Thursday, May 30, 2013

running with raccoons

Yesterday, I ran through where I thought was my favorite place to run, along the Cumberland River at Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge. But then I encountered wildlife. This was not the first time I've encountered wildlife there. I've seen a dead timber rattlesnake before. Yuck. 

The first "encounter"was just the "plunk" sound of turtles dropping from their logs into the water. "Ah, nature," I thought, "it adds to the experience." As I continued down the trail, I remembered that snake. In the distance, I thought I saw what could have been one, so I edged to the other side of the road. By doing that, I scared the snot out of a tortoise who ambled as quickly as a tortoise could to the water side. Watching a tortoise move as quickly as possible was mildly entertaining- after my heart rate came back down from being startled myself. (It turns out when you get startled, that whole breathing-heavy thing complicates running form). The "snake" I saw was only a log, and I tried to keep my cool.

As I worked my way back, I saw a raccoon cross the road ahead of me. "Hmm," I thought. "What do I know of raccoons? Are they vicious? Will it attack if startled? Should I slow down or speed up?" Seriously, this is the only think I could think of:

As soon as I passed through the area I where I thought he might still be, I picked up my pace and remained especially on guard. So when I passed the six inch turtle that I thought was a rock until he pulled his head into his shell, I nearly lost it. The turtle startled me enough to take a breather and think ahead to future runs (and alternative locations). 

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