A Warm Weather Weekend And Leash Woes

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and hopefully yours was filled with some sunshine like we had here on Saturday.  I know the East Coast has been dealt with a winter weather blow, repeatedly for the past few weeks.  I hope you are all doing okay and are just snuggled up inside.
Chicago was very kind to us this weekend.  We had a 40+ degree day here on Saturday and the sun was out.  I took full advantage and went for a nice long run.  I was able to get 9 miles in, not the super long run I love to do, but long enough to get the endorphins really flowing.  I also got to wear capris, run on pavement and dodge a lot of puddles.  Not bad!
Sunday was drizzly here; the perfect way to spend my day off from running.  I was thrilled to see the rain because it was dwindling down that foot and a half of snow we got last week.  In fact, by evening I saw some grass in people’s yards.
Thank you to everyone for sharing their humorous/horrific treadmill tales with me on Friday.  I am glad you all enjoyed my interesting moments at the gym.  I am almost certain there will be more of those to come.
It did remind me of one more grievance I have had lately and a plea to all dog owners.  Two weeks ago I was up in the suburbs with my husband teaching skating.  I finished work before him and took advantage of the opportunity to change up my daily run and get a few miles somewhere different.  We had recently had one of our first measurable snowfalls and most of it had been shoveled.  Despite an annoying wind coming off of Lake Michigan I was feeling great and opted for 8 miles that afternoon.
With a mile left to go I was on a beautiful residential road and a man ahead of me crossed the street with a dog on a retractable leash.  The dog, as any pup wants to do, decided to linger at a bush.  The owner was interested in his phone and he let the retractable leash open up so that he could walk to the corner of the sidewalk, leaving the dog several feet away on the other side.
I was stuck and despite my best efforts the gentleman was too busy with other distractions and couldn’t hear me.  I could have stopped, but we all know that I am far too stubborn and also just wanted to finish my darn run!  So I swerved around the gentleman and tried to hop around the sidewalk to avoid being clotheslined by the leash.  Unfortunately I landed on a patch of ice.
We all know that I have a serious lack of coordination.  Of course the first thing that landed on the ground was my face.  Yes my face!  And then my shoulder.  I was so furious that when the gentleman ran over I just got up, waved him away and kept running.  I knew I was hurt and I wanted to cry, but I was also so mad.
When I wiped my face there was blood.  I knew my husband would be worried if he saw me coming back crying and bloody and I didn’t want to alarm him or my in-laws.  Fortunately when I got into the driveway and saw myself in a mirror, it was a small cut on my lip and nose.  But boy was I furious.
From one dog owner to another, I beg you…..please skip the retractable leash.  If you want to give your dog some space let them run in the yard or take them to the dog park.  It isn’t always the people you see coming towards you that you need to pay attention to.  Those of us, including walkers and bikers, don’t like dodging your unpredictable dog on a 10 feet leash!
On the flip side, I do have some great news.  Run, don’t walk, to Target.  Most of their winter gear (including running clothes) are 50% off.  This includes hats, gloves, and purses (to store your running gear in of course).  And they also have a new flavor of La Croix.  Go try the pineapple flavor now.  It is my new favorite!  It is also a totally acceptable day time version of a pina colada!
I am by no means compensated or sponsored by Target (not that I would decline).  I am just a frugal shopper and love everything about that store.  Their running gear and accessories are all great!
How was your weekend?  Ever been clotheslined by a leash?

Four Legged Running Partners

Oh boy do I have exciting news!  After years of wanting a dog, we finally fell head over heels for a little guy.  After a long period of careful research and scouring shelters around the Chicagoland area, we found the perfect match.  Meet Louie Z., named after the great Louis Zamperini.


Louie was born in Kentucky and brought to the Chicago area in September as a group of three litters of puppies who were very sick with Parvo.  He spent the last few months in quarantine and went from a measly 8 pounds to a whopping 27 to date.  Because he was such a strong survivor and we have high hopes of having him join us soon on our runs, we decided to name him after a great runner and infamous survivor.

Louie is still just a bit too young to start running but there are a few things you can do to prepare almost any dog for the sport.

First you need to wait until puppies are developed.  Depending on the breed you should wait 6 months for smaller dogs and up to a year for larger breeds.  You never want to place too much stress on their bones or joints as they are growing. This is especially important for breeds such as Labradors or German Shepherds that tend to have hip issues.  Just as you should consult your doctor before beginning exercise, you should talk to your veterinarian as well.

Before a dog can run with you they must be able to heel.  This means that you need to train a dog to walk on a leash at your side without pulling.  Most people would recommend that dogs heel on your left side.  Your dog should be able to walk comfortably with you and not pull at the leash.  This is essential for the safety of both of you when running.

Make sure your dog knows other essential commands such as sit, stay, and come.  Before you go running it is best that your dog knows basic commands.  If your dog cannot sit on command or come back to you it is probably best that you hold off on running together.

Treat your dog just like any new runner.  You wouldn’t take a new runner out for a 5 mile run for the first time.  Ease them into it.  Start with a half mile run and slowly build mileage over time.  Be aware of the elements.  Dogs get dehydrated in heat and need water.  During the winter the cold concrete and salt can crack their paws.  Plan ahead and equip your dog properly.

Always be the pack leader.  Don’t let your dog lead you.  Make sure you have your dog at your side and use the “heel” command at all times.

Never tie the leash around you or on your wrist.  Dogs are by nature likely to do unexpected things.  They can see another dog or animal or be spooked by a stranger.  An unexpected jerk by Fido can lead to a serious injury for you or your dog.  Safety is always the number one concern.

Dogs are wonderful companions.  One of the most touching things I ever read was David Willey’s (editor of Runner’s World) tribute to his best friend and running partner .  Check it out but bring tissues.

Do you have a special running partner?  Canine or human?