Dog Days of Summer

Don’t worry! I’m still here! Megan’s feeling under the weather this week so I thought I should pick up the slack and write about running! I’m still puttering around at 10-20 miles a week (okay, much closer to 10 than 20—but I’m hoping to pick up my mileage a bit next month). I thought today I would write an ode to my other running buddy!

On those days when Megan and I don’t run together I have a backup partner who is really good at keeping me motivated—my dog! His name is Jack and he’s a year and a half old Shepherd/Retriever mix. Jack is a great running buddy because he’s always willing to run and he’s always so enthusistic about it. As soon as the running shoes come out he starts barking and howling with excitement, I tell him to sit so I can put on his leash and he can’t even keep still for more than half a second—his tail is wagging like crazy and he keeps jumping up and sitting down anxious to go. By the time I finally manage to get his leash over his head he pulls me to the door and off we go!

I think the best thing about having a dog as a running buddy (besides the obvious guilt factor I feel if I DON’T take him for a run) is the fact that he doesn’t care what I look like or how fast we go. He never tells me to speed up or fix my form, he doesn’t judge me if we only run 1 mile instead of 2. (Sidenote: Megan would like me to add that she doesn’t judge me or critique my form, which is true, but she DOES have a tendency to adjust the pace.) In fact, he’s perfectly content with any distance that we run and any speed that we go. He knows the route and he jogs along next to me, pausing occasionally to sniff something interesting or wait for me to catch up. It did take awhile to train him to run my pace, but now he knows my speed and he adjusts to stay within a leash length of me.

My favorite part is when it’s hot outside and I’m exhausted and sweaty, I look over at him and his tongue is hanging out and he looks up at me and we have a mutual understanding—let’s run home now! I like to encourage him and tell him…good job! Keep it up! We’re almost there! Encouraging him has a way of encouraging me too! Together we’ll always make it home.

~Running Buddy

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