July 8, 2007

Attacked

My training plan dictated a 70-80 minute run today, so I went over to Oak Mountain and ran on the trail that Stronger and I had biked Monday. The heavy rains today and yesterday left the trail muddy, so I got the double-shot of a medium distance run AND muddybuddy training.

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.

9 comments:

Bike Chick said...

That's wild! You sure make a big bunny but I guess it would have looked like you were hoppig. :) Too funny.

Matt said...

Insane! Never heard of that happening. That would have freaked me out. I'm sure the run after that encountered was a little adrenalin fed.

TJ said...

I've had a few mocking birds dive at me, but never anything like that. Maybe you should try a different colored hat.

Bolder said...

The #3 Threat to Triathletes...

HAWKS!

(#1 Bears!, #2 Deer, ...)

who knew?

Robin said...

Wow, that's weird and a little scary! I've had crows dive-bomb my head for shiny barrettes, but nothing that *big*. Good training story though!

RunBubbaRun said...

That's crazy, but I always do have a fear of getting attacked while running in the woods.

Great trail running..

momo said...

ack! that sounds dangerous. we had an owl try to pick up our dog in the backyard, but never a person!

glad you're ok. geez!

TRI Vortex said...

Hey, I wish I could be mistaken for a wiley rabbit. A polar bear, maybe, but not a rabbit.

21stCenturyMom said...

That bird probably just thought your hat was stylin and wanted it for itself.