A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The scariest thing that has EVER happened to me on a run...

On Sunday morning, I convinced Paul to go for a hike on the Appalachian Trail while I ran. "You're going to be inside watching football all afternoon and evening, you have to get outside this morning!" I told him. He agreed.

We drove to the trail head on Trindle Road. The plan was to run/hike North for 40 minutes and then turn around and go back to the car. We needed to be done by 12:30 because Paul forgot to set the DVR for his football games... Seriously!?

It was a beautiful fall day. Armed with the latest Big Brother podcast, I was ready to get in about 8 miles. This will be a good training run for the Dam Half. Actually, it will be my only training run for the Dam Half since it's exactly a week away!

I passed by one woman running the same direction as me and 3 men who were running toward me. This was all within the first 3/4 of a mile so I was impressed with how busy the trail was! I was a little nervous at a part where there was some tall(ish) grass. What if a rattlesnake bites me? That would freaking suck and I would probably die.

I was fun running this section of the trail. I hadn't been on it in years. I soon got to the part that reminded me of the beach. There was dirt single track on small rolling hills with tall grass/bushes/brush on either side. I remember this part! Wow, it's been so long.

Then, at the top of the hill, about 50 feet away, I saw the animal. It was completely tan. It was about the size of a medium sized dog. It was "sleek". But it didn't look like a dog. My first thought was, THAT'S A MOUNTAIN LION!!! Why is there a mountain lion in Pennsylvania? Omg, omg, omg, omg, omg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The animal SAW me. It's ears perked up and it stood at the top of the hill, looking at me. My first instinct was to turn and run. I turned and was about to run, but then I was like, Oh shit you're not supposed to run when you see a mountain lion. I'm so stupid. I turned back around and just looked at the animal.

I totally forgot all of the research I did on mountain lions. Guys, before I went to California this summer, I researched like every mountain lion attack in Cali for the past 100 years. I know what to do in the event there is a mountain lion, yet when I saw this animal, all I felt like doing was sprinting away.

The animal took about 6 steps toward me slowly, then turned right and walked into the tall bushes/brush. As soon as it walked into the brush, I turned around and I SPRINTED.

As I ran down the trail, I was convinced that any second, the mountain lion would leap out of the bushes and attack me. I was only about 1 mile into the trail at this point. I remembered there should be at least that one woman behind me running toward me. She couldn't be too far back. And then there was Paul too. As I sprinted, I called Paul on my phone. When he answered, I yelled, "There was a mountain lion on the trail! I am sprinting away! Run toward me please!" Paul said he'd run toward me and hung up the phone. I kept glancing behind me but I didn't see the animal. How I didn't trip and kill myself, I'll never know...

About 3 minutes later, I ran upon one of the guys I had passed before. He must have turned around to come back the other way.

"You're going to think I'm crazy, but I think I saw a mountain lion on the trail," I told him in between breaths.

"Really?" he asked incredulously.

Yes," I panted. I had been running like a bat out of hell. I already had a headache from my 3 minute sprint and my chest was burning.

"Okay, I'll keep an eye out for it," he said and ran off.

HE'LL KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR IT?

YOU DON'T KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR MOUNTAIN LIONS. MOUNTAIN LIONS SEE YOU WELLLLLLLL BEFORE YOU SEE THEM!!!!

Oh well, if that guy wanted to die, it wasn't my problem. I continued to sprint toward the car. Another 3-4 minutes later, I saw Paul, looking like he was just leisurely walking through the field. I was so relieved to see Paul but WHY WASN'T HE RUNNING AS FAST AS HE COULD TO SAVE ME???

"I was running," he told me. "I just took a break. I didn't want to have a seizure."

I was a little pissed. I really thought I was going to die back there, and there was Paul just walking through the field, even though he said he was running and just stopped to walk. Must be nice to be able to stop and walk and NOT WORRY ABOUT A FREAKING MOUNTAIN LION CHASING AFTER YOU.

(Obviously I didn't want him to have a seizure but I also didn't want to be laying dead on the trail being eaten by a mountain lion!) 

At this point I had a POUNDING headache and my throat hurt. I basically felt like crap. We walked the very short distance back to the car (we could actually see it at this point) and grabbed some water. I quickly texted my friend, Tammy, and told her I thought I saw a mountain lion on the AT. I asked her if there were actually mountain lions in PA. I knew she'd have answers for me... her husband worked for the fish and game commission and they are my go to when I have critter questions.



Paul and I decided we'd cross Trindle Road and walk South on the trail. Mountain lions wouldn't cross a road, right?

Then I got this from Tammy....


At the exact same time I was reading Tammy's text about her and Jeff seeing a bear, I heard a loud stick breaking in the woods.

OH HELL NO I WAS NOT ABOUT TO SEE A BEAR TOO!

I ran back to the car. Paul was still there. Time to go home, we decided. I finished my run in the safe neighborhoods of Shiremanstown...

Later on in the day I decided I saw a fox. It looked like this but bigger, I swear.


What's the scariest thing you ever saw on a run?

24 comments:

  1. Oh, wow...scary, Megan! I am glad you are OK. We have so many fox around here -- I see them a lot on my early morning bike rides. I think the scariest thing was coming over a hill on the bike trail and there were like 4 huge elk. HUGE. I stopped my bike and we looked at each other and then they walked down by the river and I SLOWLY (without even breathing) rode past. I am not sure they are known to hurt people intentionally but you never know. There is always at least one story each summer where people get too close to a mama moose and she will charge and harm out of protection for her babies.

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    1. I think if I saw foxes more often I would have known right away what it was. Okay ELK ARE SCARY. When we were in Grand Lake on one of the trails, there was a sign that basically said, "If you come upon a mother and her babies, you are GOING TO DIE." lol. You know how explicit signage in CO and CA are! I would've been scared to come upon them as well. That could'be been bad. Could've you out pedaled them??

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    2. I like to think I could have out pedaled them but...no. They can run like 45 MPH.

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    3. Elk will charge you, but they are prey animals and will only chase you until they don't feel threatened anymore. So you always run when prey animals charge. Or hide behind a tree. When predators see you, do not run! Try to look bigger than them and make a lot of noise.

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    4. Good to know about elk, Rachel!! I know I knew if it was a mtn lion I wasn't supposed to run but I clearly panicked!

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  2. 4:30 in the morning on a foot/ bike path that I run nearly every day, a drunk guy walking and playing the guitar. I got some pictures of a red fox that I saw frequently on my runs in the summer because it gets light so early...

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    1. Ooh, that early in the morning seeing someone out there who is not running or walking a dog sounds pretty creepy. Although I find drunk dudes with guitars more annoying than scary. ;) Haha.

      I actually think foxes are cute! A couple years ago there were some in our neighborhood that i would see early in the morning. One time I saw it trotting down my neighbor's driveway like when of the neighborhood cats. He was all nonchalant about it.

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  3. OMG my heart was pounding the entire time I was reading this. I was hoping that when I got to the end you had figured out what the animal was. Do you really think it was a fox? I don't know how large even a small mountain lion would be but you would think it would be larger than a fox. Although I just looked up Mt lion and they are the largest wild cat in north America so if it was a Mt lion there would probably be no mistaken it. Now I am curious how large a fox can get?
    And of all times, you didn't have your Mt lion stick!

    I am always worried about running into wild animals on a run, especially bear but now you have just given me a new worry. Thanks...lol

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    1. I know, being in PA we should be wayyyyyy more worried about running into a mother bear and cubs, right!? I don't think it was a mountain lion. I was leaning toward bobcat but then when I googled pictures of tan foxes, I am pretty sure that's what it was. Although I swear it was bigger than the one I pictured!

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  4. Maybe it was a coyote? I was actually within 25 feet of a coyote when I was running on residential bike path near my house. It was running right in front of me, trying to get away as I was running behind it. There was a fence so it couldn't get off the bike path. It was far more scared of me than I was of it!! However, a coyote is about the last thing I'd expect to see in Ohio on a run, but we do have them around!

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    1. I don't think it was a coyote because I think I would've thought it looked more like a big dog than a cat if it were a coyote. Poor little coyote couldn't get away from you! I hate when I see animals somewhere they don't belong. (Not that it's their fault, we took over their homes!)

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    2. I totally agree! We used to have deer that stopped by our back yard, but of course a house was built back there and we never saw them again :(

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  5. My god!! that sounds terrifying! I am glad that you are ok.

    The scariest thing I've seen in a run, was a car that kept circling where I was running. I ran from Camp Hill to Harrisburg, and kept seeing this car over and over. I met up with a friend, and she thought it was creep too. We met up with Roger eventually and were ok, but still creeped out.

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    1. THAT IS VERY SCARY. Do you think they were following you on purpose? If so, did you report them?

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  6. Wow thats so scary! I see foxes all the and just try to stay away from them, and they don't bother me. I think they are just protective of their babies. I see alot of deer too which don't scare me expect they run out from nowhere all the time and Im worried one of them will run right into me!

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    1. I am scared a deer will bound into me too! I know they wouldn't do it on purpose, but we know how skittish deer can be. But I love seeing them on my runs.

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  7. Luckily, I've never encountered any wildlife bigger than a squirrel... LOL... which probably is because I run in the neighborhood/park mostly.

    I definitely would have been scared... mountain lion, bobcat or coyote... don't need to encounter those ;)

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    1. Me neither! Now don't you live in CA? I imagine you have a lot more dangerous wildlife than we do!

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  8. I am so sorry you were so freaked out!! I wonder what it was??! I have seen foxes and they are so afraid of YOU they usually bolt away. My only worry is animals if they are sick they will do freakish stuff. I encountered a raccoon once during the day and was freaked because I thought they claws were going into me.
    It is so hard to be 100% about what is right course of action, but I try to chill when that happens. Fear pushes everything else out of the brain and you can't make decisions. I try hard not to do any sporadic movement....and I am the dummy who saw the bear and was completely fascinated.
    I was scared in AZ on the trails because they have some bigass creepy things like scorpions.

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    1. This fox (I am guessing it was a fox in hindsight) didn't seem too concerned about me. But I wasn't SUPER close to him. Remind me about when you saw a bear!

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    2. http://moreclutterfromkaren.blogspot.com/2016/05/keep-your-eyeballs-open.html

      It was a day I went to Sharp Top and Harkening Hill. I also saw a wolf once many years ago, very close up.

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  9. I went backpacking about a month ago and we went for a trail run. We left at 9am which is prime animal hour. I was in the front in a really brushy area and scared a bear. I almost shit myself and, of course, ran the other direction to my friends like an idiot. I was shaking for like an hour after that.

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