ISO: Running friend. Must be a girl. Must own running shoes. Does not need to be fast.
This was one of those runs where I took a lot of pictures and none of them were awesome. The run was great. Just the pictures weren’t. Handling the dog took my focus from my camera. This was Lou’s first picture run. I couldn’t say no to her. I was planning an easy run. I had just finished up lifting and was going to do an easy 3 miles or so.
Ok Lou, do you want to go?
Dumb question. Of course she wants to go. Go is Lou’s favorite word. Lou is a German Wirehaired Pointer. She is true to her breed, high energy and stubborn. Even though she is now two years old she just has never adopted proper leash etiquette. At least once a run, I have to remind her who is running with whom. Then she’ll heel properly with a loose leash for a few steps before she forgets herself and starts racing. It helps to let her off the leash, if possible, for little periods of time because then she can go full throttle and get some decent exercise.
We had barely started running when we jumped two deer on the path. The deer just stood there staring at us as I got out my camera and took a couple of pictures of them. Lou wanted a little closer look and that sent them bounding into the forest with effortless grace. I was still standing there holding my camera and Lou was still pointing into the woods when an older couple came around the corner. I talked to them for a minute. They had walked to the two-mile point and had seen no one the entire time. I was the first person they had seen. Great! That means I can let Lou off the leash a little here and there without bothering anyone. No runner wants to be chased by a dog.
I haven’t gone running with Lou or anyone else in months. Finding a running friend is one of the hardest things to do when you move. Sure you have to find a new church, a new hair dresser, a new grocery store, but you can find all those things on Google Maps. Running friends do not pop up as little pins around your house. And it isn’t about running with just anyone. It’s about friendship and a shared passion. When I meet new runners, it usually goes something like this: Oh you Run? Do you want to be my running friend??? I’ll run whenever. It’s not that I’m desperate. I just love running with friends. I don’t need or want company on every run – just once or twice a month as schedules permit. It adds some variety and it’s nice to have someone to chat with on the trail.
My husband and I don’t get to run together very often because of needing child care. He is a whole foot taller than me with longer strides and a faster pace, which vexes me because he doesn’t enjoy running as much as I do, but he’s faster – totally unfair. And he is less competitive about running so he isn’t into racing or training for a race. This is completely fine with me. I think it is perfectly ok for us to have separate hobbies. I don’t work on diesel engines with him. We have other hobbies and interests that we share.
In some ways, the dog is an awesome running buddy. She is available at a moment’s notice. Cold temperatures don’t bother her a bit. She doesn’t squabble about distance, but further is better. She maintains a positive attitude the entire run. She says she will run your pace, but sometimes she plays step ahead, but only because she’s trying push you to the next level. She will alert you of any danger on the trail. You never know, that squirrel might come attack if she wasn’t there to serve and protect. And then, if you give her the go ahead to go off without you, she’ll sprint back and forth ahead of you, always returning with genuine encouragement. I guess in a lot of ways she’s exactly like me.