13th January 2015
Yesterday I had a running revelation. This confirmed solo runner went running with friends. And it was the bomb.
I’ve always been too worried to run with other people. I won’t be fast enough. I might not be fit enough. I’ll be too slow. I won’t be able to go the distance. I won’t be able to keep up. Yep. There’s a theme – I just didn’t believe I’m good enough. And I am generally worried that I’d be holding other people back.
But for once, I put all that negativity to the back of my mind and I’m so glad I did. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t make the physical run any easier. The pace was faster than I would have run, left to my own devices. (It was still pretty slow, so I hope I didn’t slow my running buddies down too much). But logic says that if the pace was enough to keep challenging me, I’m going to improve faster this way. Plus we went a little off-piste and ran up some tracks onto hills that had my lungs wanting to burst at points. And whilst I wouldn’t have attempted these things, and would have bailed for walks on far more occasions, the thing about running with others is that you have to push yourself. Being brave and allowing yourself to connect with other people stretches you, it forces you to be a little give a little bit more of yourself. And ultimately, you get more out of the situation.
So after a shocking couple of runs last weekend and mid week, it was good to have the pace set and some distraction in terms of conversation. We talked utes, we talked running books, and we talked potatoes! And as one of our running companions was Harper, an Australian Shepherd, the conversation inevitably turned to running with dogs. I’ve tried it a couple of times, rather unsuccessfully. Whilst Boo would rather take a nap than a walk (she’s no typical Weimaraner), Doodles has enough energy for two and just wants to sprint. He pulls forward, I pull back; the tug of war does nothing for my mood.
But dogs! You probably don’t need me to tell you that I like introducing my woofets to the world. (Be thankful you’re in cyber world, otherwise I’d have tried to drag you round to say ‘hi’). My running buddies had no such natural protection, so that’s what happened. Except when we got to the house, the dogs burst through the gate into the garden and started introducing themselves to Harper. And being big dogs, (not to mention Gracie-Boo being the Queen of the Woofs), it all sounded a bit menacing. Doodles being more agile got across to Harper before I could restrain him, but I just managed to catch up with Boo as she reached the garden wall. As I grabbed her collar, she launched herself into the street below, taking me flying after her. Honestly – I’d managed to stay on my feet for 22km of wet, slippery rocks and soggy, boggy tracks. I get home, and I’m instantly part of a pile up of paws and personage on the pavement. No harm done (just bruised ego). I think I was mainly lucky no-one caught it on camera, or I’d have been making an impromptu appearance on “You’ve Been Framed”…
And whilst we’re talking of pets…. A while ago, I told you that I had a need for a kitten, and that as my nature is pretty impetuous, there was a strong likelihood that said kitten would be procured. Well, my prediction came true. Oscar joined the family about 6 weeks ago. (He likes to help blog with his cute little kitty paws all over the keyboard) 🙂
He’s quite a little character, but I’m beginning to see a theme emerging. He’s not normal. The first signs were that he would tolerate affection for about 5 seconds, then go into attack mode. He is stripy like a tiger, and seems to feel that he must live up to his markings at all times. (His name has been expanded to Oscar Wildcat: Over the Christmas holidays, we went away for a few days, so Oscar went to lodge with his brother and sister. It didn’t go to plan, as after about half an hour, he was committed to solitary confinement for the remainder of his visit, on account of bullying his siblings).
When he arrived at our house, he was such a tiny bundle that I wouldn’t let him in the same room as the dogs. They were desperate to meet the newcomer, but as the kitten was too small to jump when we got him, I was worried that he wouldn’t be able to make an escape from the over amorous attention of his big brother and sister. Besides, I wasn’t sure whether their intentions were amorous, or carnivorous… So even after the episode of sibling bullying at his holiday home, I was still too nervous to introduce him to Doodles and Boo. Boo’s paws were each about the same size as the kitty, and Doodles seemed to be intent of eating it as a snack: kitten burger with a side of fries, perhaps.
A chance conversation over stolen champagne at New Year (possibly a story for another day) convinced me that introductions should be made. It’s generally too much effort for Boo to give chase, and whilst Doodles is fascinated, or possibly fixated on the kitten, Oscar is still in one piece. He just has to endure a regular wash – a lick bath a day keeps the Doodles at bay.
But that seems to be a small price to pay, as Wildcat has found his place in the family; he’s one of the dogs.
And whilst he is still all claws and no notion, he is now willing to accept a modicum of human affection, and I think it’s because he has found some friends. Having playmates means he can use up his energy fending off the affection of the dogs, rather than biting the hand that strokes him! He squawks the house down in the morning until he can get to the dogs. He refuses to drink out of his water bowl, preferring to teeter dangerously on the brink of the water bucket. He eagerly helps himself to dog food, eschewing his own food until such time as his tummy is hungry enough and the only snack available is cat food. But the best bit is that now he has started to inhabit the dogs’ crate and fights poor Doodles when he has the audacity to try and get in there with him. (Boo is tolerated because she doesn’t liberally administer lick baths…)
So maybe that’s the benefit of hanging out with friends. By connecting with others, you get to explore life from a different perspective, which only makes our experience richer.
What exploits have you been getting up to with friends? Are your pets as deluded as mine? Are all ginger cats fundamentally fighters? Please tell me it’s not just ours…