Thursday, 21 April 2011

A tattoo that I just didn't ask for

I had hoped that my next blog would be a happy one, and that I could report on some positive progress on the running front.  I guess there has been much progress, and as the iron levels return to normal, I'm definitely feeling stronger.  Alas, however, a split-second encounter with a big stupid dog yesterday evening brought all that progress to a grinding halt.

As always in these situations I was running along, minding my own business, deciding which session I was about to do.  I was thinking about how strong I was feeling, and how well things were going.  I was calculating that despite the haemoglobin setback, I could actually run quite fast on the track this season - thoughts which were solely based on 3x300m efforts that I did on the track two weeks ago, and a few good gym sessions - and thoughts of personal bests even crept into my mind.  And then, from the corner of my eye I saw the beast sprinting towards me.  I suspected I may get some hassle, but before I could react she had sunk her teeth deep into my calf.  That knocked the smug look right off my face.

I stood there half screaming, half crying, and not quite believing what had just happened.  Without having provoked the dog in the slightest, and without having time to think about what to do, my lovely calf muscle was torn to bits.  Three massive gashes right through to the muscle, and one smaller gash, all in the middle of my right calf, will surely lead to a life-long reminder of the incident.

When the doctor told me last night that I would have to take a week off from training, it didn't come as too much of a blow - I thought, 'ya right, that's what you think, I'll be back running in a few days'.  It was only this morning, as I hobbled out of my bed, that I realised she may be right.  I can't walk right now, so running may well be out of the question for a bit.

In fairness to the dog-owner, he was quite apologetic about the whole thing, and I think a bit embarrassed.  He has even offered to cover any medical expenses.  But unfortunately all the money in the world doesn't give me back the training that I'll miss, and won't take away the scars that I'll have permanently tattooed on my leg.

I've always thought that the people that get bitten by dogs were the ones that show fear.  The ones that curl up in a ball when they see a dog.  The ones that almost say, 'come on bite me so that I can hate dogs a little bit more'.  It seems that's not actually the case.  I've had several dogs snap at my heels before, but none that actually bit me.  I guess I had just been lucky, and yesterday that luck ran out.

And so, this is a plea to all dog-owners everywhere.  Please, please, please keep your dog secured.  All dogs have the potential to bite, even if they have never done so before.  My calf will recover (hopefully), but if I had been a two year old child, I could have been severely damaged for life.  Please, for the sake of runners everywhere, and for your own conscience, keep your dogs under control.

The next dog-owner that laughs when her scraggy little terrier chases me down the beach snapping at my heels may well get a piece of my mind.  Be sure that it's not you!