Saturday, February 25, 2012


As I mentioned in my last post, Fredo and I ran 22 miles last weekend.  Brian joined us on his bike around mile 13, while we were on some back roads of DeBary.  Fredo had only run there one other time and was excited about the new sights and smells.  I get worried about Fredo and the amount that he runs with me.  I have no idea how old he is--he is at least 7, because we found him 6 years ago and he was full grown, but the vet at the time thought he was 3 or 4.  I don't believe that he could be 9 or 10 right now, but 8 would make sense.  At mile 15 of that run, he was so excited about his surroundings that he broke stride and started pulling--which he rarely does unless he's spotted a rabbit, squirrel, or some other prey to chase.  This time it was just pure joy of new smells, sights and the point that I had to keep pulling his leash back and telling him to slow down.  At this point, Brian pointed out that Fredo is definitely "purpose-built."  The mixture of whatever dog breeds he is made up of resulted in a short, squat, powerhouse of a long-distance roamer.

Even so, I worry about him because there have been runs where he is tired at the end.  I know this because his normal running position is in front of me to my left.  When he gets tired, he ends up running right next to me or a step behind.  Normally, though, this is on a long run where it's very warm out by the end.  There haven't been many of those this marathon training period, and very few runs where Fredo has shown any signs of being tired.  The problem is, he would never tell me if he gets tired!  To non-dog people, dogs do "talk" to their owners, as long as we're paying attention.  They tell us through behavior and body language how they're feeling and what they want.  But dogs are also stubborn, wonderful creatures that rarely let on when they have a problem.  Especially if that problem would prohibit them from doing something they want--such as running!  Fredo has at times had issues that prevented me from taking him running--a cut on his foot, an eye infection, a sore shoulder--but if he had his way, he would have happily run through the discomfort just for the experience of getting out and running.

I am not purpose-built for running.  I don't have a runner's build, or an efficient runner's gait (although with Crossfit core training it has improved).  But that doesn't stop me from running.  When my mind tries to stop me (I'm too tired, too sore, too busy, etc.) I need to remind myself of the joys that Fredo sees in running.  It's not a chore, it's an adventure, and I need to take advantage of it for as long as I can.  Who knows how much longer Fredo will be able to join me.  I need to cherish the days now while I have this time with him.  There will never again be another Fredo the Wonderdog.

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