Monday, January 31, 2005

Sans a Dog Running

When we moved into our house, I couldn't wait to get a dog. I pictured myself out for a morning run, a happy hound trotting merrily beside me. A girl and her dog, pounding the pavement in the morning mist. What could be better?

Unfortunately, I quickly learned that the romance of running with a dog is sometimes just that - fiction. Kodiak was never really good for running. He's a territory marker of epic proportions and just couldn't get the hang of continuous movement. Plus, even 2 years ago, I knew his hips wouldn't be up to the strain, so I tried to limit his running.

Caper seemed to be a dog built for running. With his little barrel-chest and prancy legs, he's built for speed but he can do distance. The problem with Caper is that he's a cattle dog and exhibits an alarming propensity to knock into my legs. At first, I thought he was a jerk but then I realized it must be deeply inscribed in his DNA - if a running thing is moving in a direction you don't want to go, knock into its legs.

Works great on cows. Works great on runners, too. But that sort of behavior doesn't make the cow or the runner very happy. Caper had other problems as well. He always poops when we're miles from the nearest trash can, so I have to run with the leash in one hand and a smelly bag in the other. He wants to play with every dog or child we pass. He's never met a squirrel he didn't want to lunge after.

I've gotten wise. When I want to run for me, to concentrate on my form or do speedwork, I run without the dog. But when I want company or am just out for fun, Caper is usually invited. The only downside to my system is that I have to look into the betrayed eyes of Kodiak when we get home.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Easy Running

I've spent the last few weeks watching those strong souls in windbreakers and lycra leggins brave the wind, cold, snow and ice to get their runs in. Me? My pansy-ass has been on the indoor track of the community center (on good days), exercising to a scary Denise Austin video tape (on bad days), or sitting on the couch (on really bad days).

Today, I decided to run outside. I just couldn't face making a zillion circles on the stuffy indoor track. I also couldn't face the drive there - really, that gets to me the most. The time it takes me to drive there and back, I could practically be done running.

I have two issues with running outside. No, three issues. (Spanish inquisition, anyone?) My issues are being too cold, being too hot, being afraid of falling and breaking a bone. Too hot? I know - it seems like an oxymoron but once I start moving, I heat up fast.

But, it's hard enough to start a run without being frozen to the bone. It's still pretty chilly here - about 23 degrees this morning. I wore my long underwear under my shorts, my long-sleeved cool max shirt, a windbreaker/rain jacket, a hat, gloves, and a scarf. I absolutely hate when cold air hits my neck.

I made good clothing choices (as Garrison Keillor says "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.) and I was rewarded with a very pleasant run. I didn't see anyone else, except for a couple of people in cars. I fell into that easy running where everything feels good. I love this part of running - where I can feel my joints moving so smoothly. The more smoothly my joints move, the more my mind moves. I came up with 3 ideas for Book #2, answers to problems that had really been vexing me.

A good start to a good weekend, I hope.

Friday, January 28, 2005

A Blog Is Born

OK, first of all, I hate that word - blog. It sounds like something you should only ever do in private. But, since my dad ( just started one this week, I feel the pressure to start one. (Yes, if my dad jumped off a bridge, I probably would too.)

Do you think people make snap judgements about blogs the way they do when they meet someone in person? If I were meeting my blog, I'd guess the author was a runner, with a lot of energy, who likes things simple and straightforward. If I guessed that, I would be right. If you met me in person, you'd think I was a low-maintenance, incredibly quiet, average sort of person. You'd be right, except for the quiet part. I'm only quiet around strangers. Once I get comfortable with you, watch out.

My plan for this blog (ugh - have to think of different word) is to detail my marathon training and my other activities, particularly in the writing world. I'm a freelance writer, I'm trying to launch my own company (, I'm looking for a publisher for my first book, and I'm writing my second book. And since all of those activities, enjoyable though they are, currently pay practically nothing, I'm looking for a part-time job.

Will I find time for all that? Will a publisher ever fall in love with my book? Will my second book get written? Will I FINALLY break 5 hours in the marathon? Stay tuned to find out.