This trail is single track for the first few miles, then there is a half mile of fire road before the single track picks up again.
I felt great in the damp mid-70's weather, so I was blazing through the trail in something around 7 minute pace. I turned back at the end of the fire road to start my return to the trailhead.
It was then that I was attacked...
I had only seen 1 other person on the trail, a slow-moving biker that I had actually passed going up a hill. And today I had seen no animals.
I was minding my own, running briskly, and out of nowhere I felt 2 hands grabbing at my headsweats hat from above...
What the ef?
I gave my head a quick shake and then glanced back. I saw nothing, and whatever had tried to grab my hat was nowhere to be seen.
I pulled the hat off my head and inspected, thinking maybe it was a little #2 present from a high-flying bird that had given me the sensation. Nope, no bird mess.
I decided I must be doing a little hallucinating and kept right on running. And then it happened again.
The same two hands grabbed at the top of my hat and actually lifted it slightly off my head. I somewhat frantically shook my head to the side, and the hands released.
I quickly looked over my left shoulder as I picked up my pace, slightly alarmed now.
And then I saw it...
Flying away was a charcoal gray bird with about a 4 or 5 foot wingspan. I have no idea what kind of bird it was, but it seemed huge! [added comment: after doing a little research this afternoon, the bird most resembled either a red-shouldered hawk or a golden eagle. The feathers were strikingly "fluffy," which looks to be more consistent with a golden eagle which are "uncommonly seen in Alabama late summer to winter." My guess is it's probably a hawk of some sorts...]
I can only imagine that this bird must have mistaken my white hat for a rabbit or some other scurrying prey. Luckily, his talons for some reason weren't very sharp or I think my scalp may have been a little more scarred than it is already.
Endurance sports training takes you to some interesting places and offers some rather unique experiences.
But I never for a moment imagined I would be the target of a bird of prey...
Thanks for joining me for My Daily Spin.