Sunday morning I headed to Turkey Pen for a run with the dog. My plan was to do 14 or more miles. I managed to convince Yuri and his dogs to join us for part of the run so Duma and I warmed up by heading straight up Turkey Pen Gap. If our rendezvous was going to work I was going to have to hustle or else Yuri was going to be waiting at Mullinax for awhile. So the dog and I tried our best to hustle up Turkey Pen but the initial climb up Sharpy mountain starts steep right out of the parking lot and after a short respite across Sandy Gap becomes nearly impossible to run. I 'ran' the entire climb but have no doubt that it would be just as fast to take bigger strides and walk - that will likely be my strategy during the Shut In. The downhill from Sharpy is steeper than the climb up which presents its own set of challenges. Down Wagon Rd. and then right onto South Mills River. I tried to pick up the tempo out on the flats and was wondering how long I'd been keeping Yuri waiting.
We intersected each other just below Mullinax and it appeared that our plan had worked perfectly. We let the dogs sniff each other and then headed up Mullinax. I felt pretty good and tried keep Duma, who was off leash, behind me so I charged up the first climb. I paused for a second at the little trickle of water that crosses the trail just before the 90 degree right turn so that the dogs could drink. Yuri caught up and just as I turned around to talk to him I heard him say something like 'oh shit' and then I felt the stings. Bees! We all fled. I took off up the trail, Yuri headed back down. I got swarmed hard and was taking multiple stings but was relieved to see Duma had followed me. I stopped and tried to get the bees off me and then worked on Duma. His fur was covered in them and as I swatted them off they landed on my ankles and stung me. Great. Both Duma and myself took dozens and dozens of stings. After getting the bees off I tried to yell across to Yuri but we were having a hard time communicating. I heard him say one of his dogs got hit hard and was hoping they fared better than we did. I yelled for him to meet us at the river and tried to get Duma to go down the little social trail but he would not budge. Yuri and his dogs were part of our pack and Duma was not willing to leave them. This is one of his most interesting behaviors but it would have been nice if he would have realized we would still find them if we took the other trail. But instead he wouldn't budge which left me no choice but to run through the swarming yellow jackets again. A couple more stings and we made it through.
I stopped at the bottom of Mullinax to figure out which way to go and looked at my legs for the first time. The stings were swelling bad - it looked like I had a bunch of golf balls under my skin - so I decided to head straight to the river and then back up to the parking lot. If Yuri got hit as hard as we did he was bound to have bailed as well. But Yuri wasn't there and after hanging out for a little while I headed for home and Benedryl figuring Yuri was okay. And just like that my big training run was over in just half the time and distance I had planned.