Running companions

I have two of the best running partners a girl could ask for.  We have been running together for about 9 years now and in all that time neither of the guys has bailed out at the last minute or begged to cut a run short.  In fact they are almost ideal running partners.  I almost always get to choose the course and set the pace;  they’ve never grumbled when I put my headphones in and listened to music, perhaps because they still have each other; and they are enthusiastic from start to finish (most of the time).  Any sensible girl knows that running with others is also the safe way to go and I have to concur with that.   The three of us have passed some sketchy people and some scary dogs but I’ve never been given any trouble or felt unsafe… maybe because one of my partners is big and black and the other is small, but scrappy looking.  Together they cut a wide path for the three of us.  Oh, it isn’t always perfect, one always has to run in front and the other answers the call of nature at the most inopportune times (it must be a male thing).   The only problem is that they are both in their 70’s and running is harder on them than it used to be. I can tell by our pace and the way they both hobble around when we get back to the house that the runs, though invigorating, are hard on their joints.   A few weeks ago we went for a run together and it became very clear to me that our remaining runs are numbered. Like I said, I’ve been running with these guys for the past 9 years, so thinking that one day they may not be able to go with me is really sad.  On our most recent run a few things in particular struck me: they didn’t pull me along and force me to go faster; they had almost no reaction to passing squirrels and cats; and in the last 1/2 mile when I let them off their leashes they didn’t sprint off and leave in their dust as they used to.

We adopted Porter and Linus over 9 years ago from the Humane Society and I’ve been running with them ever since.  I trained them to run with me in a well choreographed routine that prevents me from stepping on them and them from stepping on their leashes.  It definitely took some work.  I’ve tripped over Porter and ended up sprawled on the pavement; Linus has diverged from our trio and ended up going around the far side of a mailbox only to be stopped short by his leash and the force of Porter and I on the OTHER side  of the mailbox; Porter has body-checked both me and Linus into the hedges when noisy buses come up from behind; and we have long since stopped trying to pass other dogs unless I am between my dogs and the unknown ones.  But once we got our system down they were great. They know to cross the street when I say “cross,” and if Linus happens to step over his leash he will lift his paw back over it when I say “paw,” all without skipping a step. I was even able to take both of them and a jogging stroller out running for many years without any major upsets – in fact they would run slightly ahead of the stroller and Paige or Olivia (whoever happened to be in the stroller) would laugh and try to catch their tails.

This post isn’t about my triathlon training per se, but it is certainly in line with the theme of Go Momma Go.  I am Porter and Linus’ “momma” and when they see me put on my running shoes and grab their leashes every inch of them, from their wet noses to their furry tails, is saying “Lets Go Momma! Lets Go!”

Happy New Year

Can you imagine trying to change a tire on a car that is moving at 60 mph?  Who knows where I heard that phrase from, but nonetheless that is the phrase that comes to mind when my life and responsibilities are in full swing and I try to add something new or change the way I do something…   Fortunately I am a public high school teacher and I get great breaks throughout  the year when my metaphorical car slows WAY down and I can change a tire that has gone bad… To be clear at this point, I am speaking metaphorically; I don’t even know how to change a real tire…

So right now I am at the tail end of Winter Break and have had two full weeks to re-instill my good habits – the ones that get me back on track for the Portland Triathlon which is a mere 204 days away.  I have started eating breakfast again – one that doesn’t consist of a cup of coffee at home and a Grande Chai Latte in the car.  To be fair, I did read once that the boost caffeine can provide for you in the morning offsets its negative attributes; plus a latte is mostly milk which is full of vitamin D, calcium and protein – I need all those things right?  Incidentally that is what goes through my head most mornings…  But I have this great smoothie recipe that I can make ahead and freeze the smoothies into single use bags and that is my morning savior!  I’ve also remembered to drink water; a LOT of water and to be honest I think drinking water is the most boring thing in the world.  Why drink water if there is coffee or wine or beer or even chocolate milk? Water just seems so boring in comparison.  Yes, I’ve tried to fancify it with Crystal Light or lemon wedges, but it is still just water.  I’ve also tried different temperatures of water and different containers… right now what seems to be working is a clear, reusable Starbucks cup with a lid and a straw.  The good news is that drinking the water gives me ample opportunity to remind myself to complete another good habit –taking my vitamins: one fish oil, one multi vitamin, two Acai capsuls, two glucosamines, and now an additional B12.

The other thing that needed to be reaffirmed is actually running and going to the gym. I am a fair weather runner – if it is warm, sunny and nice I am all about running but when it is dark, cold, and rainy I’ll avoid it at all costs.  Once the 2011 Portland Marathon was over my need to get miles in subsided and then of course the weather changed so my desire to run decreased even more.  I must be honest, I do own a treadmill, a bike trainer, and belong to a gym to which my kids are both “kid club” members so there is child care available.  But the treadmill and trainer are pretty boring and I can’t do either  for more than 30 minutes without losing my mind.  As for the gym, well I feel bad being away from my kids during the day and then being away from them again to go work out – it feels selfish and mean.  But here’s the thing – MY KIDS LOVE THE GYM!  Over break they CHEERED when I told them we were going to the gym.  Paige actually tossed me my gym bag the other day and told me to get ready while she got her shoes on.  So, anytime I use my kids as an excuse to avoid the gym, it is complete crap and I invite you to comment on it!

All in all I am back in the healthy swing of things; I am starting my day off right with a spinach smoothie, I am well hydrated, well-fortified with vitamins, and have managed to run and/or workout most days of break (well not the one where I was really hung over).  The best part is that today I went for a run and when I was leaving Paige asked if she could come with me. I told her when I got home we could go out together and take the dogs with us.  So after my 6 miler I get home, get Paige and the dogs and we head out for a run.  She couldn’t be happier and I love watching her run.  On our way back home she says “Mom, I think I want to do a triathlon this summer. Can I do that?”  To which I responded “Absolutely, honey. Absolutely.”

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