Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Running and Life's lesson

Every run is like a life’s lesson. Some go by with little thought or consequences, while others have a more profound effect. Today’s run was more like the latter.

Everyday the routine seems the same. The alarm clock on my watch is set for 5:00 a.m., although my dog’s internal clock must be set for 4:59 because every morning at one minute to five, I get the signal that they need attention. I let the two of them out, feed them, and get my running gear together. I rinse out my water bottle three times and fill it to the brim. I then grab my Forerunner 101 changing out the re-chargeable batteries every second day whether they need it or not. I bring both dogs inside and take Ruth our Miniature Schnauzer upstairs to go back to sleep. She’s always more than compliant to nestle down and sleep some more. Back downstairs, I grab my Seattle Mariners baseball cap and my wrap around dog leash and head out with my faithful running companion Koda, our 2 ½ year old Golden Retriever. I walk to the end of the driveway and wait a couple of minutes for my GPS unit to grab a signal. Every run starts out the same; it’s something I take for granted.

The Forerunner 101 will die after 3 runs, Ruth will always go back to sleep and Koda will always be willing to run with me. It’s a given.

Very rarely do I run into people on my runs. I usually see the Fire Chief reading his morning paper on his front porch and on occasion I see this guy walking his dogs in the park as I make my way through. I always get a kick out of his dogs because one is an overweight Jack Russell terrier and the other an energetic retriever cross. His dogs are usually off leash but they’re friendly so no harm done. The gentleman is always very friendly with a wave and the token dog biscuit for Koda. Koda has got to the point where he recognizes him and looks for the cookie.

Today, as I ran down the trail I came to the narrow entrance of the school field where I met up with the rotund Jack Russell, alone.

'Where's your other dog?' I innocently asked, fully expecting the dog to come bounding out of the nearby woods.

'He died the other day,' the man replied painfully. In a cathartic purge he told me of his dog's brief struggle with cancer and his painful decision to put him down. I was floored, I don't even know this man but here we were sharing a very emotional moment on a pathway in the middle of my morning run.

His final words to me, snuck up on me like a snake bite. It stings at first and then courses through your veins unleashing its full effect. 'It's like losing a child you know', he said with an ominous tone.

All I could muster was a ‘Take care’ and a wave goodbye as I contemplated his words.

I wanted to stop and pause for a moment when I realized that’s not the message. The message is to savor the moment and appreciate what you have. Koda is going to run with me for many years to come. Enjoy his company now while he’s still young and vibrant and create the memories of the glorious runs together. So I ran with my dog and I’ll do it again tomorrow. Will I take him for granted? Not a chance.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day Run

Life is good . . . No . . Life is great! My son, Ethan has been begging me to go for a run. He wants to get "strong" like me. Father's Day seemed like an obvious choice for a father-son outing. If it weren't for the rain it would have been perfect.

My plan was to take him for as far as he wanted to then run back and then I'd go out afterward for my long run. So as usual I get my shorts and shoes on. I fill up my water bottle and go check on my son.

He's got on jeans, a cotton long sleeve and his winter coat. (I see great potential for passing down some running gear knowledge through the ages). Well without completely re-dressing him I put him in some nylon pants and we head for the door. His shoes have no laces and no tread. In fact, I though we threw these things out two pairs ago. Alas he's a chip off the old block.

Okay we're ready to go when from the back of the hallway we hear. "Wait for me! I'm coming too." Four year old Owen also has a winter coat and rubber frog boots on. Great! We're almost there.

Ready guys? Why's Koda crying? Okay,grab the leash. Almost good to go. What now? Ruth! Get back inside Miniature Schnauzers weren't meant to run. At least not today.

We're off. My four year old bails out at the half a block. Those boots weren't made for running. We run back drop him off and were off again. We round the corner and head down hill toward the park.

"How much farther to the park, Dad? " He says looking up at me. His hair matting down from the unrelenting drizzle and his glasses completely fogged up.

"We're almost there. Are you tired?"

"Let's walk okay?"

"Sure, you ready to turnaround?"

He made it a lot farther then I thought he would and didn't complain too much. It's probably my most memorable Father's Day to date. You know the whole episode lasted less then your average sitcom but I really enjoyed it probably because I got to share my passion (running) with another one of my passions (my boys). I think I'll ask him to go for another run soon. If he says no that okay too. Deep down inside I hope he'll grow to love running like I do (but he is only six). I've never pushed any of my kids to pursue my passions past or present I want them to discover their own. Maybe we'll do it again real soon but if we don't I've got the memory of Father's Day 2007.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pole Fitness

I’m no expert I’m not even well informed but pole fitness is one of the latest crazes to catch on to the mainstream. I guess you could say it got its roots from seedy bars and exotic dancers but that where it launched from and it never looked back.

I take my hat off to the people who do it because it is really tough. I’ve tried it. If I were to compare it to other sports I’ve tried I would say it’s somewhere between rock climbing for its upper body and core strength and dance for its endurance and pure poetic moves.

My wife caught the bug over a year ago. I’ve bought a pole for her home studio and she gets on there about 3 or 4 times a week. She’ll work out for an hour or so practicing these freaky acrobatic moves that are gravity defying to say the very least. When put together it is poetry. It’s not really dance because it would almost being understating the ability of the pole fitness person. All pole people can dance but not all dancers can pole.

I’ve often thought about building up my core strength using my wife’s pole because I’ve seen the progress in her core. Then I actually get on for a move or two and then decide I’d rather go for a five miler in the trails. So I do. I’m extremely proud of you honey but for me the pole will have to wait another day!