Thoughts on an 8.2-mile run:
Ready to go. Got my new shoes with new insoles on, got my 80-pound-doberman mix on a leash that wraps around my waist (it takes my whole body strength to get him to do what I want), go my 2.2 liter bottle of water (he drinks a lot) and dog water bowl, and I have my iPhone and iPod Shuffle (phone for GPS tracking, Shuffle for music playing, because I don’t want the iPhone battery to die.)
I’m thinking of running a half-marathon next month, and I got some trainin’ to do.
Today’s goal: Go 13.1 miles. Run at least 6 of them, then walk/run the last 7.1 as necessary. Let’s see if we can do this!
Mile 0 to Mile 1:
This is actually the worst part. My water bottle is full and very heavy. I’m going overkill on the water because the last time I ran Kishin the dog 6 miles he drank all of my water (24-oz bottle.) I use the first mile for walking – about 1/3 of it is on a semi-busy street with no sidewalks, so it’s all I can do to get down the street without letting Kishin get in traffic and holding the 100-pound bottle. At .6 miles, we stop at a park bench past the busy road and hide the water bottle and bowl under it. This will be our reward around mile 6 or whenever we feel like we might die. This mile takes me 15 minutes. I’m a tad disappointed but I can make up for it. I haven’t even started running yet!
Mile 1-Mile 3:
Wow, this part flew by! I am running a 5K this coming weekend and this part just felt like nothing. Let’s hope I can keep the energy up this weekend – maybe I need to “plan” for 13 miles even when I’m “really” stopping at 3.1!
I’m in the zone, I’m going for gold, I’m going to run and run and run and no one can catch me! I am focusing on the wonderful dog in front of me that loves me even when I put him through these runs with me (and actually seems to enjoy them and not want to kill me like my other running partners!) All the sudden something flashes out of the corner of my eye: It is a dog, and he is about to be in my dog’s face, and he looks exactly like my 80-pound doberman mix except he has a pit bull face. I’m guessing pit bull/rottweiler mix. Yikes! I halt, yell “woah!” and see the dog’s owner walking slowly toward us, smiling the loopy, “Don’t worry, he just wants to play” grin. My dog does not like to play, I can assure you! I start running backward, taking my focus off the other human and onto the dogs. Kishin listens to me and runs backward with me, but the other dog is still following. I finally jerk Kishin’s leash around onto the other side of me and take off sprinting in the other direction. Luckily, the other owner gets her dog under control and there is no bloodbath. Thank goodness – a doberman and a pit bull? I did not want to see that.
Mile 3-Mile 5:
Since I know 13 miles is a long way to run around and around my neighborhood (even though I do live in a decent sized neighborhood) I know I will get bored, so I decide to cross an officially busy street to another neighborhood just to see what’s back there. Maybe it will open up and I can run through several neighborhood and even end up in NoDa or China! No such luck. I end up waiting too long for traffic (which royally screws with my time) and then I get across the street only to see it’s an unfinished neighborhood with only two short streets, and with driveways long enough that I could probably run down some of them to knock off some miles. I don’t though; stick to the sidewalk. There’s actually an interesting sidewalk loop that goes behind the houses, adding up to about 1/3 mile. I run it one full time and almost fall twice due to slippery mud from recent rains, then run around the neighborhood as much as I can possibly stand before crossing back into mine. I probably won’t come back here, so let’s make the most of it. Lots of fresh puddles in the grass with clear water; so I stop several times and let Kishin drink from them. This royally screws up my time, but our water bottle is far away, and I figure I should take care of my running partner.
Back in my neighborhood, and I run down a short street with a cul-de-sac (every little bit counts, right?) I’m in the cul-de-sac when out of nowhere, a lab/retriever mix comes bounding out of a yard and corners us, yes, corners us in the cul-de-sac. Oh, this is not going to be pretty. The dog’s owner is sitting in his driveway on the hood of his car chatting on his cell and barely pays attention until I start yelling again: “woah! woah!” I have my earbuds in and I have no idea how loud my voice actually is. I am pleasantly surprised when Kishin lets me lead him around this dog that has cornered us, and nothing bad happens. As I run past the owner on his phone, I throw up my arms in disbelief. Really? Twice, neighbors? Have I mentioned we have a very strict HOA which does include leash laws?
Mile 6-Mile 7:
I can do this. It’s getting darker out. Trees are pretty. Lots of kids must play lacrosse in my neighborhood. I wonder if I can run the whole 13 miles. I am invincible. Does my hip hurt? No? Yes. Hmm. Does Kishin look thirsty? I bet if I stop for water I won’t start running again. I love running. I hate running. I love running. This song sucks. Is my GPS working? Am I running faster than Chris?
Mile 7-Mile 9:
Wow my legs hurt. Wow I’ve run almost 8 miles. Wow my time sucks. I think Kishin needs water. I should run to mile 10 and then get him water. I wonder how people run marathons. I wonder if I could run a marathon. I wonder if my 5-month prego sister is going to kick my ass in this 5K on Saturday. I think Kishin needs water now. Let me just run toward the water. OK, I’ll run down this one side street. Shit. There’s an unleashed dog sitting on the sidewalk, daring us to come down his street. OK, you win, third unleashed dog of the day. We’ll turn around and go the other way. Sigh.
Water stop. Have run 8.2 miles, walked one. Have about 4 miles left, and my iPhone battery is about to die. I do know of one loop in the neighborhood that’s about 1 mile. I could run or walk it 4 times, then even if my battery dies I know how long I’ve gone. But then I’d have to walk home, and that would add more time and … hmm. We’ll see. Kishin drinks a whole bunch, and we’re ready to go again! Except, wow. My feet are aching!
Ok, time to go home. My feet hurt. My GPS is going to die and any running I do that’s not tracked doesn’t “count.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. All my iPhone’s fault.
Save my progress so far in the phone, just in case it dies and loses everything and then it will be like I didn’t run at all. Start GPS over. I’m walking – slowly – by this point.
Mile .7 (really Mile 10.22):
Phone dies. And I’m about .3 from home. Damn iPhone. Why won’t it let me iPod and GPS and check email and chat on phone and … OK, I get it. At least I have my Shuffle for music still.
Mile I don’t know since my phone is dead (probably 10.45):
I am about 6 houses from home. Kishin’s tired and happy. The sun’s about to go down. Perfect use of the last couple of hours of daylight. Today is good. I can run a half-marathon! I did 10.5 miles today (not 13.1, but getting closer) and I rocked it! My feet are killing me but that’s OK. Life is good. I see my neighbors in their front yard. The husband is playing with his son on a toy truck. The wife is emptying a car of groceries (or something). The daughter is in the yard across the street holding a leash that is attached to a dog larger than her. Uh oh. I tighten Kishin’s leash. He’ll be fine, he’s worn out. But I’m not so sure she has a grip on her dog …
My paranoia. It’s only because of all the unleashed dogs I felt like these neighbors didn’t have control of their dog. This one is on a leash. All is well. I greet the husband on my last turn, down my street. We pass the girl and her dog with no worries. Ah, yes. I see home ahead …
The rest is a bit of a blur, but I know this much: There is a dog rushing up from behind us, jumping on Kishin, teeth bared. He goes straight for Kishin’s neck. Kishin, 10.5 miles tired and surely ready for rest, still reacts like the 80-pound doberman he is, and bares his teeth also. The two dogs are tangled up together and I can’t see what’s going on. I start yelling (unnecessary as the growling is surely making more noise than I am.) Remember Kishin is on a leash around my waist, so I start running and pulling on him away from the attack dog as hard as I can. I have part of it wrapped around my hand from when I saw the girl with her dog, and I am now pulling this part as hard as I can. And, it works. Or, it would work if someone had a grip on the other dog. I am pulling Kishin away from the other dog, and the other dog is now getting the advantage, and he keeps coming, keeps attacking. At this point, I’m worried and pissed. And I will say I am not worried about Kishin. He is large and strong and he can hold his own. I am worried about this other dog, and I am pissed that this is the kind of run I have to endure in this neighborhood where apparently the leash law is something to laugh at. (This is nowhere near the first time we’ve been approached by unleashed dogs.) I yell out “dammit!” and later feel bad because the little girl is still around, somewhere.
By this point the adults have made their way over and they pull their dog off Kishin. I know Kishin, I know he’s ok, I don’t even have to look. But their faces register confusion when my first question is, “Is she ok?”
“Oh, she’s fine,” they say, pleasantly surprised. “Is HE ok?”
“He’ll be fine, he’ll be fine.” I’m out of breath and exhausted and upset. He has blood in his mouth and I have no idea if it’s his or the other dog’s. All I know is I need to get him home so I can check him out, and home is right there.
My hand is throbbing and bright red, and I wonder for a moment if I’ve seriously injured it from pulling that leash tight around it. I shake it off.
“We’re so sorry,” they say as I back away. “He got away from her on the leash. We’re so sorry.”
“It’s OK,” I say, but in truth it’s not OK. It’s pretty sad when I feel like I can’t take my dog running in my own neighborhood because other people don’t know how to take care of their dogs. In truth, I am a huge dog lover, and I worry less about my own dog than theirs. However, what if I’d had Breanna, my beagle mix, with me instead? That dog could have easily hurt her. Also, what about the non-dog lovers? They do not appreciate being approached by unleashed dogs! Imagine if I were scared of dogs and that pit bull mix ran over toward me like that while I was running alone? How terrified would I have been? My sister was attacked by a German Shepherd one day while she ran, and to this day she is very afraid of large dogs.
I drag myself and Kishin up to the house. This should have been a great accomplishment – and it is, but I wonder if I’ll have the courage to take him in the neighborhood again, with this being how it is. And the nearest good trail is about a 20-minute drive. Seems unfair to have to drive 40 minutes round trip to run. That’s a good 4 miles worth of running. The door is open; Jeff was waiting for me. We go inside. “He got in a fight,” I announce, still scared and shaking. Jeff is on the phone; he quickly hangs up and comes over to inspect. Kishin is fine, physically. And my hand is getting worse and worse, but by tomorrow it will only be a dull pain. I hope.