Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Well-Informed Beagle

In the morning I turn on the Weather Channel as I eat my breakfast and check my email. Then I switch over to CNN after I get the chance to see the animated “Local on the 8’s” update with the bad musak and the ro.bo.tic.voice.tell.ing.me.a.bout.the.temp.er.a.ture that will let me know what to wear that day.

After a few minutes of CNN, I hook the leash on Griffen and we head out for a run. I haven’t been talking about my running goal lately, though I used to keep you all updated with my progress every month. I started 2008 with 1801 miles on my pedometer, and I want it to read 3000 miles by the end of the year—I would have to run roughly 100 miles per month. I used to update you all every month with my progress, and even pictures of my pedometer. But then life got busy. I moved house. I unpacked the boxes. I found places to put things, then moved things to other places only to forget where I moved them and I still head for the drawer to the left of the stove for a spoon instead of the one to the right of the dishwasher, which is where they now live.

The second week of April, after not running for about 2 weeks, I set out to get myself back on track with my running and my goal. (Kinda. There was a bout of laziness and a trip to California that got in the way.) The first thing I needed to do was to find somewhere to run. The street we live on now is a busy street. It is pin straight, and people (myself included) speed on it all the time. It’s so easy to look down and discover that you are driving more than 60 mph without feeling like you are diving that fast. (In fact just yesterday a state trooper blew right by me as I walked out to the mailbox, he was easily doing 70.) Because our street is so busy, I was nervous about running with Griffen on our street.

There is a satellite URI campus just a few miles down the street that Todd and I drove through when we first moved here. It’s a beautiful setting with a working farm, lakes that perfectly reflect the trees on shore, and a conference center in the very back of the campus. In other words, heaven. We stopped in at the conference center and asked if jogging was permitted on the campus. The woman manning the desk said “Yes, we encourage joggers to use the facility, here’s a trail map.” I was excited to find a 4 mile route that was not only safely off the road, but in such a beautiful setting.

After jogging there every day for two weeks, and racking up an impressive 40 some-odd miles, I was stopped by the director of the campus and told that I am not permitted to jog on this campus. It would seem that they hold children’s programs there in the summer and need to keep the (tax paying) riff-raff off campus.

“Well, then I suggest you tell the folks in the conference center to stop handing out trail maps and ‘encouraging’ joggers to use the campus,” I replied, trying very hard not to sound like a smart ass, but sometimes (well, most of the time) I just cannot help it.

I mean, I understand the precautions that the staff needs to take in keeping the children on campus safe. It annoys me that I am prohibited from jogging on a state university campus during the early morning or evening hours when the children are not there. (It’s been about a month since I was banned from campus, and I am still a bit irritated with the situation. I will get over it soon. Maybe. I make no guarantees.)

I’ve since fooled around with Google Pedometer, which is the best invention for road runners looking for new places to go, and set up a new route and have taken to running on my street—which really is not as bad as it first seemed, and am now back to doing 4-5 miles per day. (Not running all the way, yet. But I am working on it. What can I say, there are lots of hills. Big ones that make me very tired.)

Today I’ve hit 2190 miles on the pedometer. By Friday I expect to cross into the 2200’s. That means that since the start of the year I’ve gone nearly 400 miles and am somehow still 100 miles shy of my goal to date. (That’s what happens when you take most of April and May off, after running your ass off January-March.)

There are two side effects to all the running. The first is my jeans are falling off of me. Literally. I can take my jeans off without unbuttoning them now. I’ve lost about 12-15 pounds, depending on the day. Before we left for San Diego I hit up the local consignment stores in town and bought 3 new pairs of jeans, and one of them is already falling off of me. I am in that awkward place between two sizes and the larger of the two is what falls off of me, but the smaller of the two is uncomfortable to wear. That’s what happens when the hips are about a mile larger than the waist—my jeans sag, and dresses cling to my ass while hanging shapelessly over my chest.

The second side effect is that Nemo, the dog I normally leave behind when I go jogging, would be able to display an encyclopedic knowledge of current events if he could talk. I leave CNN on while Griffen and I are out, so he has some noise to distract him from the injustice of being left home alone. As I am implanting my ear buds into my ears to drown out the mournful beagle howl that equates being left home alone to being skinned alive with a butter knife, he eventually flops back onto his dog bed and watches “American Morning” while Griffen and I rack up the miles.

If he could vote, I wonder who he’d vote for in November.

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