2006-01-15 - Turkey Buzzard Coven

~5 miles @ ~13:00 min/mi

C-C and I venture out to Howard County where Denis and Christelle McDonald host the annual Pancake Run, an informal go-as-you-please chance to jog along country roads and visit with fellow runners. At 7:30am we're among the first to arrive. We chat, grab maps, and don caps, gloves, and windbreakers over layers of running clothes. The 25°F air buffets us with 25 mph gusts of northwest wind for a single-digit windchill. We pick a five mile circuit to follow, along Jennings Chapel Rd. to Ed Warfield Rd. to Florence Rd. to Daisy Rd., which then leads us back to our start. Comfortable walk breaks on the hills let us keep up the conversation. The subjective miles flow by quickly. My new garish-bright trail shoes feel good.

Today turkey buzzards (aka vultures) are out in force. C-C points out dozens resting on an open field, and shortly thereafter we pass below bare-limbed trees where similar numbers perch. A distant shotgun blast bestirs many to launch themselves; I keep my mouth closed as I look up. Four miles into our loop we see a pair feeding on a roadkill deer corpse. They lumber into the air and soar overhead. C-C asks them politely not to vomit on us. (She informs me that regurgitation is one of their defense mechanisms.) After our run we chat with marathoner Betty Smith and others, enjoy the McDonalds' pancakes, bagels, and coffee, admire their lovely home's spiral staircase, and then head back to our families.