Running Ghost Mike and Football Dogs


I woke up late Tuesday because I’ve been kinda sick since Saturday and I’ve only used (as I usually do) heavy doses of Nyquil to cure what ails me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found out my body is slowly giving up on me. I used to only get sick maybe once a year. Tops. I had to fake sick to get out of school. My sisters, especially Katie, seemed to have gotten sick on weekly basis, but it was too rare for your boy to get sick. I even got a perfect attendance plaque in 6th grade for never missing a day. I was a pillar of health. Nothing could hurt me.

Me ... circa 6th grade

Fast forward years later. I’ve physically lost my attendance plaque and I can barley make it to the mailbox without some part of my body yelling back at me saying “HEY, stop moving! It’s annoying and I speak for the rest of this body part in that we don’t like whats going on here!”.

I don’t know what the normal age is for people to start buying BenGay (I don’t know if the G is supposed to be capitalized, so yell at me later if you think I’m somehow being homophobic. Heres a preview of my response: Shut Up), but I’m pretty sure its not that common for inactive 27 year olds such as myself to require and buy this product. I’ve always associated the product with older people. I recently vocalized my shin pains to a friend (thanks Fellman!) who immediately recommended either Icy Hot or BENGAY (ha, now I capitalized them all. Take that, people who wanted to yell at me for not liking the gays!).

Say what you will, that's an effective ad

I went to Giant a couple weeks ago to buy the usual things I eat plus either a tube or Icy Hot or BENgay (is that worse or better?). After 20 seconds of internal debate (you bet your ass it was intense), I went with benGAY (thats not better is it?) because it was cheaper and Shaq didn’t endorse it, because he now gets hurt if you type his name on a blog with stupid pictures on it (sorry Shaq!).

Again, I don’t know if I’m in the age group, but holy moley, this stuff works wonders. Temporarily. But damn, its nice. I’ve talked about my sudden, random shooting pains in my ankles or shins. Oh, they suck. But, with a sudden stroke of TimStraight (now I’m avoiding the subject altogether, is that worse?), BAM, pain gone. And it stays gone for a little bit, longer than without it. I’m very very happy with both Ben and Gay. Excellent product. if you got pain, you need Ben. and Gay.

Now that that joke is deep in the ground, lets talk about today’s run, which was not fun for 2 reasons.

Ghosts and dogs.

Ok, the resulting story has nothing to do with this movie. At all. I've never even seen it. I heard it was good . I'd Netflix it, but .... I dunna, I probably would never watch it if it actually came. I rented The Insider twice without watching it. Twice. Both on DVD, years ago. I know that movie is good, I had it next to my DVD player for days, twice, and still have never watched it. I know you have a similar story

I might ‘part the waters’ in readership here, but do you remember in Mario Kart when you did Time Trials you would have a ‘ghost’ of yourself when you re-did a certain track? There would be a previous incarnation of yourself exactly racing the same track while you were racing the same track. It was to exactly emulate your best, exact run on the track, in a ‘ghost’ form, you were able to see a ghost of yourself run the track in ‘real time’ but you could not run into it, possibly resulting in a crash. Get it? Lets have a picture try and settle it.

The 'ghost' is on the left, representing the best time on a track in real time. We are on the right, racing said 'ghost' for the best time. Have I gone far enough in explaining this concept? YES.

So anyhoo, I start my uneventful run Tuesday just looking to get an easy 3 mile run in before a happy hour I wanted to go to for my flag football team. I was running behind schedule because of my late wake up due to the aforementioned cold, so I was quick to get outside. I’ve quickly gotten quite bored of my run around the neighborhood so I’ve pushed any runs of 3+ miles to my ‘mile long’ track that runs around 29 and LifeTimes Fitness (where I can watch people who pay to work out… work out) which breaks things up, but only a little bit. I suspect when ‘training’ starts, I will throw myself to the Centreville High School track or Burke Lake Park.

As I made my way along my own path, just about to come across the street from LifeTimes, I see someone dart around the corner, about 50 yards ahead of me, dressed exactly like me. He came from another street, one that is an outlet for many townhouses. This startled me for one reason, he was the same height/shape as me. And he dressed the same way I always have (white under shirt, black shorts). I know that’s the most basic look ever, but if you look out, no one really uses that look … well because its a terrible and stupidly basic look. Everyone I’ve ‘run’ across hasn’t bogarted my look. Its simple/stupid and its mine. This was the first person I’ve seen with it.

My first reaction was anger. After a minute and a half of that, my next logical reaction was, “holy crap, that’s Mario Kart Time Trail Ghost Mike!!!” He was going the exact same pace as me, which was kinda slow. He was just far enough ahead of me that I know I couldn’t catch up with him without trying myself out (we met at the bottom of a big hill). I followed at the same pace for about .75 miles without gaining or losing ground. It was frustrating. It was kind of like following myself from Monday but from 100 yards behind.

The path I go on for 3+ mile runs is a giant loop. I ditched my effort to catch my doppelganger at my usual turning around point (to get to around 3.1 miles by the time I get to home) but knew I would probably see him face to face on the way back.

Well, I did and it turns out he isn’t as strikingly handsome as me because it seems he was in high school (his shirt alluded to as much) and we passed at the point where it was obvious I had ran further. Beating teenagers in any situation usually means a serious self high five or at the least a good tussel, but there was a run to finish. Little did I know my ‘usually in pain’ right ankle would be put to its ultimate test in my last .4 miles.

My last .4 miles is always my hardest part of any run. I run balls out. Usually at an 8’10 – 8’40 mn/mile pace, much much faster than my usual 10 min+ pace.  It hurts. It sucks. I usually listen to the hardest/fastest music I have in my selection at that point to get me through. Vision sometimes gets blurred, breathing is really heavy, tongue is out asking for autographs, but I ain’t stopping. That stretch is mine. Its why I hate running. Its so hard for me. By then my calves are pretty much on fire. My chest is praying for me to stop. Everything in me wants me to stop.

I guess one of the reasons I run is to prove to my body that I can do things that it doesn’t think I can do.

I only get that satisfaction when I do run. Which, honestly, hasn’t been much recently, or since we started this thing. But I do know one thing, now, that I’ll avoid like the plague. Paul touched on it, its dogs on the trail.

Well not exactly you precious, but every other dog, ever. I honestly almost killed a dog today, while running.

During my last .4 miles, while I’m in that ‘Mike Zone’, I noticied a most likely stay at home mom running towards me with 2 dogs in hand. Both dogs very small, neither any bigger than a college sized football. I was able to spot all these lovely ladies in time to notice that stay at home mom had the ‘dog, you get back on this leash or that strikingly handsome fellow might accidentally punt ya into Mananas’ face. She was all over the sidewalk so I had already sidestepped into the street. Another 2 steps closer I noticed the dog closest to me has made little progress towards me so I had made the appropriate sidestep to accommodate his range as to keep away.I’ve run across many dogs, almost all bigger than these 2, so it wasn’t a problem. I was in the ‘Mike Zone’ and little things such as these are of little repercussion.

I don’t know what happened. I thought I had made the typical runner evaluation of any dog leash and deemed it appropriate. Any runner pre-evaluates any dog leash that he/she comes across to make sure if he has to side step 1 foot or 20 feet. I had given myself plenty of room between this lady and her 2 small, small, stupid dogs. Running against traffic, I knew no cars were coming so I was well towards the middle of the street than the sidewalk.

Oh lord, I misjudged.

Before I knew it, before I had even crossed paths with the lady, one of her small dogs were right on my left ankle (she, and the dogs, were on my left). I quickly kicked my left leg up as to avoid any contact with this small dog. Still not quite past me, my right leg (which by now is on fire and not happy) had no recourse but to hop/skip/I don’t know what you’d call it but it was clear my left leg could NOT come down because that damn dog  was still in the way. If my left leg were to come down, oh good god, I’d either stomp that poor basterd in half  or send him flying 100 feet behind me on my back kick.

So now my left leg is damn near touching my chest, enough to almost have me kissing my own knee, while trying to run/balance on my right leg/ankle, which, who are still reading, is the one in constant pain.

1 giant hop with my right leg and its clear this woman has NO control of this dog because it is now where my left leg would want to go because now if my left leg hits the ground, in the motion is accustomed to, I might set an NFL record for a Field Goal because the dog is now placed exactly where the tip of my shoe would be.

This picture is only here because of Paul. Paul, this is Scott Norwood, missing the Super Bowl winning FG. It went wide right.

This dog is on a leash. Apparently. If I kick this thing, its dead. Either by me kicking it 200 yards or the leash breaking its neck. All scenarios go through my head in exactly 0.002 seconds.

I keep my left left up near my chest again, relying on my not so money right leg to hop me out of trouble.


The last second hasn’t exactly changed the situation. The damn little football posing as a dog is exactly where I need my left foot to land.

My mindset hasen’t changed. “I can’t kill or hurt this thing”. “Mother of God Yank The Leash”.

I have to keep my left leg up. The poor damn dog is still under me. Even my right leg is now hopping to be out of the way.

One last hop. All of a sudden, the dog is pulled quickly out of my sight (my eyes have been drawn directly at my feet for the last 4 hours, but it was actually only 2 1/2 seconds).

My heart beating faster than any doctor would deem healthy, I try to quickly gain some sort of semblance and turn backwards and throw my arms up in a sense of ‘what’cha thinkin woman!!’ (my face depicted the same sentiment).

I turn only to see her only picking up the leash and being on her way, dragging both dogs in tow. Not turning around to acknowledge her mistake, or her almost making me fall and scarring my pretty face.  Like nothing happened. Like I didn’t almost punt her dog into Delaware.

Know what, watch out Delaware. I’m gonna punt any small dog in my way your way from here on out.

Baltimore, watch out, I might end up a little short, don’t have the leg I used to have.

AND a big ups to me, our first 2100+ word blog.

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