I have run, in my life, probably more than 50,000 miles.
But it was two frenzied, heart-pounding, desperate sprints of less than 100 yards total that may have not only saved my life, but saved money, as well.
Allow me to explain.
The first was about 10 years ago out on a rural road. I had gone for run from my sister’s home and was perhaps a quarter-mile away when something I saw in the distance brought me to a quick stop. It was a Doberman Pinscher standing in the middle of the road. I figured there was about 100 yards between us. A Doberman could make that up quickly. Now, I had been told about a resident in the area who had several Dobermans to protect his property, but not to worry because they were fenced in, never roaming free.
On this day, one was.
The Doberman looked at me. I looked at him.
I didn’t move, hoping it would return to its yard.
I turned and ran.
My legs churned, as fast as I could go. Just run, man. Go. Go. But I realized no way was I making it back to the house before that Doberman got me. No way. It was too far.
My mind, in scared-to-death mode, was still functioning.
It was then I remembered the gentle giant of a Bullmastiff that lived at the house next to my sister’s. I had befriended it the day before. It was, I swear, about 125 pounds of muscle and teeth and slobber — and it was also a loving, fun, playful behemoth. Right then, it was also my only hope.
I turned and cut across the lawn. The Bullmastiff, I wish I could remember its name, was standing there, tied up to a long rope, tail wagging. I ran up, petted it and stood behind it. A few seconds later, the Doberman arrived. It screeched to a halt. It took a good, long look at my new friend, and came to a decision. It retreated.
I gave my bodyguard a big hug and later, brought it over a bag of treats and explained to its owner what had happened and how his dog likely saved me.
The owner of Bullmastiff laughed and said he was surprised one of the Dobermans was running free.
“They’re not friendly,” he said.
It would be another decade before I sprinted like that.
And it was last week.
Not to escape a dog. To avoid what could have been a costly mishap.
I was at the grocery store, pushing my cart to the far end of the parking lot where I like to park, away from the crowds, when the receipt blew away. I wanted it, so I let go of the cart and turned to chase the receipt. A strong gust of wind pushed it along the ground so each time I almost had it, it slipped away. Finally, when I had run what seemed like half a football field, I snatched it, took a breath and stood up. I casually turned around to walk back to my cart.
One problem. It wasn’t where I left it. It had taken a 90-degree turn and was slowly but steadily coasting toward a very nice, new-looking SUV — which unfortunately, at that very moment, was backing out of its spot.
They were on a collision course which, I thought, could prove costly for me.
One thing to do. Run. Run very fast.
I ran like I was back in the high school doing the 40-yard sprint. My arms were pumping, my feet were flying, my head was back like the guy in Chariots of Fire.
I can make it, I can make it.
The cart seemed to pick up speed.
I can’t make it, I can’t make it.
If it hits that SUV and dings the paint, the driver’s probably going to demand a new paint job. I dug deeper. I raced like it was the final yards of the Olympic marathon and a gold medal was at stake. A few feet remained between the cart and the SUV, which thank God, had stopped. Almost there. I strained and reached.
I got it — with about a foot to spare.
I casually turned the cart and walked coolly away. No sweat. Had it all the way. Nothing to see here.
Then, I breathed one giant, silent sigh of relief.
Running, I still believe, is good for me, physically, emotionally, spiritually. There’s nothing better than a nice, relaxed, scenic six miles on Ke Ala Hele Makalae to start my day. Wonderful.
It’s those breathless, frantic dashes to avoid disaster that will probably kill me.
Bill Buley is editor-in-chief of The Garden Island. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org