The Poodle Problem

Early one morning, I decided to continue my training routine with a run in the park.

As I jogged over the Bridge, the beauty of this typically English scene struck me. The last of the early morning mist still hung over the river as rowers practiced, their oars dipping into the water in perfect synchrony.

I intended to do a few circuits of the cricket field to work on building up my stamina. This was also dog walking territory. I noted with amusement one lady across the field with two rather large poodles one black and one white. How sweet, I thought, as they had been clipped in high style with pompoms on their heads, feet and tails. I carried on running focusing on my breathing. This was better than being trapped on the treadmill.

Suddenly, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, the giant poodles had abandoned their owner and were making a beeline towards me. They no longer looked quite so sweet. I had always thought the cheetah was the fastest animal on earth until I saw these two fluffy homicidal maniacs hurtling towards me. In a seemingly well-practiced maneuver, the poodles had performed a pincer movement and were about to converge on their prey... Me! I sprinted on but like in a horrible nightmare my body would not move fast enough; my legs felt like lead and my breath was rasping in my chest.

The owner was definitely not a runner and being some distance away she was trying to bring her pets to heel. As she huffed and puffed her way across the field, I distinctly heard her shout, "stand still". Did she mean me, or the dogs? "Stand still" she shouted again. As my lungs were about to burst anyway I stopped running and decided to face my enemy. As they circled me, sniffing the air, I remembered my weapon. I took my water bottle and fired. Squirt - one fluffy pompom flattened! Squirt - another immaculate coiffure waterlogged. My strategy was working, the poodles had not been expecting this affront to their dignity and didn't know whether to pounce or pout.

By this time their red-faced owner had made it across the field and was calling her dogs to heel. The monster poodles were finally brought under control and their apologetic owner clipped their leads back onto their spangly collars. I dread to think what might have happened and could only imagine the embarrassing headline 'Runner mauled by giant killer poodles'. The following Sunday, I drove to the gym; plugged in my IPod and hit the running machine... it seemed a lot safer!

Next month our encounters section would like to hear about romance. Whether you met running round the park training, on the plane on the way or at the finish line - we'd like to know about it

This month's Encounter was written by Elaine Woolley who lives in Buckinghamshire in the UK.
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Entries are open now for the 5th Monaco Ironman 70.3, to be held on 6th September. The half-ironman means a 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21.1km run in the temperate Monaco climate.

The swim starts at the Plage du Larvotto, in waters of between 20 and 25°C. It is so warm that wetsuits will be allowed only if the water temperature falls below 24°C. A final decision is made on race day morning by the marshals.

The bike course begins in the Larvotto area, with a 2km ride towards Roquebrune Cap-Martin, then inland. The route passes through beautiful and picturesque villages, each an invitation to a journey into a colourful past.

Last is the run. It is four-and-a-half times around a coastal circuit that includes the tunnel famous in Formula 1 car races. A fact not so well known is that the slowest bend in the Formula 1 course is the fastest bend in this triathlon.

Having completed the four coastal loops, the event ends with a run up the Avenue d'Ostende to the exclusive finish line on Avenue de Monte Carlo, right next to the famous casino.

Great Schottish Run

Next Event:
2009: 06 September



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