The old cliché still applies: dogs really are man’s (and women’s) best friend. Since I was about seventeen, more often than not, I’ve had a dog by my side when I head out for a run. They are my favorite partners. Every morning, they are wildly enthusiastic for the workout. They don’t complain, are unfazed by weather and rarely suffer the effects of a hastily eaten, pre-workout Power Bar (if you know what I mean).
But far beyond that dogs add untold pleasure to my runs
Pictured here are Daisy, the black one, and Delilah, the brown one. They are smallish Labs, right on the border of what the AKC deems acceptable for the breed. Unlike most of their kin you see around these days, Daisy and Delilah are fit to beat the band. When it’s cool enough, they’ve been known to cover upwards of twenty miles with me. They are true athletes and even on the longest runs, they’ll race each other right through the final mile.
I only run with them in the woods. When I’m on the road, leashes seem like too much of a drag and they are forced to run at my tempo which I think is kind of unfair to them. In the woods, they can chase squirrels, deer and the occasional turkey. When they get hot they can pause in a stream, drink a bit and then catch up with me when they feel like it.
And as much as the runs are good for them, their company is great for me. It gives me an excuse to get out and run even on the coldest days because I want them to be exercised. Because of their regular workouts, they are two of the calmest dogs you’d ever want to meet. And on the trail, they are an absolute pleasure to watch. It’s like a giant movable party the way they play with each other, charging along through the pines and the oak trees, leaping over logs and crashes through the undergrowth. The site of the two of them is a constant reminder that my time in the woods is my playtime too and I need to be grateful for it for being so.
Today, I hit “snooze” and passed on the early morning run and paid the price. Went out instead around 10:30 and the heat was on, just under 90 and humid (the dogs stayed home). Despite the conditions, I went out pretty hard and turned 8 miles of trail in at 57:30 and I felt it. It was too hard a workout after yesterday’s hills. I’ve got to be a little more responsible.