Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dawn Patrol

Summer sprung on us this year. We went from temperatures in the upper 70s to near triple digits this week. My perfect running weather is mid 40s and sunshine, so this Summer business has not been my favorite. Solution? Beat the sun.

Dawn patrol it was. I stopped to say hello to sleepy Downtown.
I would not run alone in our forests before sunrise. That just wouldn't be wise being that we share our trails with other predators that are active in the pre-dawn hours. I feel safe on our ridge. It offers me and Kona a place to get away from the city rush, but a big cat would have to be terribly lost to find its way onto our trail.

Just as I reassured myself that we wouldn't be ambushed in the dark, I ran into a spider web. Thankfully, I only hit the edge of the sticky food trap. I turned around to see the silhouette of the big spider as it scurried to safety. It's shaped was unmistakable--a brown widow.

I shook off the thought of face planting into one of the most venomous spiders in town. Brown widows are new to our area. They have a similar shape to the black widow, with the same hourglass tummy. Unlike the black widow, they aren't nearly as shy. They spin webs in full view, not hiding in dark corners like their cousins.

Spider averted, we kept running. The sky lightened as we started the steep portion of our run. I stopped to watch the sun awaken our forest to the north. Many of the mountain trails are still closed due to unstable trail conditions after last year's fire.
This Summer, Kona has gotten better at waiting while I stop on the trail. She use to immediately whine whenever I paused. As I watched the sun rise over the mountains this morning, she stood quietly. She still wasn't completely relaxed as she shook off her nerves before we started running again.
As we started back towards the car, something caught Kona's attention. She sniffed the air and looked down the hillside. I wondered what she smelled that I couldn't see.
The sun reflected off the downtown skyline, promising another warm day.
Lucky for us, we returned to the trailhead just as the sun peaked over our eastern mountains. We stealthy runners slipped into the car before the sun could catch us.


MurphyDog said...

ick! Over the last few years we have been seeing more and more brown widows around our house. At first Mom thought it was just a black widow with funny coloring, but then she looked it up. Oh boy, does she hate spiders!

Glad you narrowly escaped the web of death and the heat of the sun!

wags, wiggles & slobbers

Sara said...

We must have swapped weather. The cooler weather has arrived on this coast.

Spider's webs are gorgeous,but walking into one, not such a great way to start your day. I've never heard of a brown widow.

KB said...

I LOVE that last photo with the sun rising behind Kona. You two sure are early risers! Way to go, beating the sun... Triple digit heat is no fun.

I've fallen behind on your posts due to travel. I just saw your recall month post. The hiding game is a great one. Another good one requires a friend to help - a "restrained" recall. Your friend holds Kona's collar/harness and you run away acting very fun and excited. Your friend can help rev Kona up. When you reach full distance away, turn and call Kona right away. Then, have a huge party when she arrives. When she is ready you can add a twist - hiding in an easy-to-find place for a restrained recall.

When I don't have a friend to help, using a "stay" and going very far gets the dogs excited to come find me.

One final thing - my dogs' absolute fave recall reward is a game of tug, not treats (my neck has hindered tug, though). Maybe Kona would like that?

Dawn said...

Very lovely photos, and I applaud you for getting up at the crack of pre-dawn to get your training in!! Kona must LOVE you!

Not so hot on the spider thing. I would have been creeped out! Good job getting your workout in on a hot summer day!

LauraK said...

I can't even imagine what time you gals had to get up to go running- you're so dedicated! Such beautiful pictures!

I've never heard of a brown widow either- but I definitely would have freaked out if that happened to me! It sounds like you handled it very well!

Kathy said...

I am dying with the heat, boy if I was more disciplined and could get up that early I bet the world just feels so nice at that time when you have it all to yourself and the heat has not taken over ;-). thanks for taking us along this morning!!

Diana said...

It looks so beautiful and peaeful , well except for the spider. Im glad to see your donations for the marathon are still coming in. Diana