What to Watch Out For on the Trail

TicksTicks and Lyme Disease
Spring is the height of tick season so disease-carrying and almost invisible nymphs will be abundant. About half of adult Deer ticks on Cape Cod carry Lyme disease, and there are a host of other tick-borne diseases. This is a serious concern. Many experts recommend that you wear insect repellent with DEET and/or clothing soaked in Permethrin (not for use on skin). Treated clothing is available from most outdoor retailers, you can treat clothes yourself, or you can send your own clothes to the Tick Encounter Resource Center (TERC) at Univ. of Rhode Island (www.tickencounter.org) to be treated. After the race, shower with soap as soon as possible, and dry your clothes at high heat for 20 minutes. Have a (good) friend check those hard-to-see locations. If you find a tick embedded on you, remove it all with pointed tweezers by pulling it straight out without squishing it. (Do not use matches, petroleum jelly, nail polish remover, etc.) Save the tick in a zip-lock bag (with a little rubbing alcohol) for identification and testing. Meet with your primary care physician as soon as possible to review any indicated medical intervention. Tick-borne diseases can be difficult to diagnose: if you are not from tick country, your physician might need to be reminded that you visited here.

Ron Gangemi from Lyme Awareness of Cape Cod will have a tent with samples of a variety of sprays, including organic. He’ll also have takeaway information and will provide tick removal, if needed. For more information visit www.lymeticks.org.

Here are some more sources of information about ticks and Lyme disease

Horses and Dogs
The Crane Wildlife Management Area is a popular spot for trail riding and off-leash dog activities, including training for bird hunting. We have contacted local equestrian and dog organizations to advise them of the race, but you might encounter riders or hikers with off-leash dogs. They have the right to be there. If you meet a horse coming toward you, greet the rider, stop, step off the trail, and wait for it to pass. If you are approaching it from behind, call out to the rider well in advance and ask advice on how to pass. Try not to surprise a horse, and watch for changing behavior as you approach.

We have gotten good advice from a local trainer on how to handle encounters with dogs… at this race or anywhere else. She reminds us that, no matter how well trained they are, dogs are dogs, and do not have the same social norms that people, or even trail runners, do. Dogs display a range of temperaments based on their social rank and the job they do for their group. Low-ranking dogs are easier to handle. Higher-ranking dogs challenge us more and may not tolerate human insubordination or incompetence. When meeting a dog, don’t just ask the owner if it is ok to touch the dog, ask the dog too. Dogs need people to act friendly by stopping, removing hats and sunglasses, using high-pitched enthusiastic voices, and tapping the side of legs to simulate a wagging tails. Don’t extend a stiff hand or fist…dogs don’t greet each other by extending paws. The dog may or may not be interested in interacting, or it may need more time. Once you have greeted the dog (or not), and are past the dog and owner, continue to walk down the trail, don’t run. Once you have some distance, try jogging. If the dog spooks or follows, lead it back to the owner.

See www.ptfgd.com/melissa-berryman.html.

Other Hazards
This is a trail run. There will be leaves covering rocks, pine needles covering rocks, rocks covering rocks, ruts and roots, branches at eye level, branches at shin level, slippery mud, slippery lichen, and wildlife (mostly ticks, but also maybe rabbits, quail, grouse, deer, and mountain-bikers). There will be the usual risks of heat, cold, dehydration, and exhaustion. Run safely and within your limits. You are responsible for taking care of yourself and helping any fellow runners in trouble. Time allowance will be offered to any runner who provides help to other runners or who needs to alter course because of dogs or horses.