Even though the 5k is over, I am still trying to keep up with my running. I can’t say I am doing a very good job. The humidity of the summer is only one factor. Sure and I am also concerned about re-injuring my apparently delicate ankles, but the main reason I have slowed my pace is that it kind of sucks with run with a tornado.
Before the marathon, I had only really run with Shiva. I didn’t know how much easier it could be without Her Wackiness at the end of a leash. I suppose I didn’t know what I was missing. With the solo run of the 5K in my pocket, when I started to head out again with the dog, I noticed immediately how much more awkward things are with a leash and puppy.
1. With Shiva around I need to be sure I am wearing clothes with pockets. I need space for things like poop bags and kibble bits in case we encounter any other dogs on our journey. Yes, I could probably get one of those awful pouch things to tie around my waist but my vanity is only so lenient. I may have to get over this as on a warm day clothes with pockets are not a good idea.
2. Dogs don’t sweat. I find myself worrying a lot about keeping Shiva properly hydrated and preventing heat stroke. The second she starts to pant I feel like I should slow down or find a water source. I could avoid this by bringing water with us – smart – but then the above issues comes into play again. How do I carry a water bottle with me? Should I start running with a backpack?
3. It’s hard to move naturally with a leash. I am even starting to wonder if running with the dog was part of the cause of my ankle problem. During the 5K I had no pain at all. After half an hour with Shiva, I can feel the soreness returning. It’s hard to say. The crappy uneven sidewalks may be the larger culprit. Regardless, I don’t move the same way with the dog. Perhaps this come with practice?
4. Shiva really likes to sniff. Like, a lot. Many many times I find myself stopping mid-stride to wait for her to finish reading her mail. It gets a little frustrating. Since I am still doing a run-walk-run sequence anyway she does get opportunities to get her sniff on during the walking sections. Unfortunately, Shiva’s favourite locations for snorting the daily news change up every day. It’s hard to predict where she will want to stop.
5. Shiva is just plain unpredictable. We’ll be moving at a steady pace, things will finally start to feel natural, and then out of nowhere she’ll lunge for a chunk of grass in the middle of the road, or decide to jump onto a five-foot wall. It’s disconcerting. I have had a few close calls with traffic and concrete. Situations like those are easy to control when walking. When I add a little speed or if I start to relax, it’s much harder.
6. With the dog, I can’t listen to music. I like to have all my senses fully functioning when I am out with the dog. It’s good to be able to hear someone approaching from behind. Being aware of our surroundings makes it really easy to prevent possible reactions. When I run, however, I find music really helps keep me in the zone. I am not thinking about the pain as much or how tired and sweaty I am. When I run with Shiva I can’t ever get to that head space.
I know if I decide to stop running with the dog, I will probably stop running entirely. There is no way I could gather up the motivation to walk her for two hours a day while also going out on my own. It won’t happen.
Perhaps like Pamela and Honey I just need to stop worrying about looking like a dork and wear an ugly pouch. Or maybe I can cross my fingers and hope our new house will be near a trail where Shiva can run off-leash. Wouldn’t it be loverly?
Because it is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month at Petfinder.com, I am taking a minute every day in June to share a couple of the cats waiting for their forever homes.
This black beauty is Lady Gaga. I chose her specifically because her friends at the SPCA of Tompkins County believe she will make the perfect family cat and gets along well with other animals. Potentially even golden retrievers. The Lady came from a hoarding situation where she was one of almost fifty other cats. While she was well-socialized, the lack of veterinary care she received during this time caused her to lose most of her teeth. Not to be deterred, she still enjoys her food and would make a super-friendly companion.
Arlo here is another friendly guy who sounds like he’d do well in a home with dogs. He’s been partying it up at the Vancouver Branch of the BC SPCA. His gorgeous grey fur has me smitten already. According to the shelter, he is more like a kitten than a cat. He is playful and happy and looking to brighten the life of his new family.