I don’t like dogs, and I’m pretty convinced dogs don’t like me.
It stems from my childhood.
As a young lad growing up in Northern Ireland in the Troubles strewn 70s my earliest memories include ‘owning’ a black dog that, apparently, protected me to the extent of growling at my mother should it have decided she was going to punish me for some misdemeanour or t’other. So I did like dogs up to a point.
It makes me smile now knowing that it had a distinctly un-PC name given today’s standards but was a perfectly acceptable moniker back then.
By the way, the irony of me having a black dog as a nipper isn’t lost on me given how things have turned out for me as an adult. You’ll either get that or you won’t.
When I was nine or ten years old I was attacked – without provocation – by two big dogs. One was an Alsatian, the other a Labrador – so not exactly wee tiny things. I was walking down an entry near my house, they jumped over a hedge, bit me twice on the back of each leg and ran off. That was me scarred for life when it came to dogs.
I try to avoid them at all costs. And when I’m out on a run I’m always scouring the road ahead in case I spot one so as to allow me ample time to change my course without neither the dog or it’s owner spotting me. It’s a real nuisance at times because it means that certain pleasant routes are ruled out because of the very real chance of some mutt sharing the space with me.
So what has this got to do with tonght’s run (finally, he’s getting to the point!)? As I said, I try to keep an eye out for them and avoid certain areas. However, tonight I didn’t spot any and was beside a field so thought to myself ‘why not?’, it was a nice night and I fancied a wee run on grass.
But, ohhhh no, that wouldn’t do, would it? I got halfway across the field and spotted one pooch – complete with owner, but off it’s leash – darting across the grass headed in my direction. The owner called it back, it heeded. However, I turned around and searched for the quickest exit to get me back on good old trusted, canine free tarmac.
Panic over, all was well again you’d think. Aye, right!
As I turned around there was this beast of a thing a few yards away from me. A bulldog type, only bigger, with it’s owner coming sauntering along some distance behind it obviously more concerned with his phone call than my immediate safety. I’m pretty sure this ‘thing’ was eyeing me up for some sort of early evening snack.
“It’ll not touch ye,” the human finally offered. My immediate thought was “I don’t f**king know that!” so I froze on the spot until the dog lost interest in me taking care, of course, to pause my Garmin!!!! There was no way I was running away from it!
Anyway, that aside, tonight’s run was fairly uneventful. It was deliberately very easy. I’ve decided to enter the Belfast Half Marathon in the middle of September so, using the schedule given to me by the MyAsics app, went out on my first training run – 3.1 miles.
The app suggested an easy run so I made a conscious effort to be comfortable, not really pushing myself, but somehow still managed to end up turning in a progressive run with the last mile being a good minute faster than the first. Go figure.