An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The wildlife collective -- Instant karma or Bambi's revenge?

I haven't run since last Friday. Not because I'm injured (the small blisters from Friday are completely healed), and not because I don't want to run -- I'm just putting more emphasis on my bike riding now, and I didn't run on Monday because a work friend inviting me to go on a mountain bike ride.

So today the weather gods decided to smile on the Pacific Northwest (which is nice, because my daughter is at 5th grade school camp right now), and I felt good starting out the run.

Most of my lunchtime run routes take me quickly into forested service roads and wide trails, all within a large parcel of fenced-in company property. Several hundred acres worth. Sightings of deer, coyote and rabbits, are common, with an occasional raccoon to round it out. And I see ravens here as well -- one of only two areas in Western Washington that I've spotted them. Anyway...

Today was no different. About 1.5 miles into my run, there were two deer on the gravel road in front of me -- one facing away from me, one facing towards me. The one facing me looked up, saw me, and froze. The one facing away looked up (at the other deer), and just stood there. I kept my pace even, and got closer. They didn't move. Closer...

Finally, when I was about 20 feet away, I gave a low whistle, which startled the nearest deer (the one facing away from me), and it finally looked my direction, then sprinted off the road with the other close behind.

I didn't think I was being all that quiet. I was wearing my New Balance Minimus Roads, running at a relaxed 8:15 pace... Certainly other shoes I have are quieter, especially one of the test models I recently got from Skechers (one of the quietest shoes I've ever run in). I was quite surprised that I got that close to the deer, who are usually much more skittish.

I kind of laughed about it, and just kept on going.

Deer are the scourge of motorcyclists, many people being injured every year due to (or is that doe to?) Bambi making their way onto the road with that little vehicle approaching. And I remember a bike team ride where a team mate was taken down by a deer crossing the road in front of a fast-moving group. We joked about adding deer whistles to his bike...

About a mile and a half later, I'm chugging my way up a rocky hill, minding my footing and just being in the zone.


About 15 feet in front of me, a deer charges out onto the road from my right, then jumps past and continues on by, up the opposite bank. To say I got a good adrenaline rush out of that would be putting it mildly. There have been cougar sightings out here...

It definitely got me out of my zone. But I laughed about it, and got back to the business of running.

But it made me think -- do these deer have some kind of collective mind, where one could seek revenge on me for startling one of their brethren? Or was I just the victim of instant karma?

Definitely a good run today. And I'll whistle sooner next time.

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