Monday, August 29, 2011

Dog Sprints

With the weather warming up, I've started doing dog runs in the evenings again, after getting the kiddos down to bed.  I wrote this in August, 2011 and surprisingly, little has changed about our treks!

Looking back over the summer, we've had a pretty stressful couple months as a family.  The move was a big one.  Scott's job change was another.  We had to put our little SC house up for sale when our renter moved out on short notice and walk the tight-rope of paying two mortgages.  So I would have had just a couple excuses to see a higher number on the scales...
But, I am proud to say that I do not.  And I owe it all to my training partners...

No, not Scott.  Butch and Tina.

About every other night, I try to take them out after we get the girls to bed.  And because our dogs weren't able to leave the fence for the the two years that we lived in our rental house, they act as if they've won a million milk bones when they see the leashes appear.  

The old neighborhood had quite a few stray dogs and it was just too much for me to take them out, especially with the girls.  So we laxed on the walks...and so did my dogs' walking manners. 

No longer do they sit and quietly get their leashes attached.  I swear, I work up a sweat just trying to get Butch to let me get his harness on.  Ceasar, I am not, people.

So, as we go out the door and into the evening, we walk like civilized beings down to the end of the driveway.  Like any normal woman walking her two dogs, smelling the night air, surveying the neighborhood...

And then all hell breaks loose.

They take off at a break-neck speed, leading me into an all out sprint down the first hill, during which time I just pray that my shoe doesn't come untied and that my neighbors don't look out their windows.  I told Scott that if we ever don't make it back, to come out looking for them dragging my unconscious body along our route, because I'm fairly certain that if I tripped and fell, they wouldn't stop. 

They ease up about the end of the first hill and we stay in a pretty good jog around the first loop of our trek.  After that, we take intermittent walk breaks, mostly for Tina and myself...well, and to irritate Butch who could run the whole thing several times if we let him.  All in all, it might be a mile and a half...or a little over (I haven't measured it).  But it has a couple nice hills thrown in and we normally get done in about 20 minutes.

A little background here.  Our dogs were both pound puppies.  The year before we got married, we had an injured puppy wander into our garage and I cried so hard taking him to the pound that Scott promised that we could get a dog.  We had no business getting a puppy, as both of us were traveling all the time as coaches and we were so poor we could barely afford to feed ourselves.  But acquire Tina, we did.  She was cute and little and wanted absolutely nothing to do with us when we pulled her out of the cage.  She was much more interested in chasing after a little red ball and we were merely a means to get it and throw it for her.  The pound listed her as a German Shepherd / Rottweiler mix so we thought we were getting a strong, good sized dog in her.

Tina, about a year old,  I think.
The older she got, the more it was apparent that she was not anywhere near a large dog, but more along the lines of an annoying, self-righteous terrier.  However, she was our first and we love her.

Butch, on the other hand, did nothing but care for us from the start.  Loppy and much-obliged to follow Tina's every whim, he is the biggest wanna-be lap dog and once you start petting him, he won't let you stop.  He is now about 90 lbs and has a scary bark, but wouldn't hurt a fly. 

Butch as a puppy.

Well, I take that back...he would.  He CAN catch flies and that's one of the things I love about him.  But I digress.

So you can picture it now, me out sprinting in the dark with my big 90 lb scary looking dog and my little, fat 35 lb terrier.  We wait to go at night mainly because it has been so hot and muggy during the day that you can practically chew the air and also because they are social idiots.  They snarl at any bunny, squirrel, ant, small child or UPS truck like it is an axe murderer.  Therefore, we go after dark because they can see less.  Also because less people can witness me being hauled around the neighborhood...especially at the end, when Tina refuses to go any further and I have one dog pulling my front arm straight ahead and the other yanking my other arm straight behind me.

Oh, it is attractive.  Don't you wish I was your neighbor?

In fact, one day we were walking out of the garage and around the corner came two high school girls, out for an evening stroll.  Suddenly, I panicked.  Would it be better (and less humiliating) to take off and sprint ahead of them or let them cross the driveway and then pass them with my two panting buffoons?  I decided to go ahead of them so I could avoid hearing any comments.  I'm sure they were complementing my stunning sprint form.

Now, there are benefits.  The dogs are so tired after our runs that they are far less annoying and basically lay claim to the middle of the living room floor, after sloshing water all over the kitchen.  Tina has lost about 5 lbs since moving in June and no longer has a neck roll over her collar.  As for me?  I determined long ago that it is impossible for me to get skinny legs without running sprints so the breakneck pace down the hill has actually done wonders for my quads - as well as provided a nice little second cardio when I probably wouldn't have ordinarily done any.  

Well, and it gives daddy a little alone time in the house as well.  And don't we all need that?
Have a great day!

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