Thursday, December 22, 2011

Running with my best friend

While this last year has been a success as I set personal records in every distance I ran, my new-found speed has come at a cost: I run fewer miles with my dog, Sammy. For six years and counting, we have been nearly inseparable pounding the pavement. The only times I didn't run with her in the past were those times when I went on my Saturday long runs (longer than ten in the summer or 13.1 in the winter) or when I did speed or a race. This summer, as I embarked on my quest to improve my times and BQ, I had to leave her at home more often. That's not to say she stopped running with me completely, just that it has diminished. I never take her longer than seven miles in the summer, and that is only on days cool enough and with a water bottle. Most runs with her were only a couple of miles. For example, after a tempo or speed work, I may run with her for up to two or three miles as I cool down. In the summer, she probably peaks around 10-15 miles per week whereas in the summer she might do 20-25. What has been nice about being in the interim period between trainings is that she has joined me for almost all of my runs. This week alone, I ran solo on the C&O Canal for 16 (she'd absolutely have a ball if I were to bring her on that trail with me), but she joined me for Sunday's five, Tuesday's nine, Wednesday's seven, and today's nine. And, she still has energy to chase squirrels in our yard when we return. That's thirty miles this week - she is in great shape. I do worry that as she ages, she may start to slow down, but that hasn't happened yet. She's going to be nine years old in May, and I hope she has another nine years plus of running alongside me. One of my favorite running shirts proclaims, "Got to run...with my dog!"

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