Well, it wasn't as bad as I thought. I did take the dog running with me this morning.
There are definite pros and cons to running with my dog (she did two poops in the half an hour run, and we went right after her morning routine, where she did three; and she pulls a bit, so my left shoulder gets sore, until we establish that I really am in charge.) But she is always so excited to go, and she doesn't whine about hills, like some of my previous running partners, so I think I'll start taking her more often.
Let me explain: I usually try to run as many hills as I can find near my house. If I have to drive somewhere to run, I set myself up for not going. In Eugene we had several "killer" hills within a half a mile of our front door. In fact, there was one hill that went for one mile straight up, and I felt like the King of the World when I could make it up that thing without stopping.
We lived near Hendrick's park, and Pre's Rock, just a mile from U of O's Hayward Field, home of Nike and Steve Prefontane...you'd think the magic of the place would have rubbed off on me a bit and made me into a more natural runner.
I mean, I got my first pair of Nike's when I was 11, I think. I was quite chubby even then, but I played 7th grade basketball because my friend Marcia did. She was a starter, I was a bench warmer. I got the award for "Best Attitude." I was proud of that, actually. Still am.
Plus, I did like the shoes. White leather Nikes with the baby blue swoosh. I kept those things until 1997, when my college aged babysitter saw them and covetted them, since vintage Nike's were all the rage. I gave them to her. I still miss them a bit, I have to admit.
Back when I started running with kids in jog strollers and later just with the dog, I'd run on the trails in Hendrick's park. A few times, a sixth sense told me to veer to the right, someone might be behind me, and lo and behold, Maria Mutola , the amazing Mozambique Olympic athlete who trained at U of O, would swish by so fast, I thought she might have been a vision. She was so quiet on the trails, I could hardly hear her. But she was so fast and strong and lovely, I had the feeling if I hadn't moved out of her way, she may have just lept right over me, in a single bound.
I'm a loud runner. My feet make a lot of noise when they hit the ground, and my breathing's heavy. I turn red right away too. But I'm not having a heart attack, I swear. I'm just a clompy, panting, sweaty Chubby Mommy Runner. Nothing wrong with that. I run the same way, even when I'm 30 pounds thinner. Although maybe my clomps aren't as loud when I'm lighter, I'm not sure.
I know it seems that a Chubby Mommy Runner like me might want to avoid hills, since hills suck, but I've always been on a time limit with my running, and I need to get the most out of the workout in the 30-40 minute window that I can. Either I've had babies who hated being stuck in their strollers for too long, or kids at home with the daddy who was hoping I'd get back home as soon as possible, or a job to hurry up and get to. You know, Mommy things.
So, hills are the way to go for me. You get more bang for your buck on a hill. And, if you stop running on a hill because you're lazy or out of shape, or both, you still have to walk up the hill, so it's not a total waste of time. I'm all about efficiency that way.
And the best thing about running up hills is that you get to run down them at some point. So if you're good at tricking yourself into things, like I am, you tell yourself "Come on! Just get to the top, you can stop at the top, I promise!" and then when you get to the top you say "Well, really, now you're just being lazy if you stop, because it's all down hill from here..."
But anyway, back to my dog. Sometimes you want a person to encourage you to run up the hill, but sometimes you want to slug that person if you're working hard and they're way ahead of you yelling "Keep going!" I've been on both sides of the uphill battle. It's tricky to find just the right hill running partner, take it from me.
But if I keep my dog on a short leash when we're running up hills, and she stays right next to me, happily skipping along, barely breathing hard, while I'm chugging up the hill, she doesn't rub it in. When I'm going so slowly, that she stops trotting and starts walking (while I'm still "running," that is) she still doesn't rub it in. She just looks straight ahead and pretends it's no problem; she's happy to walk, she's happy to run; really, whatever I can manage is fine with her, she'll just keep her opinions to herself.
So, she is a decent running partner after all, but I would like to find someone to run with who doesn't poop so much along the way.