!! Some genius decided to put two huge cake pans of cat food out in the middle of nowhere. Who leaves cat food out for wild animals!? I suppose they could be leaving it out for feral cats or something but isn’t that also asking for a foaming mouth “love kiss” from a raccoon?

Funny thing about a huge, cat food fed, skunks, opossums, and raccoons – in complete darkness, they look exactly like Gremlins. At least that is what I remember in my oxygen deprived state. Fortunately, we were able to run by them not once, but twice (out and back) without smelling like a mix between the monkey cages at the zoo and a dirty foot.

What is the strangest thing you all have seen while on the run? This one tops the list for me.


Jamoosh said...

Beware of Mountain Lion signs.

Lindsey said...

When we run on base we come across lots of deer and turkeys. The turkeys will keep their distance, but sometimes it seems like the deer are going to stand there and wait for you to run up to them.

pajamachef said...

crazy. my husband and i do most of our runs on a bike path near our apartment because the roads nearby are too busy and lack sidewalks. you almost get killed running there. anyways, we see a ton of deer there but once saw a coyote. it was a little scary but i think it was more afraid of us then we were of it!

Chad said...

Did you really type "hobo"? Was "tramp" too old timely for you?

Anyway, on Monday I ran in San Diego. I jogged past a homeless gentleman who was squatting in a bush simultaneously pooping and talking on a cell phone.

Jeri said...

wow that coon pic is absolutely terrifying. :)

Megan said...

I live in the swamp outside of NOLA. (Well, my neighborhood's borders are swamp on two sides.) So I get a lot of random wildlife, snakes, turkey vultures, etc. But the craziest thing I've seen is a 5ft gator in the drainage ditch 1/2 block from my house. The next day I saw a Nuisance Alligator Patrol truck so no worries.