Saturday, May 3, 2014

Coyote Nasty

Animal Athletics, the coolest runners in town, put on a series of group runs called the Forest Park Nasty Series. Not only do they promise to traverse less-traveled trail with all the extra elevation gain you need for good training, they also donate all money to the Forest Park Conservancy.

We missed the first two but had a plan to run a few miles before meeting up for the "Flaming Nasty" at 9am. We started extra early from Ann's house and bombed down Firelane 1 towards the meeting spot.

First sighting

Firelane 1 below Leif Erikson is lonesome and wild. Few people use it, because it is long, meandering, and doesn't cross any other trails. You get down to the bottom behind a La Quinta Inn on Highway 30 and you have nowhere to go except straight back up.

We came around a bend on the firelane with a view up a winding hill. I thought I saw a deer on the trail, but something was just off. I stopped to squint, and realized it was a coyote. We started running again and it took off towards us.

Running toward a coyote seemed like a bad idea, but by the time we wound around up the hill, there was no sign of it. We assumed it ran off trail, up the hillside.

Running with a coyote

At the bottom of the firelane we found parked cars but no people. We stood around trying to figure it out, since there are no other trails nearby and there was no way we could have missed them on the single-track trail. After a few minutes discussing routes, we decided to return up the trail and do our own loop. No "nasty" for us!

About half a mile back, a large bird of prey swooped down low in front of us and landed, visible perturbed, in a tree nearby. I wasn't sure if it was an owl or a hawk, and as I tried to get a look, Ann noticed a dead rabbit in the bushes. We had scared the hawk (I decided) into dropping its prey!

We continued on, and in another half mile or so came upon a coyote-- so close this time that I could see that it was young. It was likely the same one, and it ran ahead of us on the trail for about a hundred yards. I didn't want to chase a young coyote back to its mother, so we gave it room to leave the trail on its own.

Hooker's fairy bells
Back up on Leif Erikson, we ran out to Maple (mile marker 4.2), down Maple to Saltzman, and up Saltzman to Leif, where we ate our snacks at the picnic table. From there we ran up Saltzman to Wildwood (mile marker 16), back on Wildwood to Birch, and finally up Birch to NW 53rd for an approximately 22 mile run.

My IT band was acting up in a way that made my knee feel painfully pulled, which eventually turned to disturbing numbness. Unfortunately this slowed us down, so we finished later than planned. I had a kid's birthday party to go to but no time to go home first. 

I showered at Ann's house, borrowed clothes-- including shoes-- and bought a gift along the drive before meeting my husband there. Thanks to my supportive running partner and husband, it worked out great. I even got a compliment on Ann's shirt, and no one suspected that I had just run in the mud with some wild animals!

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