Saturday, June 3, 2023

When Birds Attack

Unless you saw my Friday IG post, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about! Luckily for you, I'm sharing the recap below. It's late spring and it seems that this week, nature is feeling itself. I blame the heat. It's been really hot this week, especially for this time of year. Hot weather makes people more violent, so why not birds too?

As you read this, I'm hopefully crossing the finish line of my first road half marathon in over a year. I had sworn off long distance road racing, but the Chicago 13.1 intrigued me--it's not the usual location for a long distance race in the city. The course runs the boulevards, a network of sprawling streets that run from north to south in the middle of the city. Beautiful historic architecture lines the boulevards and most of them have large green spaces for recreation. Being a big fan of my city, I'm looking forward to exploring this on my feet. 

Note to self: this is a training run. It's going to be a hot one, so that will be my mantra. Check my IG later for updates.

Weekly Rundown
Sunday: Ice Age Trail run 8.1 miles, 1200 ft; waterskiing
Monday: Waterskiing!
Tuesday: Yoga with Adriene
Wednesday: trail run 5 miles
Thursday: strength training 
Friday: run 6 miles
Saturday: yoga

May miles: 101.5

Running

I was up and out the door by 6-ish to catch the ferry across the river and run one of my favorite trails! I haven't run here for 2 years--not sure how I missed it last year, but Devil's Lake is a popular state park, so I wanted to get up to the bluff before it got too peopley. I decided on a 4 mile out and back, wanting to go easy on my legs with my upcoming half marathon next week. I also wasn't too concerned about time because the views are not something you want to breeze by! The morning started off cool, at 46, but when I finished 2 1/2 hours later, it was 67 degrees! Fortunately, it was mostly shaded and I felt really good on this run. 


It was another early start on Wednesday, but this time was to beat the heat, not the crowds. We reached 90F the day before and it was already 72F when I parked my car. Apparently, the preserve roads are under construction and I had to park at a grove where I have never parked. I located a path that connected me to the loop around the lake and immediately came face to face with a large snapping turtle. I stopped to take photos of him, but he started circling toward me, which was a little unnerving. I hoped I could outrun him, lol! The rest of my run was uneventful. The trails were so dry that I probably could have worn my road shoes. I was very grateful for the shade of the trees! As I was finishing up my run, I came upon that snapper again. I was startled to see him and also surprised at his progress. I hopped over him and continued on my way. He clearly was my spirit animal for this slow, easy-paced run!


As soon as I hit the bike path on Friday, I saw the warning sign and heard the low-throated warning from a bird hovering above my head.  Before I could blink I felt him pecking at my head.  I've been threatened by red-winged blackbirds before, but never experienced a full-on attack. Fortunately, it didn't affect my run, but it sure gave me a lot to think about as I made my way down the bike path. It was a warm, humid morning and I had to battle with those inner voices that told me how hot it was, how tired I was, how I should turn around and go home. With a half marathon in just 3 days, I knew how much I needed to push through those negative voices. I gave myself a one minute walk interval for each mile and finished my 6 mile run in 58:06. This run gave me a lot of confidence. On the way back, I stopped under that tree where the red-winged blackbirds have a nest. I dared them to attack me again. I got a lot of noise from them and they hovered over me, but they left me alone. I know it's silly, but taking charge of my run and the birds made me feel a heck of a lot better after this run than I did when I started.


Strength Training

After a really rough night at work, I was looking forward to lifting heavy sh## with SJ. She obliged, sort of, with some hypertrophy work. I did 4 sets of 10 back squats at 82.5# . So while these weren't super heavy, the volume and the depth of the squats had me crying for mercy for about the last 3 in each set. I alternated those with sets of 10 GHD sit-ups. I was really happy to see how far back I could go on the GHD--I'm definitely increasing my core strength and range of motion! We finished up with single-arm dumbbell overhead presses, 3 sets of 6 at 20# each arm, alternating with 4 assisted strict push-ups. 


Waterskiing

Yep, waterskiing is back in the lineup! I waterskied every day last weekend, but it wasn't until Monday that I felt like I got back to form. Saturday and Sunday's ski felt rough. It may have been due to all the boat traffic churning up the water. Even though to my hubs the water looked decent, trust me, it was a chore just to stay upright. But on Monday...the water was calm, with just a few ripples, which we waterskiers love. But I won't lie--it was COLD! My youngest son came out and I had a photographer, so it's proof that I went, lol. I really could have gone all day. No complaints about what was a beautiful run! I think Holly would have been proud!


How was your week? Are you battling the heat? Did you see anything interesting on the run? Have you ever been attacked by a bird? How did you celebrate Memorial Day?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown. 



27 comments :

  1. That's so weird -- we have a LOT of red winged blackbirds here, but I've never been bothered by them (except the noise) -- and I've never seen a sign like that! Guess I'm never by their nest. Glad you're okay!

    I hope that you're happy with your half today. Never easy in the heat. Good luck!

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    1. It's not the first time i've been threatened by them, but definitely the first time I've been pecked in the head!

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  2. Love the turtle! I've been dive-bombed by arctic terns in Iceland (I was trying to photograph their nest, but from a distance with a zoom lens!). They didn't get me but I saw someone on a tour bloodied and upset by one. Nice work this week and hope you've enjoyed your half! It's been warm here at least, so nice to sit in the garden and read in the sun and I've got all my rehab runs in early or late this week to avoid the heat (or "heat" to you!).

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    1. I enjoyed my half but it was warm. I struggled quite a bit, but this was an amazing crowd who kept me going.

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  3. no bird attacks... just dogs.

    Good luck today... I'm rooting for you.

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  4. No, I've never been attacked by a bird! That's scary. But I like your "spirit animal," ha ha. I see my turtle spirit animal when I'm out on the sandy trail. Finally, an animal I can outrun!
    I hope your half went well. I've also sworn off longer road races, but this one does sound interesting. I'll be looking forward to the recap.
    Oh, and your picture of the squats made me laugh-now THAT is how a person is supposed to look doing squats! I have a picture of myself doing squats with five pound weights on the bar, and it looks so lame. I will get there... someday!

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    1. My coach doesn't let me lift unless my form is perfect! If I'm off, she makes me stop and regroup. Truly amazing.

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  5. When we were cycling on Memorial Day, another cyclist warned us of the birds...but the birds left us alone. I have heard a LOT of stories of those grumpy red-winged black birds! I'm thankful I don't have any such stories to share ((yet)).

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  6. I know you love to be back on the water skis! I've never heard of birds attacking like that how crazy. Hope you had a great race today :)

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    1. It's so nice out and I almost considered DNS this race so I could ski, lol

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  7. That bird attack is just freaky! I blame the heat - I was cranky too this week LOL Congrats on your race - summer racing is not for the faint of heart!

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  8. Freaky with the bird attack! I've never heard of aggressive blackbirds before.
    Isn't wonderful to see the results of the hard work in the gym?! Core strength is so important too!
    I think the most interesting I've seen during a run was when I found that phone on the road. Not very exciting :D

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    1. I've had a few breakthroughs with my strength training lately. That makes me very happy!

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  9. Congrats on the race, a half in this (hot) period is a very tough challenge.
    No bird attacks only dogs and one time a bull (with no consequences). Many drivers are more dangerous for sure!

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    1. Oh for sure! It's why I'm not a fan of running or biking on the road anymore.

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  10. I hope you had a great race! I ran the Chicago Spring Half several years ago, but it sounds like it's an entirely different race - we ran along the lake front.

    We've had the most amazing weather these past few weeks. Saturday's weather was the hottest this year, but it didn't seem so bad on the bike since it always feels much cooler riding than running.

    Birds are very territorial, especially when they have little ones to protect. One summer birds built their nest on the dune between our beach house and the ocean. Every time we'd walk between the house and the water, they'd freak out and attack us.

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    1. Almost all the races in Chicago are along the lakefront or through downtown. Been there, done that many times!

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  11. Birds are terrifying! I would have probably quit right then and there. Then again, at least they posted a warning sign. Yay for getting back out on the lake. That's awesome!

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  12. Love the pic of the turtle! I need to have a slow paced spirit animal too!

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    1. Since i saw 2 of them last week, I really feel like it was a sign!

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  13. the bird attack is just crazy. I mean ok, they warn you but you still don't really expect it to happen to you. Love that you were back out on the water again last week!! We've had great weather here so far, I am expecting it to get hotter and more humid though. the weather i the NL has been off the charts mental in the last few years.

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  14. Oh my, that bird attack! That would be a first for me...I had no idea those red winged blackbirds were so aggressive!

    Great week of waterskiing, and I believe I saw on Instagram that you had a great half marathon! Kind of fun to see you back on the roads :) It looked like a cool race too! Chicago is beautiful.

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