Since my last encounter with a neighborhood dog about two months ago, I’ve been taking a slightly modified route to avoid “Abbey”, the dog who chased me that day. This new route takes me through an alley and past three particularly mean dogs who make a point to growl, bark loudly and do everything possible to vault or break through the 6 foot high chain link fence that separates them from the rest of the world. There’s a fat one, who is by far the loudest, but quite lethargic and there are two other doberman pincers that can leap pretty high in their attempts to vault the 6 foot fence. A standard chain link fence would not hold them. Since I know they can neither vault nor break through the 6 foot chain link fence, I feel pretty safe taking this route.
Today, I began my workout with a light jog 100 meters down my street and made my turn into the alley. Immediately, the barking started. I looked over to the fence and saw the fat one in his usual spot up against the fence. I knew that momentarily, the other two would come bounding through the holes in the screened porch to join him up against the fence. When they didn’t appear, I knew something was wrong. I looked to the end of the alley and the two rounded the corner from behind a bush, rushing straight toward me.
I quickly turned on my heels and ran. I instantly pondered whether this was the best thing to do. My brief bear training while in the smoky mountains this summer taught me to stand my ground even if a bear charges. These were not bears, however and the whole thing felt like an ambush. The fat one was just the lookout. I tore down the street past Abbey’s house, hoping she’d be out to give chase today. I figured maybe the Dobermans would be distracted by her. No such luck. I was moving pretty fast and I didn’t hear any barking anymore, but I could hear the very fast pitter patter of paws hitting pavement right behind me. I wasn’t sure, but I think I dropped one of them, but the other one was fast.
I envisioned what would happen if I stopped, turned around and gave it a quick, surprise kick to the head. I quickly decided against that. One, I’d have to be sure I connected and two it would give the other dog the chance to catch up. I went to full out sprint, kicking my pace up to the last gear I had. Jack Daniels doesn’t have a name for the pace I was running. It was “running the 40 yard dash, trying to make the football team” fast. I kept telling myself that dogs are sprinters and the longer I hold the pace, the better chance I have of surviving. Within seconds, the pitter patter of paws faded into the distance. The dog couldn’t handle my acceleration and broke off the chase. I slowed back down to “regular fast” until I made it across a busy street. I glanced back and saw one dog standing about a block away with its head hung low to the ground.
I looked at my Garmin which showed a 62 second quarter mile. So much for an easy warmup.
I walked for a while, then continued my warmup at a much, much easier pace. Today’s workout was planned as a bit of a hybrid speed workout/long run: 2 miles easy + 5 x 1200m in 5:15 with 1 minute rests + 7 miles easy. Here’s the intervals went:
1200 m – 5:05
1200 m – 5:02
1200 m – 5:03
1200 m – 5:07
1200 m – 4:59
I started the 7 miles following the intervals feeling kind of winded, but felt better as I went along. All in all, the workout was 13 miles. I took a circuitous route back home. I knew I didn’t have another 62 second quarter in me and the dogs had just had an hour and a half rest.