RunLog 11/27/11 – Misadventures on the UMA Trails

I try to find a trail run someplace on Sundays and today I figured it would be a good day to go to the University of Maine @ Augusta and run the trails back there. With the snow storm on Wednesday, I didn’t want to beat myself too bad with roots and stuff underneath the snow that I couldn’t see. Plus the snow has melted a lot since that day.

The UMA trail system is where a lot of the State High School Cross Country Championships are run, so the trails are pretty smooth, but the course isn’t really a cake walk either because of the hills that are in there.

The trail had 3-5 inches of snow on the sides and wet slush/ice where people had been walking. I found it a lot safer to run in the snow.

The trail head
 

As you can see it has some variation of terrain

 

At the top of this hill is where I met the dogs
The Trouble With Dogs

While out running I got to the top of one of the steeper hills, out of breath and spotted 3 dogs heading for me. Two Black Labs and a Boxer, not on leashes and their owners not in sight.

Not good – I immediately thought and yelled to let the owners know someone else was on the trails. They were about 50 yards down a different trail and warned me not to keep running or the Boxer might come after me. Both of them were calling the dogs back, but the Boxer was hanging around in front of me sniffing and looking directly at me.

I stood still and yelled for them to come get their damn dog, I was both pissed and more than a little concerned, the Boxer was eyeing me like I was going to be dinner – skinny legs and all. Finally, it obeyed the owners commands and they attempted to leash their dogs, somehow the Boxer got away again and started coming at me. I hadn’t moved very much at at all during this time and this time I turned sideways and was prepared to do whatever I needed to.

At the last minute it responded to the owner and went back to them and they finally got him leashed.

They were all apologetic and said they had let them run free because they didn’t thing anyone else would be out there today – I didn’t state the obvious that there are other people that use this area all the time and it is a popular place for crazy runners to go run.  By this time the guy’s cigarette smoke was giving me a bad headache and his dog was raising my blood pressure, both are not the reasons that I run outside on a trail.

I just said if you can’t control the dog with voice commands it needs to be on a leash, they could tell I was rather pissed and walked off. I let them get about 50 yards down the other path and started running again, this had taken about 5:00 minutes to resolve and my feet had gotten a little cold, but I had some extra adrenaline, I needed to burn off and did, the next half mile was done a good pace until I started to splash around in the field and it got a little wet and slippery.

Leash your dogs on trails, if they don’t mind.  Arrrggghhhh that was frustrating.

 

Nice look at the amount of snow
If you get into the walking part of the trail, it was icy and slippery – I ran to the side of the trail
A picture my Saucony Peregrine’s in action in the snow

Then while running a mile or so later, I was going to take a picture and the camera wasn’t in my pocket, this meant I had to go back over my trail from where I took the last picture and try to find the camera.

I went over the trail once and didn’t find and then went back the opposite way and finally found it here. That added almost 20 minutes onto the run, because I was running/walking trying to find the damn camera.
But I found it.

Looking  down one of the hills
Last hill before coming out to the balls fields.

Today was not the best day of running, but like they say a bad day of running beats a day in the office. 🙂

It was a tough, tough run between the hills, the footing, wet feet, the snow, the dogs and the camera, it did make for an interesting run.  I did a lot more walking than I have for a long time, I would get my heart rate up pretty high and decide it would be a good idea to bring it back down a little bit.

This kind of runs humble you and remind you that you are not in as good a shape as you think you are. However, the Peregrines are still impressive as hell and gave me great traction in this snow and sloppy slush that I was running in. They do let your feet get wet, but this is why I wore my Merino Wool socks, my feet stayed warm all the way, except when I was motionless for the dog fiasco.

I have put down that this was only a 3.0 mile run, but it was longer than this, but I didn’t include the camera search into the total, even though I didn’t stop the timer during this time.

Quality of run: Extremely Challenging
Time of Day:  11:00 A.M.
Weight: 178
Temp: 43F
Weather: Overcast

I am a dog owner and I don’t mind people having their dogs with them on trails, but just because a dog is friendly to people it knows, doesn’t mean it will be to strangers it is meeting on a trail somewhere. Dogs are territorial and protective of their people. If they are on a public trail they either need to respond well to voice command or be on a leash. I hate it when I feel threatened by a dog especially one that is well overa 100 pounds and could put a bad hurtin on you if it decided to attack.

Oh well enough venting, but this is not the first time I have had problems with dogs on trails and owners who don’t have them under control.  One of my soapbox issues.

I am glad that I did this run, even though it had its share of misadventures, next time I will remember to zip up my pocket and maybe I need something to slow down a critter if they decide my legs need some chewing.