You all are probably wondering what awful event, involving a dog, happened on the course. Don’t worry. I didn’t get chased, but my heart did jump into my throat.
To say that I am not an “outdoorsy” person is an understatement. I do everything I can to hide from the sun. I don’t know how to swim. I’m petrified of animals.
I enjoy the sweet, sweet indoors. If it were up to me, I would never run on anything but a treadmill. (I suppose it actually is up to me, being that it is my life.)
Even though I’m not much for the outdoors, I like challenges, interacting with the running community, medals, and I do have the ability to enjoy pretty scenery. (I could not get over the views in the Grand Canyon.)
Usually, I barely even consider half marathons to be “outdoors.” I know they are, but city streets are often blocked off, thousands of runners are on the course, and I don’t feel as though I’m super “exposed to the elements,” I suppose).
(All of this is why I’m still on the fence as to whether I enjoy hiking…)
This was a small half marathon, going through a bunch of residential streets. It was the first one I’ve been in where I actually saw a runner with his dog in the race! As far as I could tell, this was not a service dog – just a man, wearing a number, out for a 13.1 mile run with his dog.
I passed numerous houses with dogs. Luckily, I couldn’t see most of the dogs, and I could see the owners. So, I figured I was safe.
As the back of the pack thinned out, there were areas where I couldn’t see other runners. Not long after I passed one of the last sets of volunteers, I came upon an area by a narrow street in the middle of a woods-like place. I heard super loud barking. My head darts in the direction of the noise.
To my left, there is a fence. Behind that fence are two very large, angry looking dogs. I can see their faces, because they are coming out from over the edge of the fence. They’re not struggling one bit to have their face completely visible. I was going to take a picture for you, but I was too terrified of having my face chewed off.
I was pretty sure the dogs would be able to jump over the fence if they chose to. How would they not have the ability to do that? They were tall dogs with faces already way above the edge!
My heart stops for a moment. I look around. Is anybody out there who can save me if things go poorly through here? Are the owners around? Boy, oh boy, I really hope I don’t lose my Achilles tendons today. I don’t think I have all that much of a choice but to keep moving forward. For one thing, “keep moving forward” is a quote of Walt Disney’s that I try to live by. In a much more practical way, I also have to get back to the finish at some point.
I highly consider making a break for it and running as fast as my short legs can possibly carry me. However, I think that’s going to make the dogs want to chase me, right?
Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna go by very slowly. I won’t look at them. I will walk as far, far away, on the other side of the street as possible. Here goes nothing.
As I’m walking along the other side of the street, I hear them barking. Their barks turn into a low growl. Uh oh. I don’t think that’s good. I start to get scared that maybe I’ll turn around and a dog will literally be right behind me, having jumped the fence. Although, I’m pretty sure I would’ve heard them jump over the fence, right?
I just keep walking. Slowly. One foot in front of the other. I finally turn a corner. I can’t hear the dogs anymore. I look around – no dogs in sight. Sigh of relief! I’m still alive!
But I still have something like 6 or 7 miles to go… Aye, aye, aye.
Tomorrow is Wednesday night, so I’ll return to the current Wednesday night series talking about that time my heart broke – literally. Then, Thursday night I’ll wrap this up.
(As I’m done talking about dogs for now, let me leave you with one last clip from Friends.)