|Sabrina, a.k.a. "Dog," doesn't|
get as many walks as she deserves,
but true to dogdom, she loves us anyway.
Dog and I ended up doing approximately three miles around the neighborhood, and I was surprised by all the memories that flooded my brain. It's been a long time since I've done anything around our area. It used to be that was the only place I ran. Up until a couple of years ago, running for me meant heading out the door, running for a bit, and going home. I have done endless loops and iterations around my neighborhood, countless two-mile, three-mile, and four-mile variations on a theme. This direction one day, that direction another - all circling back to the house at some point. Through the houses, out on the farm road, past the park, on the main road. This turn instead of that to keep things fresh. I've run by myself, with my husband (when we could still run together), with baby stroller for one, with baby stroller for two, with one dog or two. It wasn't unusual in the early days of my running "career" for me to head out with a baby jogger and both dogs in tow.
On my walk, it became apparent to me that in a strange way, I miss those days. I mean, the running stank. I can't deny that. When you are really just trying to get into running, it's hard to find the strength to continue when you feel you have to jolly along a baby and two dogs. Endless snacks, songs, and toys placated the two-footed companion(s). The dogs - surprisingly - were not as easy. You'd think dogs would be great running companions, and one of mine was. The other,.... another story.
|Punch only threw his 80+ pounds around when he|
didn't want to run anymore. Otherwise, he was a big softie.
The only dog I have known who could be completely naughty
but make you feel like you should be ashamed of yourself
So, more than the actual runs through the neighborhood themselves, I miss what that time represents. Like any reflection into the past, it can be hard to be reminded of how young you were. It was only a couple of years ago, but it might as well be decades. That time seems so far removed from my life now. Mostly, my life does not seem to be my own anymore, taken up as it is with the needs of two growing children. I don't have the babies anymore, and while I am good with that, I also occasionally miss all the things that came with that - the unquestioning love, the unquestioning hugs,... mostly, the unquestioning. Of course, I miss Punch, too, whose short life was like a shooting star across the sky. He died of cancer at the age of five, but he was so energetic (mostly) and filled with a Boxer's sense of humor that it still seems to me like he squeezed a full lifetime into his short years. There is a lesson to be learned there.
No, I don't miss running through the neighborhood. It was nice taking a walk and seeing things with new eyes again, but the truth is that I've outgrown our little enclave. As I have grown as a runner, I have moved beyond what our streets have to offer. Doing longer runs, you either have a choice of doing endless loops around the known, or untying the loop and heading out into unchartered territory. I chose the latter.
I don't exactly remember when I took my first running steps out of the security of our familiar stomping grounds, but I still remember the feeling of adventure that came with it. The thought that the road was open and endless and I could do anything I wanted. I must like that feeling, because a lot of my runs remain to this day only loosely planned as far as destination is concerned. Running has taken me so many places, literally and figuratively. It's brought me out of my comfort zone, out of my neighborhood, and helped me meet new friends. It's brought me an appreciation for life and everything we have in it.
|E. and Punch enjoying life.|
I hope that I am able to continue to grow and appreciate all that life has to offer. And, if once in a while I feel I need reminding, then I guess all I need to do to remember is slow down and walk the dog.