I started out yesterday on the neighborhood loop. It’s a quiet little mile of suburbia. Shade trees, quiet streets, pleasant running. And then there he was again.
The pit bull was back. At least he was alone this time. But same drill. Super-aggressive. Kept coming toward me in that slow, I mean business kinda way. Having plotted an action plan after the last encounter, I headed for the nearest house. My initial plan was to jump the fence. Then I saw a two-by-four was holding it up. The worm turned.
The dog didn’t seem particularly impressed, but held his distance. He followed me for about a block before losing interest. I made a mental note to really never, ever ever ever this time I mean it run this route anymore. I headed for the bay trail, which is cement but safe. The funny part: Dog Wars left my first half-mile pace hilariously slow. I ended up running for a burst at an 8-minute pace to get down to sub-15 for mile one. Toughest Muskrat mile ever.
Today is a bay trail day. I wait till after the Olympico trials. How lucky we are to get basically the entire 10,000 uninterrupted. That just didn’t happen back in the old days.
So it’s around 10:30 p.m. when I pull on my best Shalane shorts and head out. A blissful 79 degrees. A Chamber of Commerce evening.
It’s a perfect night. Lots of people out on the trail. Most of them are sane. And even the crazy homeless guys are having a good night. I’m content to watch the world go by at a 14:45 pace. Skateboarders skate, stunt bikers stunt, couples smooch in the moonlight with the waves providing a romantic soundtrack.
A band is playing at the little outdoor cafe at the turnaround. They seem to be a crazy homeless guys favorite, judging by the number of folks lining the sidewalk nearby. I wonder if that’s something you advertise.
I have asked the shuffle for a mix of punk and classic rock. I get Offspring and Beatles and the Clash and Pink Floyd, which makes sense, but Bush? And Pearl Jam? I’m stumped as to which category they fall in. Mo will not be amused if PJ is now classic rock.
I’m about a week into the NB110s and I’m totally smitten. Amazingly comfy and lightweight. I’m thinking this is going to be the running shoe equivalent of the final scene in “Casablanca.” But, man. I gotta start picking up my feet. I’m a notorious shuffler, and I’m already tripping on rocks. And this is on a sidewalk. Could be interesting on the trails. Are knee and elbow pads allowed?
I run with my phone in one hand, thinking of all the police stories I’ve read where the guy was shot because his phone looked like a gun. I’ve got my keys in the other hand. I can’t recall anyone being shot for that, so I’m thinking I have a 50-50 shot for survival.
Mostly, it’s nice to be here. It’s cool in the evening. The sea breeze is a welcome relief from the stifling days (99 next week?). And there’s a vibe along the seawall that I love. It’s alive. A perfect place for a night run.
I dodge the 6-inch cockroaches in the church parking lot and return home revived. I’m just in time for the replay. As I walk in, they’re interviewing Dan O’Brien, the decathlete legend who was so gracious to me when we shared the track for years in Scottsdale. A happy memory to end the night.
Mo and the cat are snoring. It’s pouring in Oregon. I open a Black Butte Porter, a good Oregon beer.
It’s a good night to be alive. Any run that doesn’t require a two-by-four is a good run …