Today the Ultra Runner Podcast posted a North Country story of runners being attacked by dogs VALLEY CENTER: Elite running family attacked by dogs www.nctimes.com They asked, what do you do to protect yourself? It has been a while since my attack- about twelve years ago, I had completely forgotten about it. Even though, I am a dog lover and have lived with big dogs all my life, it makes me think why I get a bit freaked on the trail.
Dogs . . . When I am off on a run in the middle of nowhere alone and hear dogs barking, the key word is dogs, I become a bit uneasy until I see an owner. Once you have been attacked, that feeling never goes away. I was out on a run in upstate NY farm country and surround by dogs in gang formation. It was about 5 minutes fighting them off. As I swung at them I was flanked by another and they wouldn’t leave me alone. So what do you do? At the time I had no idea. Finally, I was able to reach the ground and pick up a handful of dirt and threw it in their eyes; they instantly ran off. I got away with minimal injuries; running pants were all torn up, teeth marks in my calf and overall shaken up. So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, granted they were not pit bulls, it is worth a try.
Coyotes . . . Three years ago, I was on an early morning run to work and I saw a cute little coyote to my right. I remember thinking that I wished I had a camera with me. As I continued to run, I looked again and it was a bit closer and there were now two. Hmmm, I thought as I turned around yelling and making myself look bigger. Every time I looked back they multiplied and I was getting a bit scared. It was just like in the cartoons, when I looked at them they turned away and pretended as if they were just standing there, but on a second look they were twice as close – very creepy. Soon I was completely surrounded and completely freaked out. And as they multiplied, so did my heart rate and speed. Finally, I arrived at a sidewalk with scatter houses, they all disappeared. I laughed, thinking three hours until sunrise and only 20 more miles go.
So in my last race, Devil Mountain 50 around mile 44 or so, I was surrounded once again. This time I couldn’t see them, only hear them and it seemed as if they were getting closer by the second – even creepier. Here is the problem, you know how difficult it is to run 50 miles let alone the last five, picking up your pace was near impossible. At one point, I remember thinking let them catch me, it can’t feel any worse than finishing this race. I was recovering from a hard bonk. I finished without even catching a glimpse, either way I will always feel uneasy at the sound.