I was feeling good and the dogs were feeling good. Hitting the park gate I dropped Reba's leash and focused on not turning my ankle on the rough clay path. We passed a hiker with no issues. Reba and Tessa were scouting the path always staying within 10 -20 feet of me. At each curve they would wait for me before bounding ahead. We had travelled about 500 meters when both dogs dove off the path into the underbrush barking madly. Not too concerned I let them bark. Until I heard a coyote barking back. "Tessa, Tessa, That'll Do! THAT'LL DO!!!!" "Reba, Rebe here!" I yelled. With relief I saw my two black and white critters bound back onto the path, Reba leading the way. Tessa was still quite stirred up, barking wildly forcing me to lie her down.
Panting I stood and listened. Listened to the coyote barking at us. Barking freakishly close to us. As in under 10 meters away from us. The brush was very dense and I couldn't see it and I really, really didn't like how it was holding it's ground. Most coyotes when faced with a human and outnumbered by dogs would retreat. Not this one. Grabbing up Reba's leash, calling Tessa we began to retreat. Moving slowly at first (scared to attract an attack) then flat out sprinting, off we went back the way we came. Tessa would run ahead then stop and bounce on her front legs watching my back. As we passed the hiker I panted out "Coyote on trail - make lots of noise." Tessa in protective mode had to bark at the hiker (completely out of character to her - she's never met a stranger she didn't love).
Hitting the park gate, wheezing, the dog's and I walked out onto the road. After a short recuperative break we continued our run along the road. It's funny how things work. One of my deepest fears is being attacked by a wild animal while out running. I know it's not completely rational but today's experience hit a little too close to home for me. In large part, the coyote did not act normally leaving me to wonder if it doesn't have a den nearby with little one's in it. The other option is that medically there is something wrong with it and that's even more scary.
Today, we ran further, faster - you could say I've done my speed work for the week!