Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Spring Training: Week 6

Spring Training posts document my training for the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon on March 30 and my "A" race, the Wisconsin Marathon half, on May 4.

The week, in training:

Monday: 5 miles, treadmill
Tuesday: ZWOW 20 + 20 minutes of TurboFire
Wednesday: 4.64-mile run, outside
Thursday: ZWOW 7 + 5.32-mile run, outside
Friday: Rest
Saturday: BODYPUMP
Sunday: Rest (sick)

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It was another warmish winter day, one that made me long for the fake winter conditions of last year. It was mid-30s, clear and and the snow was all but melted. A February day I could not let slip by me - not without a run.

As Mark cleared up dinner, I threw on a pair of capris and my Brooks Nightlife half-zip. My Nikes were laced as dinosaurs took over the living room. I wrangled my watch from a pair of inquisitive hands and turned it on.

I was ready. And waiting.

At 6:55, those curious hands hugged me night-night. At 7 p.m., I was out the door, for a run. My reliable companion by my side.

Our run was nothing special. I wanted to do something "long-ish," enjoy the time on the pavement and log some exercise. I remember Denali was a bit sluggish, likely from a walk earlier that day and a lighter training schedule this winter. But he was happy to tag along and even happier to sprint to the finish.

It seems a bit odd to think that such an unremarkable outing - one I struggle to remember aside from MOTOACTV issues - will be my last with Denali for a while. Though my pooch seems to be improving at a rate far beyond our expectations, he is limited to leash-controlled bathroom breaks for seven days and subsequent exercise will likely be gentle and gradual.

When Mark and I were expecting the worse, one of my most selfish thoughts was: how can I run without Denali? I am a runner because of him. When he was an exuberant, enthusiastic puppy, I followed the Couch to 5K program because I wanted to be a good dog owner, exercising him regularly, and I figured it would be far less painful to run 3 miles in the cold than walk them. Since then, he has logged thousands of miles with me. I felt encouraged by him when I was pregnant and frustrated. I felt protected after an attack on the trail system. I am constantly inspired by his love for the run and willingness to take whatever he can get, when he can get it.

I plan many a runs when I can get him out for some exercise and I count on him for safety reasons. In fact, I am so accustomed to running with him that I often say "left" or "stop" out loud when turning corners or approaching an intersection even if I'm by myself.

And while many dogs can be a pain in the IT band to run with, Denali is an amazing athlete. He is focused, driven and well-behaved. He doesn't chase squirrels, bark at people or show aggression toward other dogs. In fact, I can count on one lobster claw how many problems he's caused on an outing and I would be lying if I gave him full blame for the incidents.

I already feel a bit lonely as I look at this week's weather forecast and mapping out the week's runs, knowing I'll be flying solo. But I know he'll be back in no time, and I'll have a renewed love of running with my pal.

P.S. Mark and I wanted to thank you for the kind words about Denali and the unkind words about the driver. I feel blessed and lucky to say that he is improving nearly every hour, and he is moving with little to no pain. Denali even wanted to go back to his routine of sitting in the yard, feeling the breeze blow through his fur as he stared at squirrels darting around the tree. 


  1. Glad your buddy is doing better.

  2. This makes me sad but I hope he gets better soon! Just keep up the good work with your training! He will be running with you soon enough

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your pal. Sending good thoughts your way!

  4. It always amazes me how much a pet can change you. The love that they give is unparalleled and they always feel like one of the family. I am happy to hear that he is improving and getting better every hour of the day. He will be back with you in no time and you might just have to do the dog version of the couch to 5k plan with him :). He probably misses those runs just as much as you do.

  5. Awww! what a sweet post! get well son Denali :)

  6. Yay, so glad Denali is doing better!!!!!