I’m still here

Getting into the groove of the New Year has been a bit of a struggle.  I’ve really wanted to be out walking with the dog, and I have been doing that quite a bit, but my right foot/ankle is really giving me trouble, so I don’t know how much walking I’ll be getting in.  My Fitbit stats were supposed to be showing up on a weekly basis here, but since the last time they appeared was the 6th, I think something has gone wrong there.  The other thing that went wrong this week was a bit of a mishap on the trail.  Ozzie and I have worked our way up to about six miles a walk.  We’ve been on the paved paths through the park for a good portion of our walks, because the new bark is so thick and soft, it feels like walking in quicksand.  As I said before, we’ll wait till some of those swift gazelles pack it down a bit before we go back to bark.  Sharing the paved bike trail has never been a problem.  After all, it’s only me and a little dog.  You see many folks out with their kids in a stroller and they take up quite a bit more room than we do.

Anyway, on Monday afternoon, Ozzie and I were very near the far easterly end of our walk (see below on the map)Monday walk

It’s a bit more than three miles from the car and I was already out of gas, wondering why I was so very tired, when Ozzie decided he wanted to sniff something over on the left side of the trail.  Dogs do sniff — especially male dogs.  If they smell a rival or some hot babe, they have to mark and leave their scent, just as their little calling card or Facebook post, as it were.  So, I went over with Ozzie and I saw a bike coming towards us down the trail, so I stepped up off the trail and pulled Ozzie close, tightening his leash.  The bike rider continued straight at us, and I mean straight at us, in a forced collision course.  I finally yelled “HEY,” and he yelled back that I was on the wrong side of the trail.  Hmmmm.  Mr. Rules, how do you know the direction in which I was traveling?  And, since the trail is about 10′ wide there and there was no one else around, what the hell difference did that make?  At any rate, I yelled back, but I won’t repeat what I said here.  I may not venture down in that area again until the pepper spray I ordered arrives in the mail.  If he tries that again, he will get a face full of it.

Most folks are so friendly and kind.  I guess it takes a real jerk like that to make you really appreciate the nice people.  I will say that I did appreciate the adrenaline rush I got from the fight or flight experience.  It did propel me all the way back to the car.  I had been worried that I didn’t have the energy, but in the end, I had more than enough.

Out on the trail

Ozzie and I took a few days off from walking.  My right ankle is fairly unstable.  Over the years, it has been subjected to four surgeries after an accident I had while cross country skiing.  So, while I walk a lot, I try to keep to stable-surface trails.  The local bark trails are great – good smooth surface for walking, but a little softer than pavement, which is helpful for aging joints.  Unfortunately, trails wear down and, since this is Track Town, USA, our trails must be well-maintained.  The crew has been out over the last few weeks and we’ve been able to still get a good walk in on the old surface, but they’re now narrowing it down to where we will have to walk on the new surface.



As you can see, the old trail is in front of the trucks, ground basalt and, I think, pumice, with bark over the top.  Some of the rock is beginning to show through.  Behind the trucks is a new layer of rock with a thick coating of bark.  While we recognize the need to maintain the trails, this stuff is really hard to walk on, especially if you have bad joints.  We’ll have to stick to the pavement over the next few weeks and let the skinny guys in tights pack that stuff down for us.

And, while we’re on the subject, there should be a few rules for men in tights.  We come in all shapes and sizes.  Lots of elite runners here in Eugene.  Some of them glide by me like sleek and silent gazelles.  Now that the New Year and resolutions have arrived, there are many large, sweaty, heaving-breath joggers out on the trail.  Good for them, but if you’re a larger guy and you’re in your tights, I’d recommend you invest in a pair of tighty-whities to wear under them.  The poor guy who huffed by me today had his boxers all wadded up into various lumps.  He looked so uncomfortable and I’m sure had some serious chafing when he got home.  More power to ya, fella, but invest in something more comfortable to wear.  And, please, spare my eyeballs!