Thursday, July 31, 2014

Well, that was surprising!

I wasn't even sure this run was going to happen.

I woke up at 1:30am with a horrible headache. I knew that if I didn't get up and take something for it, run or not, it was not going to be a good day. The problem with getting up in the middle of the night to take something is that you have to get up, you have to walk around, you have to have a drink and you probably have to go to the bathroom, too. This means you wake up, which sucks. I wanted to just roll over and hope that it would be gone when the alarm went off, but I couldn't take that chance, not as bad as this headache was. So, I did all of the aforementioned things and as predicted, I woke up. I thought about just changing my alarm right then. There was no way I was going to feel better in 2-3 hours and feel like running. I tossed and turned for 45 minutes to an hour till I finally fell back to sleep. Grrr. 

The alarm went off at 4:30am. I felt surprisingly rested and the pain was gone. Okay! So, we go on our run! It was interval day, too. I half expected the pain to come back while we were getting ready or as soon as I started to run, forcing me to stop and walk, hoping that I would make it home okay. Sometimes pain and I do not get along so well.

Now, I have been in pain every day for at least two weeks. I've had to really push through at points. I have almost been to the point that I wanted to stop. Today? Today felt great! Maybe it was the pain medication that had already been pumping through my system for several hours. Maybe I was just comparing it to how bad I had felt a few hours ago. It felt so good to run today! I always enjoy running with Henri, and being outside, and seeing the sun come up, but today I actually enjoyed the running.

I almost changed my alarm for this morning. I'm so thankful I didn't!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Little Swim

This past Saturday I went with my sister to a nearby lake to teach Henri to swim. Sure, dogs naturally know how to swim, but some, including mine, don't like to be in water. We never got a chance last summer and Henri is two now. I didn't want to wait much longer for fear that he would just settle into his "I don't like to be wet" attitude and I would never be able to get him to swim. He did have one experience as a puppy where he "accidently" jumped into a family members pool. He freaked out. I just don't think he knew what he was doing or what to expect. He was startled, but I thought he could learn to like it, if given a chance.

We humans were not allowed to swim in this lake, which was a drawback as I thought he would maybe come to me if I was in the water, but we would have had to drive further to get to a lake that both of us were allowed to swim in. This was more of a trial, to see how he'd do before we made a longer trek to have him freeze and not be willing to move. My sister brought one of her dogs so there was someone to show him how things were done.

I was so proud of him! This is why I share it, days later! I keep going back and looking at the pictures. It makes me smile! Henri put on his life vest and started exploring the water. He didn't seem bothered by the vest or the water. I bought him a special toy, just for playing with when we went swimming. He hardly hesitated to go get it when I threw it out into the water. I attached it to a lead so we wouldn't lose it and I didn't throw it really far, but he kept going out and getting it. I think if it hadn't been slick right where he went in, he would have charged in after it, like he chases after his toys at home.

We did have to force him to go off the dock to really swim. He might not have loved it, but he was so good at swimming! He didn't panic, he just started to swim towards the shore each time we put him in the water. This is where I hope being in the water myself will come in handy. Between that and his toy, hopefully he will begin to jump in himself.

After a few trips off the dock, we would go back to chasing the toy, to reinforce the fun he was having. We took his vest off after awhile, to see how he'd do. I think he liked it better while he had his vest on. He would still go out to get the toy, but instead of turning around, he would would just back up till he got to more shallow water. He must have felt a difference, but he still wanted to chase the toy.

Not bad for a trial! I hope that if he goes more often, he will begin to enjoy it more, even if chasing after a toy is what he really enjoys.

All of this has nothing to do with our run today, which we did, but, a year ago, when I put that life vest on Henri, he would freeze. He would not move. He would stand wherever I had put the vest on him and stare at me solemnly. I would gave him treats for sniffing the vest and while he was wearing it, but I couldn't coax him to take a step in it. This weekend, he didn't act like it bothered him to wear it. I think he's getting more confident and that he's trusting me more as we continue to bond. That has everything to do with our running.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let Me Take a Runfie

I've come to the conclusion that my legs are in a perpetual state of pain. They will just always hurt. It doesn't matter if I take a day or two off from running. It doesn't matter if I take a day or two off from T25. It doesn't matter if I stretch or work the same muscles in the same way. That's just the way it is. I'm not complaining because they don't hurt so bad that I can't walk or that I can't run. It's just enough to make me have to push.

I accidentally shut off my Walkforadog app while I was running today. It saved at the halfway point, so I didn't lose everything, but what I found was interesting is that the average speed says 8.15 MPH. That has to be a mistake. I wasn't doing intervals today. I was trying to keep a steady pace and push through a couple of slow patches so how do I have an average of 8.15 MPH? I'm only basing this off my runs on the treadmill at the gym, but pushing it to 6 MPH was hard, and that feels more like what I run when I'm doing intervals. Is running outside and on the treadmill that different? I need more running friends. I don't understand the simplest of things about running.

Speaking of my app shutting off, it might have had something to do me trying to take a picture of how dark it was. Maybe it just felt extra dark after yesterday. Maybe it was the dark clouds overhead that we covering all moonlight. The only time I could get anything that you could see, outside of maybe a glowing patch, which would be Henri's collar, was when we were right under a lamp post. There are only two in our path. This was the second one. I wanted our shadows, but the angle of the light didn't make that possible. There is a little bit of my shadow in the left hand corner.

It's blurry because we were still moving. No slowing down, even for a runfie!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hello Morning Sun!

Today it felt good to wake up a little later and go running in the early morning sun. It's only a half an hour difference, but that half an hour is the difference of when we would normally be finishing our run and the sun just starting to come up. If i'm lucky, we get to do this twice a week, but it all depends on when I have to get to work.

The sun is up, other people start to come out. Today we saw another woman running with her dog. That makes three other people running their dogs between our neighborhood and the one next to us. I've only ever seen any of them the one time, so I haven't been able to talk to them. I don't know if in the middle of a run is the best time to connect, but there must be a way! We can all run our dogs together! How fun!

It was intervals again today. My legs were actually still sore, and it must have been from running last week. I didn't do anything yesterday to contribute to any leg pain. That's okay though! We pushed through and did it!

Sounds like it's another week of cooler weather! I was anticipating some humidity this morning since It had been pretty muggy all weekend. I'm so thankful for this crazy summer weather, making it easier to get this running thing going. It's officially a habit now!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Massage for two, please!

I'm so glad it's Friday! Just so glad. My legs are sore. Not so bad that it hurts to walk, but enough that you know you worked them. I'm thankful for a few days off.

I had to push through the wall of pain this morning. Sometimes, around the ten minute mark, I want to quit. It hurts, but I know, if I keep pushing for a few more minutes, usually around the thirteen minute mark, I'm good. I just have to get through to that point. Stubbornness will get you a long way when it comes to working out. That and being dedicated to your puppy.

I know I hurt. I wonder how Henri feels? Henri is younger, more athletic, and in better shape than I, but that doesn't mean that when we switch things up, as we did this week, his muscles aren't feeling a little tight. I decided to give Henri a puppy massage every night, focusing especially on the legs and the chest.

At first, he seemed a little confused. I was petting him, but it felt different. He didn't really want to sit still, but then he settled, licking my hands as they massaged his front legs and his chest. He relaxed as I massaged his hind legs, then rolled to his back so I could rub his belly.

I like a massage, to relax the muscles a little or get rid of the pain, but then I'm done. Don't touch me anymore. I could not spend hours at a spa. Henri is like that. Once he felt good, maybe three minutes in, he jumped up and ran for a toy. He had my attention, why not play? Typical Henri. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Intervals and Puppies

Intervals day two! It was much harder this time, since I've been running all week. I had to slow way down to recover, but only for thirty seconds or so. Henri kept looking back at me, wondering why I was moving so slow. He hadn't forgotten what the beeping meant! He was ready! His internal clock might be better than the watch. I swear he knew when my two minute recovery was coming to an end.

Today we were attacked by two Golden Retrievers. Not really attacked. Some people might have freaked out when two dogs came charging and barking at them. I might be naive, but I just love dogs too much to be afraid of them. I knew these dogs lived there. I'd seen them a few times when we had been running in the evenings last fall, I had just stopped looking for them in the early mornings. One was a puppy and never tied up. The older one was tied up. I'm not sure what the logic is of that one. At this point, I couldn't tell which one was the puppy, other than it would be the one not tied up. 

I saw them first, hanging out at their back door like they were waiting for someone to come out with them. Henri saw them, but kept moving. Then one of them spotted us. He ran across the yard, barking. We slowed down to a stop. I didn't want a bad situation to occur and while I'd love another furry running partner, this was not the way I wanted to go about getting it. The older one had run up, pulling his rope as far as it would go, which was to the sidewalk. He immediately went into a submissive stance and he and Henri just sniffed each other. I was surprised since it was his territory we were running through. The younger one realized something was going on and came running and barking as well, except he was, of course, not tied up.

They all stood, sniffing each other. Henri didn't seem nervous or ganged up on, even when the younger could get closer than the older. He was cool, calm and confident. The owner came out after a few more seconds and called them to him, so Henri and I continued on our way. Henri didn't even look back.

Why couldn't he be like that with the rabbits we encounter?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

And the forecast says...

I have mixed feelings when the forecast calls for rain in the early morning. 

Yesterday, while I was sitting in the break room, having lunch, the forecast was revealed, and it was supposed to rain. Not just rain, storm, heavily. It was supposed to start around midnight and carry through to the early morning. As the radar rolled across the screen, it looked especially bad during the time we normally run. Guh!

Thus, the internal battle begins. Do I get up early anyway? Do I just sleep in? If I sleep in, I don't have to go to bed so early. But, we have to run! Rain! Storms! It's an acceptable excuse for not getting up! It is nice to have an unexpected day off. Will Henri be disappointed? Henri will be up anyway. He'll probably wake me up. The storms will wake me up. Unless there are no storms. Then I would have slept late for nothing. That's a missed opportunity for time with Henri! It's missed us before. It's hit us before. That was not fun. But, it's missed us before!

I checked the radar and the forecast several more times throughout the evening, trying to decide what to do. I looked at the hour by hour forecast and it continued to call for storms.

I decided to get up and see what it was doing in the morning. I didn't sleep well. I tossed and turned, anticipating storms, but every time I woke up, it wasn't raining. I even had a dream that it turned into a horrible snow storm, in the middle of July! That's not really out of the realm of possibility with the weird weather we've been having.

Guess what? It wasn't raining. I checked the radar again. It was still supposed to storm, right in the middle of our run time. It should be right over us. Well, I was up and it hadn't rained a bit, so I decided to take a chance.

It never rained. It never stormed. We made it through the entire run, sat in the backyard as we cooled down and nothing. It was windy. It was humid. It was not stormy. I checked the forecast and the rain was gone, completely, from the forecast. How does that happen?

Of course, the surprising part is that I was more excited that we got to go on a run, than I was excited that we might not get to go. That is just how much I love running with Henri. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Light It Up!

It's now dark for most of our run. It's like we're up before the world. Truckers go by after stopping to fill up on gas down the road, on their way to their next stop. Cars with people on their way to early morning jobs drive by, their headlights blinding us momentarily. Or perhaps they are on their way home from a late night shift, relieved to almost be home and able to crawl into bed. 

And there's Henri and I, running. I wonder how many of these people have seen us repeatedly over the last several weeks, though now they aren't sure it's us because it's dark. They can't really tell.

Oh, it's us alright. You can now tell because I whipped out our LED lights. Now we are glowing blue. Henri's collar matches my arm bands and we light up the, morning.

Now they will see the glowing blue lights and now that it's us. And they will see us. Also important in the wee hours of the morning. Safety first, people! Safety first.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Trying Something New

Henri and I tried something new today. Well, it was my idea, but he went along with it. Today we started interval training. Dun, dun, DUNNNN!

Again, I don't really care about being fast, but in an effort to wear Henri out, sometimes, it might be nice to run a little faster. I already have a running partner who is faster than I am, part two is running intervals. So, I went out and got a watch that has an interval timer and researched a plan. Here is what we decided on:

Warm up 10 minutes at steady jog
1 minute interval pace
2 minutes recovery jog
Repeat 4 times

Based on the amount of miles we run in a week, it sounded like replacing two runs a week with interval training was a fair challenge. So, we started today.

Maybe I'm kicking my interval pace up too high, reading through things again, because I feel like I have to slow down around the 40-45 second mark. That's probably not that bad, but those last 15 seconds are brutal. That's the idea though, right? It isn't supposed to be easy.

My watch is pretty cool. First of all, I'm pretty excited about the deal I got on it. I went to Dick's Sporting Goods to start, because I had no idea what all was even out there for interval training. I didn't want to have to have something in my hands, like a stopwatch or my phone. I found a Timex Triathlon watch, but it was $65. I was not really excited about spending that amount of money, so I shopped around a little, thinking I'd find one somewhere else for a little less, or some other watch, now that I knew what I was looking for. Yeah, no. Until I got to Kohl's. I was checking out the small selection of sports watches in their case. I asked the lady if there were any more and she told me there were not. I decided to walk to shoes. I had a gift card or two burning a whole in my pocket. What do I end up walking past, but more sports watches! Including the Timex Triathlon, still $65, but 25% off. Now, I don't know why, but one of these watches was out of it's box, with no instructions and marked $19.99. What? It was the same watch and it was exactly what I needed. It was purple, but I can deal with that. Yep. $65 watch for $12 with a gift card so, essentially, free! Yeah! 

Anyway, back to the watch itself, it has two interval timers so it works perfectly for what I'm doing. It beeps when it's time to switch between intervals, so, as long as I can hear it over my iPod...oh wait. I don't even need to hear it. Henri is so smart, he picked up on what was going on within two intervals. Funny, he was actually nervous of the beeping when I was setting the intervals last night. I wasn't sure how he was going to respond when we were running. While we're running, he gets it. Beep-beep-beep, run fast. Beep-beep-beep, run slow. I couldn't get the timer to stop right away after our four repetitions and he looked at me like, "Hello! We're supposed to go fast now!" I know he's smart, but sometimes he amazes me.

I can say that while I was, of course, tired after each interval and had to catch my breath, it wasn't that bad. It didn't increase our run time, but it didn't decrease it either. I feel like we could probably step it up repetition wise in a few weeks, then maybe interval pace in a few more. Of course, I could be dying tomorrow so I shouldn't get ahead of myself.

Also, we still sprinted at the end and I won. I'm sure he let me win this time, unless I actually succeeded in wearing him out. Nah, he let me win. What a good puppy!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Finally Friday

Ah, Friday! Another week of running comes to an end. Henri seems to have plenty of energy as he squeaks and pokes me with a toy as I'm typing this. Me, I'm thankful to have a break for a few days and to be able to sleep in a little over the weekend. I'm not sleep tired, but my legs are tired from the combination of running and T25. I wish Henri could tell me how he felt. I'd be interested to know if he feels any muscle ache after a "workout" or wished we could sleep in one morning. I'd tell him to suck it up! He gets to sleep throughout the day! Ha, ha!

It's been a nice week of morning temperatures in the fifties and sixties and low humidity. The cool air makes for a chilly start, but a nice breezy cool down. The warm weather is returning next week though. My head started to hurt again from the sinus pressure due to the change. It was a nice break in the middle of summer though and the morning runs are working out pretty well as far as keeping Henri out of the heat. We even went to the dog park one day this week and I could tell he still thought it was a touch too warm. What a silly dog.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On your marks...

When I sprint at the end of our run, I like to think that I'm racing Henri to the finish line. I know he's fast and at no point during our run is he going anywhere near his level of speed. It's not really much of a race. Today, I think he was going easy on me. We pretty much tied. I don't believe for a second that I was just going that fast.

I love to watch him run. When he's playing at the dog park, he's running, ducking and jumping over obstacles, or at least what he's creating as obstacles for the other dogs. He can spin and turn lickety split, where many of the others dogs cannot. It's very entertaining and you often hear an "Oh!" coming from the spectators as he jumps over some dog to avoid getting caught. When he gets going, he loses all the other dogs. They give up. He turns around and there is no one chasing him anymore. He has learned not to go full speed so he doesn't lose his friends. You see? He doesn't just go easy on me.

Maybe I can increase my speed. I am motivated by his smile and I know from our sprints that he would have plenty of smiles for me if we were able to go that fast more often.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WalkForADog...or in our case, run

My laptop doesn't seem to want to connect to the internet so I write this on my phone, which is no easy task. It's late. I've spent too much of the evening trying to get my laptop to work. We have to get up early to go on our run so, I'll keep this short.

Every morning as we walk out the front door I make sure to turn on my iPod and the WalkForADog app on my phone. I love this thing! For every mile you walk (run, bike), WoofTrax donates to your local shelter or a shelter of your choice. That's awesome in and of itself, but I don't have to have a running app going as well. WalkForADog does it all for me! It tracks my miles, my time, my pace...all the same things my running app does. It keeps a history of all of my runs and I can share straight from the app to Facebook or Twitter. I highly recommend it if you want to start running with your dog like I do (or better than I do!)

If you don't want to run with your dog, no problem! It is called Walk ForADog. You and your four-legged buddy can go for walks and support a shelter. Maybe you don't have a four-legged buddy. You can still walk (or run, or bike) and donate to a shelter. The more people that donate to a particular shelter, the higher the donation per mile, so encourage others to walk with you and you can all use the app, donating even more!

Henri and I donate our runs to Homeward Bound Pet Shelter (you may have seen our tweets), the shelter Henri was born in and where we found him. They were actually in danger of closing last year because of funding, so this is a really easy way to give back, a little at a time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We're a team!

Henri and I, we're a team. We're a package deal. Most people that know me, know this. It's a good team. We work our best at understanding each other, knowing what the other wants and needs. This is pretty important while running.

This morning I wondered if Henri even wanted to go on the run. My alarm went off and Henri jumped up and curled up on the bed. My husband had already been up a half an hour so Henri had already had an early breakfast. When we got downstairs, my husband was eating his breakfast. Henri was definitely interested in that, but breakfast doesn't last forever. When that was over, Henri would be ready to play, or he'd go to bed and need something to do later. So, we went.

Henri was poking around, sniffing and pulling. When we started running, he was just pacing along with me, instead of his normal right in front. He was on high alert for rabbits and not listened as well as he usually does when I told him to leave it. 

Finally, I had had enough. We were not very far at all and I hated the idea of getting up that early for nothing. I didn't want to turn back, but ultimately, I'm not running for me. The exercise for me is just a perk. I'm running for Henri, to give him exercise and something to do. If Henri doesn't want to run, I'm not going to force him, no matter how driven I am to workout.   

I stopped. I got down to Henri's level and had him come to me. I pet him and basically had a conversation with him, to see if he wanted to go on. We decided that we would go halfway and if he was still distracted, we could go home.

He must have just needed a pep talk because he was good after that. There's a house that has a dog tied up outside. This is something that would have distracted him minutes earlier, but Henri ran right by, giving a sideways glance, kind of a nod to the dog and kept going. He did it on the way back too so I knew we were good. The rest of the run went without a hitch.

It's important to listen to your dog, especially when you're running together. If Henri had continued to pull and be distracted, we would have stopped running and walked the rest of the way, or only halfway if that was all the distance he wanted to go. There may be days that he doesn't feel well or maybe he's in pain. Dogs can't tell us these things with words, so we have to pay attention and listen to what they're trying to tell us through their actions and behaviors.

Henri even sat outside with me for a cool down, possibly just because it was fifty something degrees out and felt awesome to him.

Check out Henri's sweat print! I knew dogs sweat, but I had never really seen any evidence of it. It's so cute! The pad didn't sweat so it's an inverted paw print!

My sweat print was not as cute.

Monday, July 14, 2014

See, what had happened was...

Saturday afternoon, I'm downstairs watching tv. My husband and Henri are upstairs, doing laundry or something. Suddenly, I hear Henri cry out! It was like the surprised cry when you accidentally trip over your dog, but it sounded a touch more painful. I hear my husband apologizing to Henri, and I'm already on my feet to head up to see what happened when Henri comes running downstairs. Well, he's moving so, that's a good thing. 

My husband follows close behind and tells me that they were playing with the frisbee and Henri turned as it was thrown to him and it hit him in the face, maybe in the eye. This wouldn't be a huge deal except that this frisbee has seen better days. He has two frisbees. A nice frisbee, for actually playing frisbee, usually outside where you need a frisbee that flies, that I take away from him when he starts to chew it, and the old frisbee that was once that frisbee, but he got bored in the backseat one day and decided to make some enhancements and then wouldn't leave his new and improved frisbee in the car. Henri has chewed all around it, tearing of little pieces, essentially making it a throwing star, as my husband called it, post accident.

Henri didn't seem too concerned with what might have just happened. He was happy to have some attention, but didn't seem bothered by his eye. I could see it was red though. I called the emergency clinic to see what I should watch for. They didn't seem to think there was much to be concerned with, but gave me a few things to watch for. His eye was watering and he was blinking it, but it wasn't too bad. I sat for a few more minutes, trying to decide if I wanted to take him in. His eye seemed a little swollen in the corner. I know the eye is a pretty amazing thing and heals really well, but I decided not to take a chance. So, off we went to the emergency clinic.

Henri was very good while his eye was examined, stained and re-examined. He did have a little scratch so he got some ointment to be applied twice a day for the next 5 days. I asked the vet if we should forego the running till then, but she said that as long as it's not super windy, we are not running in tall grasses or on dirt or gravel paths, it was fine. He shouldn't get any debri in his eye.

Aside from getting drops in his eye, you wouldn't know anything had ever happened. He doesn't have a lot of discharge from the drops. He hasn't needed to wear the cone of shame to keep him from rubbing his eye on anything.

So, we went for a run today. Do bugs count as debri? I feel like I needed a bug shield. I'm pretty sure at least one bug was splattered on my face. It's hard to tell the difference between sweat and bug guts.

Oh yeah, and that frisbee was thrown away as soon as we got back from the emergency clinic.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Remember that run we just did?

Sometimes I wonder if I am programming Henri to be more active. I've actually wondered this for awhile. Is taking him to the dog park every day conditioning him to need to go to the dog park every day? Is running every morning only making him need more exercise? 

We've been running every weekday for 3 weeks now. This week, he is coming back, grabbing a toy and running around like crazy. I move, he lunges, trying to get to the toy that I was not even going for. This is a good thing since it's playing with him without too much from me. He isn't taking a nap when we get back. He's up, bringing me toys while I try to get ready for work. I can't dry my hair and play keep away. Henri, you remember that we just ran 3 miles, right? 

I get it. I know how working out gives you more energy. Work-out, increase blood flow, increase oxygen. More oxygen, more energy. I'm not getting that extra energy. Where is my extra energy? Maybe Henri is getting my energy, too!

I'm only kidding. It's just a silly thing that I've been wondering about for awhile. It's amusing to me that I am trying to wear him out and I might actually be doing the opposite.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The More You Know...

I knew about bikejoring and skijoring. These are activities in which the person is pulled by one or more dogs. I've actually tried the bikejoring with Henri. Okay, after reading more about it now, it wasn't really bikejoring as much as just biking with Henri, like I run with Henri now. I have an attachment for my bike, but Henri didn't seem to like the bike by itself, let alone being "chased" by it. I still want to do it with him, but I think it's going to take some time for him to get used to being near the bike and I can't walk him and the bike at the same time, not successfully anyway.

In my searches for others who run with their dogs I found a sport called Canicross. It's running cross country with your dog. It's actually more like your dog is running with you as the sled. It's really big in Europe, originally used for off-season training for sled dogs, but now a sport of it's own.. I have a leash that hooks around my waist, but the belts they use for this are similar to rock climbing harnesses, enabling the dog to actually pull you. Can you imagine? Any of it? It's so crazy! I love it!

Now, I don't know that I'll ever be able to run more than the 3-ish miles I run with Henri right now. I don't know. I'm just not sure. I know I joke about Henri being my little sled dog, but I would imagine that if we were running longer distances, over different terrains, he would actually have to pull me through. I would also imagine I would be on my face for most of it.  

I want to do it! Kinda. Probably not really. Probably. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Happy Dewnesday...I mean Wednesday

I love running early in the morning. I do hate waking up early in the morning, but even on the days that I go to work at 8am, I'm up at the earlier time to catch the sunrise and to get out there before anyone else. There's something about it just being Henri and I out there that pulls me out of bed.

The sky was clear. It was 62 degrees. There was a slight wind. I didn't feel the humidity at all. I can't believe it's July and I can breathe outside! I was actually a little chilly at the start. Don't worry. That didn't last long.

I love watching the sun come up and peak through trees as we make our turns. It's really relaxing. I almost forget that I'm exercising and enjoy spending the time with Henri, just the two of us.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Run That Never Was

We did not get to go on a run this morning. It was not just raining, it was full on storming with thunder and lightning. This is exactly what the news said the weather was going to be this morning. Looks like they got it right for the first time in weeks!

Of course, the rain stopped by the time I got up to go to work, but it was too late. Henri seemed a little disappointed.

Sorry, Henri. The forecast for tomorrow seems good.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Badge of Honor

Today we received our Running in the Rain Badge. Didn't I just post last week about always just missing the rain? Well, that didn't last long.

I didn't notice till after we had walked out of the house and I had locked the door. I turned and walked off the porch, noticing a little dampness on the porch, but accounting it to the humidity. Then I noticed the driveway and the street. It was just a drizzle, but it had just started.

I was tempted to turn around and go back inside, but Henri seemed like he wanted to go. Maybe it was just going to stay a drizzle. We could always turn around or make it a shorter run today. So, we went.

We crossed the street and started our run. It was still just a drizzle, though Henri seemed to be attempting to use me as shelter from it. I told him, 'Just once around the park and back. That's it.' Sure, we could turn back now, but I had gotten up two hours early for this. It had been a long weekend of travel and late nights. A little extra sleep sounded good, but I didn't want to be selfish and it was just a little rain.

By the time we got to the park, it was raining. Then it rained harder. We turned at a different place to cut the park in half. I was having a hard time seeing as rain dropped in my eyes. I don't know if it was just the dropping in my eyes or if it was the fear of it washing out my contacts, but it's really hard to run with your eyes closed. 

The raindrops were huge. I was soaked and very uncomfortable. Henri kept shaking off, but we were troopers. I mean, what were we going to do? Stop? It's raining. We're already wet. Just get done and get home. Yes, we could stop at that pavilion, but we don't know if it's going to stop raining. It could get worse. It could thunder and lightning and after the weekend Henri had, I did not want that. So, we kept going.

Once we got back to the sidewalk leading home, it started to let up. By the time we got to the last turn, it had stopped. Of course it did. We walked. Henri probably would have been fine going faster so he could get home to a towel, but I weighed an extra ten pounds with wet clothes and I hadn't been able to breathe right with rain falling in my face. 

We did it. It was only two miles today instead of three. We were slower as we navigated the rain. Still, we did it. And while I'm making up badges, I also get the Running with a Headache Badge, which went away with the run so, yeah for not giving into temptation!

And Henri keeps bringing me toys. So much for wearing him out.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Scariest Day of the Year

Henri is a nervous dog. He doesn't have a lot of confidence. I don't know why. He was born in a shelter and we got him when he was pretty young. I don't think anything bad happened to him at the shelter and I know we did our best to give him the best experience at home. I remember when we picked him out, the guy at the shelter, somewhat jokingly said, "Are you sure you want that one? He is the whiniest of the bunch." I guess it's just part of who he is.

He has always been afraid of smoke or the smell of smoke. It's not a bad thing to have concern with since smoke usually accompanies fire. I'm sure it's not pleasant to their sensitive noses, but to run and hide because we're grilling in the backyard, that was surprising. He has gotten better with this, though he is still very tentative about being outside at the same time and don't burn anything on the stove.

It was a month after bringing him home and it was the week of July 4th. Henri had/has lots of energy and since he was too young to go to the dog park, we had to take him on walks.The neighbor was nice enough to wait until we had passed his house, but we weren't far, probably just one house over, before he set off a bunch of fireworks. Henri screamed (as close to screaming as a puppy can get), cried and peed himself. The poor thing. We had to carry him home, trembling. I'm sure he would have been afraid of fireworks anyway, but this experience probably scarred him for life. 

I try to do things with Henri to give him more confidence. He seems to go back and forth. Sometimes he's confident, sometimes he's not. Even when we're running, he hears a car, truck or semi coming on the roads around us and he's turning around, checking to see where it is. I know he's looking to me not only for direction, but for reassurance of safety. I'm hoping that as we continue to run, his confidence will grow and that he trusts that I'm not going to take him into bad situations or let anything bad happen to him.

I don't think he'll ever get over fireworks though.

Now to lighten things up. We beat the sun today!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Go, Henri, Go!

Today, Henri wanted to go! Sometimes I joke that he's taking me for a run, not vice versa. I have a Ruffwear leash that wraps around my waist. You can probably picture my being dragged around by Henri. He's my little sled dog!

Guess what though! I am getting faster. Sure, he might have pulled me along a little, but I still had to keep up without falling on my face, which I did! 

Since I'm using the Walk for a Dog app, I looked back at my runs for the week. They're all a little different, but let's take a look:

Monday 3.13 Miles/4.95 MPH
Tuesday 3.13 Miles/5.07 MPH
Wednesday 3.11 Miles/5.02 MPH (I don't know what happened to .02 Miles)
Today 2.92 Miles/5.48 MPH (I forgot to turn on the app first thing, so that MIGHT bring it down a bit)

Go, us!

I was hesitant of sharing my times, thinking that I'm not really much of a runner, so this might be really embarrassing. It doesn't really sound very fast, 5 MPH. I walk about 3.5 MPH (I had to time it on a treadmill - I was curious) Ooh, that might have just made it worse, but I now remember that I am usually running around 5.5 MPH on the treadmill and that's during my fast interval.  I think I pushed it up to 6 MPH once. It's easier to run on a treadmill, right? You don't have to proper yourself forward, right? My sprint at the end was faster and longer too! See? I'm getting faster!

I read an article about how to train yourself to run faster. It said to run with others that run faster than you. Check, and check!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Hump Day

Hump Day. I don't think I've ever truly understood until I tried running 5 consecutive days. I remember from the last week that Wednesday was the hardest run. Adding in T25 workouts in the afternoons didn't make this Wednesday any easier.

The one thing that I love most about running with Henri is this: the bond that it creates between us. Yes, I love Henri. He loves me. Sure, but from my point of view, who he really loves is my husband. This is probably because someone just flashes his puppy dog eyes and suddenly there is food in his mouth. This food is not coming from me, thus I am not the one he truly loves. 

No, I'm talking about a different bond. It wasn't there until we started running together. It's the same bond that dogs and their handlers have when they run agility. They understand each other. They are in sync, on and off the course. It's like I can just think something and Henri is already responding. He listens better to what I want him to do, even when it's not something he wants to do. He follows me from room to room. He cuddles up next to me, on the couch, in bed and often times there is no food involved! When we are at the dog park, he looks to me to see if he's allowed to join a certain game. When he does the right thing, he comes to me as if to say, "Did you see that? I was good!"

It's not just all about him doing what I want. He is now one of those dogs that know how you're feeling and does something about it. After one of our first runs, I was severely dehydrated. I felt like I was going to be sick and my entire body hurt. I could hardly move. I ended up sleeping most of the day, and he stayed in the bed with me. He either had his paw on top of my hand or his head rested on my legs. 

Henri knew I was struggling this morning. I wasn't really in pain, I was just moving at a much slower pace. He was by my side this run more than any run before. He kept looking up at me, to my confirmation that he was a good boy.

Maybe I'm actually just getting faster.  Maybe that's why he seems to be by my side more. Yeah. Uh huh. Sure. 

I did do something that one of my friends taught me when she used to try to get me to run with her. She told me, "When you are near the end of your run, sprint to the end." I've never been able to muster up enough energy to do that before. I thought I was going at my top speed, or at least that I didn't have enough juice left. Maybe it was just because I was running at a slower pace today, but I pushed to a little sprint at the end. I think she would be proud. Henri seemed to be. I'm sure he would love it if I would run faster!

For the record, I still think Henri loves my husband more, but he does have a special place in his heart for me!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night...

...but the morning was found to be cooler with the only sign of rain being the occasional puddle and some scattered debris across the sidewalks.

It's bittersweet. It seems it only rains right before and right after we run. Henri doesn't want to go outside in the rain, much less run in it.  I don't know that I would like running in it much either. Perhaps a little spritzing rain would be okay, knowing that it wouldn't turn into more, but so far, since starting this adventure, it has only rained one morning that we got up to run. This is how I know that Henri doesn't mind passing up the run.  

I had woken up, gotten ready and opened the back door for him to go to the bathroom before we head out, only to discover it was raining. Henri took one look outside and turned back into the house. I turned around to find him looking at me expectantly and hopping and backing up, his way of saying, "Come on! Follow me! Let's go!" He took off towards the stairs. I followed him upstairs where he quickly turned towards the bedroom and dived into bed. I wasn't going to argue with him!  It was back to bed with us! 

The excuse to stay in bed would be nice. I certainly wouldn't have need to shower as badly (Yes, that is mud going up my leg, not freckles or hair. Henri did a better job of avoiding the offending puddle.)

I know there will be plenty of days the weather will keep us from our run. Today, when Henri backed off to run along side on me, looked up and smiled, I wasn't missing my sleep one bit.