Yesterday I ran 22 miles as one of my practice runs prior to the fall races and the Hartford Marathon. It was a good run with a bit of excitement because of a run in with a black bear. I started my run at 5am so I could meet the "Brickyarders" at the normal start point on the Saturday run. This is 7 miles from my house therefore I had to start early. I hooked up with Lee and Tracy on the trail and continued my long trek. We headed towards Unionville as usual and onto Burlington.
I split from the group to head up route 4 towards Burlington center. At this point I had completed 14 miles. Just as I crossed onto route 4 a black bear came out of the bushes in front of me. I stopped as did the bear. We looked at each other in an oddly "ho-hum" way. He crossed the road and I ran past. This encounter was interesting in that I always expected it to happen someday but never really thought about what I would do. There was a stark realization at the moment we met that I had no way of protecting or defending myself. There were no homes for help or shelter, no places to hide, and no devices or weapons to defend myself. I was just "out there". If he attacked my bare hands against his claws. I could not even see a decent size stick anywhere around. Experts say never to run so I just stood there and watched him. Apparently that is the trick.
After that encounter I continued on through the hills of Burlington eventually back home. In the end I completed 22 miles and felt pretty good. My average pace was 10:36/mile. I had tried my new starch supplement, UCAN, which worked well. Finishing such a long run boosts my confidence after a year of achilles issues and knee pain. My body can take the beating of a long run and I'm ready for the fall.