Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Big Momma, Tater-Tot, This Guy In Spandex, and A Girl Named Xena

3.08 miles yesterday to officially begin 2007. 8:27/pace, fun and relaxed. It felt good to be out there, even through the slippery streets and cold wind in my face.

The Nano experiment was finally realized, and it's pretty cool. It keeps track of things as you'd expect they should, and with the touch of a button I get Sherrie's feedback on the details. Which is not as simple as glancing at my watch, but as I can tend to be a data freak, it's actually kind of nice to be limited to knowing my pace only when I ask for it, rather than with a simple glance. If that makes any allows me more time to just run, rather than "keep track".

Anyway, it was a generally uneventful run until about mile 2, when Jackson and I were plodding happily along and out of nowhere came this leapy, jumpy, wiry dog. I don't know what kind it was - maybe a small greyhound, but I doubt it - some kind of lean, long breed. It was small enough where it could be a puppy, or could be a mature dog with smaller features. Anyway, Jack greeted this sudden companion with a great big what the hell, but tried to keep his focus on running straight and continuous. Which was sort of amusing for me because this dog is literally leaping all over Jack. Running in front of him, zipping to other side, rounding behind me and then flanking Jack unexpectadly on the other side, all in that great dog speak for "wanna play let's play first i'll run and then you chase me okay and then after that i'll chase you okay let's play ready go okay you weren't ready that time but now i'll go okay ready set okay go". Once I almost tripped on him. It's not totally unfamiliar to have a dog sometimes bolt out of nowhere and join us, but usually they run along for a block or so and then zip back home. And I find that if you just keep going, sort of ignoring the situation, the stranger usually bores quickly and heads home. This one, though, had no collar, and though we tried to keep on in a not-interested manner, the little dude was very interested in keeping pace with us.

As a van pulled around us on the other side of the road, I got concerned that the newcomer might find himself in traffic. I started to slow to a walk just as the song I was listening to faded out, when I heard "Mister, please stop!". I looked behind me to see 4 kids, none older than probably 8, bundled up and chasing us down, and the van that had just passed stopped ahead of us and out jumped their mom, all in an effort to corral the dog. Which was, as they told me and really no surprise, a puppy. A very youthful, stupid with energy, hysterical puppy. Named Tater-Tot.

I felt horrible that these kids had probably been chasing me for 3 blocks and I hadn't heard them, and made a mental note that my music was too loud - it's pretty irresponsible not to be able to hear the world around me when running. Anyway, there we all were; 4 bundled children of varying ages chittering away in the excitement, their clearly unimpressed mother who's comfortable afternoon has been interrupted by this field trip, a guy in spandex who looks like he wore the wrong thing to the party, and his dog who is the size of a small horse, all trying to entice wee Tater-Tot into reaching distance so he could be grabbed. And you know how that is with puppies. Once I snagged him and he slipped away...I grabbed for his back foot and caught it for a moment before he slipped away again, though not before I was on my knees in a snowbank from the efforts (to the children's delight). Jackson stood stoic and only slightly interested in the escapade, clearly irritated that his run was interrupted. Which is saying something that there were 4 kids rolling around and a puppy trapsing about while this largish mother cackled and shouted at the kids ("Dammit Xena [it seems the daughter's name was Xena. Really. It took me awhile to figure out that Xena was not the dog's name. Huh.] I told you not to let that dog out at all!", etc. etc., to which Xena would reply in full-on 6 year old girl whine, "But I didn't meeeeeeeean toooooo.") and we all flitted around trying to ensnare the elusive Tater-Tot. I would have expected Jack to participate more, but he was mostly miffed at the interruption, I guess. Finally the puppy bounded his way behind some houses and into a field behind, and the largish mother stomped after him with kids trailing after and around her, each of her mighty footfalls a period between exaggerated body language that clearly said I. Am. So. Pissed. Off. With. You. Damn. Kids., and the kids shouting "he's this way!" and "look out!" and then laughing "ooh there's dog poop over there!" and "Tater-Tot no! Come! Stay! Come! No!" until their voices faded into echoes bouncing around off the houses back there. Meanwhile Jackie and I stood there on the side of the street, now growing quiet as winter gets, myself now covered in snow from flopping around after this puppy (right, so picture it - for the second day in a row the guy with lycra and spandex and miscellanious flattering winter-wear is, when taken out of the immediate element of running and now rolling around in some dude's yard with a puppy bouncing all around him, just a friggin' clown), and considered if we should, in said attire (and running shoes not designed for clomping through snow), chase after them all, or if our part in the story has concluded. I couldn't help but feel somehow at fault, even though I'd done nothing more than run by with my dog. Jack looked up at me as if to shrug, "Eh. Whattryagonnado." In the end, I figured we couldn't probably be very useful to the adventure, and might just get in the way. So, awkwardly and with an unsure glance back, we got back on the road. Still not sure if I made the right decision there, and I hope Tater-Tot was successfully wrangled. I imagine he was. Puppies usually are, somehow.

And no doubt, we'll see him again.

If the first 2 runs of this year are any indication, I'm in for a hilarious ride.


Flatman said...

Very entertaining! The visual imprints you created had me giggling at my desk...thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha -- nope, not a very auspicious start to your year, but it can only go up from here. Right??

Anonymous said...

I know- I was laughing out loud, and I don't even laugh at cartoons, usually.....This was good for a laugh tho.

Happy Training, Chris.

I'm so excited to tell you about this new class at the gym I started this year. It's SOOO fun. Running isn't fun. This was A BLAST, maybe you've heard of it. It's a Bally's class called Boneca Capiero or something like that. It's a Brazillian Martial Arts/Dance thing. I've heard the history behind it is minorities used to learn these defense moves disguised by dance. The music is very drum beatty. Tribal sort of. The whooos from the people in the class who whooo outloud sort of sound like they belong there. The moves are primal, sort of. Lots of leg work, you're in a squat of some format for most of the class. Picture yourself in a wide stance squat while your arms are 'raising the roof'. Or high knees in a 'get out your seat an jump around' sort of way only your hands are punching the sky, open hand fisted. One of the last moves in the class today was, no joke- The Tootsie Roll. And another the mambo, I think. It's very cardio focused. Definately the change to my work out routine I needed for 07.

More later- Happy New Year!