Woman Vs. Wild

Today I returned to the four-mile paved trail that I blogged about last week-- the one where I stated that I always worried about snakes but had never actually seen one-- the woodsy, wonderfully shady trail full o' nature.

My friend Shelly and I set out around 8:15 a.m. to run 8 miles on the trail. Around mile six, Shelly stopped for a bathroom break and I went on ahead. It wasn't the first time I'd run a portion of the trail alone, but it IS kind of creepy and isolated out there.

I was cruising along really enjoying my music when I noticed something black across the trail up ahead. I thought for a second it might just be another broken tree branch until it started moving. Or should I say "slithering." I froze. About the length of my arm, it was blocking part of the six-foot-wide trail. (Stop reading and stretch out your arm. That's a pretty scary snake, am I right??) I didn't think I should run by it or jump over it. Or spray it with my mace. So, I just waited. Finally, it slithered off the trail into to the underbrush. I cautiously ran on past.

I am so glad I was paying attention to where I was going! I could very easily have stepped on its tail, which was right in my path. I question what would have happened in that situation-- Would it have reared up and tried to strike me? Can a fairly slow human being outrun a medium-sized snake?

There are poisonous snakes in this area near the river--there are warnings posted with pictures at the trail head. (Perhaps I should look at these more carefully next time.) It was probably just a harmless black snake. Right?? My mom once told me of a snake she called a "black racer" that chased her as a child. Maybe that's a "rural legend" (as opposed to an urban legend since she grew up in the country), but she swears it chased her. Well, I'm just glad this one didn't chase me.

Then, not five minutes later, I hear all kinds of commotion coming from the woods. There are dry leaves and twigs being stepped on by SOMETHING fairly large. And it's coming quickly toward me. (You know how on Lost when they are hiking through the jungle and they hear something moving, and they don't know if it's a polar bear or the smoke monster or an other?? It was like THAT.)

But it was just a deer. She (or he??) saw me and went the other way.

Whew, that was enough nature for one day.

I wound up with 8.5 miles total because I got freaked out and doubled back about a quarter mile for my friend. I figured two helpless females in the woods were better than one. (I really shouldn't call my friend Shelly helpless. She could easily have kicked that snake's butt.)

It was the first time since April 25th that I'd run over 7 miles. And most of my lower body now hurts. Has it forgotten 18, 20, and 26 miles so soon? I guess it has!

Comments

Nyght said…
One dark morning while running I stepped on something that I initially THOUGHT was a stick. It was only after my legs got tangled up in it that I realized that it was a snake. We both freaked out and went our separate ways; shockingly I did not have a stroke or cardiac arrest but it was a near thing. I'm sure I PR'd on the way home!
NY Wolve said…
Makes me laugh - my biggest fear is encountering a skunk on my runs. Anyway one time I was running in the city and had to toss my water bottle. I jogged over to the trashcan and as I got closer, the bottom of it seemed to dissolve and scatter in about 15 directions. It was a pack of NYC's finest rats eating garbage. I nearly jumped out of my shoes to run the other way and get out of their way.
tamara said…
Ummmm... I think that would be enough to send me back to the safe streets of the neighborhood. You know, where all you have to worry about is being hit by a car or accosted by a human - not poisonous snakes. I am not a person that enjoys nature that up close and personal...
Jules said…
OMG I LOL'ed reading your comparison to LOST. LOL I love me some LOST.

and the comment from NYGHY above made me laugh too. I would have fainted right there and TOTALLY pr'd all the way home. LMAO!
Mama said…
LOL! I would have totally freaked out! Around here, you're more likely to trip over a homeless guy on a trail than a snake.

And yes, the legs forget quickly...

MCM Mama
Wow! That was an exciting run! Glad you survived!
J.J. said…
Hi there! New to your blog! I am a 37 year old mommy runner that started running in January. I ran my first 10K in May and am traingin for my first half-marathon on Sept 7th. I love that George Eliot quote...that is so true! I started running to be the person that I wanted to be. It is never too late!
Once while running a snake fell out of a tree landing on the path in front of me... not funny...