On Things With Four Legs, Two Goofy Ears and A Heart Bigger Than The Pacific Ocean

I’ve been trying to jot down a Speedgoat post-run write-up, but that’s going slower than expected (partially because my crappy iPhone has some miscommunication with its camera software and all my gorgeous pictures are out of focus, but that’s a story for the actual post).  With that I’ll drift towards the purity of trail running itself.

I’ve been embraced this 100-mile training with a mindset of it being something I love to do… as the miles have worn me down with the longer and longer runs during the awful heat we’ve had this summer, I have realized that some of this is what I love to do.  In reality, I am doing this because I really want to, because I want a belt buckle and I want the challenge.  The other half of reality is that the training is a challenge, but the challenge isn’t what has worn me down; the miles that I can no longer run with Tele are wearing me down.  I have spent so much of this summer away from my puppy, away from the best trail running partner there is because training for 100 is too much for her.  So while I am happy to take on the challenge, I can say that I don’t know that I’ll do it again because I’d rather be running with my dog.

This past week, some very good friends recently lost their first dog, Chester, way too soon and it’s breaking my heart.  Last year, another good friend lost the first best yellow lab to walk the earth and not too long before that we lost the dog I grew up with.  Chester, Shasta, Java, Bimbi, Calle, Iza, Kora, Tashi, Scruffy and Tele they have all joined me on many a trail run.  Chester was my first real trail running buddy, and I know, bears that name to many others in the lives she’s touched.  It sounds like she had a fantastic trail run shortly before the end.

There’s something magic about being able to share your run with a dog.  You’re hardly ever too fast for them, and when you are, you don’t stress out about slowing down.  You’re always too slow for them, but they never seem to care.  When you’re having a bad day, they just grin and give you infinite energy; and when you’re having a really bad day, they don’t care if you stop and walk or even sit and throw snowballs for them for a while.  They never cary a watch and don’t really mind if you go 2 miles or 10.  They teach you honesty, and humility, they push their limits as far as they can go and inspire you to do the same.  It’s really hard for me to not want to go on my run when I have a face like this waiting for me at home.

It’s even harder for me to leave her behind for a 30-40 mile training run in 90+ degree heat.  Dogs are lights in our lives who, for better or worse, burn their candles brightly… at both ends.  I am grateful for the short, but wonderful time I get to share with them.

Chester, thank you for all the runs, and for thoroughly cleaning the sunscreen off me after each of them.  You will be missed.

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