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.


Jenn Jilks said...

This is good motivation for me. I really must get out and get going. With empty roads and no tourists right now...the 4-legged beasts are not so much a problem up here. They were in the city, though. Happy running - take a spray bottle of water?

Poet in Residence said...

Lace-up and look out Muskoka!

Jenn Jilks said...

OK. It was a good intention...but the lakeshore is warm, the roads filled with parents and kids on March Break, and while I DID work out, I didn't go for a run. The roads are rather mucky and/or icey. I was happier puttering lakeside.

I heard a couple of Canada Geese honking - that bodes well. It might be Edie and Eva.

I love hearing that others name their critters, too.

Poet in Residence said...

With Molly, our Max the crow is now on his 4th partner - Brunhilda, Lisl and Moritz have all left him. But this time, fingers crossed, it looks like the real thing!

jinksy said...

Just read your note on Weaver of Grass' blog - made me think of that old song 'I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch and all I do is cry all day - boo hoo!' Bet that makes you fear for my sanity...

Poet in Residence said...

Happy Birthday jinksy! And don't you be cryin' like that lonely ole onion.

Dominic said...

I can relate to the dog problem. I've been running all winter here - it was a relief when the days got long enough for me to run in daylight (I generally go out in the early morning). No more dodging headlights as lorries hiss by on the wet road!
Down one lane I regularly met a man who takes his TEN dogs for a walk, all off the lead. The first time was terrifying. It was pitch dark and I suddenly found myself running through a pack of dogs. I think I swore quite seriously. Then I heard the voice of a man I couldn't see: "They won't 'urt yer..." Fortunately, they didn't.

Weird, but I find encounters with dogs make me run faster afterwards. It must be the adrenaline.

Just sent off an entry for the Snowdonia Marathon, so I'm waiting to see if I've got in. If I have, I'll have to arrange for a dog to chase me round.

Poet in Residence said...

I don't think I've ever met as many as 10 free-running dogs. On my last run, 3 days ago, I met a pack of 5. They turned out to be harmless. Funny thing is all the dogs I meet when out running seem to have the same name. It sounds like "Hear!"
Good luck with your Snowdonia marathon entry Dominic. Hope you get good weather. It's a very scenic course. I did the Snowdonia International Mountain Race many years ago. It was the only time I got blisters from running! The Irish team doctor treated me and got me going again.