16.75 miles is the answer

Mom said it’s time to get an exterminator for the ants in our pants. I say it’s about time she get back to marathong training. So this morning we had to go out for a long run. It’s real hard to find a place where we can run for long enough without having to run the same loops over and over again, so we went back to the Wetlands that Smell Like a Fart. When they’re not doing “work,” we could run all 18 miles that I needed Mom to run without running in the same place twice. “Work” is where they put up a fence with a sign that says TRAIL CLOSED and men with funny hard hats and crossing guard vests bring in big machines to stand around while they make jokes to each other. The men are real nice and always smile at us, but Mom always gets real annoyed when she sees them. Mom can be so poorly socialized sometimes.

When we got to The Fart Bodie was so excited that she whined like there was an open balloon inside of her and she was almost keeping in all the air but not quite. When Mom finally let us run, Bodie ran like she had stopped trying to keep the air in the balloon. She ran so fast that her front paws came off the ground and for a couple of seconds she ran on her back legs like Mom. That’s what ants in your pants will do to you.

Mom appreciates doggie doping, but only so much. If Bodie gives her too much performance enhancement, Mom actually runs slower. But since we had a long way to go, I thought that maybe going a little bit slower might not be a bad thing. So at the times when Bodie wasn’t running fast enough to slow Mom down, I kept her pace really conservative by cutting Mom off and then slowing down right in front of her. In this way we made sure that the run wasn’t over too quickly and Mom could get used to running for a really long time. To make sure that she stayed mentally sharp as she fatigued, every once in awhile one of us coaches got in front of her and then stopped short to sniff some bunny poo on the trail.

After awhile we got to a bridge where they have been doing “work” for a couple of months. Sure enough, they were still doing “work” and we had to turn around. “The bridge is closed to the right, but I don’t understand why we can’t go left,” Mom grumbled. “You can’t block the damned detour.”
“Rad! There was a critter back there a ways, let’s go back and check it out!” Bodie said.

But that meant that we had to go back and rerun some of the paths that we’d already run. Mom tried everything to find new places for us. We ran around an office park and saw about 20 people sucking on stink sticks in less than half a mile. “I didn’t know that this many people even smoked anymore!” Mom said.
“Is smoking another word for ‘work?'” I asked.
“Yup. They’re exactly the same thing,” Mom said.

Mom and I have always wondered exactly how many miles it takes to wind Bodie down and take care of all the ants in her pants. It turns out that that number is 16.75 miles. For the last 1.25 miles that we had to run, Bodie and I did our “slow down Mom” job by hanging behind Mom like a couple of concrete blocks at the end of the leash. It’s not that we couldn’t run anymore, it’s that we didn’t want to. We’d already run this stretch, and I didn’t like that we were going away from the car and breakfast. When Mom turned back around, I didn’t like that we had to run all that way AGAIN to get back to the car. Reruns are so 1999…

-Oscar the pacer

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