Thursday, January 24, 2013

About the Dogs

Yes, we do allow it. I know.
My running schedule has shifted this month. It's not really the cold (which is nonexistent right now); it's about the dogs.

If I run when it's dark, I really like to have at least one dog with me. Our neighborhood is safe, but there are some places on my route that make my radar squeak. Even if I'm with a cream-puff of a canine, I figure the big dog-ness at least puts others at a distance.

Bella (my black Lab) has been my running partner from the start. She's easy going, and I can give her a lot of lead on the retractable leash to sniff around while I work on form. Luna (my white Shepherd) has potential; she is responding well to leash training, but she is more headstrong and needs to be kept in check more. So, if I want to concentrate on my running, I tend to favor taking Bella; however, the wailing Luna makes at being left behind is heart-breaking (and not ideal for my family at 5AM). If I run with Luna, I have a more difficult time concentrating on my form; of the two dogs, however, she's the one who needs the out-going more.

My temporary solution has been to run by myself during daylight as my schedule allows and walk both dogs at night during my "off" days. Good enough for now; but as it gets hotter (and it will!), early mornings are going to be the best time to get the running in.

Last night, I did some small runs with both dogs during our outing. I noticed afterward that I was so busy trying not to trip over Luna, that I had not only run a much longer stretch than I usually do, but I also managed to regulate my breathing. The back of my thighs are really feeling it this morning, however.

So I guess the solution is to keep working with Luna, and chances are she will be better able to accommodate me come May when temperatures start to soar. Plus she'll be more visible. (My dad had a belt rigged for running with two dogs; I may ask for his help with this as well.)

As a side note, we lost our cat, Diana, this week. She was old and had been sick the past week or so, but the turn was sudden and unexpected. She died peacefully in my arms, and Mister buried her with her sister, Diva, in the backyard next to our statue of St. Francis. This is the first time since I was nine that I haven't had a cat around, and the space is unfamiliar. I am sad, but I am in no rush to replace her. The two dogs (especially at their size and level of need) is enough for now.

Still, I have found I need to walk out my grief more in the past couple of days, and I am grateful for dogs and moonlight and silence.