Lessons learned from a habitual outdoor runner

Tag: protection

Running in high winds today



I adjusted the first mile through a residential area so I could reduce the wind and generate some internal heat. By the time I reached the open fields again, I was warm enough to head west into the belly of the beast! The windswept snow hitting my face was bitter, and the force of the wind was severe, but I told myself to go just one mile to another row of houses where the wind should be less. My gear was doing its job as the covered parts of my body were warm enough.

Run 2018-11-26The house-row runs north on the west side of the road about 1/2 of a mile, so I headed north with their protection. When I reached the end of the row and crossed the tracks, I faced the full frontal ferocity of that northwesterly wind. Quickly, I considered my options, alternatives, and other wind-breaks up ahead if I continued north. I had 1.5 miles to the next viable route and about a third of that had some windbreaks, onward to the north I went, and turning east was a notable and welcomed relief.

Besides the traffic and increasingly slick surface, the wind and snow were less of an issue heading east, and two miles later I was heading south and expecting it to get even more relaxed. I was wrong!

The wind was now behind, and on my right, it was more than just a little pushy. This was now like running down a hill for two full miles on a non-ideal surface. I thought to push my way into the wind was harsh and now this trying to stay upright was a new challenge for a different set of muscles. Yes, from the glutes down are feeling it.

The wind was gusting so strong that I had to consciously manage my right leg to keep it from banging into my left on the downstroke. It was a challenge, but sort of a fun one.


Dealing with critters where you run

I really do like dogs, just not the ones chasing me down the road, blocking my path, or of course, biting. Sadly, I’ve been bitten twice by pets that “don’t bite” according to their owners. I no longer trust the word of the owner as they shout out “he doesn’t bite!” above the bark and growl of the rapidly approaching dog.

We do have the freedom to be in a public place without fear of harm from a residential animal, so I do carry and have used, non-toxic pepper spray numerous times. When I am in a rural setting, I also carry a BB Gun. It doesn’t have enough power to do permanent damage, but it would sting enough to get a dogs attention and hopefully slow it down.

Windy days create problems for pepper spray use as it could end up with more in your face than in the approaching animal, the BB gun provides a greater range and resilience against the wind.

Other creatures I have seen on country runs include Coyotes, cats, skunks, opossum, fox, and deer, plus a horse and a cow out of their fenced area. I have heard there are some bobcats in the areas I run, but I haven’t seen any. Here again, the BB gun may provide some additional leverage and time for sprinting away.

If there is an Animal Control Department where you run, be sure to reach out to them if you have been chased/attacked or to report repeat offenders who let their animals roam free. One county I run in regularly does not have such a department, but I have emailed the Sherriff’s office to address some particularly aggressive animals, and it has resolved some issues.

I also have a knife and a cell phone with me at all times.

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