What if we run the mad dog today, Mo asked.
One never questions an artist, given their existence on a higher plain, so I said, ummmmm ok.
This meant no Red Bull. There is theoretically a convenience store on the way to the mad dog, but it contains a clerk who is friendly. And once someone is friendly to me, I am obligated to shun them for life. Yes, I exist on a lower plain.
So there I was, no caffeine, no taurine, no wasted two and a half dollars, standing at the start line, when Mo, from out of nowhere, said the unthinkable: What if we do a mile loop?
See, there are only two loop options on the mad dog: a 3.7 mile loop and a .3 mile loop. One can also go out and back for any distance, which was what I assumed we would be doing for a 5K. To speak of another option would be heresy. Or possibly hearsay. I am neither a clergy nor a lawyer, although I once watched Matlock, wondering why Andy Taylor looked so old.
Um, what’s the mile loop? I asked. She pointed out how we could turn right at the playground, run through the trees and back on the normal loop. Should be about a mile, she said.
A mile loop on the mad dog? A bathroom and two water fountains? Sounded perfect. But I was skeptical of the distance. What if it wasn’t exactly a mile?
We set off, and I must say it’s a great loop. It’s the prettiest part of the park. Goes by the playground, past the soccer fields, through a winding sidewalk and a canopy of trees, around a bird-filled pond, and ends next to The Big Tree full of herons building nests. I looked down at my watch as we came by the post that’s the start line. And there it was: 0.95 miles.
A thing you should know: I’m kinda compulsive about mileage. Before GPS, I owned my own measuring wheel. A loop had to be EXACTLY 1 mile or it did not exist. Mo knows this all too well. She looks at me, trying to gauge my reaction to the short course. I shrug. No big deal, I say.
That’s the thing with Garmins. In the old days, with my trusty Timex, I would need an exact one mile loop to time the splits, requiring an annoying zig and a zig off course somewhere to make up the difference. No run could be made on an uncertified, non-official course. If the pope runs in the forest and the course isn’t measured, does he poop? I think not.
But with a Garmin, I realize it no longer matters. We go happily around the course three times for 2.8 miles. The Garmin records the splits at random spots along the course. Then we take the mini-loop for another 0.3, and that’s a 5K. It’s truly the perfect run loop, other than a lot of sidewalk and the total absence of shot putters and a weird guy lurking on the last turn and a homeless guy eating Pringles while I’m starving. Upside: not a beret to be seen. And there are a lot of birds.
In the pre-Garmin days, I would have refused to run the loop because it was .05 miles short. Mo would have killed me, chopped my body up into little bite-size pieces and fed me to the herons. Instead, we have a great new course. The Mini Mad Dog. And just in time for the Stark Raving Mad Dog. Life always works out fine.
I hope the pope enters …