Dog Treats in my Running Shorts

15 07 2013

I haven’t updated yall in quite a while about my half-marathon training, but don’t worry – it isn’t because I’m not still doing it! But let’s face it, the day-to-day training doesn’t provide much blog material.

“I ran again today. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right…”

Running is not that exciting. Not enough to share, anyway. But here’s what IS exciting: I’M STILL DOING IT! And after the 4th of July, I decided it was time to up the intensity. Now Simba and I run EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

That’s right. This girl who was so terrified to even start training for a half-marathon is now running 3 to 4 miles every single morning. That’s before breakfast!

Before anyone starts throwing insults about my ever-expanding ego, please know that I tell you as encouragement for myself. As in, “Oh shoot, I published on my blog, to the ENTIRE internet, that I’m going to run a half marathon. Dang it, now I have to!”  I refuse to suffer the humiliation of not being able to go through with it, so every morning, I grope through my drawer for some shorts (or dirty clothes hamper – I only have 3 pair!), make a lame attempt to match two running socks, and blindly pull on a sports bra and t-shirt. More than once, both have been inside-out. It takes twice as long to tie my shoes, as Simba knows what the purple tennis shoes mean and tries to help by enthusiastically licking my hands. Hair scraped into a ponytail, glasses found, water drank, teeth brushed, leash clipped – finally out the door.

The mornings have really been gorgeous and cool, and this has helped push me to stretch for that extra bit, to try harder to hit 4 miles every day. Sometimes we don’t make, but sometimes we do. And sometimes, we even go farther. Those make for really great days.

My legs have gotten strong and know the route. My lungs know what to do, my arms know where to go. My dog, however….

Simba is such a wonderful dog. Truly. And what a trooper! Rain or shine, cold or Texas-hot, he is raring to go every single morning. He might be fairly small and doesn’t have the longest legs in the world (weird, just like me) but maybe that contributes to the success of our running partnership: we can keep up with each other. This amazing mutt keeps a-going, mile after mile, doggy-smile on his face the whole time. Right before we left for our big Texas adventure, we were on one of our first morning runs and I felt so good I didn’t want to stop. We ran just over 5.5 miles that day, a full mile farther than Simba had ever gone, but he did just fine!

When it comes to running with my dog, I thought we had worked out all the issues I was worried about. Distance is no longer our problem – Simba’s like the energizer bunny. Water is no longer a problem – he’ll drink from my hydration pack’s straw. Traffic is no longer our problem – a sideways tug on the leash accompanied by the sound of an engine and he moves into the ditch. What a smart mutt!

So what is our problem? We have recently discovered wildlife. Birds are not that interesting, deer are rarely even noticed. But in the unfortunate case of squirrels, I don’t stand a chance. I’m going to lose an arm one day, a victim of canine instincts going in for the kill. I never even see the creatures, but Simba remembers where they like to hang out and knows when to be on full alert. The place where we come out of the forest and run along side the clear-cut sections – this is squirrel heaven. And therefore Simba heaven. I try to keep a shorter leash, I yell at him every time, I make empty threats with each jolt to my shoulder socket. But the thrill is too much, the chase instinct too strong. Even his intense aversion to getting in trouble can’t quell the urges.

Now comes the difficult part: how do I teach him better manners for when we go running? My first thought was to let him off leash. But I keep him on his leash for our regular runs because we run down the road and I can think of nothing more traumatizing than him getting hit by a car (or flattened by a logging truck!!) right in front of my face. Or I would get hit by the car trying to save him (I imagine myself being so heroic….) I try to lavish him with verbal praise every time he does good, hoping he’ll seek more of that positive reinforcement, but again, I’m no match for the excitement of squirrel chases. So what am I to do?!

There just isn’t any room in my running shorts to carry doggy treats.

And if there was, I might eat them.

We found a nice trail near the house and tested it as a running trail on Sunday. J, Simba and I blasted my previous distance record by finishing at 7.12 miles! Seven point ONE TWO! And I can say with absolute certainty that had there been any form of food anywhere on my person that day, no matter what species it was intended for, I would have scarfed it down with no hesitation. None.

The joys of running on trail: no shin-splints, less knee pain, and impressive filth. Poor purple shoes.

The joys of running on trail: no shin-splints, less knee pain, and impressive filth. Poor purple shoes.

Anyone have any doggy-training pearls of wisdom they would like to share? My shoulder sockets will be forever grateful.





2 responses

16 07 2013
Lucille Glasgow

Good work! Keep it up! Love ya, Grandma

18 07 2013

Thanks Grandma! Keeping the motivation to not quit is the hardest part…. 🙂

Give it to me straight -

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