November 27, 2011

Alcohol - Good or Bad?

Seems every time I pick up a newspaper, log on to the internet, or find an interesting news show, the topic of alcohol and health seem to appear. Is the stuff good or bad for you? Seems there are so many opinions that I'm left with nothing more than a wilted view on what is fact or fiction. Maybe it's one of those subjects that you believe what you want to believe.

I found this link to an article that sheds some light on the matter.

Happy holidays

November 19, 2011

Man's Best Friend?

I’d like to say for the record that if dogs are man’s best friend, they can be a turd in the punchbowl for us runners. Actually, it’s not the dogs that spoil the party, it’s a select group of their “clueless” owners. Hey, I’m all for pets, including those of the canine variety. But as a runner, I’ve learned to grow weary if not downright resentful of some dog owners. Hear me out on this one.

Last night I was on the back leg of a 6 mile out and back run I’ve completed dozens of times. As I ran along the dirt trail on the UCI Eco Reserve I could see a couple with a dog walking toward me about a half a mile away. It was dusk and the sun light was diming. As I approached the trio a long fence with a narrow opening stood between us. I could see that the dog, like most I come across when running on trail, was not on a leash.

Ok, here we go, I thought to myself, “the random dog encounter.” There are two types of dogs encountered on trail. Those that trod along with their head down that never notice you.   These are the whimsical ones, either too old and tired to give a shit about you, or smart enough to understand that their business is keeping their snout to the ground seeking scents from the orifices of their four legged brethren.

Then there are the other makes. These are the direct descendants of Jack London’s Buck from The Call of the Wild. The kind with instincts that, if crossed on the wrong day or in the wrong mood, would be threatened by mother Teresa dancing a two-step. Ok, I’m oversimplifying here, but you get the message. To a runner there are dogs that are “friendlies” and the less preferred “un-friendlies.”

As I made my way through the narrow gap, I noticed this couple was immersed in deep conversation. No glance, nod, nor eye contact came my way. As one who has run thousands of miles and come across hundreds of dogs on trail, I always look at the owner of the unleashed dog to determine what my next move should be. If the owner makes a move to grab the pet as I approach, I always slow to a walk to give them the time to do so. If the owner makes no move at all, which is most common, my eyes quickly move from the owner to the pet, then I proceed with caution.

As my eyes moved away from the couple, their pet was already passing on my left a few feet away. I had slowed to a walk, sensing something was amiss about the situation. Then the dog, a youngish black and white shepherd, turned and lunged toward me, growling and barking like a rabid Rin Tin Tin. A standoff that lasted a few seconds ensued, until I heard the owner yelling at the dog as if she had never seen her little guy perform such an act. Hello? Dog owner, this just in: get a clue! Your dog should be on a leash! If you want Fido to roam free on your watch, call for him. He’s not a “friendly” and a stranger is approaching.

It amazes me time and time again when dogs turn aggressive and their owners seem so damned surprised. Again, I’m not a dog hater, in fact the opposite. I grew up with a dog named licorice that literally adopted our family one day when I was in first grade. He waited at the end of the driveway until we took him in as our own. We kids used to rub his stomach until he went crazy and ran around the house like a wild pig. He once got sprayed by a skunk and we had to give him a bath in tomato juice. He was a great dog.

To all dog owners out there, let's keep the turd out of the punchbowl, eh? 

November 12, 2011

Once in a While

Once in a while. Not often. During a long run. I carry a few bucks with me. And stop. To indulge. Only during a long run. That is the rule. 

November 7, 2011

What An Imp Told Me

“Lose not yourself in a far off time, seize the moment that is thine.”

It’s been said that every minute is the beginning of an hour. Today I realized that it's really the minutes that count. The hours? Well, they might not always be there for me. 
As I laced up my shoes before my run tonight it occurred to me that I only had 20 minutes before I had to pick up my daughter. I decided to run anyway. I wanted to run for an hour, but knew I had to take what I could get.

The path I ran upon seemed to take me back in time. It was dark out. I noticed the lights along the foot bridge at UCI that I’ve run across hundreds of times. Only on this night they looked unusually appealing, glistening amidst the dark night. Along the path I noticed a series of funky statues. I stopped for a minute to take a closer look. From the darkness peeked an impish face. I had never noticed this face before. What was this little face telling me?

I moved on, making my way under the science building I’d run under so many times before. My legs felt strong, and after bouncing up a flight of stairs, I floated back toward my car.

Then it occurred to me. That little face wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know. It was just a reminder. When time is tight, forget the perfect workout and the ideal schedule. But don’t ever forget the precious minutes. They add up to a lot.