Autumn running with dogs

Well, it’s fall up here in Alaska, one of my favorite times of year though, unfortunately, I don’t exactly enjoy what follows: the long and cold and very dark winter. Still, what a joy to get out and run on the trails with whisper-flutter of autumn leaves.

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Seriously, posing for the cover of Runner’s World.

Last Thursday we picked up Peka, a beautiful blue-eyed and sassy husky girl, and headed for a shortish run on the Coastal Trail toward Kincaid Park (which is a lot less used than other areas of the Coastal Trail).

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Peka had puppies (seven of them!) three weeks ago and has calmed down quite a bit (huskies are a very, very high-energy sort of dog). So of course we had to visit with the little balls of fur before our run. Oh, don’t you just want to sweep them all up and take them home?

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I was worried about Peka’s teats. They looked full when we stopped by to pick her up but she didn’t want to nurse, she wanted to get in the car and run. I remembered how it felt years ago, when I nursed my son and my milk came in, and how heavy, how painful my breasts became. But I guess dogs aren’t like that because Peka took off with Seriously (the dog we co-own) and they ran and ran and ran.

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Peak and her big-momma teats, getting good and muddy and sniffing grass, as all dogs should do.

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Seriously and Peak, charging ahead. It’s impossible to keep up with these two, they are too damned fast.

I love running with dogs, love how in-the-moment they are, and how they don’t worry about pace or time or form. They simply run, and they run with their hearts, not their egos. I try and do the same, you know, but sooner or later my ego gets in the way and I think, ‘Wow, I’m really running fast’ or I worry that I’m running too slow or I wonder about my pace or if I’m on pace or close to pace or, whatever (Cinthia, shut off your mind, okay?). I love the runs when I can shrug off my ego and run without thought and just sink down inside the moment and simply be. a. runner (oh, my!).

As far as running, I’m still taking it light and easing back into distance, staying in the 25-35 miles a week range and supplementing most runs with nightly swims. I love swimming but I am so slow. It feels as if I’m effortlessly gliding, and maybe I am gliding but I’m not gliding very fast. Because, listen, yesterday there was a man swimming in the lane next to me and I thought, ‘oh, poor dude, he’s so very slow.’ And then that very-slow dude passed me, lol. Still, I figure that the slower I am, the longer I’ll swim and the better it will help with my running endurance (a good excuse philosophy, eh?).

This weekend we’re doggy-sitting this gal: Taniana. She’s an older Lab and isn’t the runner type but still loves her walks, especially walks on the beach, where she chases sticks until she’s muddy and wet and exhausted and happy. Isn’t she the sweetest?

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Have a great week, everyone.

This week’s stats:
Monday: 6 miles; 32 laps swim
Tuesday: 5.5 miles (hills!); weights; 50 minutes bike
Wednesday: 4 miles (hills!); 40 laps swim
Thursday: 4 miles, easy; weights; 50 minutes bike
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Swimming, 68 laps swim
Sunday: 12.5 miles

What I’m reading: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani (It’s okay so far. I’m waiting for it to get better.)

 

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