Facing Fears-some old, some new

Saturday was a little rougher than I had hoped for.  I faced a long run I was afraid of as well as a fear I thought I was past.

I was really nervous, more like freaking out, about this week’s long run.  I had never actually completed 12 consecutive miles outside of a race before.   My previous longest training day was 11.5 miles that was split into a 7 mile run followed later by a 4.5 mile run/ walk.    Something about 12 just seemed so far and impossible.  I had a headache Friday evening and it was lingering Saturday morning.  I checked the weather and it was only predicted to be in the 80’s so I figured I would run then and get a little more rest.  I had a route mapped out of 3 loops of 3.8 miles.  I would add one last hill to that last loop to bring myself to 12 miles.

I was already thinking about calling it at 10 when I set out, did I really need 12?  I did my first loop and since I felt tired I decided to do the extra hill then instead of last.  Even though that got that hill out of the way, somehow it really screwed up my mileage, I lost a mile.  I figured it out around mile 9, I didn’t have enough road left to hit 12, so I looped another street to add it back in.  As I was running up one hill for the third time, I realized why I may hate long runs so much.  My long runs are usually loops of hills- I’ve been doing hill repeats in disguise and never figured it out!   Hello, blonde runner over here.  This run had an elevation gain of 920.  By mile 9.5 I was done.  I stopped at the middle school and doused myself and my visor in water at the fountains.  I walked the last 2.5 miles but I did it!!  12 miles done!  This fear was mostly overcome.

Slow but done!
Slow but done!

I honestly thought I was over my fear of dogs.  I had been bit before as a teen but the worst was when I had just started running. I want to say it’s been more than 4 years since I was attacked by 2 border collies while running.  Ok, let’s be honest, I was walking.   It was near the top of a street that I had probably walked 100 times by then; I had never even noticed the 2 dogs in that yard until that night.  The standard Poodle who stood guard at the second to last house at the top, sure, we had had conversations before.    I first noticed the dogs on my way up the street, they were in the front yard and their barks sounded less than friendly but I didn’t think much of it.  There were kids playing in a nearby yard and a woman gardening.  I went all up the end of the road and turned around like always.   On my return trip, both dogs rushed out of the yard and ran my way growling and barking.  I froze because running away makes it worse right? Plus I thought they were just going to be noisy and not actually do anything.  Wrong- one got around behind me and bit me.   On the ass, nice.  I was in shock.  By now the owner was running out for the dogs and the woman gardening had come closer to observe.  The owner informed me that he had just removed their shock collars to give them a bath.  Umm, what?  By now I had determined I was bleeding so we exchanged numbers and I started the trek back to my car, it was about a mile away.   About a block later, the shock wore off and I burst into to tears and started shaking.   I had 2 puncture wounds and a gnarly, scary bruise.  I later found out that I was not the first person the dogs had attacked.     It hurt to run for weeks after- you know you need to lose weight when your butt hurts because it jiggles while running.  I started carrying pepper spray on my runs and I still have not gone all the way up that street since that day.

I was afraid of all dogs for a while.  I was once rushed by a yellow lab who just wanted to have fun and I freaked out.    But over the years, I thought it had eased.  There are dogs in the office all the time, ranging from Chihuahua’s to Pits to Dobermans to Bouvier’s.    I had come across a loose pit bull on a run once and been ok about it, I told her she was pretty and we went our separate ways.    Like I said I was over it.  Until Saturday.  I was finishing my long run and had just turned up my driveway.  When I day driveway I mean street, but there are only 7 houses on the street and with the exception of 2 houses, the rest of us have been here for 10+ years.     All the houses have some land so while we don’t all know each others names we know what is usual behavior.    One house I call the Victorian has 2 Bouvier’s.   Ever seen one?  They look like bears, gentle nice bears, but huge all the same.    One of the Bouvier’s passed away a year or so ago because I have only seen the gray one.  Saturday, there was a gray one and a white one, I still didn’t think much of it because it’s my driveway for crying out loud.   I was just passing the first house when I heard them bark.  I looked up from pausing my Nike+ app to see them tearing out of their driveway my way, the white one in the lead.  Once again I stood still, I had a water bottle in one hand and had been screwing with my phone in the other so I couldn’t even grab my pepper spray.  I should have thrown the water bottle but wasn’t thinking that clearly.  The white one looked possessed, it looked like it wanted me for dinner, the grey on was just along for the ride.   The owner was now yelling, trying to call them back.  It got within three inches of my waist before listening to the owner.  Crisis over right?  Nope.  It got about 10 feet away and decided it didn’t want to listen the guy anymore.  It turned around and came back at me growling and snarling.  Screw standing still, I started backpedaling as fast as I could go.   By now the owner was running and finally managed to grab the white one’s collar.  As soon as the white one was contained, the gray one was perfectly behaved.    He apologized but I was having troubles stringing words together to make a sentence.   I finally just bolted up the driveway.  I lost it just past his house, again sobbing and shaking.  I was shaking so badly I couldn’t get my gate open.  I had to stand there for a few minutes before I could get it unlocked.

The one dog I am not afraid of right now- Zoey
The one dog I am not afraid of right now- Zoey

So yeah, still not over it.   And now I am afraid to go back down my driveway.   What am I going to do when that customer brings her 2 Bouvier’s into the office? What about the dogs that are always at the lake path?   Even just typing this kind of freaked me out again.   One step forward, two steps back.

But I did my 12 miles! Sorry this was so long, thanks for sticking it out!

Anyone else ever had a scary run in?

How was your weekend?

Tell me something fun!

15 thoughts on “Facing Fears-some old, some new

  1. Oh man, after those run-ins I would be pretty freaked out by dogs, too. 😦 When I was about 10 I got jumped by 2 huskies and was really wary of dogs for a while. Luckily I haven’t had any incidents while running, though I’ve learned which houses on my usual route have loud barking and tend to run on the other side of the street. I hope this new white Bouvier doesn’t become a problem!

    Way to grind out all those miles, too! Ugh the hills… a 920 elevation makes my legs hurt just thinking about it!


    1. Exactly, on my regular weekend route I know where the dogs are and what kind they are. I was completely shocked by these dogs acting like that, They lived there for years!
      Thanks! I don’t why I never noticed how many times I was running up the same hill!


  2. Yikes! I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. We had some German Shepherds that lived next door to us when I was little, and at different times they each chased down and bit one of my sisters, so I’ve always been weird about them. It’s really a shame that people don’t properly train and control their animals. It makes me mad, because some day one of those dogs might end up being put down because their owners were too stupid or lazy to train them.

    I would suggest maybe talking to your neighbor–explain that the dog’s behavior was unacceptable, and that he needs to make sure the dog is under control. Maybe it was just an honest mistake, and he won’t leave the dogs unleashed again. And keep that pepper spray handy!


    1. Sometimes I am ok with Sheperds, sometimes not- they can have that look sometimes. Exactly! Not only are putting people at risk but they are careless with the lives of their dogs as well.

      I am torn if I want to say something or not. I mean it’s been 10 years and this is the first incident. I think I may ask the house below them if they have had any problems with the dogs. They are closer and they might know if this was a freak occurrence or a problem.


  3. I’m not afraid of dogs, but a few weeks ago I was out for my morning run and didn’t even see the dog laying in the front yard of the house I was about to pass until I was too close! If I had seen I would have crossed the street, but I had to suck it up and breath and keep the steady pace and when he got up and barked I swallowed my heart and then when he started to follow I thought I was just going to die.
    Fortunately he didn’t follow long – but scared the wits out of me!


    1. Sometimes dogs can just be intimidating even without a fear of dogs. And sometimes such a wild card. I admit that I stayed behind the counter anytime a dog came into the office today. One was a border collie, ack (the dogs that bit me)!! There was also a parrot but he didn’t scare me 🙂


  4. First, congrats on conquering your 12 miler! Awesome!

    Ugh, that is horrible that you were attacked by dogs! I was on a run and I saw a dog at a house and it got up and started barking. Best believe I turned around with the quickness. Good thing it didn’t want to chase after me! Maybe get some sort of pepper spray or dog whistle to keep them at bay?


    1. Thank you!

      I carry pepper spray but I had my phone and a water bottle in my hands. I thought I was ok being in my driveway, lesson learned, keep the pepper spray handy until I am behind my gate!


  5. Do you know what the leash laws are in your area? I would definitely check on that … I mean, you don’t want to cause a problem unless it is necessary, but if the dogs are serial-attackers, you need to file a complaint against the neighbor before someone gets even more seriously hurt. It just sucks that the animals pay the price for what is really the owner’s responsibility.

    But here is one to laugh at me about … when we bought our house, it was on a cul-de-sac, so to run more than a half-mile I needed to hit the main road. To get there I had to go around a bend … and on the house at that corner there were no houses on the opposite side and it was a very dark corner.

    During the first couple of weeks we lived there, I got into the habit of running, and then suddenly one morning as I was heading out I heard growling and saw a shadowy figure coming out at me. I was terrified and kept going … and fortunately the dog wasn’t out.

    I told my wife about my scary experience and she was genuinely concerned. Later that week we were talking and she was asking about which house had the dog, and I told her, and she wondered if there was another one other than the one she had seen. We took a walk and met Charlie, a 15 year old mid-sized mutt who was about the sweetest dog I’ve ever met … and who also liked to snooze at the end of the driveway in the mulch by the mailbox. Turns out I had woken her up and scared the crap out of her! Ever time after that I ran on the far said, and if I saw her there (they installed a street light nearby later that year) I would say hi and she would wag at me…

    But it gave Lisa plenty of fodder to make fun of me for many years 🙂


    1. I do need to check into the leash laws. This is the first time in over 10 years that I have had a problem with this house. The dogs are usually inside or in the backyard. It looked like they had just come back from a shopping trip that day and hadn’t taken the dogs in yet.
      You scared each other! But in the dark, I probably would have screamed and run the other way, not helpful at all. There’s a Pit a few blocks from my house that alarmed me the first few times I passed. I finally noticed that he is about 12 years old, a little over weight and his barks are more of “hey, you running, that’s cool”. Plus the yard is completely fenced in. Now I say hi to him when I run by.


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