Adventures in Small Town Running Or Being Chased by a Dog on Your Long Run

by - Tuesday, April 07, 2015

So this past weekend, I spent a glorious 3.5 days at my parents' house in PA. The trip couldn't have come at a more perfect time since I was going through some serious burnout and desperately needed to escape the city.

Home is where the is.
Home is where the heart is

I spent a lot of the weekend relaxing, but also did massive amounts of homework, and some running.

My long run on Saturday was 10 miles, and I got to wind through some of my old routes that I used when I was training for my very first marathon.

The first six miles were pretty uneventful. I was cruising along at a pretty decent pace, despite the hilly terrain, and my legs were feeling good. Even my stupid tight calf seemed to be cooperating.

Somewhere around mile 6.5, things on the run took a turn for the small-town interesting.

I was running past a house where two golden retrievers were out front playing kind of in the street and not in the yard. They weren't on a leash and the yard wasn't fenced in, so I ran by with care. Dogs love runners. One of the dogs totally ignored me. The other one ran up to me and started jumping at me. (I should note, not in a menacing going to bite me way, more in a "play with me" way...that is the only reason I did not have an epic meltdown).

I stopped and sort of told the dog to go back home, pointing toward the house. It listened and jogged off.

So I went along my merry way, when I notice the dog has started following me again. By this point I've turned down another road, and the dog is running in and out of the street, all over the sidewalks, up to me hitting me in the leg with its nose.

Luckily, it's a small town and there wasn't a bunch of traffic, but we got to another intersection and the dog darted out in front of some cars. An older gentleman stopped his car. I think he thought the dog was mine and I was letting it run off leash. (No chance I'd be that careless).

I told him it wasn't and that I was going to call the owners listed on the tag. I got the dog to sit down for a second, grabbed its collar and pulled my phone out of my fuel belt. (Guess it's a good thing I run with it). The tag had two numbers and an address in New Jersey. I called both. Both went to voicemail.

At this point, I was a little annoyed at the very careless owners who let their dog run all over the world, didn't pay attention and didn't answer their phones. After some more antics, the dog ran away from me, and there wasn't much I could do. So I headed off on my way.

Until the stupid thing caught up with me again. I turned around, determined to run past the house where it started following me, figuring I'd try to ditch it there. It took me about three tries near that house for the dog to finally stop following me. Mainly because it found another dog to bark at.

I have no idea what happened to the dog. The owners never called me back even though I'd left two messages. I have some not so nice thoughts about the owners, and I hope the dog is OK.

Turns out, in my running up and down the road the dog lived on a few times, I racked up about a half a mile of running.

As I took off to finish my 10, I could tell my good groove was gone. Things were tight and my pace was slowing. Thanks a lot careless dog owners!

Not more than half a mile later, I was trying to motivate myself to pick up the pace when a poor, very lost driver pulled up next to me and asked me for directions. Man only in a small town could I possibly be stopped this many times on one run for weird stuff.

I stopped, dropped my hands to my knees and was sucking wind while trying to tell him where to go.

After that, my running mojo was gone. The last three miles of the run were not good. I hit the wall hard at mile 9 and ended up doing a lot of walking. But I eventually made it back home, rounding out a 10 mile run.

It was more eventful than I ever expected.

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  1. Having grown up in a small town, I can relate to this post in many ways. All of the annoyances of city living being whisked away in moments of visiting my parents, and the small town camaraderie (which was an annoyance too as a kid). I love using their place to " get away".
    And that poor dog!

  2. I run in rural areas 90% of the time, and a friendly dog once followed me and it was bad - in the road with cars going by, no leash, just following me for 2+ miles.... People did assume it was my dog! Cars blew horns, people yelled at me out their car windows. I would yell back it is not my dog. I had to go back by the house where it all started and tell the dog to "Stay!" and he would follow again and I would say "NO!". Repeatedly. Finally he stopped. I can relate to the stress and distraction it causes. It definitely throws you out of concentration and rhythm.