I went on a nice long run yesterday. Week 10 of my training plan called for 14 miles. I wanted to do something different, more trails than the 13 miles of dirt road from last week. Something a little more challenging. If I am to run the Blue Ridge Marathon, I want to prepare my body and stamina for the several up and downs of the course.
So I tried a loop called Crazy Eight, and because the original loop is 12.82 mi I added extra to it meet my mileage goal. Since I didn’t read things right, I ended up running 14.76mi. In turn it made it my longest run time wise (2 hours and 26mns).
Crazy Eight goes up for 800 feet on a forest road, then down 400 on single track and back up 700 feet on a trail that is listed as “extreme” in my trail book. But here’s the thing, while I had to walk at one point, it actually didn’t feel so bad. I think part of it as to do with my furry bodyguards.
You see I don’t own any pets, nor have any plans to. I find dogs often annoying, I can’t stand their barking and the fact that a giant Pyrenees tried to bite me once doesn’t help. I can’t have cats because I’m allergic. So you’re not going to find me on a trail with any animal. Heck when I ran two weeks ago, someone’s dogs were running near me, playing with each other and almost made me trip.
But when I reached the bottom of Green’s Lick I met two little fellows. Two dogs without a collar. They didn’t bark, but one made some “give me your attention” yaps. I thought their owner was nearby and didn’t pay much attention, I knew I was getting into this 2 miles of hard uphills. The dogs started following me. Again I thought they were on their way to meet their owner. Well, not so much. I only met one biker on the way up and he didn’t seem to know the dogs any more than I did.
The dogs were well behaved, they only hit my legs twice during the entire 2 miles. At times they stayed behind me, at times one lead the trail. They stopped a few times to drink at the creeks, but they stayed close. I have to say, it made me feel safe. I was on a new trail and it was nice to have them with me. Not only that but I think it encouraged me to keep on going, their happy energy was communicative. Sometimes I felt as I was cheering them up and sometimes they were. As I hit the downhill they kept on following me.
I met a biker on a break at a crossroad, he commented on how happy the dogs seemed to be. I said yes and laughed adding I didn’t even knew them. At that point the dogs decided the biker was more interesting and we parted ways.
I don’t know if those two little fellows were lost or just enjoying the freedom of the trails. But I sure enjoyed their company. For a while I could understand why people enjoy having a dog with them on their run.
Do you run with a pet?