Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Fox, the Pheasant, and the Furrybunny

During my five mile run early this morning, I actually saw wildlife: a fox, a pheasant, and a furrybunny. OK, OK, I know there is not an animal called a furrybunny, but it just sounds better with the “f” sound of fox and pheasant. Cut me some slack! No? OK, it was a cottontail rabbit, for Pete’s sake! There! Happy?

The gray fox was in my neighborhood. It was walking down a driveway. In the early morning darkness, I thought it was a cat. It showed little fear as I ran down the street towards it, closer and closer. As I neared it, I realized it was a fox and slowed to walk towards it for a better look. It pretty much stood its ground, and I decided not to force the issue.

My five mile course runs through part of our neighborhood and then into another one. After 1.25 miles, there is a 1.3 mile loop that goes through some woods on a path, past a park, along a deeply wooded path on a gravel trail for about .4 miles, then a section past a baseball field, tennis courts, a track, and a basketball court, all at a middle school. Repeat that 1.3 mile loop a second time, then head home, and it translates to 5.1 miles.

The first time around the loop, I heard a pheasant call near the ball field. I have not heard or seen a pheasant in this area in years if ever. It was still quite dark. But on my second loop, going past this same area in some more light 13-14 minutes later, I saw the male ring-necked pheasant near the tall fence right by my path. He started running like crazy. They run just like a chicken, and it is funny to watch. I imagine he was thinking something like this: “What’s that running towards me? Holy crap! That thing is huge! And fast! And it’s coming to get me! I had better run for my life!”

I saw the furrybunny, er cottontail, back in the zone between the two neighborhoods. After seeing one animal that seemed to have too little fear, and another that seemed crazed with fear, the rabbit was somewhere in the middle. He moved into some bushes as I passed within feet of him before I saw him.

Running felt pretty good again, this time in the cool and dark of morning. My pace was a little slower than yesterday, but I think that is mainly because I walked the first 3-4 minutes to warm up. My knees are a bit sore, and may require me to take it a little easy tomorrow, because I don’t want to miss my 11 miler Saturday. Can he do it?

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