Early this morning I went for a morning recovery run. Short little guy. 4 miles. This used to be a fairly regular occurrence way back when for the morning-half of two-a-days during marathon training. I’d stroll out of my house around 6:30AM with my training partner Rocko, when the weather in La Jolla Shores is typically perfect for running. We’d get back a bit less than 30min later; he’d slurp up an entire bowl of water while I put in my caffeine IV. Breakfast, shower, a quick trip outside to the bathroom for Rocko, and I’d be on my way to work. I haven’t done this run at this time in ages since: (1) Rocko is currently with my parents, left over from my two months in Antarctica, and (2) I tend to do one of the other sports in the morning and fit in my runs whenever I can since it’s more flexible of a sport (no hours of operation, no light requirements).
There was no reason for me to do this run this morning. It wasn’t even on my training schedule. It just seemed right.
Over the course of 28 minutes, I had run past about a dozen dogs out for their morning walks or jogs, including a rambunctious brittany whose owner shouted after me, “she just wishes she was with you instead of me.” I shuffled back into my apartment, drank some coffee, and took as long as I ever have to finish a Monday NYT crossword puzzle. Not because it was hard (it was actually really easy), but because I was distracted by how much I missed my running partner. Of course I constantly miss him, but this was the first time this year where his absence seemed more like an abyss.
No sooner had I filled in my last solution (OUIDA on a Monday? Really??) than my phone rang. Mom calling? At 7:45? She never calls that early…
“Uhh, Rocko got injured…”
At doggie day care this morning, another dog attacked Rocko, who has gone to day care incident-free since he was 6 months old (6 or so years). He immediately had surgery to clean and stitch the wounds at the animal hospital next door. A deep puncture on the neck, a smaller puncture at the top of his shoulder, and a sizable abrasion required (an excruciating) 90 minutes, two drains, and a handful of stitches. He’ll be fine (knock on wood) and he’s already back to staring down the squirrels in my parent’s front yard even though he’s stoned out of his mind. I have no doubts he’ll be back to his usual out-of-control self in no time.
The universe sure does work in weird fucking ways sometimes. I have absolutely no idea what prompted me to wake up and go for a run that brought Rocko front-and-center in my mind, but this run was just about simultaneous with him losing the ability to run for 6 or so weeks. You probably will be able to find me on this 2mi out-and-back with some frequency over the coming weeks to make sure his recovery stays in my thoughts right where it should be.
But I write this not for sympathy, empathy, or to tell you how to stalk me in the mornings. I write this as a plea. The past 6 months have brought far too many freak accidents into my life (5 at last count): next time you run with your training partners (human, dog, or otherwise), please just mention, even in passing, how much you enjoy working out with them.