Monday, February 3, 2014

Dog Day Afternoon

Pete went away on his annual ski trip in Utah for five days with his college buddies (Lucky him, right?).  My buddy, Edison came over to hang out with the kids and me, and watch the Not So Super Bowl.  Before the game I needed to knock out my18 miler.  I got a babysitter and dropped Edison off at Planet Fitness on my way up to the north shore.  I was determined to run there because I have virtually no hill training this cycle which does not bode well for a notoriously hilly marathon.  The weather was perfect, about 50 degrees and partly cloudy.  I had three hours to get it done.

Boston Marathon elevation chart

I parked at the Manhasset train station.  The lot was surprisingly packed.  I imagine a lot of people went into Manhattan to watch the game.  I headed down Plandome Road and across Northern Boulevard to South Strathmore.  I ran four hilly miles before I noticed Rufus.  Rufus is a little tan Shih Tzu who was wandering aimlessly in the middle of the road.  I grew concerned when it became obvious he was not near his home.  I approached him cautiously.  He was timid, yet friendly.  I saw he had a tag on with two phone numbers, but no address.  I called both numbers.  No one answered, so I left messages.  I picked him up so he wouldn't take off and began knocking on doors hoping someone would recognize the dog.  A woman and her daughter were home.  They did not recognize him and the woman was not eager to take the dog into her home.  I explained how I was  in the middle of a run, so it was impossible for me to take him.  The daughter was more interested in helping me.  Finally, the dog's owner called me back.  She was at work and had no idea her dog had run away.  She lived down the block about a quarter of a mile.  I carried Rufus to his home.  The husband came out and thanked me for returning him.  He asked where I lived.  I awkwardly explained that I lived on the south shore and was out for a long run.  I felt funny saying it.  I thought I should explain about my need for hill training and how I parked at the train station and how I grew up here so I'm not this random vagrant like John Rambo...  While I'm thinking this, the man just kind of looked at me a little strangely, shook my hand, and headed back to his house.  Rufus and I silently said our goodbyes.  This whole encounter took about a half hour.  (I kind of have a habit of picking up random dogs that I see wandering the streets.  Okay, a couple of times they were right in front of their homes, but how was I supposed to know?  And maybe I would take them for little joy rides in my car.  And show them off to friends.  But I always returned them.  I can't leave them in the streets.  I would feel terrible if they got hit by a car when I could have done something to prevent it.  Also, I hope that someone would do the same for my dog.)

I forgot to take a picture of Rufus.  
This is pretty close 

I continued my run.  Somewhere around six or seven miles my toes started to bother me.  During my last marathon cycle I had an issue with stiffness in my toes.  The same thing was happening again.  The farther I went, it got progressively worse.  I tried changing my foot strike and my posture, but nothing was helping.  I seriously need to fix my form or something because there's no way I'm going to be able to run three 20 milers with stiff, aching toes.

I ducked into Barnes and Noble to use the bathroom and then headed toward Plandome.  I ran by the bay down the block from where my best friend and her sisters used to live.  As teenagers, we would spend hours on the pier smoking and contemplating the meaning of life.   I snapped a couple of pictures.  Somehow Map My Run didn't pause so this turned out to be a thirteen minute mile.  I checked the time and realized I was nearing the three hour mark since I dropped Edison off.  This would not be the planned 18 mile run.  I entered a section called Plandome Mills on the north side of Stonytown Road.  I never explored this neighborhood before.  The homes were spectacular.  I wanted to catch a few more hills so I headed back to the train station via Flower Hill and Munsey Park.  I ended up running 14 miles in 2:14:20, a 9:33 pace.

I felt badly that I didn't get in my 18 miles, but there's no way I could have left Rufus on the street by himself.  I think it was worth it.

Manhasset Bay


  1. I made it in your blog!! Lucky Dog!!

  2. What an adventure! Didn't you stop for a dog on our way to Starbucks after the GLIRC run? Are all these dogs really "lost"? I'm picturing Rufus' owner slowing backing into the house and closing the door as you explained how you happened to be in the area.

    The pictures are great, but of course you must have been completely bored looking at those million dollar views as you ran by them. Do you think your toe stiffness could be related to your shin splints? Maybe it's your shoes...

    The Boston course looks all downhill to me : )

    1. I did stop for a dog on the way to Starbucks. His owner was on the other side of the field so I thought he was alone.

      I think the stiffness and the splints are both caused by a change in my form. I need to figure it out.

    2. The start of Boston in Hopkinton is downhill, and the whole course is net downhill, which is one of the reasons a Boston time doesn't count for records. That doesn't mean there aren't many varieties of uphill, including a slight incline about a mile from the end.
      Laura Dickerson (regular reader. We usually watch from about the halfway point, which is on a downhill section).

    3. Yes, I've heard different opinions about the hills from past runners ranging from unnoticeable to unbelievably hard.

      Say hello if you see me!! :)

  3. Stopping for dogs is a nice diversion! Been there.
    It looks killer that the big change in elevation is at the 20 mile mark. Bazinga.

    1. Yeah, the elevation isn't that bad. Just bad timing :/ Ahhhh...