Sunday, August 31, 2008

#13 It's A Dog Eat Dana World

Growing up my Grandparents (DeBruyne) always had a dog. I remember the excitement of going to their house and playing various games with my cousins, sisters and the dog. All the games involved the dog climbing over and slobbering on us. For some crazed reason we loved it! (However, face licking grosses me out. That would be the dog licking my face, not the other way around. Yuck!)

When I was 6 or 10 or 13...I don't really remember when...we met for a family get together at my grandparents and of course my grandparent's dog, Spencer, was out running and frolicking in the grass. He quickly changed course and came up all excited to greet us. I reached out my hand to pat him on the head and no sooner did I have my hand out then he bit it. I was shocked, I had not been bitten by a dog ever and especially by a dog I had played with several times before and one who had never bit anyone. To top it off, I was told with a stern voice that I had provoked the dog to bite me. I was so upset.* That moment has never let my memory.

From there on in I would not touch a dog or even come close to one without cringing. Just the thought of touching a dog made me panic. I dated a guy for a short time who had a very large dog and the first time I met the dog I actually broke out in a sweat and practically plastered myself to the wall in an attempt to get farther away. It wasn't until I started dating a guy from New Brunswick that I realized that I needed to get over this fear once and for all. Because let's face it, some men come with dogs and I can't let that get between me and a good man.

Chris had a beautiful, black lab named Cole and when I went to visit him I was forced to deal with the her. Cole was young and rambunctious. I remember the first time I met Cole, I stood behind Chris with a vice grip on his arms and my head pressed against his back as Cole tried to get around him to 'greet' me. I think we actually turned in circles while she jumped trying to get to me. Once she calmed down I started to as well. Chris taught me that I needed to let Cole smell my hand before I touched her, allowing Cole to get familiar with me and know that I was safe. I wish someone had told me that decades ago because as soon as I knew that was the safe way to touch a dog everything changed.

Having not believed it at first, Chris was right when he said that Cole was a friendly dog who wouldn't hurt a fly...other than the ones she pounced on for fun. By the third time I visited Chris Cole and I had become friends and I actually missed her when I left. When I was back in Ontario I would always pester Chris that the next time I came we had to take Cole to the dog park. Yes, I said it, the dog park! It also helped that I would bring a tasty treat to keep Cole occupied when I came. It was also one that would help freshen her doggy breath...but that is another story. I was over my fear of dogs and have since been comfortable with them. But I still won't let a dog lick my face. I don't care what you say that is still gross.

*Sadly, after Spencer bit me he was soon put down for having become violent with other people.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

#1 10K Win

I started running a few years ago...well actually about 9 years ago with a long hiatus in the middle. I was first motivated after a break up. What better reason to shed some pounds (thank you very much Ian!) and started by running down the street from my apartment in Old North London. At first I would run all out and be tired in about five minutes. I quickly decided that this was not a good strategy and if I wanted to get any distance under my belt I needed to slow it down. Soon I was doing 20mins without stopping and it felt good.

Then came the hiatus, university and 20 extra pounds. Who knew taking the bus, burgers and fries, reality TV and a roommate who liked to bake could add pounds. Well, it did. After a trip to Europe where I lost three pounds I decided to continue to shed the pounds and I was going to do it by going to the gym and getting on the treadmill.

I did a 5K at the Run for Retina in 2006 and made good time (23min). A year later I bumped it up to a 10K. I was told that if you can do 5, you can do 10 and I certainly could. I started near the front and took off strong. My iPod making time with the pistons in my legs...until about 10mins in when my battery died. I wasted some time fiddling with it, not understanding why it wasn't working. Eventually I admitted defeat with the machine and focused on getting to the finish.

By the turn around point I realized that I was the first female, but there was another girl hot on my trail and I needed to keep pushing. With less than a kilometre to go, I passed some of the volunteers helping out on the course who yelled with excitement that I was the first woman to pass. This added fuel me for the final leg. Knowing that the second female was hot on my tail, I poured everything I had left into the final sprint and crossed the finish line in 49:16:2. The girl behind me finished in 49:17:8. It was that close!

I certainly had not come to this race expecting to win. I just wanted to finish. But I'm not going to complain, it was an incredible feeling to win a race. The $50 that I won went into my first Lululemon sweater and boy to I love that sweater!

They say f you can do 10 you can do a half...more to come.