Lately Brownie, my new dog, sprints like a crazy bitch when I take her off leash at the dog park.
I can relate. … I was feeling a little bitchy and crazy myself after six weeks of not running before my foot healed. I started to run again a few days ago, and clearly Brownie’s excited about it, too.
Brownie, a mutt/Australian shepherd mix, has taught me a lot about patience and consistency during my time off. Before my injury, Brownie and I would go out running together almost every day, and she’s been a wonderful companion during my recovery.
We got her from an Australian
shepherd rescue a few months ago. Not too surprising given her background Brownie is
athletic. (Australian shepherds were bred to herd cattle so they are smart and have lots of energy.) She can clear a six-foot fence and run a few miles with me without tiring out too much pretty easily.
I’m also fortunate that Brownie seems to possess a great on-and-off switch. She knows just when to kick into high
gear and just when to kick back. (That’s exactly what Brownie’s doing now
as I write this — resting peacefully at my feet.)
You know that saying about dogs and
owners looking alike? Well, no, Brownie and I don’t use the same groomer, but maybe we should?!
Yes, Brownie mirrors me in many ways, but not when it comes to resting. That’s where she’s got me beat. I suck at it.
We all know you’re supposed to take off after a big season (all the coaches and training plans tell you that you should), but few runners I know do it. And by resting I mean taking time off completely from running and switching things up for awhile like I just did. Elite runners do it all the time. The Kenyans take off a few weeks every year.
Now if you’re like me, I know what you’re thinking. I can’t afford to take off weeks at a time like the Kenyans. I’ll get out of shape and lose my base.
Well, that’s why I’ve always sucked at it, too, until now. The last time I took this much time off was after the birth of “Tarzan,” my son several years ago.
Also, I’m addicted to my endorphins. I suspect you are, too. I can’t lie. It’s been rough giving those up and few other workouts cut it for me there like running does.
My guess is, however, in a few months, I’ll be happy I took time off and probably running stronger — all because I was forced to do it when I didn’t want to. How’s that for irony?
On some days during my time off it killed me not to run, but not Brownie. She was content to keep me company walking. We usually went two to three times a day, about two miles each time. I called those recovery miles “my Brownie points.”
Since we’ve started running again she and I have picked up right where we left off. For her, it’s like we never stopped. She’s got no baggage around it like me. The down time was good for her. She’s sprinting, no problem. Soon I will be, too. I have to remind myself of that and not lose sight of the big picture.
Yes, I can feel that I took time off — I’m not as fit or fast yet as before I stopped, but it will come in time. None of this bothers Brownie so I’m not going to let it bother me either.
I am grateful to be running again pain-free with her at my side.
Yes, Brownie’s taught this old girl a new trick or two, like when it’s time to: “Run!”
And when it’s time to: “Sit! and stay!”
What a good girl she is. Heckuva job Brownie!
“Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!
Mileage today: 3.1; Mileage for 2012 (including Brownie Points): 1,242