Today I was expecting to throw down in the second race of the TriClub Duathlon Series. The entire series is awesome, but I especially like this challenging course. I had also had a DNF at last month’s race because my quads cramped up on me 1 mile into the run due to the perfect storm. (Have you ever realized how often the perfect storm occurs?)

I was particularly excited to ‘test’ myself, not expecting the best results but to get a good baseline of where I stand today compared to the last two years I did this course. I was also pleased to find out that some of the club’s best competitors were there: Keith Butsko, Mike Clinch, and Kosuke Amano. This was Kosuke’s first duathlon too, and since he’s so dominant in swimming I wondered how the race would play out for him.

I decided I would skip out on the bike warm up and focus on doing a good warm up on the run. I had problems during the last run, and this course is much more challenging with steep descents and climbs that I figured that would be my best investment. The bike course starts downhill and following the run I figured I would warm up enough without doing a bike warm up beforehand. I was planning on taking pictures at this race, and almost grabbed my camera for the run warm up to show what the course looked like. I wish I had done that…

The first ¾ of a mile of the course is a steep and continuous descent. I turned around at the bottom and was cruising back up hill to the start when I saw a man with three dogs about ¼ mile ahead. The dogs were barking and running off leash, but the owner was calling them to him and continuing up a hill to the left of the trail I was running on. As I approached the dogs kept barking and starting running around me (pack mentality, planning on killing the sick or disabled). I apparently looked pretty bad, probably running a leisurely 15 min pace or something when one of the dogs came up behind me and bit my calf. I stopped, and yelled up to the owner, who was a bit in denial. He came down (all three dogs still circling around me and barking) and finally put a leash on the one dog that bit me. I asked for contact information, which he said he had none, and then gave me his name. The name he gave me ended up being just his first and middle name, but based on my description and the partial name, the police were able to locate his residence, which was in the area. Yes, I called the police, and the fiasco ended up ruining my race plans.

The dog owner also continued on with his walk through the park, even though I told him I was calling the police and animal control. Animal control stated that they would get the dog and quarantine it. I was pleased to hear that there hasn’t been dog-rabies in San Diego County for 40 years, but that they still quarantine because there is rabies in skunks and bats. If you aren’t familiar with rabies, once symptoms occur, it is fatal, so animals get quarantined to observe for signs of rabies, or necropsied for pathology evaluation for evidence of rabies.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen dogs out on trails, on and off leash. Although dogs often get excited when a runner is coming up, there is an assumption that if there is dog off leash walking with their owner they must know (somehow) that their dog won’t be aggressive or bite. Well, all three of these dogs were aggressive, and one did bite. The owner appeared surprised, but then admitted that it was a new dog he’d only had for a week or so. That just seems irresponsible and ignorant to me because there is no way he could know (if anyone could actually predict the actions of an animal) that his dog wouldn’t bite.