Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Dog Whisperer

Those that know me would say I am not a dog person. My theory is that since I was allergic to cats and dogs as a child I was never really around them and avoided them when I could due to the allergy. I am no longer allergic but just never developed that "dog loving" side of me that most people have. In the past, I avoided running on my street partly because of a small fear of dogs. OK, I am not scared of dogs. If there is one on a leash minding its own business, I don't have a problem. If there is one not on a leash but the owner is close enough to call them off if they get rowdy, I don't have a problem. The ones that freak me out are the dogs that aren't on a leash and just running free on the street (yes, there are leash laws but...).

Today, I decide to try something new. Instead of driving somewhere to run, I thought I would step outside my door and just start running around the neighborhood (what a concept!). Up until now, I have been obsessed with making sure I run a certain number of miles so I preferred to go somewhere where I knew the mileage or where it was marked for me (i.e. Stone Mountain).

I take off down the driveway and up the hill on my street and head out for my run. Great weather, great run. I come back after about three miles and make it two houses down from my own and here come the dogs.... Two medium sized dogs barking up a storm and running at me. Not sure what to do, on a motorcycle you are supposed to keep going like nothing happened to avoid a wreck but what do you do when you are running? The dogs are on my ankles, one a little more menacing looking than the other but the owner is nowhere in sight. I continue to jog hoping they will lose interest. At this point, I am having flashes of the video I saw of the man getting eaten by lions on YouTube. Nothing works. They are barking, sort of growling, right on my feet. I stopped running for a quick second, didn't look at the dogs, didn't say anything and just pointed to the ground. I must be a dog whisperer and just don't know it. The dogs stopped barking, stopped running and walked back to their house. I have the power :)

One of my other adventures today was biking. If I am going to compete in a triathlon, I need to conquer the bike leg. You know that phrase, "its just like riding a bike"? Well, yes and no... The last time I recall riding a bike it was 20 years ago around Stone Mountain and as I recall my friend Michelle and I had to have someone take us and our bikes home. I do know how to ride but the bike I had many moons ago did not have 15 gears or clipless pedals (for you non-bikers, these are pedals that attach to cleats on the bottom of biking shoes, when you come to a stop you have to remember to unattach yourself or you will fall over with your feet still firmly planted on the pedals). So while I was able to get right on and ride, there is a little more to it than that.

Last Sunday, I made it twice around the mountain on my bike for 10 miles. I had some trouble figuring out the gearing and decided I would have been better off starting somewhere flat. No issues with the pedals until I stopped for the last time to put the bike in the car. I unclipped my left shoe (thinking like on a motorcycle you would put your left foot down), I knew it was stupid when I did it but opted not to unclip the right. I came to a stop and of course the bike goes to the right and I fall over with the bike on top of me. Embarassing and painful! At least I got that out of the way!

Today I opted to ride around the neighborhood to get a feel for the gears, what gear I need to be on hills, that sort of thing. I managed to get back to the house in one piece and think I have worked some of the shifting issues out. At this point, I am feeling better about the bike, need to find somewhere flat to ride. There were no dogs in sight for the bike leg of my morning, they knew...

In the world of tennis, we played our second to last ALTA match of the season. My friend Joan and I are the official sacrificial lambs for the team. We usually play line one. Sometimes win, mostly lose this season. Someone has to do it. On the bright side, the weather was great today. Sunny, slight breeze, around 70, perfect.

I did learn something new today... Margarita w/ salt flavored shot bloks do kind of taste like margaritas but.. if you suck on one block while you are running, it will take about three miles to finish it - another way to keep up with your mileage :)

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