Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Met a Bear In Tennis Shoes

Well, actually I was in running shoes and the bear was about two hundred yards away, not appearing to be wearing any shoes at all. 
So here's the story...
I had to run a long run this weekend, as next weekend I participate in the Cascade Lakes Relay, an insane relay from Diamond Lake to Bend. Twelve people running about two hundred miles in  about twenty four hours...desert, high country, woods, who knows...
I decided running up and down Willamette street here in Eugene would be good practice for almost any part of the relay. Last year, I had practiced the downhill for the Hood to Coast, but had avoided the uphill, because not any of my relay legs were uphill. I don't know what my legs are this year, so I have practiced some in the heat of the day, and up and down some of Eugene's nasty hills.
Today, I started at Amazon Pool, as I had left Paul to help with the swim meet. I began my run by calling my pal EK to tell her my endeavour, and to acclimate to the heat as I walked at talked. I began running about a quarter mile out of Amazon when I immediately felt a wet sensation running down my backside. The water bottle I chose to run with didn't have the right lid on it, so the water sloshed all over the back of my shorts and down my legs as I ran. I usually run with a full water bottle, and for some reason thought dumping half of it out would stop the leakage. I did a little, and fortunately it was pushing ninety degrees, so the water was drying fast. 
Also, I had recently bought new shoes, as well as having had my podiatrist mess with my orthotics. The result of the two changes were that my foot going painfully numb. So from mile one, it was numb for most of the run, and I almost stopped at one point, as it seemed that my ankle decided to join in on the fun. 
So I ran with this numbing past the trail head of the Ridgeline Trail, about three miles into the run. I ran about another half a mile, noticing the hill going up and up, but then as I went up and up, I pondered making it to the Spencer Butte parking lot, which was up more. But my foot was numb enough that I was contemplating whether or not I should stop and put my orthotic in my pack, thinking that might stop the numbing. 
So as I was cogitating I stopped, was looking up the hill toward the top, and then said to myself, 
"That's a bear." 
He looked at me.
I looked at him.
He sized up me.
I sized I up him. 
He said to me, "Why don't you run? I see you ain't got any gun."
And so I slowly walked backwards, away from the bear as he crossed Willamette. I'm assuming he saw me. I was wearing a white hat, a bright fuchsia running top, and light blue shorts. He didn't seem to confuse me for a salmon.
I slowly walked backwards, thinking there wasn't much I could really do. He was a bear, and although I had my handy pack with a Nutragrain Bar, Sports Beans, a dollar, and my cell phone, I couldn't do much to protect myself from a bear. He could run faster than me, even downhill. While I was backing down the hill, I had the brilliant idea to snap a picture of the bear while 
I kept completely calm as, again I didn't stand a chance against a black bear. I guess I could have squirted him with my squirt bottle like one does to cats. 
I kept walking backwards, and waited to run, as I did see him cross the road, and into the bushes. I ran a little, turning around, making sure he wasn't chasing me. 
I wasn't wearing my heart rate monitor this afternoon. I would have loved to see my heart rate as I saw the bear, but like I said, I remained rather calm.
 OK, I was somewhat motivated to get down the butte, but wished that I had a little more adrenaline for someone who just saw a bear. 
I had at least a three miles run to return to the pool, and was becoming somewhat dehydrated, as I had drank all of my half-bottle of water. Fortunately, I had a dollar bill in my pack earmarked for just a time. I knew that a Dari Mart sits at the bottom of the hill, hence, I took my hot body and face in to buy some sort of sports drink to make it the last half mile or so to the pool. 
On returning to the pool I immediately told the bear story to those who'd listen. It's too bad I took a picture of myself, and not the bear. It's a good thing I was so calm. 
Oh, did I mention this event happened today at Amazon?

Teddy Bear Picnic
Saturday, July 26, 11:00 - noon, Amazon Center, 2700 Hilyard
Bring snacks or a picnic lunch and enjoy live music and fun with the McCornack’s Garden Variety Band. Bring your teddy bear or favorite stuffed friend!


Deanna said...

Okay. Aaghhhh! OMG. Aaghhh! I don't have a heart monitor here either, but I'm sure my heart rate just soared. You did it, Nancy, you lived! Hooray! (Have I mentioned I'm terrified of bears?)

Maybe your experience will inspire me next time I'm jogging in the woods. I know now what to do - take a picture of myself, and all will be well. :o)

Erin said...


travelin' nan said...

Yes, it was a real black bear, not just a Teddy Bear Picnic escapee.