Alice and I had a bunk run this morning. I felt slow and frankensteinish. Neither of us have been in good health; my ankle sprain and her I don’t even know what. But she hasn’t been eating which for a lab is like a gal suddenly loosing interest in shoes. I am trying not to be my usual canine hypochondriac by rushing her to the vet. The last two times I took her to the vet:
1. I was certain her tail was broken. It was pathetic and limp and if you gestured toward her rump she would cry. I googled this sort of thing and read that if her tail was broken and not immediately reset, it would stay that way forever and never wag again. I raced to Dr. Moore and it turns out that she has a sore ass. She had gone swimming in the Clark Fork and became afflicted with “swimmer’s tail.” Bill: $80.
2. She kept shaking her head and holding her left ear all funky. I googled this sort of thing and discovered that she could have an ear yeast infection. Then my brother’s dog, Clyde, got this very thing and his ears were bleeding and he was in a lot of pain. I raced to Dr. Moore and Alice had a minor ear disturbance and was pretty much healthy. They trimmed her toenails. Bill: $90.
This morning, I fought the entire run. I only ran for 2o minutes and 13 seconds. That is the shortest distance I have ran in recent memory. I felt like I should go further or faster or something to make it feel more worth while. Alice was not into it and just wanted to smell every freakin’ blade of grass.
She had it all right. It wasn’t about being a super star this morning. Alice just wanted to get out and attempt to be back in our usual routine. The sun was just peaking over Mt. Sentinel and the air was crisp and refreshing. To Alice, the run was about being with her mom and outside. I had my watch running and was annoyed every time she stopped in her regal stance to lift her chin and inhale. I would stop the time and impatiently wait eventually pulling the leash to get her moving again. I was hurrying to nowhere and not enjoying a single second of it. This is not why I run. According to Runner’s World magazine, I am a running purist.
I could be moving to Chicago in August. I got in to grad school at SAIC. I get teary thinking about being without my man, my dog, my cats, my Missoula life. What a tragedy to hurry my runs with Alice. The reason I run is to be with Alice, to be with myself, to explore and observe, to feel my legs and my lungs working, to experience the post-run rush of taking on my day with an immediate sense of accomplishment. I will strive to remember all of this when I run with Alice.
photos: Alice wearing my Grizzly half-marathon medal, Alice before my wedding, Alice resting in the back yard, Alice resting in her chair, Alice in the Bitterroot.