Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

What the Buck?!

Friday, February 21, 2014
Now that I'm getting over this chest cold, I am on a mission to get my miles in and increase my running frequency. I figured the easiest way to accomplish this is to get to the gym earlier, which would mean that I would get to work earlier. Then I could leave early and get my run in before dark. Piece of cake.

Yesterday, that is exactly what I did. I had everything packed and ready to go for an early trip to the gym. I was done in an hour, showered and at work by 6:30am.

I changed at work, took my ENERGYbits and was at the park near my house before 4:30pm. Perfect timing. I was shooting for 5-6 miles. I had not thought about the condition of the park trails though. The trails that I could see from my car were a bit patchy with ice and snow. I grabbed my yaktrax and settled for the possibility of only knocking out 3-4 miles.

The first half mile of my run was easy and the trail was clear. I honestly thought that I may be wrong about the trail condition...and then I hit the snow. Ok...not wrong.

I trudged along and was even proud of myself for tackling a steep little snow covered hill before the overpass bridge.

One mile in and my legs are still a little sluggish but I'm starting to loosen up. It is slow going because of all the snow and ice but I'm getting it done. A mile and a half to two miles in, I startled a large group of deer that took off running across the trail. No big deal, this happens all the time here.

And then I saw it...the HUGE deer.

I mean, this thing was massive and standing way up ahead eating a bush. Again, no big deal. They always run off as I get closer.

Wait...this was not just a deer.  It is a buck. His antlers were camouflaged by low hanging branches near him. I have come up on bucks before and they normally take off as I get closer. So I slowed my pace a little and continued forward.

This guy just was not moving though and I came to an abrupt halt when I realize that I was about 20 feet from him and he was NOT budging. Furthermore, he was actually ON the trail just hanging out, continuing to eat.

I stood there for a moment before taking one more step forward, hoping that he would leave. BIG MISTAKE.

With a huff, the buck ripped off the piece of foliage that he was eating and started to stare me down as he ate. Another huff and he started to lower his head. Then came the snort and he started to step backward as he lowered his head a little more, never taking his eyes off of me.
The hairs rose up on the back of my neck and my self preservation instinct kicked in.

Obviously, I was not going to out run this thing so I only had one other option, get something big between me and him. I slowly backed up a few steps and then side stepped it behind a tree and into six inches of cold muddy water. UGH...my shoes!!!

The buck continued to keep his eyes on me, unwavering from his stance. I grabbed my phone so I could be ready to call a park ranger if the buck didn't leave. Naturally, before I pulled up the ranger's number...I paused Nike Run...that is right...I actually paused it. WTF was I thinking at that point? I don't know. No...I do...UGH.

What seemed like a few minutes passed before the buck lost interest in me and wandered off. I stepped out from behind the tree and tried to shake off the muck from my shoes. Then I took a side trail so I wouldn't cross his path a second time. Unfortunately, the side trail was a bit flooded over so I got to run through another six inches of water. Oh well, at least that rinsed the muck off my shoes.

So 3.25 miles - ran!

After talking to hunting friends, I learned that he probably would have came at me hooves first. Still doesn't sound like it would feel good.
2 comments on "What the Buck?!"
  1. I have had that exact fear as I run along our trails. I have seen deer and sometimes they wait a REALLY long time to move. My husband said a buck will attack if cornered or if it's mating season?! Glad you are ok!

    1. Thank you! Not sure what was up. I've never been afraid of the deer around here. It was nuts. I'll be a bit more cautious in the future.