Mocha can be both the best running partner and the worst.
Just looking at her, you wouldn’t think she runs at all. She’s a small dog. Last we weighed her, she was a grand total of 13 pounds, just about the same size as my parent’s monstrous cat. She’s got long legs, yes, and they seem to get longer every day, but they look more like the frolicking kind of legs than the long distance running kind.
She is an amazing frolicker. For Thanksgiving, we took her to M’s parent’s place. They have a beautiful backyard, a hill that descends from their back porch to a tree-framed creek. The weather was beautiful, and Mocha was in love with the feel of clean, thick grass under her feet (or maybe that was me… I’m getting sick of concrete already). She frolicked. There is not other word for how she bounded down the hill chasing butterflies and little invisible monsters, and then turned to rip back up the hill to where we sat watching her in a couple bright yellow Adirondack chairs.
Ever since we brought her home, I have been determined that, when she’s old enough, she will be my constant running partner. But what’s old enough? And, if you wait too long, will she get so confused by the process, being so unfamiliar with long-distance running, that she’s hopeless at running in a straight line with no purpose but to run? Having no answers to these questions, I decided getting her running sooner rather than later was the best idea, even if those running excursions were just 1km or less in length. Now that she’s almost 6 months, I decided it was time to test her out with something a little longer.
Of course, this decision perfectly coincides with my yearly running itch, the time when, suddenly, I’m feeling like I’m spending far too much time in doors and not nearly enough time exercising. It’s kind of a sucky time. I start to feel fat (even though I’m not) and lazy (even when I’m not) and my motivation to put on my running shoes spikes through the roof for what seems like no reason. Last week, I put my runners on for the first time in weeks and clipped Mocha’s leash on at the same time. This week, I’m determined to make good use of our evenings.
Monday’s run was just under 4K. Yesterday’s was just over 5K. Today is our rest day.
Mocha is, to say the least, the most adorable runner you have ever seen. When she hits her groove, you can see her focus. Her ears flop around and her legs move so smoothly. At first, she would try to trip me, make me stop. But now, she seems to enjoy the movement. She yips at me when I slow down too much, or pulls out in front to tug on her leash and get me going faster. Even at my full speed, she’s tugging at the leash. After a bit of a lengthy sprint, she wouldn’t let me slow to a walk for any more than a minute. Her energy is constant, never diminishing.
But, then we meet another dog. And suddenly, it doesn’t matter that we were doing so well. Mocha is a little social butterfly, and if she doesn’t get her nose kisses, she’ll pull in the wrong direction until they’re out of sight or I give in. And once we’re in the park, we might as well just give up, especially if there’s a playful looking black squirrel.
I don’t know how she feels about our runs. I hope she likes them as much as I do. I hope I don’t push her too much. My favourite part about them, though, is not the running: I love curling up with a tired dog on the couch and having a sleepy snuggle a couple hours after we get back.
I have never seen her sleep so hard.