Saturday, March 16, 2019

Things, Stuff, and Canicross

A lot has happened since my last post: Our girls' cross country team won the state championship, I registered for the MDI Marathon this October, ran a bunch of races, ranging from 5ks to half-marathons (and doing quite well), and have been strategically creeping my weekly mileage up to the 40s for now, while maintaining bread and butter workouts from intervals to long runs.

Epic Finale 5K

Being more open to road running is one of the smartest things I have done in a while. It allows for more options, being able to track consistent splits is super valuable for getting faster, and there are more races available. Sure, trails are more fun, and somewhat easier on the body, but doing both just gives more options, and I'm enjoying feeling fast again for the first time in years. One should never underestimate consistent leg turnover if they are serious about gaining speed.

Another dimension I've added to my running is canicross, which is a cool sounding word that basically means running with your dog. We adopted Moxie, a greyhound/pitbull mix, last December. She is a natural runner, and goes bonkers when she realizes we're about to do a run together. I bought a basic hands-free leash set-up a few months ago, and just upgraded to a true, racing set-up which should be arriving soon. We'll be competing in the Pineland Canicross this May, and expect to do well there.

Moxie during a water break.
I can't express how much fun it is taking her out on the local logging roads. She just loves it so much and it's great to have some enthusiastic company out in the woods. I've taught her some running commands and she is super-focused for the most part. She knows "sow ahead", which really sounds like a quick sue-head... adopted from my wild boar hunting days, using dogs. That command has two-purposes: Get back out in front or go faster.  She also knows "haw" (left) and "gee" (right). A simple "easy" to slow down... we're working on that that one. She doesn't like to slow down.

Moxie on the run
Our other dog, Hagrid, is less enthusiastic about running, but enjoys the occasional 2-3 mile jaunt with Kate. The beagle and hound in him comes out and his nose is often right on the ground, picking up the scents of various woodland creatures and overcome by a desire to track them down. That's fine, he's just doing what he's genetically programmed to do, but one has to expect quite a few sniff breaks when taking him out for a run. Moxie... she just goes.

Hagrid and Moxie
It's great that the dogs and doing more racing have breathed new life in my running. Frankly, prior to all of that, running has felt a bit stale. No more. I've met many awesome new folks at local races, been enjoying the quicker turnover in my legs, and of course and having a blast with Moxie out on the logging roads and trails. Coaching again has also been a huge contributor. If you're surrounded daily by young, fast enthusiastic runners, I dare you not to be affected by it. Doing the workouts with them is a win-win and a lot of fun... and it's nice to know that even though I'm in my mid-forties, I would still make varsity.

Looking forward to warmer temps ahead!