Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The Countryside, Man-struation, and jogging 7 miles
Current Happenings as of late
A Series of short stories that are sure to make you laugh out loud. Probably.
The countryside is a beautiful place out here in Texas. No matter what part of the state you live in, if you get out into the rural parts, you are transported into a different world. If you wake up early enough you can see the morning fog rolling through the hillsides, misting the air and leaving a sparkle on the grass blades covered in dew drops. You get to see pinto horses running in the fields or huddled around their calves protecting their young. Old red barns seem to appear out of nowhere as a reminder that you really are in the middle of nowhere sometimes. Riding a bike in the countryside can be a wonderful experience. I feel reinvigorated after rides such as these, because I get to appreciate the wonders of creation and nature in it's different times and seasons.
What I don't like, are the dogs. I am not a big fan of dogs, especially the small wimpy dogs. They give me allergies, but aside from that I was never allowed to have a dog growing up, so I don't have much fondness or patience for them. Dogs tend to run astray on country roads, which can make for a really great story when you happen to run into a pack of them on one of your bike rides. This is exactly what happened to me. My 2007 Raleigh Sport has had the same chain on it for more than five years and over 3,000 miles of usage. I recently took it out of the bike and cleaned it in some degreaser, then re-greased the chain thinking that it would run my gears smoothly and improve my shifting. Last week on an early morning bike ride my chain met it's end in the worst of places. I was going up a slightly steep hill when a pack of about six dogs started chasing me from the other side of their fence. The dogs were big dogs with clean, white fur and looked like gentle, playful creatures. Not feeling in any danger whatsoever I whistled to them and started to charge up the hill. Out of nowhere one of the dogs gets out of the fence and starts running after me, teethed exposed with a foaming mouth. This was a medium sized dog, and unlike the other dogs across the fence, this dog had matted brown and grey fur and a disheveled appearance. My guess is that it could have been a stray that hung out with the other dogs and found a way to get in and out of the fence. It went after me as I powered up the hill, gearing down and putting everything I had on the pedals. Just as I cleared the top of the hill I heard a loud "snap!", and lost all the pressure in my legs. I still managed to cruise 40 feet away from the growling dog behind me. When I looked down at my bike I realized my chain was gone. The dog was standing over it, panting and barking loudly, covering the chain in it's foamy drool. I stood my ground and stared it down so it wouldn't come any closer. Then I slowly started to walk away.
I called for my wife but she was conked out in bed. After all it was 8am on a Saturday. I walked to a main road where a good Samaritan saw me and gave me a lift to my house on his pickup. I was four miles away from home, but had things to do that day, and was saved from having to walk that distance in my clipless shoes. I now have a greater appreciation for women in stilettos though.
Lately I have been on my Man-period. This is what my wife likes to call it. I have been busier than usual and have not had very good opportunities to go ride my bike. I have been riding at the crack of dawn or during rush hour traffic. That coupled with having to drive long distances to do certain errands tends to put me in a very grouchy mood. I have also not been eating well. I have gotten a little lazy about putting healthy food in my system, often eating the remaining leftovers of my toddler's corn dog. My pants aren't feeling right, and my self awareness doesn't help. I'm not one of those dudes that can let that slide for too long. When I get put in a position where there is seemingly little of nothing I can do about it, it rubs me the wrong way. More about my menstrual cycle later, let me tell you what I tried to do yesterday as a result of feeling this way.
So a couple of buddies of mine go running six miles every Monday. They don't jog and walk six miles, they run six miles, from start to finish. When I was younger in my pre-cycling days six miles was a cake walk for me. I would run non-stop for over 3 hours at a time. So I decided I would give it a try.
The first three miles or so went okay. I was trailing them but still had them in my sight. I thought I was doing pretty good for someone who hadn't run in a really long time. I then started to feel a pain in my chest, then on my side, then on my back. With every stride I felt like someone was tugging me at the stomach and yanking on my love handles. It was a very uncomfortable feeling, I was tired and out of breath, so I decided to walk instead. My friends kept going, running past me like a pair of graceful antelope that dodged a hungry but old lion. They would zig-zag through light posts and around buildings, running into me occasionally after they went around the block, then running off all giddy and full of pep. Eventually I lost sight of them altogether. I was left in a part of town I new nothing about and it was getting dark. I took a street and ran on it as far as I could, hoping to see something familiar. I stopped at a cigar shop and called my wife. I was surrounded by a bunch of old, stinky men playing poker with a "what the hell" look on their face. It was awkward to be the only person in the building with short-shorts, just saying. I told my wife that I was okay, that I didn't have my cell phone on me and I told her the next few streets I was going to head out on in case anyone tried to contact her. "You're going to look stupid if they have to come pick you up", she said. That's exactly what happened. Walking along the street a car stopped behind me and honked their horn. It was David, one of the friends I was running with. By the time David had picked me up, I had run all around Addison and into the neighboring city nearby and back. I was discovered about two hours later after my friends were done with their run. David gave me a ride back to my car then I went home.
The next day I felt as if someone had been kicking me non-stop in the lower back all night. As I got up I looked like an old fart walking around the house. This is what happens when you try to do the same thing you used to do years ago, only with 30 pounds of extra weight on top. I thought cycling kept me fit enough to hang with these guys, but it was they that taught me a lesson. I think I will stick to riding my bike because at least I can get up the next day after a bike ride.
I hope these tales were amusing and a distraction from my normal writing topics.