I have a new favorite hobby that I’m excited to announce! I have always loved exercise-from kickboxing to bootcamp to running. Unfortunately, when I hit 40 three years ago, I found that my runs were becoming increasingly difficult on my knees, hips and back. I absolutely love the cardio I get from a good run, but my body feels the impact of the pounding on asphalt for days after a long run. The other downside of road running is that I have to harness my three year old energy-filled black Lab, Gus. Sounds fun, right? Not so much! There is nothing that holds this boy back-even a harness! I find myself gripping onto the leash for dear life with white knuckles and blistered hands, even at a sprinting pace. I can only imagine what the passengers in the cars that drive past are thinking. “Ha! Look at that poor woman being run by her insane dog”, instead of what it should be, “Oh, look at that sweet boy being taken for a run by his devoted owner.”
A few years ago, my dear friend Allison and I began running together. She is my motivation-even on those days when I’d rather curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of coffee. We all need a friend like Allison to get us up and out the door.
Two weeks ago, I got a text from her asking me to go for a trail run. As in the past, I immediately thought, “How will I keep up with her?” (she is my friend who runs marathons in 90 degree weather, barely breaks a sweat and typically walks away with a medal). My usual comment back is, “Sure … but you’ll have to promise you’ll be slow! I’ve never done this before.” She has patience like no other and always makes me feel like I can conquer anything.
It was a crystal clear Saturday morning with unseasonably warm temps as we set off. Gus was in his glory, sprinting ahead-OFF THE LEASH, much to my liking. No longer did I have my shoulder being ripped out of its socket as he dragged me down the road. Ahead he’d dash until just out of sight then, without prompting, there he’d appear once again by my side. We were both free, breathing in the fresh air, listening to the sounds of the wind whistling through the trees and the birds singing their songs of spring’s soon-to-be arrival. Instead of dodging cars and other pedestrians and their dogs on leash, we were free. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed the challenge of dodging the obstacles along the trail and the give of the soft ground under my feet was a welcome break for my aging joints.
We went again this morning and as we wrapped up our five miles, I thought to myself, “I can’t wait for next time”. I love when I face a challenge and succeed. What challenge have you faced recently that gave you a sense of accomplishment?