fears · me · running · working out · wrong

when animal planet meets runners’ world

So, what I didn’t realize when I started running was that “running” is, apparently, code for “close encounters with wildlife.” I’m okay with seeing cute bunnies, graceful deer, and the occasional squirrel. I’m obviously not okay with snakes falling out of trees. Another to add to the Do Not Try this at Home list…being chased by skunks.

Tuesday morning, Super Mom and I were out running. (Okay, we’d just started, so we were actually walking, but you get the point.) We’re at one end of the track, in the dark, when we see something moving across the infield. Something small. Dark.

My initial response: “I hope that’s a cat.”

After three more seconds of watching the completely un-cat-like, non-graceful movement turn in our direction, realization set in.

“That’s NOT a cat!”

So, Super Mom and I froze. (Yes, in terror. Do I look like I want to try to outrun a skunk? It’s common knowledge that if you do not acknowledge reality, it will go away. Haven’t you ever heard of the ostrich with its head in the sand? Work with me, here…) Pepe le Pew (not that I stopped to ask its name) continued towards us. When it was almost at the edge of the track, I finally believed it wasn’t going away, and took off in a dead sprint, leaving Super Mom behind (Don’t judge me.). She remained frozen (I assume—it was dark, and SHE was not exactly the focus of my attention.).

Super Mom: “Don’t leave me!”

Me, over my shoulder, while escaping to safety: “Every man for themselves!”

When I gracefully escaped took off, the skunk paused, possibly confused by its prey fleeing, then started back in Super Mom’s direction. Except, by that time, she had broken through her fear and started running, too, so it came after both of us. However, it was no match for our obvious prowess (or possibly our much longer legs), so we outran it, snatched up our water bottles, and continued to flee in terror pace ourselves calmly out the fence and across the parking lot, towards, I might add, the group of bootcampers who had been our companions on the track for several weeks without any wildlife sightings.

The very perky instructor, noticing our rapid approach, said “Oh, you’re joining us for boot camp?” To which we replied, when we could breathe again, “No, thank you. Just running for our lives….Pay no attention to us.”

pepe le pew


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