Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Running of the Goats

That's what I took part in today. And no, it wasn't on purpose. Here's my true story:

I was halfway into a planned six-mile run -- feeling super fine and glad to be out again after recovering from a bit of a cold over Thanksgiving weekend. Suddenly, from behind me appeared two small farm goats. I had to do a double-take because although I live in rural Idaho, it's not altogether common I'm approached by goats while on my running routes. At first, it was amusing... these two characters, happy as goats could be, trotting alongside me. After a few minutes, however, it became obvious they were in no hurry to turn around for home. I tried encouraging them vocally to do so, but apparently goats don't obey commands as readily as do dogs.

Half a mile later, the goats were still running with me and I was desperately trying to keep my cool. Also unlike dogs, goats don't know how to run with people and not get in the way. No, these two clowns kept criss-crossing in front of me, forcing me to step to one side or another, back up, or stop completely in my tracks. Occasionally, they'd fall back a little and I thought I'd finally tired them, only to get tripped up from behind again when they caught up to me. What was at first amusing was quickly becoming ultra annoying. I was running on a frontage street-- a narrow road that, while not terribly busy with traffic, the few cars that did pass by were traveling at least 50 mph. Fortunately, I didn't have to encounter too many of them, for which I was grateful. For one, I really didn't want to be witness to the goats getting hit by a car, and for another, I really didn't want anyone to be witness to me running with goats (that's bound to start rumors, you know).

I stopped my watch and started walking, trying to assess the situation and figure out the best course of action. I knew I could probably just ditch the goats by just taking off into a dead sprint, but that would leave them behind on a dangerous road, half a mile away from home. I just couldn't do that and look myself in the mirror the next morning. I could cut short my run and head for home, but that would mean bringing along some rather unwanted company (as admittedly cute as they were). Then it ocurred to me... about another half mile ahead was a small petting zoo that some folks own and operate. Lightbulb! If I could just tolerate the goats' company for another half mile, surely these folks could help me out by at least letting them stay in their pens until the owners were found. So, I picked up into a run again (as did the goats), and the-longest-half-mile-I've-ever-run later, all three of us had climbed the porch stairs and were standing at the door of the petting zoo. Knock, knock... no answer. Heavy sigh, rolling the eyes, utterly exasperated. Finally, I decided what must be done must be done and I tentatively walked around to the back, opened the gates and shooed the goats inside. They seemed a little confused, but dutifully obeyed. The other animals in the petting zoo were eyeing me suspiciously and I hoped the place didn't have security alarms. I locked the gate back up, headed out to the road and as I picked up into my run again, I saw the goats trot over to the fence to watch me go by. Pangs of guilt, leaving my running compadres behind.... but I got over it.

I called the petting zoo people tonight to explain why they had two extra goats in their farm. They were glad I called because they'd spent all afternoon trying to figure out how they got there. Thankfully, they said they'd make some phone calls and get the goats back to where they belonged.

I love a happy ending.


Anonymous said...

You realize that you may be setting history? If the goats keep training with you, they'll be the first goats in history to complete a half-marathon.

Angie said...

And who am I to deny a goat that personal thrill of victory, is that what you're suggesting? Okay, okay...

Kristyl said...

Hello I stumbled onto your site through An Old Man's Running Blog which I came across while loging onto my blog :)

anyhow that was an awsome story! as annoying as it must of been to run with them, they do sound very cute from your story and they seem to have really taken a liking to you too! lol

Angie said...

Hi Kristyl,

Yeah, it's definitely something I can laugh about... now.

Thanks for reading. Come back anytime!