Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If a bear is chasing you, run downhill

Termed "dubious advice" on this U of M website which goes on to say...

In fact, bears are fast runners over any terrain. Lean bears can run up to 30 miles per hour for short distances. It's best to never assume you can outrun a bear.

Well, thankfully we didn't have to test out that assumption when we disturbed this guy's twin on the trail close to Sugar Loaf Road on Saturday...

Though, to be fair he was not lumbering towards us, and so we only saw his behind... but there are no good images of bear butts (just lots of bare butts) on google.

It was already a great run - having started out at Tettagouche with Eric and Guy soon after 6am - but this certainly added to the experience! We'd dropped water etc and Co. Rd 6, Finland, Crosby-Manitou and Sugar Loaf Rd on Friday evening - Eric and myself aiming to cover the 43 miles to Cramer Rd and Guy having left his car at Caribou wayside to give him 36. Eric is training for Sawtooth and Guy for the Superior 50 so it was great for them to see so much of what awaits them in a few weeks! The temps were relatively cool but it was very humid and we were soaked within minutes. No amazing views of Lake Superior with the cloud cover which lasted pretty much the entire day except for a short spell around 1pm.

We took our time getting through each section - the rocks and roots of Sonju Lake taking their toll on tired legs... some nicer sections further along that I had forgotten about including the section where we spotted Manitou (it means this and isn't really much of a bear name but given that we were close to Manitou gorge it'll work). We were running along a flat section - moving pretty good but not exactly fast - I was about 10 ft ahead of Eric - I heard this rustling up ahead and off to the left and looked up expecting to see a deer as I'd spotted a few earlier. But no, I see this big black lump. I stopped dead in my tracks. And in the same instant Manitou lifts his head (facing the other direction, phew) and shoots out onto the trail in front of us, sprints 30 yards along and then darts off to the right and into the woods. We caught our breath, made some noise chatting loudly and carried on.

It all happened so fast I can't say I was really scared at all. But I know if I was by myself I would have been in a sorry state!! As it was, the next morning I headed out by myself to run Silver Bay to Tettagouche - and everytime I heard a rustling I was that little bit more nervous. But I don't think I spotted any wildlife at all - just fabulous scences of Bean & Bear Lake. I have said it before - this is definitely my fav section of the SHT.

So another 90 mile week. Well pleased with that. A little knee pain by the end of Saturday but I didn't feel it at all Sunday. This week I'm taking things much easier though it has more to do with a crazy work schedule (if it can even be called that) than a deliberate attempt to taper. I will do some long hill repeats this weekend - perhaps both Friday and Saturday. And then Sunday morning I am thinking of doing the 10K trail run over in River Falls. In the KSOs. We'll see... I did a few miles on the grass last night and they felt great. But (even non-technical) trails will be a different story I am sure! I suppose I should be saving my feet for Lean Horse but where would the fun be in that?