Running is hard. I didn’t believe I could run a mile until my friend, who has been mentioned before and is AWESOME, made me keep going when I wanted to stop, and quickly my distances skyrocketed after that. I’m still maxing out at about 10 miles these days, probably because I’m kind of inconsistent (working on that).
In any case, I have a Miniature Pinscher. He weighs 16 lbs, not to focus on weight but just to give you an idea that he’s a pretty small dude, and one day I got the idea that instead of going for my run and then walking him later, I could just run with him. I figured he hikes fine, and he’s a pretty active little guy, so he shouldn’t have too hard of a time picking it up.
Well, let me tell you, he is an athletic little sucker.
I had this kid on a Halti, so he wasn’t supposed to be pulling, and HOLY CRAP. I ran my first 7-minute mile. At the end of the first mile he had to poop and I basically collapsed on the grass and watched him while I tried to catch my breath (I picked it up before we left, I’m not a garbage human). Looking down to see this little squirt with teeny tiny legs who was completely un-phased by running a mile faster than I ever had, and watching him dance around me begging to get going again as I sat there in the grass was really a hit to my self-esteem. I considered walking him home and driving to my boyfriend’s house instead of finishing our run there. My expectation was that he would need to give in before I did because he’s so much smaller and I had been training without him, and that eventually, I’d have to walk him or even carry him (although I like to think I would know when to stop before it got to that point), and I was blown away. He’s an impressive little guy, but what did that say about me?
Can’t even keep up with your dog….how will you ever compare to real runners? Why would anyone run with you? You’re so slow oh my god why do you even bother. Fat. Fat. Fat. That’s why you’re so out of breath. It’s a good thing most people don’t know you’re trying to become a runner…
Whoa Nelly, as you can see that spiraled quickly. I should also add that I was on a fairly busy road because I was heading to the crossing so I naturally assumed everyone driving by was judging me, and yes, my boyfriend and one friend who runs with me are the only ones I was willing to tell that I was trying to learn to run at this point. I was terrified of the questions
“How fast are you?” so slow
“How far can you run?” not far
“When are you going to race?” never
And I’m told that those responses are inaccurate, but they feel real. Eventually, I got up and we finished the next 2 miles of our planned 3 mile run at MY pace, which is usually more of a 10-12 minute mile.
Since then, I’ve gotten him a harness because we’ve worked VERY hard on loose leash walking and still have hard days with that, so I want to make it very clear when he can pull and I will go with him and when he doesn’t get to pull because it’s my turn to lead.
Interestingly, since starting this exercise, his loose leash walking has actually improved….. but this is NOT a dog training post 😛 He has his fair share of behavioral issues that we’ll discuss in another post, but running was super for getting him past things that trigger his reactivity without an explosion.
I’d like to take a moment to give a shoutout to Kelly Roberts of the Run, Selfie, Repeat podcast and 100% recommend checking it out if you struggle with your body image, self-esteem, etc., whether related to running or just life in general. She’s super real and down to earth and her podcasts have gotten me through several speed bumps when I was feeling down or wanted to give up.