Each Wednesday I join in with the Wednesday Word link up, hosted by Debbie from DebRuns. She provides us with a word prompt to write about. This week’s word is stressful. Click on the button below to see who else is linking up this week or to join in.
I decided to share something that happened on Saturday’s 10 mile long run that made the entire run stressful. I mentioned it briefly on Monday, and here’s the full story.
Around mile 1.5, I had an encounter with a loose, unfriendly German Shepherd. Not a normal German Shepherd, though. This dog was huge. Originally, I thought the dog must have been a mutt with strong GS features. But after some research, I now think it was a ‘King Shepherd’ which is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Newfoundland. I’m not exaggerating with the below picture (remember, I have big dogs).
As I was running downhill in a section with a lot of blind curves, I looked up to find a large animal charging toward me down the next hill. At first I thought it was a large wolf or a small bear. Then I saw a smaller white dog that was with the King Shepherd and realized it was two dogs charging towards me. With no owner anywhere in sight.
I stopped, stood still, and fumbled over my hydration pack, trying to get my pepper spray (which I keep in my sports bra – a fact I had momentarily forgotten). There was no time for me to grab a stick or rock, like I usually would, with the two dogs bearing down on me. I yelled for them to get back and get away from me and the smaller dog did slow to a stop. But the larger dog ran almost all of the way up to me while barking and growling. When he was about two to three feet from me, he bared his teeth. There was still no owner, and I couldn’t even see if the dog had a collar on. I had my pepper spray out, and I sprayed him across the bridge of his nose and possibly a little bit in his eyes. The dog stopped charging, but stood there just staring at me.
A few seconds later (which felt more like a minute) the owner came around the corner and yelled for his dogs. The small one went back to him immediately, but the large one continued to stare me down. Finally, he turned and very slowly made his way back to his owner at the top of the next hill, nearly a tenth of a mile away. I didn’t move an inch until both dogs were leashed. Then I walked up the hill and past the owner, as he apologized to me profusely. I asked him if he had water (he stated he did not) and informed him that I had used some pepper spray on his larger dog but didn’t think it had gotten directly in it’s eyes. The dog didn’t appear to be in pain or distress as I went by. I think using my pepper spray was the necessary action, but I still hated I had to do it.
The incident itself was pretty stressful for me. It also really affected me the rest of my run. I was frightened, stressed, and couldn’t relax and enjoy my run at all. There are so many blind curves on the two trails I ran on, and I was just waiting to encounter another loose dog.
As I continued to run (bear in mind I was only 1.5 miles into a 10 mile run) I waffled back and forth about what to do. Should I cut the run short? Change my route? Bag it all together? Maybe go somewhere else? I finally decided to just follow my original out-and-back plan, but felt freaked out the rest of the time. I actually ended up finding a pointy stick about a foot and a half long to carry with me the rest of the run. People gave me funny looks (which I didn’t care about), but it made me feel a bit safer.
Tell me about a time when a run or workout has become stressful for you.