Thursday, 12 March 2009

On the run in the Vienna Woods

Here is some evidence that I, as the blog title implies, actually do run. The area where I do most of my running is in the Vienna Woods. It's a wonderful area with 9,000 kms of paths and trails. It should be better protected from the grasp of unscrupulous property developers and other dodgy characters. But it won't be. It's one of these things that is often talked about, but little or nothing ever happens. Money talks. Reason doesn't.

For me springtime is the time that I finally get out and into the great outdoors on a regular basis to enjoy myself physically. I think of it as a reward for 3 or 4 months pent up in fog, ice, snow and in Austria I'm sad to say far too many smoke-filled, tobacco-reeking, unhealthy cafe´houses which stink my clothes and hair and make my eyes water.
Now outdoors under sun and scudding cloud, amid birdsong and the gentle rustle of branches, I get my much needed fresh air and exercise. I can feel my body coming back to life; the energy coursing through my veins as the blood does its work and feeds my muscles so that I can run for miles, and shake off the winter blues along with the few surplus kilos.
The only problem, and there is always a snag, is the dreaded Rottweiler. Some owners take two of these slobbering beasts along the forest trails. It's quite unnerving to suddenly meet one of these unfriendly creatures barring the way along the path. I have found, from grim experience, that the best thing to do is to stand still, avoid eye contact and await the arrival of the owner who will invariably come huffing along uttering some inane words and meaningless phrases before disappearing with his hound of hell bounding away ahead through the undergrowth.
But even standing still and keeping quiet may not save you. The canine warrior may not try and devour your leg but in my experience he may try and bowl you over with repeated body checks, running at you from a distance of 10 mtrs or so. It will take some nerve to stand your ground. It is highly unlikely that the owner, if owner is the right word for the keeper of the savage beast, an animal that should be in a zoo along with the lions and tigers, will apologise for the inconvenience caused or the damage to your running tracksters. He's only playing, is the best you'll get, the best you can hope for. In Austria keeping fit is like passive smoking; quite a risky business.