This week the Jumbo/Shrimp Team and I have been exploring running at night. Not dusk but full darkness. I was really starting to enjoy the serenity of rolling through the night with only my headlamp pointing off to whatever I happened to be looking at.
It’s quiet except for an occasional car to deal with. For the most part there are no people out walking their dogs. This is a big plus when you don’t want interference of un-socialized critters (pet dogs) trying to eat the team.
I was actually starting to relax from my normal anxiety of possibly having to deal with this sort of annoying and potentially dangerous encounters. I mean who wants a vet bill? My job is to try to keep all of us as safe as possible. Sure, the dark has some other risks but anytime you run you have those.
At night even the squirrels seem to be out of sight, tucked away in their tree rat nest far above us. We have lots of woods along the road and few street lights. It is in fact pretty damn dark. Have no fear… the huskies can see well enough to keep us straight and level as we glide through the dark.
My preoccupation with dogs and suicidal squirrels made me forget one other critter that comes out at night. I was quickly brought out of my blissful moment.
In a flash a large shape bounded across the road in front of us. I could make out the outline of a nice big doe. The dogs sure didn’t miss it and the 240 pounds of me and trike suddenly went to warp speed as Cooper exercised his excitement into overdrive.
Not wanting to be outdone, Nikki had her ears down flat and legs pumping just as hard as they could. We were headed for the ditch across the road and probably into the woods If control was not regained in about 2 more seconds.
A combination of disc brakes and yelling “On BYE!” slowly brought the trike out of a three-wheel drift. It was much like an inner tube being towed behind a boat taking a corner. The deer was long gone through the woods and the dogs may have decided pulling me through the woods would also put them out of the chase.
It was a repeat lesson of a couple of summers ago. The lesson is you can never relax completely when you are running. To top it off we met a couple of midnight skulkers walking their dogs. No flash lights, or reflective coatings. But I was tipped off each time by my dogs sudden burst of pulling. Sure, enough they would come into my little circle of light as we raced upon them.
They cowered on the side of the road.
Their dogs are freaked out as this Flying Dutchmen of flesh and steel goes by. The only thing they see is the red flashing tail light as we disappear into the darkness. I chuckle at the faces that flashed past me. Open mouths, as they tightly hold their dogs leash and collar, and watch this madness appear and disappear before they really can comprehend it.
I hope we left them with good stories to tell when they got back home.
Too bad I wasn’t wearing the video camera. Maybe tonight there will be more fun afoot.