So I signed up for a 10K in September. Running is one of those unexpected flowers in my bouquet. A smelly, slow, sweaty, wilted flower. But a flower nonetheless.
Bella is my running partner. Not because she's a particularly good running partner, we'll get to that in a minute, but because I love her and I love expelling some of her energy that otherwise gets outletted by meticulously chewing the baseboard trim off of my walls.
I read this article from Runner's World about how all runners are both physically and metaphorically running away from or to something else. How poignant. Okay, and maybe true. I guess I'm doing both. Bella, however, is doing neither. She is an accidental runner, or to be more accurate, she's a runner because I force her to be. She lacks my passion and occasional spatterings of anger that arise when my legs and lungs beg me to pick a lazier way to travel.
Bella plods along. She stops and smells delicious puppy smells: mysterious road-side poop, dead chipmunks, dunkin' donuts cups. Sometimes, she decides she must eat these items. I try to discourage that.
So as Bella smells and plods, I run next to her, attempting to convince her to keep up with my grueling 2.2 mph pace, listening to Phish and Juice Newton. Perhaps my musical choices contribute to my break-neck speed.
Most recently, Bella has discovered a new treasure in the natural world: men's discarded underpants. Men! Should you be suddenly consumed by the uncontrollable urge to shed your shat-upon unmentionables outside of the privacy of your own home, I beg you to restrain yourself. Before you strip, I encourage you to envision my seventy pound puppy (seventy! pound! puppy!) hurtling forth through the air, swinging your Fruit of the Looms in her mouth, eight inches of tongue flopping around, and happily presenting them to her mortified owners for a good old fashioned game of tug-of-war. Please.
Today, thankfully, Bella and I did not encounter any tighty-whities. Today we hunted Mourning Doves. Mourning Doves love dirt roads. Bella loves birds. Please do not be alarmed. I assure you, we did not catch any. Picture the aforemetioned seventy pounds of most likely developmentally disabled puppy stealthily stalking a creature with wings, and you can understand why she has to start the hunt half a mile away.
Bella, with her crusty underpants and clumsy meanderings, is my zen for running. It's hard to run with passion and anger when she's two feet away from me, fully content to pounce on and rub her face in whatever the world presents to her. So while I refuse to delight in the pleasures of mysterious poop, I will agree to the symbolism behind it. God knows that whatever I'm running from and to is going to have to be patient...I'm a slow runner.