I had a weird run a few days ago.
It all started with a big meal that didn't digest well. I don't know why...it just seemed to want to set in my stomach like a bomb. Because of the heavy stomach sensation I waited a few hours to run. It was going to be a short run of about an hour but I still didn't want to run with the discomfort I was feeling.
So, after a few hours I was out the door ready to enjoy a run after not running much lately. It didn't take long (about a minute) before I felt a little sick to my stomach. I felt like none of the food had digested at all and it was bouncing around in my insides. I decided to keep running, figuring that the feeling would subside and I would still be able to salvage the run (I have never felt this kind of discomfort starting a run (from food anyway)).
The loop I had planned to run was from my home in downtown Flagstaff, up onto Observatory Mesa, around on some nice trails and then back home. I made it up the hill onto Observatory Mesa and then only about 1/2 a mile on some single track trail on top of the mesa before I felt extreme nausea and wobbly legs. It was just getting to be too much for me. I started walking.
While walking a few minutes, I didn't get better and the nausea continued. I almost threw up and decided to bag it and go home. I cut through the forest as a shortcut and linked up with another trail to get back off the mesa, continuing to feel like crap.
Then something happened....I was half way off of Observatory Mesa on a single track and almost stepped right on a fox that was laying next to the trail. It surprised me and I jumped back.
Upon further inspection, I noticed the fox was in really bad shape. He couldn't get up and was just laying there on the pine forest floor, panting wildly with his head twitching every few seconds. It was a sad sight.
He was a beautiful fox and it was very strange to be all alone in the silent forest with this completely helpless wild animal. I didn't really know what to do so I sat down on a rock about 10 feet away from the fox and watched. I was probably there for a long 15 minutes observing the fox.
Many times he tried to get up but never got close. After a while he resigned himself to looking out into the forest, sometimes looking at me, and laying there panting and twitching.
At first I thought that maybe he was sick and could maybe get better if left alone. Then, after 5 minutes of watching him, I realized that he wasn't going to get better and at some point he was going to die there. I started hoping for a quick death for the fox. I watched his breathes, hoping that they would stop soon and let the fox die and end the obvious pain it was in.
Then it dawned on me that I should probably kill the fox if it doesn't die soon on its' own. I spent the next few minutes contemplating this thought. How would I do it? A stone to the head? It seemed the best if I found a big enough stone. Well, I thought I should give him a little more time before I ended it for him. I didn't feel up to it yet. Poor fox.
Right when I started feeling that it was going to be time to act and put the fox out of its' misery, a police man and a man from the county showed up. They had a tip from another hiker that the fox was there, next to the trail.
They told me that, by the looks of it, the fox didn't have rabies. They weren't sure what was wrong with it even though they said that there were a couple other cases in the last few weeks of foxes dying like this.
The man from the county told me that they would do what would be most humane for the fox (killing it I assume) and took it away.
The rest of the walk home I couldn't help the feeling that some how my upset stomach was tied to the dying fox even though I don't believe in that stuff when it comes right down to it. I think it is a complete coincidence. Although it is weird that I have never felt that kind of nausea running before and on the same run was the first time I have witnessed an animal dying naturally in the forest. Who knows what to think.
In the end I felt sad for the fox but knew that it is natures way (sounds like a Discover Channel show) and that it's part of the whole process. Of course, all animals are born, live their life and die. I just am not near the death process much. Hope the fox had a good fox life.