A Tale of Two Girls in the Humid South
This is not as provocative as it sounds.
When I first started running, these were the things I feared, in order:
– being attacked by dangerous people
– hurting myself
I had to run in the evening because of time/childcare issues. Running in the dark is quite different from running in the daytime.
Now that I have been doing this running thing for a few months, I have developed preferences. I prefer running at night because I have learned that running in the heat, with the sun melting my head, sucks. I am much more comfortable in cooler temperatures in general, probably because I am technically a “Northerner,” and I especially appreciate a moderate climate when I am sleeping or exercising. Running early in the morning is ok, but the opportunity is only there for me on the weekends because of scheduling issues.
My current fears are, in order:
– being attacked
– hurting myself
– looking stupid
I no longer fear dying, although I do freak out when I get exerted to the point of being winded.
Can I still breathe? Oh my god, I can’t breathe? I can’t breathe! Panic!
In light of some recent behavioral challenges, I chose to
drag take the dog with me on my run.
You should probably know that she has never been running with me before, is historically terrible on a leash, and the only way I can walk her without getting dragged is to use a Gentle Leader. When I have walked her on the GL, she cuts in front of me constantly because of the way the leash pulls on her head.
It was a brave/stupid decision, depending on how you see it.
It was about 85 degrees, dusk. The dog was excited. We walked initially. She tripped me, frantically tried to sniff every blade of grass that we passed, and cringed in fear if I tugged on the leash. She has issues. I started to jog, she kept up with me, then WHAM! cut in front of me. I ended up straddling her. We both became hung up in the leash. It wasn’t pretty.
I think I hit every fear in that one paragraph.
The bright side of this is that I had to run faster to keep the dog from tripping me up. As long as I kept a decent pace and held the leash kind of out from my body, she stayed out of my way. After about .5 mile, I slowed to a walk. Sophie panted and gently limped, favoring one of her front feet. (I might have stepped on it during the tripping episode earlier, but I can’t be sure.). After walking for a few minutes, we resumed running. We hit our stride. Sophie appeared to grow in confidence right in front of me. She ran easily, tongue flopping around, ears down but tail up. I praised her, realizing how nice it was to have companionship on the run.
After a mile, I dropped Sophie off at home so I could run further without her. It was quite warm, and since she had never run with me before I didn’t want to hurt her. When I glanced at the clock in the kitchen after I removed her GL, I noticed only 12 minutes had passed since we left the house. Giving myself a few minutes for walking with the dog and acclimating to running with her on the GL, I am pretty sure we finished a mile in around 10 minutes. That would be the fastest ever for me.
Running with the dog eliminates the fear of being attacked, and greatly diminished my fear of other dogs. It totally increased the chances of hurting myself, and I am sure I looked totally stupid.
Despite this, we will definitely be doing it again.