Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On Track ... Sort Of

I jog. I’m rather serious about it too. After letting my weight sneak up just four pounds shy of the 200 mark and seeing my blood pressure skyrocket a few years back, I did something about it. I have moments of good behavior like that. 

I found out running is addictive. Plus I have a love affair with bacon that no drive to be healthy will ever erase. Running helps to cancel out the bacon ... and allows me to eat more bacon. Bacon. Just the word makes me smile. Bacon.

 I am getting very hungry.

Anyway, about the running. I do it. A lot. Which means I’m out at the track most days. It’s a nice track, winding about a picturesque pond with ducks and geese and turtles. And though I feel good about my running, I’m usually pretty grumpy about actually doing it. How grumpy? Every morning as I set off, my husband doesn’t wish me a good run. Instead he cautions me, “Please don’t toss the strollers in the pond and don’t strangle any ducks.” 

This is one of the more normal things said in my household. I am often reminded to not do violence to property and wildlife. It’s a thing. 

In my defense, I must point out that the running takes place before I’ve had an adequate silo of coffee. Morning is when I run, because I live in southeast Georgia. We’re just two levels up from Hell itself as far as the heat is concerned. First thing in the morning is the only time one can venture outdoors and still breathe. Breathing is essential to jogging – lesson one for you would-be runners. 

So I show up at the track bleary-eyed and improperly caffeinated. It’s already a recipe for disaster. Then I must face the fact that others use the park too. I don’t get to have it to myself. No one alerted these people that the world should revolve around me and I need to have private time at the track.  

Most of them are not a problem, in all honesty. We pass each other with quick nods, half-hearted smiles, and then quickly go back to our physical fitness misery. Few try to pierce my bubble of ‘Am I really doing this today? Why can’t I go back home and sleep until lunch? Why can’t I run with a carafe of coffee? Why? By all that is holy, WHY?’ 

I like those people. They are my silent friends, and I wish them all the goodness that life brings. Thank you for leaving me the heck alone.

You know that saying, ‘One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch’? I call bull-hockey on that one. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch ... and the track has more than one of those.

First are the dog walkers. Not all the dog walkers, mind you. Many dogs I see out and about with their owners are nice, well-behaved pets. I’m fine with those. My ire is reserved for the people who insist on walking slavering, barking, foaming-at-the-mouths beasts on a public track. Every day at least two of these animals rage at me as I trot by. I watch with worry as their owners – almost always tiny old people who look like they’d be pushed over by a breeze – struggle to keep their monsters from running me down. Apparently, my legs resemble beef jerky to these fur-bearing brutes. They can’t wait to gnaw on me.


 You stop eyeballing me too, Squatch.

Listen, folks. If you weigh under a hundred pounds, collect Social Security, and your dog could have been Cujo’s understudy, don’t bring it to a public track. Unless it’s a railroad track. Feel free to walk your bloodthirsty beast there until it catches a passing train. 

And while we’re talking about animals – ducks. Lovely ducks with their pretty plumage. What can be more serene than the sight of ducks gliding effortlessly over the surface of a pond? Nothing. It’s when they get out of the pond that you have to worry. 

First of all, ducks poop. Unlike the dogs that people bring to the park, no one has to clean up that poop. There is duck guano everywhere, especially on the track. It looks like someone dropped every Tootsie Roll ever produced out of a passing blimp. There are four ducks who live where I run. Who knew those birds could make so much guano?  

We who frequent the track try to put a good face on the mess. “Ha ha, it looks like they’ve installed an obstacle course for us!” Yeah, ha-ha. I’m hysterical with laughter as I weave amongst the pellets and pray I don’t slip and fall. 

However, the poop is a minor irritation compared to the ducks themselves. The ducks are wild, but they’ve been around people so long that they have lost all fear of us. So as I jog up to them, they have no problem with standing right there and not moving. Not freaking giving way. They just stare. It’s like Children of the Damned, but they’re ducks.


On second thought, bring your rabid dog back to the track, Grandma.

That brings me to my final and biggest peeve. Ducks standing around in the way is irritating, but in the end, they’re animals. They aren’t supposed to have good sense, not like people. 

Enter the Stroller Mom Gang. 

This is the worst of the worst. These are young women with children. In strollers. You wouldn’t think such a thing would set anyone’s blood boiling ... not even mine. And yet, they do. 

The individual mommies getting back into pre-baby shape are an okay bunch. I applaud them for getting out there not only to exercise, but setting a great example for their little sweetlings. Go, you awesome women! 

The Stroller Mom Gang is a different story. These half dozen women travel in a pack. Their strollers are huge. They walk two abreast, the entire width of the track. They like to stop in the middle of said track and chat for several minutes at a time. And they move for no one.


It looks something like this

This obnoxious bunch of track-bully princesses really brings out the devil in me. They are the prime reason for Hubby’s warning to not toss strollers in the water. But I wouldn’t do that. There are innocent babies in those strollers. I wouldn’t hurt them. 

Instead, I am inspired by large, thick tree branches. I long to pick them up and swing at the perky little ponytailed heads of the Stroller Mom Gang. Picturesque rocks would weight them in the middle of the pond so well. I’d be doing a public service by removing these nuisances. Really. 

When I start talking like that, Hubs says, “Finish your run and we’ll go to Waffle House. I’ll buy you coffee and bacon.” 

Coffee. Bacon. Coffee. Bacon. I chant those magic words as I run. Okay, we’re good again. I even forget how fulfilling committing mayhem might be as another dog snarls and nearly jerks the arm off his owner as he tries to get at me. 

Hold off for better game, Fido. There are approaching Stroller Moms for you to play with. Please do.


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