Taking Back My Favorite Rural Route…

For those of you who have lived in the middle of nowhere country forever, you may remember the time before we had house numbers like the city folk.  Instead of a house number, we had a Rural Route number that was somewhat vague.  Basically the only person who knew how to find us was the mail lady carrier who we knew by name.  Once 911 was invented became more prevalent and people were calling on authorities rather than their neighbors for help, then things had to get more official and we were issued a house number.  I remember the day, it was a major event and I also remember asking “why, our address was going to change?”.  I was told, “so the fire department can find us if we need help”. 

Prior to the change, the local fire department, which was staffed by volunteers, was having trouble finding our homes when a call came thru for assistance.  This was before GPS, smart phones, internet and well, apparently the mail lady wasn’t a volunteer fire fighter.   All our roads looked barren and untraveled like these:


Not much has changed for me other than my location.  I now live on a different rural route but still have “the same” barren country roads and a number to go on my mail box.  It may not be for everyone but I like it.  However, one thing that I do not like is that not everyone is a responsible pet owner and I have, in the past, had frequent problems with mean dog encounters.  After getting bit 3 times within less than 4 months, I altered my running route, a lot. 

         11/24/10                               12/24/10                      3/26/11     

Over the last 18 months, I have just been circling between my house and my friend Nicki’s house in case I have a problem.  I also now carry my cell phone when I run, which sucks doesn’t leave me as “unplugged” as I would like and I carry a Wrist Saver Pepper Spray.  Today, I was determined to take back my favorite rural run route so I strapped on the Wrist Saver because I was nervous to be safe.


I also like that it is reflective, which is good since I frequently run in the dark.


As you may have guessed, I had abandoned my favorite route because one of the roads in route is where all three biting dogs lived.  Amazing that with the distances I run, all three dogs just happened to live on the same road within a mile of my home.  Awesome.  So I eliminated the road in question from my running routes, which was inconvenient to say the least.  I felt as if I had been warned and I felt the need to heed the warning but now, I’m taking my rural run route back!

I actually think that all three dogs are now “gone” but that didn’t make me feel better as I headed out the door this morning.  What did make me feel good is that I was back on familiar territory, just planning to run around “the section” and it is a perfect 4 mile loop with varied terrain.  I love that I get a few small hills/inclines in the run and they are hardly even noticeable in the dark!

I made it without anything exciting to report and that’s GOOD news!  A rooster crowed and scared took me off guard, the coyotes were howling, and a blanket of thin fog hung in the air to make it a particularly dark run.  The temps were 48 degrees and I was in my glory.  Perfect running weather on my perfect rural run route.  I’m a happy gal today!

4.11 miles – 9:05 pace

Do you have any running routes, which you love, that you had to give up for a period of time?  Why?

** Happy Running **  Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

9 thoughts on “Taking Back My Favorite Rural Route…

  1. I bought that same pepper spray after you talked about it a while back. Since then I have been carrying the spray, I haven’t seen one dog! But I will be ready! It is always the little dog that come out from under the shrubs that you have to worry about.

  2. I might have to change my route for a few days because I yelled at motorist for being way too far into the crosswalk. He actually started to follow me. I am just sick and tired of having to run around a car when I get to an intersection. Tonight is tempo/speed run at the gym anyway due to timing.

  3. I grew up in the middle of nowhere NJ and had a rural route number. I remember when it changed! Certainly made writing my address out much easier since my street name was long to begin with.

  4. Woo-hoo, ya ran 4.11 miles at 9:05 pace…ya back with the pack! Now…coach says slow it down cause in a 4-mile run at this point in your comeback you want to be nurturing low-aerobic and maximizing fat-burning metabolism. I know you and your capabilities and an average 9:05 pace is not doing that! When will you listen to me? Arggghhh….run slow a lot slow in your comeback….the speed we can do later….ok?

    Second…regarding dogs and those encounters and bites you show pics of….ya all got to stop and face the dog that chases you and assert your authority over said dog. They will stop in their tracks and you point your finger at it and shout loudly at it, “go home or I will make horse-food out of you.” LOL!

    Truly…if you stop, turn and confront said chasing dog, it will stop, bark a lot and bare teeth and such, but you have to stand your ground. Simple Canid or wolve behavior you have to contend with…..they chase and course after prey in a sort of following their evolutionary roots that has been bastardized by selective breeding (yes…you the runner are the prey!).

    But even a moose or deer or such chased by a pack of wolves knows to at some point stop and confront its quarry cause it just can’t sustain a really long-distance marathon haul…the wolves (i.e. dogs) better conditioned to course long periods of time chasing something or in domesticated paradigm, pulling sleds or such.

    Every runner has to learn that when I dog comes up from behind or at angles from side, you need to acknowledge it and let it know you are cognizant of its presence, but if it is too close, just simply stop and get mad and point your fingers and shout at it and it will stop in its tracks. Then…if you carry that defensive spray on your wrist, if it doesn’t turn back and head home or its owner comes to its rescue, then spray it and be done with it and back on the run.

    I have only been bitten once in all my years and miles of running, and that was a dog at heel with its owner on other side of bike trail I was running on. All the other times….the damn dog stops and either wags its tail or barks, and 100% of the time in my rural runs down in rural Beecherland, the dogs are quite nice and just start following or plodding along with you, of course, the runner hoping the dog eventually just heads back home, or in the case of my Beecher runs, if it goes the distance, then I guess Mark Campbell inherits a new dog – LOL!

    No runner should be bitten by a dog….and if you pay attention to above….you will know how to make that happen!

    • I hear you Coach, I just don’t have the time in the morning to be lolligagging. I have to be back in the house by 5:15am at the very latest so Mick can leave for work, so I need to keep moving as much as possible.

      As for the dogs, the first one caught me off guard b/c normally, as you mentioned, they just run along for a bit and then drop off. I never in a million years anticipated it would bite me so I didn’t stop, just keep running like usual. The second one, I definitley stopped, I screamed at it, “back” & “go home” but it just came in for the bite & got me on the side of the knee. By the 3rd time, I was just pain freaked out. I yelled at it (and its 3 friends) and it just kept coming at me. I believe I even tried to kick it. Apparently that one lived with a biter, who had just “moved out” and he took its place. I was told that this wasn’t a normal MO for him.

      • I have been running one of my favorite route all summer and past a house that was vacant. This week as I passed the house I noticed it was occupied. Three pit bulls came running across the yard and across the street. I stopped walking, and sternly told the dog to go home and it bit me on the calf. First time I had ever been bitten. I have six stitches and a lot of bruising. I don’t think I had the time to react and grab my pepper spray. I hope I heal in time to continue training for chicago marathon.

      • Oh, no! Isn’t that so horrid? I feel as if I did the right thing each of the three times that I have been bitten with the same result – a bite! I am now more leary and pull my spray before approaching the danger zones but do fear that if I’m caught off guard, then it won’t be of much help. Hopefully it will heal fast and won’t efffect your training. I’m thinking of you. Stop back by here or the facebook page and let me know how your doing, ok?

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