A Simple Running Log

January 2, 2014

Training for 1/2/14

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:52 pm

It’s been a long and at times annoying but ultimately productive day.

Yesterday, New Year’s Day, was a whole lot of lying around, watching TV, eating crap and recovering from the night before.

Even if we had a bigger couch, Pepper would somehow make sure there is never enough room for everyone.

Even if we had a bigger couch, Pepper would somehow make sure there is never enough room for everyone.

Today was time to get back to work. I started with today’s run, which was scheduled to be a 40-minute tempo run. I took Pepper with me though, so I figured I’d just let him set the pace and it would work out about the same.

It was a cold, gray morning, but the wind was completely calm, which was great. I wore my new Garmin again.

The first mile was the slowest, 8:29, as I warmed up and Pepper took multiple pee breaks. We sped up to a 7:54 in the second mile.

Right after that mile turned over, Pepper spotted a large stick he wanted to carry. Of course, he picked it up by one end, instead of in the middle. We had to make a couple more stops in the third mile so I could finally take it from him and get him to chomp down on it closer to the middle. I paused the Garmin every time we had to make an extended stop though, and the third mile came in at 7:26.

Now we were running through the swamp past the ferry. About halfway through the mile, I saw an old guy up ahead, walking in the same direction we were running, but on the opposite side of the road, with three large, off-leash dogs bounding around in the grass on that side.

I kept waiting for at least one of the dogs to notice us coming up on them, but we were nearly there before one of them finally did. The old guy heard our footsteps about a second later, and what happened next almost scared the poop out of me, so you can imagine how Pepper reacted.

As soon as the old guy turned around and saw us coming, he started screaming at his dogs to stay on their side of the road. And when I say screaming, I mean screaming their names at the very top of his lungs. One dog, apparently named Maggie, took about three steps toward us. She didn’t get close to us at all, and she didn’t seem at all aggressive, probably just mostly interested in the giant stick Pepper was carrying. The old guy went nuts! “MAGGIE! NO! STAY! MAGGIE! NO!” And every time he’d scream her name, he’d stomp his foot.

Pepper was going ballistic. His eyes were about to pop out of his head and he was darting all over the place, trying to get away from this shrieking, foot-stomping old man who, now that we’d passed him, looked to Pepper like he was following us. I wanted to let Pepper sprint so we could just get away from the whole thing — and I really wanted to sprint away too — but that just made Maggie keep watching us, which just kept making the old guy scream.

Finally I slowed Pepper to a walk, until we got around the bend and out of the dogs’ sight. The old guy quit screaming. I let Pepper gun it until we were around the next bend, so we’d stay out of those dogs’ sight. We didn’t hear any more from them. That mile came in at 7:37.

The next three were pretty quiet, and we clicked them off in 7:26, 7:30 and 7:28. Right around then, a tractor trailer passed us, putting on its Jake brake at the very same moment. Another heart attack moment for Pepper. The eighth mile was 7:43. Right before we got home, we passed a state roads crew doing something loud on the side of the road, and for the third time in the same run, poor Pepper almost crapped his pants.

Finally, we finished the 8.3-mile loop in 1:04 on the dot, an overall average pace of 7:43/mile. I gave Pepper two treats when we got in the house. Maybe he’ll run with me again haha.

None of that was the annoying part of my day though.

Almost five years ago, I wrecked my car. It wasn’t totaled, and everything got fixed.

However, ever since I got it back from the body shop, it seemed to have some kind of electrical malfunction. Sometimes the windshield wipers and/or the windshield washer fluid nozzles would come on by themselves. Indicator lights would come on the dash for no reason. Sometimes it would act completely normal. Other times it would go completely haywire.

Several times over the past nearly five years, when the electrical problems have gotten to the point I couldn’t really use the car, I’ve taken it back to the body shop to try to get it fixed. After all, both the body shop and my insurance company said the repairs were guaranteed as long as I owned the car.

But every damn time, by the time I made it to the body shop, the car would be acting normal again. I’d describe what was going on, and then a mechanic would come out to take a look, see nothing wrong and look at me like I’m an idiot.

Finally, New Year’s Eve night, it all came to a head. Clark and I had just left home in my car. I turned on the headlights. The wipers started sliding up the windshield. None of my usual tricks could get them to stay still. A few miles later, they froze halfway between up and down. The fluid nozzles started spraying but nothing was coming out, so it just made a loud buzzing sound. Two indicator lights came on the dash, as did the right turn signal indicator, even though it wasn’t on. One of the headlights and both fog lights stopped working.

We took the car home, as I cussed it out the whole way. This morning, after my run, I drove it over to the body shop. The wipers were doing their own thing, not responding at all to the wiper controls. At least everything was still acting up when I got to the body shop this time. I parked it right where you could see from the office that the headlights, fog lights and windshield wipers, which were once again stuck halfway up the windshield, were not working.

When I explained what was going on, the mechanic said my insurance company required me to take it to a Honda dealership to get an electrical diagnostic test. He called my insurance company and got them to fax over a form authorizing the test and acknowledging that if it had nothing to do with the accident or repair, I’d have to pay for it.

I drove the car to the Honda dealership in Salisbury. They explained an electrical problem diagnosis wasn’t as simple as hooking it up to a computer to get an error code; they’d have to trace back all the components I said were messing up. It could take hours, and again, if it wasn’t related to the original claim, I’d have to pay for it. I’d also have to pay for the repairs myself, and the way the car was acting by that point, it was not drivable. I wouldn’t have a choice.

So I sat, and I waited. About an hour later, the service guy asked me to come out to the service bay with him.

They’d removed the front bumper cover from my car. There, near the right front wheel, a clump of wires were all attached to the same ground. The guy said those wires were connected to everything I was having trouble with. He said whoever had rewired the car at the body shop had stuck them all there, even though they were supposed to be separated into two different grounds, and that the one ground was also loose and corroded. That’s why it would work perfectly sometimes, and then go completely nuts others.

That was it. Some lazy jerk’s shortcut had been making me feel like I was losing my damn mind for almost five years. The dealership separated everything out, cleaned the corrosion, tightened everything up, put the bumper cover back on and had everything working like it should in about two hours. And of course, the body shop picked up the tab.

I should be more pissed at the body shop I guess, but it just feels so nice to be able to turn on my headlights and not have to wonder if the windshield wipers are going to go insane that I don’t even care. I’m just glad it’s finally done, and my car works again.


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