Dog Gone It
Last week, my long run was a bit longer than expected. With my bad vision, I didn't realize until after a few seconds that I had been making direct eye contact with a stray dog across the street from me.
I was hoping that'd be the end of it. After a little while, I saw a shadow coming from behind me, so I moved to the side thinking it was another runner. But then, I felt something pawing at my heels and realized the dog was following me.
I had no idea what to do, so I just kept looking straight ahead and running. After a little bit, the dog was whining next to me and then he jumped up at me. I yelled at him and he stopped, but he kept pawing at my heels every now and then.
It wasn't the kindest thought, but when I saw a cyclist heading toward us in the opposite directions, I was hoping the dog was follow him. He didn't. After a half a mile, I came up with a plan.
There was a fire station a little out of my way. I figured I could go there and ask them if they knew if animal control could be called on the weekend (or at least keep the dog occupied for 10 minutes while I ran away).
The dog was still with me for a mile, so I went to the fire station. The dog was gone by then, but I still stopped by the station telling the firefighters that the dog was following me. As I was about to leave, the dog was nice enough to be waiting across the street for me, so I waved him over. He kindly complied and the firefighters kept him to see if animal control was available.
Stray dogs have always been a running fear of mine. Once, I ran into an area where there were dogs, who were bordering on aggressive, but there was distance between us and I ran in the other direction. I'm not really sure what to do. In this case, it was an open area without houses or stores. I didn't see a stick or rock if I needed it. This week, I made sure to pack my pepper spray with me. But any advice on dealing with stray dogs would be greatly appreciated. My first choice of course is avoiding them.
Oh, That Wall
Hitting the wall is something new runners preparing for a race hear about fairly quickly. In an article, Runners World described it as, “Your legs feel like concrete, your breathing grows labored, your strides turn into a shuffle. “
I’ve gotten sick during runs, but I don’t think it’s been because I hit the wall. Maybe I just don’t understand the symptoms. My legs don’t feel like concrete. My breathing is okay.
Just two weeks ago, my energy just suddenly disappeared and my stomach was doing cartwheels. I was half a mile from home. I called somebody to pick me up before the energy to even make a phone call was gone. I shuffled along, praying my ride would get there as quickly as possible.
Running sounds fun, right?
Of the times I couldn’t finish a run, most of those I knew I shouldn’t have even tried. I knew I was sick, but I was stupid. So to reiterate a continuing theme on this blog, “Don’t be stupid. Stay alive.” (I should print a sign with that and tape it to my front door to stop me from running when I shouldn’t.)
If you need help when you’re out running, ask someone, call someone, or wave down someone. You know your body, and you know when you need help. Don’t be afraid to ask.
So let’s talk about those other times when you’re struggling during a race and don’t require medical attention. I’ve heard people say and write, “Just push through it.”
That sounds hardcore but how? A lot of it is state of mind. During LLS Team In Training, many of the participants thought our of hero or family members and friends they were running for. You’ll see signs along the run with messages like “Remember why you’re doing this.”
I aim for small goals. Can I make it to the next block? I just focus on making it to the next street light or some other landmark. This way I have small achievable goals. They’ll add up. Sometimes, they’re micro-goals. Can I move my foot forward?
A distraction is also a wonderful thing. Music helps tremendously. I danced terribly to distract from a leg cramp. Podcasts and audiobooks slow me down, but they might work for you.
So, no magic solution here. It’s just a reminder hitting the wall is an unfortunate possibility for all runners. I wrote about dealing with struggles during a run. The Runners World article I linked to above also has tips on preparing before a run to avoid hitting the wall. Good luck.
I couldn't find my GPS watch and was trying not to freak out. My entire family pitched in to get me the watch a few years ago.
They bought it for me because it has a built-in heart rate monitor. The heart rate monitor chest strap I was using before left a bad impression on me. By that, I mean it was cutting in to my skin and leaving scars.
I never felt it when running. The second I took it off though... Ouch.
The great news is I found my watch in the dark unknown crevices of a couch.
Now, you don't need a fancy GPS watch to run. I used a phone app (Runkeeper) for the first year I ran. Unfortunately, as I'm slow, using GPS on the phone killed my battery before I finished my first half-marathon. Because of that, I started to look at GPS watches.
But that's just my geeky need for information. At runs, there are mile markers to tell you where you are. Your phone or regular watch can tell you how much time has passed.
In my calorie-counting days, I wanted a count of calories burned. I also like to check my pace and heart rate. But, unless you have a medical reason to watch your heart rate, don't let not having a GPS watch stop you from running.
The benefits of running or walking don't magically improve just because you strap on a watch.
I got an email Friday announcing I was chosen as part of the SPI Marathon Ambassador Program. I added a new section to the blog about that, appropriately called SPI Marathon Ambassador.
Right now, the short version is you can get $25 off the marathon and half-marathon registration fee with the code HERNANDEZ25 (all caps). Check back for more later.
I just got an email about the SPI Marathon ambassador program. Here are some of the perks listed:
The first one is enough to get my attention. I'm a fan of the run, but the only way I got to participate earlier was because I worked for one of the sponsors.
Any run right now is out of my budget. I will have to play the role of supportive spectator. The good news is I'll get to work on my awesome sign-making skills.
Here's the link to the form to become an SPI Marathon ambassador.
Former high school water girl (really) finally running.