The first one was on the sign post for the first time the Plateau Trail forks off from the Oak Hill Trail, which was the setting for the Dirty Dash 10K in March. The sign read, "Warning. Coyote Denning Activities in the Area. Beware of Aggressive Behavior. If you encounter aggressive behavior, leave the area immediately and call 1-800-EEK-GTFO!"
At the next fork, where the Plateau Trail splits off to that huge hill, there was another sign. This time it wasn't taped to the trail marker, but planted on its own stick in the middle of the trail. Was this meant to say, "We're serious. If you go this way, you'll be eaten by coyotes"?
I hoped not, because that's where I was headed.
The paranoia crept in. Every sound in the woods was a coyote advancing to attack. The pups had to be protected from bearded intruders. Visions of gnashed teeth and severed Achilles tendons plagued my thoughts.
My eyes darted from side to side at each rustle of leaves. Those cursed squirrels were toying with me. Then, a broken twig. Something much larger. Oh lord, this is it. My end.
Thank goodness! It was just a deer. Ahead, a young buck galloped away from the trail. But wait! Was he fleeing from a rabid coyote?
|Source: Wiki Prehistorica
"I don't know karate, you fiend, but I know crazy," I mumbled to the flying beast. Thankfully, no one was around to see me stumbling and swatting like a mental defective.
Where the trail makes a hairpin turn and the big downhill becomes a big uphill, there was another warning sign planted on a stick in the middle of the trail instead of the marker post, confirming my fear that I probably should have been eaten by coyotes.
The Pteranodon left me alone for a while, but returned periodically to make sure I knew who's boss.
My legs dropped into Granny Gear for the long incline, allowing me to trudge on without succumbing to a walk.
My continued focus on running easy allowed me to feel strong throughout the run, and my lack of walk breaks helped me break out of my 13-minute mile pace slump with an average of 11:58 per mile.
As it turned out my fears were unwarranted. My water supply lasted throughout the run. Those clouds never broke. And I never did see a coyote. The bugs and squirrels were more menacing than anything else.