Around Mile 3, a Large Animal Coming at Me! ~Tim Fitzbag

Hope you enjoyed my first blog entry a few weeks ago.  I left you with the story about finishing my first official timed races and how I felt it was time to really think about a half marathon.  For me, who not long before had never thought of running 6.2 miles, to now want to do a 13.1 miler; you could say I had the running bug.

So at this point I was almost two years into running on a constant basis, but was accustomed to the same routine – 30 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday and a 6-7 miles on Saturdays.

I knew that if I was going to do a half marathon I better start increasing my training and mileage.  So before I decided which half to book, I began this new regimen to see how I felt.  I increased my Tuesday and Thursday runs to 45 minutes and added a mile or two every other Saturday.

July 2016 I was up to 12 – 14 miles on my Saturday long runs.  These distances started to become a challenge, not because of fatigue, but because I needed to figure out a route that would end back where I started.  I tried a couple of different routes, each with its own challenges. One way guaranteed a chase by a pair of dogs, another way did not have a big enough shoulder with all the traffic.  So I finally got a route that would work which included back roads, highways, hills, dirt roads, and some trail running.

So, one day I put on my NipEaze and started out on a nice and early scheduled 12 mile run.  Around mile 3, I turn the corner to go up a small hill, and in the middle of the road, there is large animal coming towards me.  At first I thought it was a big dog, but it became very clear very fast that this was a big bear!  It was right in the middle of the road, so I stopped.  I made some noise.  It was still coming down the road towards me.  I made some loader noises and began waving my hands.  It made a noise back at me.  I paused my running tracker and pulled out my phone just in case I needed to make an emergency call.  I took a few pictures of the bear as I was yelling at it.  I look to my right at the only house I could see and the lady was hurrying her dog inside, I guess she heard me making all this noise.  I did not want to turn my back to the bear, so I continued to make more noise.  Finally, the bear turned and went into the woods.  I figured it was best at that point to just turn around instead of following my normal route through the woods.  It’s amazing how energized I was for the rest of the run.  I was able to get my 12 miles in without any further excitement and did not go on that part of my route for a few weeks.

I still run on that road today but I always look more closely to the wood line.  I’d thought about carrying bear spray, but decided not as I prefer to bring very little with me.  I did purchase and start wearing a dog tag with my name and emergency contact info on it just in case an accident were to occur in the future.

After another week and running the 12 – 14 miles, I knew I was ready and able to run a half marathon.  I registered for both the 10k and half marathon at the Run Disney Star Wars Dark Side in April 2017.  I was too excited to wait, so I started to look for a local race.  I found the New England Half Marathon in October 2016. I figured it would be a good local race and a good test for my race pace.

In my next blog entry I will tell you all about my first half marathon and more.

Until the next entry, enjoy your runs and have fun.  If you want to follow along with my current running journey, you can follow me on instagram.com/tfitzbag and/or facebook.com/timfitzbagrunning

Thanks for reading!

~Tim

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