Look who's back ...
Three weeks, almost to the hour, Mark and I took Denali out for his first run since being hit by a car and Denali didn't look back - except to see why we were dragging.
The vet gave us no clear guidelines as to how long we should keep him from exercise but Denali's behavior last week was more than indicative that he was back t normal. He no longer scowled when getting up and any evidence of a limp was impossible to detect. He wanted to go outside 10 times an hour, he darted after bunnies and he started getting "jumpy" whenever he would see one of us lace up a pair of sneakers.
If those weren't sure signs, I don't know what they are.
I had initially planned to take Denali out for tonight's recovery run but when we had a nice window for everyone to join me for the first part of my long run Sunday, we decided to go with it. Miles got some warm clothes on, Mark layered up and Denali rocked his collar + poop bag combo. Just like old times.
We made sure to keep it easy, as to not aggravate any injury, and were on the watch for any sign of an interrupted gait or discomfort. The pace was relaxed as we headed toward the park and down the greenway, and I was elated to see that Denali was trotting along almost effortlessly. He didn't pull with relentless enthusiasm like the days of yore but he did keep up and showed no signs of dragging.
Just as with a human injury, we didn't want to push Denali and kept him to a 5K as we were sure he didn't lose all of his fitness. He seemed like he worked, taking a big rest break on the rug, but not wiped the way we would have been had I tried to take him for the remainder of my 9 miles (holla for cutback weeks!).
And since he did so well yesterday, I think I'll still bring him along for my recovery run - if only so I don't have to carry my pepper spray. We'll ease him in slowly, maybe a few 3-milers a week, and increase his mileage a bit as he gets stronger. Maybe he'll even train for the Veterans Marathon with me.
Or not. Maybe he doesn't need to build that much endurance.