Langdon is not laid out ideally for distance running. I have a 4k route, a 5K route and a 6K route that I run regularly. Anything longer involves long stretches along the highway on the very narrow shoulders. Dangerous. Today I found out I have a new enemy that I didn't even realize was a threat...the Red-Wing Blackbird...
|See those beady eyes and the vicious curve of the beak...this guy's a killer...and he wanted me for lunch!|
I was around 3K into my run and had just come out onto hwy 797 for the stretch that runs between Railway Ave and Dead Horse Road (yes, that's its real name). Suddenly there was a loud screech and I felt something cause a downdraft that ruffled my hair! I ducked in time to see this evil bird swoop back into the air. I thought it was maybe a mistake. There was no way he was actually swooping at me. No way.
and then he did it again. and again!
I picked up the pace BIG TIME and got my behind right out of there. As soon as I'd turned onto Dead horse Road, he turned back and left me alone. I was quite shaken. I don't like birds on the best of days. Sure, I can understand that some of them are super pretty and I can admire from afar. I won't touch them and I won't ever own one as a pet. I can appreciate their role in nature, but I don't want one in my home. And they had better stay away from me when I'm running.
All the way through Boulder Creek, I was dreading that stretch of the highway. There is no other way to get back into town! I almost called Hubby to come get me, but I knew he would laugh. Probably drop the phone from laughing so hard. He doesn't get it. No worries, I love him anyway. So I kept my phone in my SPIbelt and kept moving. By the time I got back on the highway, I had convinced myself that the bird would leave me alone because it was on the power lines on the opposite side of the road. Maybe I wouldn't be a threat from across the road.
No such luck.
It was one thing to have the damn bird swooping at me and screeching on the way out. This time he STALKED me! The sun was in such a position that I could see his shadow on the ground in front of me and could watch it grow as he moved closer to my head. The screeching echoing in my ear made my brain rattle. He swooped so close to my head that I swear he was actually trying to hit me, instead of scaring me.
I screamed in the hopes it would frighten him, but he seemed to like it and swooped again. I screamed and screamed and then picked up the pace. I had to get the hell out of there or I was going to lose it. I had visions of tennis racquets and pepper spray passing through my brain. Things I could carry with me to protect me from the predator that could fit in the palm of my hand. I don't know if I'd ever have the courage to use them, but it was so scary. I was almost ready to just stand up and fight.
Once I was back in populated territory and out of the marshy connecting road, my new enemy left me alone and went back to his family again. I did a loop through the park, looking warily at any avian creature in the treetops, and headed for home. 10K done.
and a couple bursts of speed work...that can't be a bad thing...
but I am not running that route again until these things migrate. I don't care how far I have to drive to avoid them.
oh...and when I looked them up after the run, wikipedia told me this:
Males have been known to swoop humans who encroach upon their nesting territory during breeding season.
Just one more hazard of living in a rural community.