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Running with Dogs
It seemed like such a good idea. The weather had been nice for days. By nice, I mean above freezing and not snowing. The urge to run was nagging at the back of my conscious mind, a whisper just below the urge to eat a box of girl scout cookies. I decided to go running with dogs.
Last summer, we got Pepe, a border collie, black lab mix. She was tiny then and too small to run. Now, however, she is almost a year old, and fast. Simon, seven years old, is not a great running partner. His short little legs patter on the sidewalk as he struggles to keep up. I have always run with Simon, as I waddle through a run, he keeps me company and we both struggle to keep up with each other.
So the promise of spring lured me out early Wednesday morning. The previous weekend had been beautiful, although windy, but I was in conferences all weekend, shut inside, gazing out at the glorious sunshine. By Sunday afternoon, I decided that I should resume my running. Typically I run year around, but since moving to Wyoming, I have discovered that winter time means snow, wind and cold. And I am a whimp. A nice treadmill sits in our garage, wanting only a long enough extension cord. All great excuses begin with a basis in reality.
I rose on Wednesday, at the usual time. Did my half hour of yoga, got the running shoes on, and leashed up the dogs. Simon, excited by the anticipation of a run, ran in small circles around me, tangling the leash around both ankles. Pepe is always excited when she sees the leash. Having never been running with Simon and I, she didn't share his expectation. She did, however, manage to further entangle me, snaring me around the knees. When both dogs began jumping and barking, I should have heeded the omen. Instead, I blithely untangled them and went in search of my ipod.
There is nothing more driven than a mom who has been cooped up all winter, and eaten several boxes of cookies in one weekend. After finally locating the ipod, I checked the temperature. Brrr. 16. Unfortunately, I remained undaunted. Pulling on hat and gloves, dogs in one hand, ipod in the other, I was off. The one saving grace of this particular run was that I brought along my old ipod from several years back, rather than the brand new ipod touch. That was the one smart thing.
Setting off. The big black dog made a game of jumping up and biting my hand. I finally smacked her on the nose, so she grabbed Simon by the collar, and picked him up. Apparently he wasn't running fast enough. My headphones fell out of my ear. Rather than stop and readjust the ear buds, I continued at a brisk pace, both dogs on my left wrist, ipod in my right hand, trying to push tiny pink earbuds back into my ear. To no avail. Then the dogs gave a hard yank, I sprawled forward, dropping my ipod on the road, and nearly doing a face plant. I guess the ipod wasn't my best idea. I know I have one of those cases that attaches to your arm... For a while I ran with only one bud in my ear, but the resulting tinny twang annoyed me almost as much as my pants, which continually drifted down my hips. Oh yes. My yoga pants. Made for stretching oneself into many a perverse and precarious pose. Not made for running. I realized that if I slowed to a shuffle, the pants would just stay up. The dogs, however, did not want to shuffle. They wanted to run. Especially Pepe. She loves to run. By the time we reached the last block before home, my shoulders ached from controlling two runaway dogs. Simon stopped abruptly at the park, half a block from home, to take a big morning dump. Great. I didn't bring along any grocery bags. I stopped, found a paper bag in the trash can, and cleaned up the soft, steaming doggy pile. Hmmm. It must still be pretty cold if that thing is steaming.
Running with dogs, day 2. I remembered the grocery bag. Left the ipod at home. Wore sunglasses. Today, the sun was out. I glanced at the thermometer on my way out the door. Wow. 26. Ten degrees warmer than yesterday. This should feel pretty good. The cold hit my lungs with the first full breath. Ouch. 26 is not that warm. Even compared to 16. Started off at a good pace, no headphones to distract me. Oh yes. The yoga pants. Again they began their downward slide. Step, step, step, yank. Step, step, step, yank. So we progressed through the run. As we approached a large trash bin placed on the sidewalk for trash day, Pepe gave a frightened bark, all the hair stood up along her back, and she ran behind me, yanking my right arm behind my back, pulling me backward in a circle to trip over Simon. Thank goodness for all that yoga, or I might have really hurt my shoulder. Now my annoyance at my yoga pants faded in my mind, overtaken by the lookout for trash bins. At every one, it was the same routine, bark, cower, run. By crossing the street, I hoped to save my shoulder.
Hypothetical question: If two dogs, leashed, and on two separate hands of one owner, run in different directions around a pole, what happens to the owner? Hypothetical answer: Owner drops both leashes, and burns more calories chasing runaway dogs. That is not just a guess, by the way.
At least on day two, I remembered the doggy bag. And, at least both dogs stopped to drop a poo at the same time. We were close enough to the park, that I only had to carry the steaming bag a few blocks before finding a trash can. The sun shined, it is true, but it was deceptively bright. Wearing my glasses became another road hazard, as the fog from my breath continually froze to the glasses, making it impossible to see out. I had to tip them down, and peer over the tops of them, much like a granny needing bifocals. Yes. My running glasses.
Running with dogs day 3. Aside from being attacked by two large german shepherds who looked hungry, the run went without a hitch. The cloud cover allowed me to leave the glasses behind. No ipod. Doggy bag. Oops. Too late, I remembered the yoga pants. The problem is, they are in the drawer with my running clothes. The other problem is, all my other running clothes are shorts. So once again step, step, step, yank. At least today the dogs cooperated. After the fright from the german shepherds, they were both on best behavior. About three blocks from home, I unleashed both dogs to see if they would follow me home. Simon stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, staring in disbelief. He looked around, to see if I was joking. I had already gone half a block, and turned, calling him. He just stood there. Then, out of nowhere, Pepe came charging at him. Simon darted behind a bush, then fought his way home, like a guerilla. Dashing from shrub to trash can, seeking safety, he followed me home, trying all the while not to be overrun by Pepe.
We made it through this week. Maybe next week I'll get some different pants.