Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Long Run: A Dash of the Surreal

Today had one of those poetic moments that rise up to greet everyone who has put in enough time on the road or trail. Mine came in the form of a very small dog -- some kind of terrier no bigger than a loaf of bread.

About halfway through my long run and listening to the podcast of NPR's All Song's Considered top 25 show for 2008, I became taken by the song Furr by the alt-folk Portland band Blitzen Trapper. The tune's about a young man becoming part of a wolf pack, and as the lyrics developed,
I heard my mother shouting through the fog
It turned out to be the howling of a dog,
Or a wolf to be exact.
The sound sent shivers down my back,
But I was drawn into the pack
And before long,
They allowed me to join in and sing their song
So from the cliffs and highest hill
Yeah, we would gladly get our fill
Howling endless and shrilly at the dawn,
I looked down at my feet, and as if from the ethers, there appeared a small, light colored dog running alongside me on the snowy path. The quirkiness of the dog, combined with the lyrics so rich in my head, made for quite a confluence that seemed to reach beyond the simple: "stray dog tails runner."

We ran together for a few miles, with him never straying more than a few feet from my side; then as quickly as he came, he disappeared.

My wife, knowing my propensity for super-bonks and their related loss of mental focus, questioned whether there really was a dog at all. All I could say was "of course there was" while wondering quietly in my mind if in fact that were true.


Brad Mitchell said...

Funny happening - makes me think of the cyclists that apparently approached you at the Teton race this summer as you were climbing the dreadful asphalt road around mile 40. Remember that guy who came up to you and said "Hello Hank" and then continued on down the road? I'm sure you remember that.
Man, I need to get back out with you so I can experience some of this stuff - cyclists, dogs, whats next? Hope I'm there!

Hank Dart said...

K thinks Little Green Men are next. I'll post when it happens...

FFMarathon said...

Run Junkie - Got a ultra recommendation for a beginner? Thinking 50 miles. I've got a pretty good base going, but wanted to run an ultra in fall.

Hank Dart said...

Hey, FFMarathon. Check out the calendar on ultrRUNNING (; it's a great resource. The White River 50 in late July is a fantastic race -- pretty challenging course but well marked and very good support. For a fall 50, I've heard great things about the Dick Collins Firetrails 50. Good luck taking the plunge. I highly recommend it.

FFMarathon said...

Thanks Hank! This is great. I'm completely stoked (and a bit nervous, ok a lot) to take the plunge!