But I Really Hate Running
I was a chubby kid and always dreaded the yearly presidential physical fitness test or whatever it was called. I “ran” a 12-minute mile. My version of chin ups could more reasonably called a dead (totally lifeless) hang. No 5th grader was strong enough to pin down my feet hard enough for me to push myself up into the passing number of situps. I was basically a bench warmer for 3 years of high school basketball. In college, I switched to yoga.
In the years since, I’ve tried various forms of working out or staying active - aerials, gym memberships, boot camp classes. I never stuck with any of it for very long. I dreaded going to most of them & felt guilty for wasting money on memberships I paid for but didn’t use.
And then I adopted a dog. I adopted a dog and she didn’t play with toys and wasn’t totally sure about other dogs but she loved the woods. So, I started pack walking with other dog people. And Tink would run around off leash and I’d stroll. And I had a new excuse not to work out - because I didn’t want to spend time away from her unnecessarily. How was I going to go to the gym and also walk her? (Answer is easily, because I work for myself and control my schedule but that’s not the point).
But because I love this dog too much, I’ll try anything. We tried dock diving, obedience, nosework, agility. Yappy hours & costume parades. And then someone posted about canicross lessons and I didn’t want to deprive her. So, on a snowy day we drove to Weston, MA and met with Megan of DogPoweredFun and her handsome as heck husky, Granite. We geared up and went for a jog. And I sucked (wind)! But I loved it. And Tink loved it. And watching Granite run, pulling for it like he did, was inspiring.
We joined Kurgo’s Running Team and we’ve run something like 12 races this year because it’s so much more fun to run with others than to run alone. We’ve made some canicross running friends- a formerly timid bull terrier, Sonny; a 30 lb black beagle mix, Freddie; a powerhouse of a puller, Mochi; Winston a hound mix who howls with excitement as we gear up; Sulu a 14 lb poodle who really loves to pull (and, of course, their humans!). We’ve travelled to way out in western MA, three plus hours North to Maine and several places in New Hampshire. We’re exploring parts of New England that are new to me, despite being born and raised here.
I run a 9 minute mile, maybe 11 on trails. But who cares? I’m out there with my dog and other people are there with their dogs and it’s great energy. Some of the races have great swag and free pizza. It’s great.
Eventually we went back to DogPoweredFun and took another lesson and I got to run with Granite which was unreal. What a feeling to be canicrossing with a dog whose very DNA drives him to pull. I even tried him bikejoring on a fat bike and let me tell you… that’s very addictive!
Canicross was my gateway into a more active life without the dread. Tink doesn’t care if we sprint or jog, if we win or come in last (and trust me, we do not win lol). Canicross brought a happier life at both ends of the six foot bungee leash between us.