I have to preface all this by saying I've always had a dog-phobia. BUT I've been getting better with age. I'm usually ok these days unless they start barking a lot as the noise just goes through me and makes my heart leap into my mouth and my pulse race. I've always been terribly terrified - when I was at school I had a route I could walk to school that took double the time it should, because I avoided walking past gardens with dogs in. I usually cross the street or change direction if I see someone waking towards me with a dog. Sounds crazy doesn't it, but it's just me!
Anyway. It's always a bit of a worry going running with a dog phobia, but until today it's rarely been a problem - 99% of dog owners are responsible, keep their dogs on leads and under control. Most dogs are not interested in me and aren't barking crazy wild animals...
I did an out and back route today - I had an hour of me time thanks to the husband and son going to mini-football practice. So I just ran for 30 minutes then turned around. Perfect conditions. Blue skies, bright sunshine, cool but not too cold. Perfect. I was listening to the Marathon talk podcast for the first time. I'll listen to it again! Here's the link if you want to check it out yourself <Marathon talk podcast and webpage>
So there I was, not long turned back for home and running down a narrow bit of pavement with garden walls and hedges to my right and cars to my left. I looked up and saw a man coming towards me with a massive and scary looking dog with a muzzle (a muzzle!!!!!) on. I freaked out but tried to stay calm, didn't want to look like an idiot. But this dog was seriously terrifying me. There was no way to cross the road safely and no pavement on the other side anyway. I noticed a break in the garden walls and a driveway and thought I would just hop in there and wait for them to pass giving plenty of room. I would be ok I thought.
But then the man kept walking faster toward me and pulling the dog right over to the car side - it looked like he was trying to give me room to get through, but also it meant that he got to, and passed, the safe-haven driveway before I could nip in. Bugger. I had no choice but to pass them on a pavement just wide enough for 2 people.
With rising panic I kept saying to myself to just look straight ahead and speed up and I would be past them really fast. I can do this, I can do this.
But then, disaster. The dog barked at me, and pulled away from the man. I froze to the spot as I always do. The dog tried to jump up me and pushed me into a hedge above a garden wall. I just totally freaked and panicked - frozen to the spot I threw myself further into the hedge to get away. I should have run faster!!!!
All I could think was THANK GOD it had a muzzle on.
The man quickly kept waking and pulled the dog away with him - it all happened in seconds though it felt forever. I burst into sobs and started getting that rasping panicky, can't-get-your-breath breathing thing. I couldn't run. I just started walking fast forward to get away while trying to take big breaths and not sound like I was having an asthma attack. Which I did!
And the man never said anything, never apologised, never looked back. Bloody hell! I'm fuming!
I had to walk a good half mile after that to get my panic and breathing under control. Focusing on the podcast really helped. It helped a lot actually because I couldn't quite believe that I got to the point when I said to myself "right, it's a beautiful day, let's make the most this" and I got going again and ran home.
I'm determined not to let this ruin my day, or ruin my running, but I needed to get this off my chest. Jesus. It was awful. Like the best and worst run altogether.
And this morning my son was asking me if he could have a pet dog!!! Hahaha. Not going to happen.