Furlong

Five furlong pole at Epsom Downs.

Today, I ran a furlong. I understand that people often run miles at a time– some even run marathons although the first poor bugger that tried that fell over dead when he arrived at his destination.  I’ve heard about the loneliness of the long distance runner, and you know I feel for them, but they could have just stayed home in their armchairs. Or gone horse-back riding, that’s a very companionable way to cover ground. I’m sorry, but I am never going to be a runner.

But being that I show dogs and thus, I’m required to run occasionally, and you never know when you might have to run to catch a plane or the ice cream truck or something, I thought I should do something to get a little better at it. So today I ran a furlong.

That’s 220 yards or an eighth of a mile. For those who live and breathe horse racing, it’s as familiar as “paddock,” or “saddle-cloth” or “exacta.” According to Wikipedia the name furlong derives from the Old English words furh (furrow) and lang (long). It originally referred to the length of the furrow in one acre of a ploughed field (a medieval communal field which was divided into strips). The system of long furrows arose because turning a team of oxen pulling a heavy plough was difficult.

Yes, it’s not very far. And I didn’t even run it all at one time. In the course of walking a mile at 3.5 mph, I ran at 5.5 mph for three-hundredths of a mile ever quarter mile. 12-hundredths is equal to 1/8th is equal to one furlong. It’s a start.

Speaking of a new start, we have a little creature starting out her life in our house tonight. It’s a tiny kitten. Her mother was part of the small cat colony that live in our alley. We provide kibble and water for about eight cats, as do several of the other neighbors. This morning we found the body of the mother cat stretched out under the car. We don’t know what happened to her. She might have ingested anti-freeze, which is deadly poisonous. She might have been hit by a car and struggled back to a place that felt safe. Whatever, it was the life of this young and beautiful cat came to an abrupt and sad end. We knew that she’d had kitten(s) a few weeks ago, but we were never able to find them. This afternoon, a tiny tabby came looking for her Mama.  Tonight she’s sleeping in a little carrier, with a sock full of warmed rice for company. She must miss her mother something awful.

Today’s target number 58. (Yes, back down two.) Steps 5509. For breakfast a tortilla with scrambled eggs, pico de gallo and avocado– and later a banana.  While passing through the kitchen, a mouthful of parsley. Lunch was green salad with a grilled chicken breast and lime juice, 1 tbsp. dressing. Cherries from the tree in our yard. Dinner was the Chinese dish, Scrambled eggs and shrimp– with a bit of soy sauce and green onion, and a quarter of an avocado on the side. This is the second day I’ve not had anything resembling dessert, and no sweetened drinks.

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9 thoughts on “Furlong

  1. Wow – you were rewarded for your run with a kitten – I may be able to run after all 🙂

    Congrats on the run and thank you for explaining what a furlong was – I never knew 🙂

  2. Keep up the great work on your new and inproved body. Good luck with the kitten, coming in from the outside is NOT always an easy, and some can just do it, will hope for the best in this case.

  3. Our current cat (Dusty) was found by friends with Bulldogs. The kitty and her sister were abandoned by their feral mother at about 2-1/2 to 3 weeks of age. My friend just put the kittens in with her same age litter of puppies and raised them together. No doubt that is why Dusty and her sister Mimi do so well with the dogs and adore puppies.
    My suggestion to you would be to handle and interact with the kitten as much as possible so as to acclimate it to humans. You will be trying to overcome a lot, possibly generations, of feral instincts.

    • Robin, that’s a great story. So far the kitten is doing well with being handled and socialized. The colony in the alley is quite “human tolerant” and some can be picked up and many petted. (Betty could be petted.) When you speak to them, they listen. We provide a pie plate full of kibble in the garage and fresh water and generally try to not interfere too much.

      • Then your colony isn’t as feral as those I’ve seen, must be from living a city life?
        The cat I have came from a very rural area and it is likely the mother’s only interaction with humans was people shooing her off. Dusty came to us at about 5-6 weeks old and I subjected her to the same handling and socialization exercises I do with puppies.

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