Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Waiting Game

Yep, I'm playing the waiting game with my foot again. It still hurts from Saturday so I'm not walking and I'm certainly not running. I guess I have to start over, letting my foot rest and building back up to the running again. At least it shouldn't take as long this time. I also have more time before another 5k, so I'm not as pressured, other than by myself, and let's face it I'm the worst when it comes to pressuring myself.

It cooled off today. It finally felt like fall. Henri was pretty happy about that. He was able to go to the dog park and he actually wanted to run and play. He got some other dogs to chase him. He chased a ball. He just enjoyed being outside. He hasn't seemed too upset that we have missed our morning activities thus far this week.

We'll take off one more day and see how I feel tomorrow. Maybe we'll at least be able to get out and walk on Thursday morning. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Color, Color, Everywhere

This was my Saturday. How was yours?

The Color Run was AWESOME! I must do it again! Like, now. Well, not now because I definitely overdid it and couldn't put weight on my foot for about 6 hours and am still struggling with a little pain 48 hours later, but I'm going to go ahead and say it was worth it.

Truly, I did want to do it again, immediately. It was fun. There was music. There was dancing. There was color. There was the running part, too, which after only one week of getting back into it, was a little much, but I pushed through. I realized that this was my first actual 5k. I walked the Polar Paws 5k last year. I would have run it, but I didn't know that my sister was going to run it and that would have left my mom walking all by herself. So this is the first 5k that I ran! And I ran the whole thing! Ignore the fact that running the whole thing was probably a mistake.

Seriously, what a great way to start the day! We stayed for the after-party for about an hour, dancing in the color clouds. When I got in my car, I didn't really want to sit down. I turned my music up and danced a little more, on the way to brunch.

I did miss my four-legged running partner though. I may or may not have given him a hug upon coming home.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Game

I did the right thing and didn't go for a run this morning. This is really only the right thing for the sake of my ankle. Not me. Not Henri. I have to be able to run in The Color Run tomorrow!

I knew my ankle needed a break. I just didn't want to give it one. It was a little achy. I went from walking about two miles a day to jogging a mile and a half and then walking the other mile and a half. I probably should have eased into it a little better, but I was excited to be at it again. It just felt good! I knew I needed to be able to run tomorrow and I didn't want to go six days in a row with only one day of recovery. If I didn't have to run tomorrow, I would have gone this morning. I wanted to and Henri wanted to.

My alarm went off and Henri came in, his tail wagging. He followed me around as I started to get ready, tail still wagging, until he noticed I put on work clothes, not workout clothes. I felt so bad! His tail stopped wagging and he just looked at me. Ugh, I'm so horrible!

I did play a game with him before I went to work. I hope I can do this story justice, because I was pretty impressed with him. He had a plastic dumbbell toy that he was wanting me to throw down the hallway and then play keep away when he brought it back. We played a few times and then he started getting frustrated with me always asking him to 'drop it' and 'leave it'. The keep away part was taking over, so, I grabbed his favorite monkey and started cuddling with it and walking it around. He dropped the dumbbell and I took it, putting Monkey in my lap. He's amped up and ready to run, so, I throw the dumbbell and he totally fakes me out and grabs Monkey from my lap instead! He was so fast, I didn't even know it was happening and then I just sat there, shocked that he had pulled that off so successfully. 

I think he's a genius. Just saying.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Side By Side

It was a quiet morning run. I don't think we saw a single person out this morning. There even seemed to be fewer cars going by. Maybe everybody decided to sleep in today. Not us. We got up and ran.

I'm doing my best to keep at a slower pace, to run fewer miles, to give my ankle time to build itself back up. It's hard, but I can tell it's the right thing. 

Henri is spending more time right at my side while we're running. I don't know if it's the loose leash training we did while we were walking, or if he's trying to encourage me to keep going, but it's so cute when he trots along side of me and smiles up at me. It's probably my favorite thing he does. 

I don't really know how people do that on sidewalks. I feel like I need him to be in front of me or we will trip, and that's probably more due to my lack of grace than Henri. Sometimes I just find myself not going in a straight line. Plus, if he's in front of me, I can use his collar to light up the sidewalk for me so I can make sure I'm not tripping over anything. So, we've got a new command for our runs. "Front" for when we're going by a bush that juts out onto the sidewalk. I don't know if he knows the command or if he's just nervous that there is a bush in our path. He's not doing his normal, "Eek! A thing!" movement, so I think it's the command.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Virtual Run Day Three

We finished the last mile of the Running with Ollie Virtual Run this morning! Here's our "something that makes you smile".

Yes, we really found this on our run! How perfect is that? I never saw the starting line, but I supposed that's not nearly as important as the finish line. Well, that's not true, but then we're just getting deep and philosophical and it's Wednesday.

So, we have two images left for the scavenger hunt. Thankfully, we had a little sunlight at the end of our run today. I was trying to think of something that would be considered unique, in case I didn't just happen across something. I realized that most people probably don't have a skate park practically in their back yard, so we're going with that as our "something unique".

When we went by, it was still pretty dark, so I planned on running around the park one more time. Then a semi-aggressive dog that we had come across on a previous run entered the park. I didn't want to have to create any stressful situations for either parties so we continued on our normal route, to turn back around once the sun was up.

Lastly, "a record of our run". Here you can see that I forgot to turn it on at first, hence the start and finish are not at the same place, and you can see the crazy path that we took, just to take a picture at the skate park :) I can hardly make sense of it and I ran it.

There you have it! I would have liked to have attempted the four miles in one run, had I not been injured or had time to work up to my normal runs. Sometimes I feel like three miles is the best I can do, but what's one more mile, really? Maybe next time! Thanks, Lea and Ollie, for giving us something fun to do this week!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Virtual Run Day Two

Another mile and a half down in the Running with Ollie Virtual Run! Tomorrow we will finish our four miles off!

Since a majority of our runs are at o'dark thirty, I am going to have a harder time completing the scavenger hunt than I realized. If it's not too dark to see anything, it's too dark to take a picture or I'm being blinded by headlights and then having to adjust to the to the dark again. I can't see anything!

Well, you know I think my running partner is pretty great. I decided I want to figure out a way to work him into every picture for the scavenger hunt. Yeah, because it wasn't hard enough already, but, really, what is the one thing I can see the entire run? Henri. So here is my solution for today:

"Something Beautiful" Matching pretty blue lights! And a Henri smile! Some minor editing, sorry for the blowout.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Virtual Run Day One

I did what I was supposed to. I took the time off from running for my ankle to heal. I didn't run on Thursday or Friday (or this weekend) so my back could finish sorting itself out. Today, we ran! And, boy, did it feel good.

Okay. It wasn't really a run since I'm supposed to work up to a run. It was a run-ish type thing, and that's what matters. I have to get my ankle strong again. I could feel it as we were moving, but, seriously, I'm just so excited about running again!

Just in time, too! This week starts the Running With Ollie Virtual 4-mile Fun Run and Scavenger Hunt. I've never done a virtual run before. It's run that can be run wherever you are! You can do it all at once, or in pieces. You can do it running around your neighborhood or on a treadmill at the gym. It's pretty much all up to you! You just report back online. Of course, I'm excited about this one because Lea, who organized this whole thing, runs with her dog, Ollie (Hence the name of the run and her blog). Ohmigosh! I run with my dog! 

So, today, since I still have to build my ankle back up, we ran what we'll call a mile and a half, at a steady pace. It probably wasn't that much slower than our normal running pace, but it could just feel that way since I haven't ran in 6 weeks and I was SO ready to run!

Now for the Scavenger Hunt part of the run. I have to post five things for the scavenger hunt. A running selfie, something beautiful, something unique, something that makes me smile and a record of our run. Today, I choose the running selfie even though it is also something that makes me smile and I think it's beautiful.

Henri is so happy to be running again! I'm so happy to be running with him! And yes, it counts that my feet are in the picture.

I've been telling him all weekend that we were going running today. I have made sure not to walk our normal running path because I didn't want to confuse him and have him pull me while I needed to be walking. He perked up when I told him to turn towards the running path instead of go straight. He was one happy puppy!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Oh, Dog Park, How We've Missed You

Thank goodness for cooler weather and the dog park! 

I had a much calmer Henri on our walk this morning. He was more attentive to me and what I wanted him to do than he has been since we started walking. He was paying attention to me almost as much as when we run, when we really feel like a team. His loose leash walking was the best that it has been.

Some trainers say that it's important that your dog expend some of his energy before you try to teach him something, so he can focus better. I have wondered if this was exactly what Henri needed, both to focus on what I was trying to teach him and too really calm his nerves. This week that theory has been proven. This is the first week that he has been able to go on a walk in the morning and go to the dog park in the afternoon. He's really been able to get a good amount of exercise. It's not as much as he could be getting still, but by today's walk, you could tell he was feeling much better, much more comfortable.

I know he's only two and a half years old. He's still young, but he still has A LOT of energy, more than I thought he would have at this point. The weather is only going to cool and continue to improve his play at the park. We might have to shorten our runs so he doesn't get entirely exhausted...which is something I have hardly ever seen from him.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Nose Knows

For one thing, I love dog noses. Did you know that a dog's nose is as unique from each other as a human's fingerprint? Every nose is different, and I love this nose!

And previously, I loved these noses (I still totally love them and get misty eyed looking at them).

We all know that dogs have an amazing sense of smell. While we humans have about five million scent receptors, dogs range from 125 million to 300 million, depending on the breed. They can smell up to 40 feet underground. They smell pheromones on skin or fur, in urine or feces and this is how they collect all the information that tells them species, male, female, what was eaten, what was touched, where someone or something has been and what mood they are in. This is how dogs can tell if someone is sick, is about to have a seizure, has cancer or all the other things that they can do with their noses.

Why am I talking about noses? I have noticed this week that I have been relying a lot on my sense of smell while we are on our walks. Most of our time spent walking is in the dark. I'm not scared, but I don't want to be stupid either. I can't really see very far in front of me and I even if I could spend all my time looking behind me, I wouldn't be able to see much back there either. I want to be safe and I started to notice all the smells of the neighborhood. No wonder I can't keep Henri's attention just on me!

I can smell the different lakes as we walk by them. I can smell sprinklers watering the lawns. I can smell bug spray, probably from someone the night before. I can smell a dryer being run. I can smell the shampoo of the lady that just ran by. I can smell the cologne of the guy walking his dog. I can smell something foul and I don't want to know what that is.

My hope is that if someone does decide to sneak up on us, I will be able to smell them coming if I try to smell like a dog...I mean use my sense of smell like a dog.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Healing Sucks

I'm hoping that we are getting closer to picking up the speed in the mornings. I know, I've been saying that for awhile. I haven't liked it either. First, it was my ankle. Then, it was my back. Healing sucks. It takes too long. I've done my best to not be too stubborn and I think I've done really well, but I'm ready to move! There is certainly no question that Henri is ready.

I went to the chiropractor today and he said I should take one more day off to make sure I don't agitate it again so I will do what I'm told. I'm hoping that I will wake up tomorrow and be back at 100%. I don't know what the chances are of that happening, but I'm really hoping that Henri and I can get our jog on Friday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An Uneventful Walk...And That's Okay.

After yesterday, today was just a nice quiet walk. We were just walking. It was early and still dark outside. There was a crane by the lake, it's silhouette lit only be the reflection of the moon. Then it stretched it's wings and flew off. It was the perfect mood setter.

The walk itself was pretty non-eventful, which was welcome today. Surprisingly enough, there was one other dog being walked at dark thirty in the morning. It wanted to see Henri, but it's owner had already pulled him off the sidewalk, seeing Henri's glow collar coming. It and Henri sniffed in each other's general direction and kept going. Other than that, there's not much to write about.

I do have to tell you, yesterday, we walked by the weeping willow and Henri did not rush by. I stopped him and let him sniff the leaves and rustled them. Today, he stopped and sniffed at them himself. I don't normally want him stopping and sniffing a lot, but this was worth the pause. I'm so proud of him!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Two Vs. Two

Today we were able to walk again. I should say that I was able to walk again because it was me that couldn't walk. I'm still not at 100% so I thought it better not to run and put that extra pressure on my spine. I go to the chiropractor again on Wednesday, so I'm hoping to feel much better Thursday morning. 

Today's adventure brought us face to face with not one, but two dogs. Really, Henri was the one that was face to face with them because he was more at their level.

We were almost home. We've gone by this house and this dog before. He's a large black Pit, which I hold no prejudice against, but he's BIG. There is no fence, he's just on a tie-out. It must be a strong tie-out because he comes running when you get close and he is pulling and barking the entire time. We've passed him before so I know he's there sometimes and I know he can't get to us so we just keep going, but today, he had a partner. 

So big guy comes barreling through the yard, knocking over a large planter, which falls and dumps all it's contents, not slowing him down in the slightest. Henri is watching him and pulling to get by faster, but then out the back door comes a Chihuahua, who is not on a tie-out, barking and coming around from behind to the other side of us. That was a surprise! This made it much more difficult to keep moving forward and aggravated Henri who had nowhere to go because he had barking dogs coming at him from both sides. I'm trying to keep calm and to keep moving, but, honestly, I'm a little rattled too. This second dog, not being restrained, is a little more to contend with. Henri is now barking at the Pit, maybe because the Chihuahua steered him in that direction, so he had no choice but the defend himself (They didn't actually get close to each other, they were just making noise). The Chihuahua is circling us, making it very hard to move forward. I'm hoping that someone is going to come out and get their dog so it doesn't continue to follow us the rest of the way home, especially if it's going to continue to bark the whole way there. No one ever came out. No one ever came to the door. No one ever called to their dog. We were left there to fend for ourselves.

Finally, we are able to push past their property line and the dog barking starts to lessen. The Chihuahua didn't follow us and eventually went back in the house, I assume, because I was focused on moving forward and reassuring Henri. 

The good news is that we don't go out at that time but twice a week, so we shouldn't run into these two very often. Maybe the extra dog, the Chihuahua, was just a fluke. I'd never seen it there before. Maybe it was an oddity for them to leave their back door open. I'll know to watch for them both now. Oh, the adventures we have!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Have Your Dog Take You To Work Day

Today was Henri's first time out of the house (aside from potty trips) since our short walk Tuesday morning. He went for a car ride while my husband took me to work. He was pretty anxious, both from all the pent up energy and the excitement of going somewhere and he always gets excited when we are both in the car going somewhere. We must be going somewhere special if we're both going. No, Henri. Just the place I have to go for eight hours a day to be able to buy you all those toys and treats. I think he ended up being pretty disappointed, but it did get his mind working, trying to figure out where we were going.

It's bad enough that I can't participate in Take Your Dog To Work Day, but you should at least be able to have your dog take you to work. How could you have a bad day when literally the last thing you saw before walking into work was your dog looking back at you from the car? Most people don't get to experience this as we have to drive ourselves to work, but I have found an upside to a broken car. Being chauffeured around by your dog.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cooler Weather

I was hoping that after my chiropractor appointment yesterday, that I would wake up this morning, magically healed. After another painful night of tossing and turning, this was not the case. 

The weather has cooled off drastically. I always joke that Henri hates anything over 40 degrees, but I'm not far off. Today it is 56 degrees, but it's cloudy and has been rainy for two days. It's a cooler 56 degrees and this is what Henri does when you let him outside.

He doesn't bother with going to the bathroom. He immediately sits on the step and lets the cool breeze blow over him. This is when he enjoys being outside. I feel like he would sit like this for hours, as long as you didn't close the door and make him stay out there alone. He would love a trip to the dog park right now, but I wouldn't be able to scoop his poop...or throw a ball...or follow him around...

I wish we could go running. I hope it doesn't get too cold, too fast. I want to be able to enjoy this weather. I never thought I would miss running so much. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's raining. It's pouring.

It's raining. A lot. We might have to go for a swim rather than a walk if my back gets better. I found this fun image for you to enjoy in the meantime.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dark Clouds

Today I was reminded of how your mood effects your dog. I have tried to keep this in mind while loose leash walking with Henri, but today I struggled.

Even though it was five o'clock in the morning, you could tell that it was extra dark out. The moon was covered by dark clouds and there was lightning flashes in the distance. We started to walk anyway. 

Shortly after waking up, my back started to ache. Maybe ache isn't the right word. I might have started as an ache, but quickly progressed to a locked up, can't bend over, can't put pressure on it pain. It really hurt to walk, but I was hoping it would loosen up as we went along. The problem was that with every little tug from Henri, pain went shooting up and down my back so I had to walk slower. I kept corrected him when he pulled, but I was getting more and more frustrated with Henri. 

And then it started to sprinkle. 

Your dog picks up on your energy and state of mind. When walking your dog it is communicated to your dog through the leash. Remaining calm in all situations is very important for the safety of both you and your dog. For example, if you're nervous, your dog my become anxious or protective, sometimes leading to aggression. 

I know that Henri didn't understand why we were moving so slow. I know that he could read my energy. The dark clouds reflected my mood. I was frustrated with him and he was pulling to try to stay away from me. On top of that, a runner had gone by the opposite direction with a head lamp on, startling me a little. Henri kept looking anxiously in every direction. At this rate, we were never going to make it home before it poured.

I stopped Henri. I took a few breaths, both for the pain and to relax myself. I loosened up on Henri's leash for the hundredth time. Then we started walking again, thinking happy thoughts. You know, that stuff really works! Henri didn't pull, even when we didn't take our normal turn and kept going to head back home. 

I'm sure that my pain and frustration with being in pain made me a little less patient with Henri. I'm usually able to remain calm and even when at the dog park, passing dogs barking in their backyard or even when passing the weeping willow leaves, for Henri. He needs me to help him stay in the right state of mind so he can be successful and happy. I apologized to Henri once we got going smoothly again and even though it hurt, got down to his level and gave him extra lovin's when we got home. He was worth it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Walk On

Today's morning adventure found us walking yet again. My ankle and foot have been kinda swollen this weekend so I'm hoping one more week of rest and I can start working up to a run next week. The weather is cooling off and I'm really want to run in it. I saw a girl running with her pug on Saturday and I was jealous.

There were a lot more dogs out today, not necessarily walking, but in their backyards as we went by. Usually when this happens, Henri pulls a little so he can investigate, but usually carries on when I tug on his leash a little, with a little whine of protest. He must not have liked what this dog we passed was saying because he was really trying to get to them and tell them off. I thought we might have a problem until we passed another house and he was back to his normal tug and whine routine. Then we passed another house and he was normal again. I don't know what it was about that first dog, but he just didn't like it.

Henri is still doing well with his loose leash walking. He wants to go faster and he really wants to be ahead of me, but he tries. He waits off to the side as runners go by. He didn't pull when we saw another dog being walked (The same one that we were attempting to pass when I hurt my ankle - insert shaking fist). He forgot that the weeping willow leaves were safe this morning, but I let it slide because the owner of the house was walking out to her car and he was curious about what she was doing and the leaves snuck up on him. Then he dodged a bit of cardboard that was on the sidewalk at the very last second like he thought it was going to be okay and then decided that it was not.

Silly puppy. 

He's got a lot of energy built up. It's cooling down, but not quite cool enough for him to enjoy the dog park in the afternoon yet. It's getting there though and neither one of us can wait.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Indoor Games

I woke up in the middle of the night and my ankle hurt. It still hurt when my alarm went off so I decided I needed to skip the walk this morning. I felt pretty bad about it. Henri came running into the room when my alarm went off and jumped on the bed, licking me. He ran off and came back a few minutes later, realizing I had not gotten up, to repeat. I apologized and tried to get him to lay down with me. He decided to go and lie in "his" room instead. He has a whole bed to himself there. 

Today was pretty hot out so I knew I was going to have to play with Henri in the house to wear him down a little. We had some frisbees on clearance at work so I bought him one. It was really cheap so the fact that he has little chunks taken out of it already doesn't really bother me. It floats real nice. Henri surprised himself by catching it in the air. Once he figured out he could do that, he was running back and forth, again and again, to show off his new skill.

Don't worry. After the last ordeal with playing frisbee in the house, I made sure I wasn't throwing it in a way he would catch it in the eye. He is sufficiently tired...for now. It's probably about time for a round of fetch with a stuffie.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Want One!

My foot hurts. It figures because yesterday it felt good. My ankle felt strong. I thought I was getting close. I stick my tongue out at it. That's how I feel about that.

In other news, a Sheltie lives on my cul de sac. This is really not a big deal except that I love Shelties and I want one! 

Sometimes I think I'm fine with just Henri. He is pretty great and I love him so much more than I ever thought I could. (I lost my two Shelties within 6 months of each other and I REALLY loved them. It was about four months before we decided that the house needed a dog, but we weren't ready for another Sheltie yet. That's when we found Henri.) Henri and I have this running thing though. I feel like I'd have to have something different with the Sheltie. This is Henri and I's thing. Then again, I don't think I'd feel right leaving Henri behind to do something with the Sheltie. I probably wouldn't feel right leaving the Sheltie at home while I went for a run with Henri...hmm...two kids are hard.

Then I see one and I have to sigh. I don't know. We'll see. In the meantime, I'll enjoy Henri and the things we do together, just the two of us.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Mighty Willow

Today, not only was the sun up when we went for our walk, but the sun was out! And I almost needed a pair of capris, rather than shorts! What is all this craziness?!

I have mentioned that Henri has had some issues walking by a willow tree that had leaves hanging down on the sidewalk. Yesterday, he skirted around them, pulling me a little more. I don't know if he was getting more nervous about them or not, but I was getting more nervous about him pulling me. I made him turn around and walk back to the leaves. I made him stand next to them and I rustled them. When he didn't freak out, I praised him and we walked on. Today, he didn't skirt around it. He might have still been a little nervous, but he didn't show it as much if he was. We may have conquered the mighty willow tree.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

WalkforaDog Update

I've mentioned the WalkforaDog app before. For those of you who are just joining us, this app donates money to a participating shelter of your choice for each mile you walk, run or bike. You can read my previous post about it here.

There has been an update to the app. It now gives you more information about the amount of people and miles walked for your selected organization.

Henri and I run, currently walk for Homeward Bound Pet Shelter in Decatur. This is the shelter where we found Henri. 11 people have walked 157 times for a total of 399.7 miles for Homeward Bound Pet Shelter. Henri and I personally have ran/walked 32 times for a total of 85.5 miles. I'm glad to see there are others using the app to help Homeward Bound. I'm also surprised to see that Henri and I have ran/walked almost a quarter of the miles. That's kinda cool! 

I'm glad that we can give back in such a simple way as having an app running while we do something we were going to be doing anyway. I strongly encourage anyone who might be walking, running or biking (or any other continuous motion activity) to download the app and pick a shelter to support. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

It's Labor Day, which, in the retail world, means you labor, so, it was another early AM walk with Henri. At least we had the sun with us this morning. 

My foot starts to hurt a few minutes into our walk every day. It's never my ankle. It's always my foot. It usually only lasts a few minutes, but I guess it's telling me that it's not time to ease back into the running, not yet anyway. This is only week two of walking. It just seems like it's been forever since I ran.

We've been using these walks to work on Henri's loose leash walking, staying by my side. It's hard because I know he wants to be going much faster than we are and he has a lot more energy than we are able to expend while walking. He's doing pretty well despite this. This might be easier now that he knows how to fall in stride with me while we run. He still freaks and skirts around things in the path, like the weeping willow leaves that hang on the sidewalk or the bushes that stick out too far. I wonder if they would bother him as much if we could run by them. 

We had a couple of adventures out this weekend, in hopes of giving him some exercise. We went to one dog park Friday night, using the last light of day. I sat on the picnic table where it was safe from holes that might sneak up on me in the dark while my husband ran and tossed balls for Henri. I took him to the other dog park on Saturday morning. It was already heating up and we only ventured around once before he was waiting by the front gate, a sign that he was ready to leave. We went to a friends house on Sunday for a two year old's birthday party. There was a puppy there for him to play with and he ran for a bit, but the heat and new surroundings got to him and he wanted to go home. He probably wouldn't have gone swimming anyway :) Maybe one of these weekends will be cool enough to take another trip to the lake. That will wear him out for a day or so.