Monday, June 18, 2012

Bethel Hill Morning Boogie "half" 26.2 - dog bite report

June 16 started really early for me.  I woke up at 3am after finally falling asleep at 12:30 to make the drive to Ellerbe, NC.  I had all my things ready at the front door so all I had to do was throw it all in the Jeep and go!

Why so early for the Boogie race?  Isn't it usually at 6pm?  Yes.  The race does start at 6pm - for most people that is.  A few months ago my training partner and friend Joey told me about his idea to do a "Double Boogie" - Running 100 miles instead of 50.  Insane - perhaps, but aren't we all?  I had not signed up for the race, but wanted to help him get to his goal of 100.  I told him I would be there in the morning to keep him company and to be sure he kept eating and drinking well enough to sustain through the day.

It was a beautiful morning.  Breezy, low humidity and in the 50's.  Very untypical of what it is usually like for the Boogie.  Typically by start time it is hazy, hot and humid with thunderstorms in the area.  Weather forecast said it would not even get into the 90's!  Great conditions for a shot at the first ever Boogie 100.

I arrived at the church around 5:20am.  I put some Toms on my feet to curb any blisters that might want to show up to the event.  My feet had healed up nicely from U100 sans several toenails....  I had a little something to eat and enjoyed the quiet of the morning.  About 5:50 Joey pulls up and is ready to go! 

We waited until precisely 6:00 am to start.  Then we were off!  It was a very chilly start.  I actually got chilled a bit the first half mile, but then started to warm up.  The sun still was not quite up so we had the opportunity later on to see the sunrise instead of the sunset.

About one mile into the run, we heard a dog barking.  Sounded like a hound.  We rounded the corner and saw him across the street, as well as his owner and 3 other dogs over by the house.  He continued his howl and was wagging his tail and we did not feel threatened at all.  We continued our conversation and kept going.  The dog came closer, and I thought he was going to run with us.  He circled behind us and WHAM bit me in the upper thigh.  *HOLY CRAP*  WHAT JUST HAPPENED?????  Joey put himself between me and the dog.  I was in shock.  I was not thinking clearly.  I was looking over at the owner who was looking at what was going on.  He started to walk over towards us us.  Meanwhile Joey was fighting off this dog.  Hindsight tells me I should have gotten in there and helped him.  I didn't realize at the time that he was getting bit too.  I thought he was keeping him away.  I have never seen Joey so mad in my life.  I kept looking over at the owner wondering why he didn't run or call the dog off.  I am not sure how long it was seconds, minutes, but it felt like an eternity til the dog was in the hands of the owner and we were free from the situation.  Looking around we were surrounded by dogs.  2 big ones and 2 small ones.  How in the world did this happen?  Did this really happen?  I am looking at Joey and he is examining his right leg and all I see is blood and other 'stuff' associated with the puncture from the bite.  It appeared that Joey's wounds were much deeper than mine and he was bit several times.  I was very concerned for him - not only for the dream of his 100, but if he should go get treated sooner rather than later. 

The owner at this point has the dog and is reprimanding him.  Joey has the dogs collar in his hand as it came off during the altercation.  The owner apologized but offered nothing more.  We told him that many runners would be by his house later in the day and that the dog had to be penned up so this would not happen again.  He assured us that the dog would not be an issue.

We then went on our way.  We ran in shocked silence for a long time.  What went from an absolutely beautiful morning full of promise for a double boogie, to me wondering if something like this will ruin Joey's chances of finishing.  Those next 4.5 miles were difficult for me, trying to process what happened, working through the physical and emotional pain, and feeling the need to continue forward. 

We finished the 6 mile loop and got back to the church.  I pulled out ointment, alcohol and baby wipes from my "Team Surrette" bin.  If you have seen it, you know it is well stocked with all kinds of stuff!  We got the wounds cleaned up as best we could, refilled our handhelds, AND MY PEPPER SPRAY this time (duh, should have had it for the first loop), and went back out for another 4.  Every time I came back in, I wiped off the wound as it was continually bleeding and rubbing on my shorts.  :P

The next miles were better.  Joey was in more pain than I was going down the hills.  My issue was when I went from a walk to a run, or going from a water break to running again.  Then it felt very sore.  It would eventually work itself out, but inevitably there would be another hill ;)

We got back into a good rhythm of running and talking.  We talked about the attack and what we should do.  Then we started talking about more normal running stuff and tried to move on some.  

People who were coming to attend the night race started to drive in when we were past mile 20. woo!  I would not have to leave Joey all by himself. :)

As we were coming up the hill I said to him that I felt good and felt like I could continue on - maybe for even another 25.  Even with the bite, I still felt strong.  My feet were talking to me though, and making it quite clear that another 25 miles would NOT be a good idea.   They felt like they did during lap 3 at Umstead. 

I finished up my 26.2 and let Joey continue on his quest.  He was still doing well, all things considered, and now that there were more people around, I felt better about heading back home (I had prior commitments that I had that evening which is why I couldn't stay.  I had to leave no later than noon).

I called the police, then they forwarded me to animal control where I reported the incident.  I went to the dog owners home and talked with him.  He assured me that the dog was up to date on shots, though he did not offer proof.  There were several dogs on the property as well as some goats.  He had a child there with him as well.  He did not offer anything other than an apology.  I took a picture of the dog - might need that later....

When I got back into town I went right to urgent care where they gave me a tetanus booster (ow) as well as antibiotics.   The doctor thought I had completely lost my mind to not go in right away after it happened.  Sorry, I had 25 miles to go!  I didn't drive 2 hours to run 1.55 miles, then drive another 2 hours back.  

I went home, showered, and did some research on dog bites and animal attacks. 

Later on that evening I started to feel really sore.  I was really worried about Joey still running and how he was feeling.  I had not heard any updates other than a few posts from people that were getting into Ellerbe for the race.  Cel phone coverage is poor at best where this race was, so updates were few and far between. I kept scrolling through the MTC site as well as texting friends for updates and finally found out that he stopped at 60+ miles. I was sooo sad :(  I finally went to sleep after taking some pain medication. 

Woke up the next morning and felt HORRIBLE.  My leg was swollen and holy black and blue.  I had not heard any recent updates on Joey and his condition, and my spirit was not at peace.  I finally broke down and called him, (took the risk of possibly waking him up) and he answered.  We talked for 20 minutes about how we felt, and what happened.  Short story is, he went to the ER where they irrigated his wounds, gave him IV antibiotics, then sent him home.  I told him how guilty I felt about him getting attacked when what he was doing was protecting me from getting bit again.  I was the one that was supposed to be there to support him in his 100 mile quest, not him saving me from attack dogs.  :( 

Regardless, still, I am glad I was there.  Had he been there alone, he would have been attacked when running by himself.  That would not have been good either. 

Through facebook and word of mouth, people started hearing about the attack.  It was amazing the amount of support we received from people I didn't even know.  I cannot tell you how much it means to me.  That is one reason right there that I am so happy to be part of the MTC and Ultrarunning community.  We are like family - one big crazy family :)  

As a side note, we are pursuing action against the owner.  We are seeking payment for medical expenses.   I am unsure at this time what will happen to the dog.  I just don't want this to happen to anyone again.  

Reminder:  CARRY PEPPER SPRAY!!!  Remember the marathon disclaimer?  The one that begins with "this is not your normal marathon"  yep, that one.  Other items such as baseball bats, knives, concealed weapons might work as well.  You can bet that I will be armed with something next time I go out.  I do not want this to happen again with no options for defending myself.  

It has been 2 days since the run and I am not sore so much from the mileage, but from the bite :(  Many times after a marathon it takes me a while to get back into it, but this time I don't seem to have much soreness.  I jogged from the Jeep to the house and had pain where the injury is.   I will try to run some on Thursday.  Until then I will keep wearing compression shorts and ice it to reduce the inflammation. 

BTW - The pic is us coming up the hill right at 26 miles after running 25 miles with the injuries. Ya know, we don't look that bad!  Love that pic... thx to Lee for taking it!

Thanks everyone for your concern  ~  Amy


  1. I hope none of us ever have to go through what you and Joey faced. I can't believe that owner! I pray there will be no infection and the dog is up-to-date on his shots. Legal action is needed here.

  2. That is terrible! Here in SA we don't have any strict laws about pets and dogs and dogs are pretty much everywhere without owners nearby. Suppose it's part of living in Africa. I've been chased numerous times but not bitten so far. Rest well both of you.

  3. Pretty amazing story and performance by both of you. Looking at that photo, I would have guessed it was before the attack.

    I recently bought pepper spray, the super strong military grade stuff and a holster to carry on solo long runs because of you all's experience and what happened to me on the Tuna 200.

    Stay safe.

  4. Picture is coming up to mile 25 well after the attack.... don't let the happy faces fool ya, there was blood on our legs... :(

  5. Amy,
    I finished my firt Ultra that night and had you in my thoughts. But I have just read this post. I have debated getting Pepper Spray in regards to coming this year and finally ordered some. If nothing else it would be a comfort when it gets dark. Now reading your post I realize I would not have to worry about using it...maybe the owner needed some.