Friday, March 18, 2016

How much is too much? and good running breeds

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I should run Hershey and at what mileage he should stop. I did a little research about it but didn’t find much so I thought I’d share my personal feelings and opinions on the topic.

I believe dogs can easily mold and fit into our activity level whatever that may be. That being said, there are reasons to be careful and make sure we aren’t pushing our dogs too much. A lot of breeds are determined to please so they won’t necessarily tell us that they are tiered. It is our job as their owners to watch for the signs and to know our dogs. Here are some factors that I think of when I think about how much a dog should run.

Not all dogs are purebred, I know, but you can usually tell the main group that the dog belongs to. For example, I feel like herding dogs, sporting dogs, and working dogs usually make for good runners. These breeds were bred to work for hours on end and have the stamina and energy to run. When deciding how much to run your dog look into what his or her breed was bred to do and that can give you a good idea.
Is your dog short and stocky, is he/she tall and lean, does he/she have a long muzzle or is it pushed in like a pug or boxer? This is important because these traits can be a huge factor in overtiring and overheating. For example, dogs with pushed in muzzles, like boxers and bulldogs will most likely overheat more easily than a dog like Hershey who has a longer muzzle.  Very large dogs might not be able to go as far because it could be harder on their legs and joints.
Is your dog used to a lot of exercise or is he/she used to staying at home with only a quick walk around the block? We didn’t start running by doing ten miles right out of the gate so we shouldn’t expect that from our dogs. Just like us, our dogs need time to become accustomed to the exercise and build mileage gradually. When I’m not training for a race, Hershey and I usually run maybe 10 miles a week. Now that I’m training for a 50k I am obviously running a lot more than that. Whenever I start a training cycle, I usually start Hershey at about 10 miles (He is already used to doing 6 or 7 at once when I’m not in training) and slowly increase from there. The most he’s ever run with me is 17, I think he could do more than that but I’m going to introduce it gradually.
A lot of vets say you should wait until a dog is at least a year old before you do serious runs with him or her. I tend to agree. Every breed grows differently but I’d say a year is when most of them start slowing down when it comes to growing. I started running with Hershey when he was about 9 months old. I really wanted to wait until he was a year old but he was driving me insane. Hershey’s “teenage” stage was from about 7 months to 2 years old and he was CRAZY, a run wouldn’t even calm him down. At that point I was just starting to get into running too so we didn’t do any runs that were more than 3 miles. For larger breeds, like Great Danes, I would personally wait until they were about 18 months because they take even longer to grow.
Please note that all of this is just my opinion and knowledge from my experience with Hershey. I’m not an expert on this. Listen to your individual dog for signs that he or she is getting overtired. Every dog is different so what works for me and Hershey may not work for your dog.
I also wanted to list some breeds that in my opinion would make for good running partners.

Ok maybe I’m a little biased on this one but Vizslas are really great dogs for runners. I’ve found that Hershey is great for many types of running. He goes with me on my speed workouts, long runs, and easy runs. They are very high energy when they are young but that’s a plus in my opinion because it’s great motivation to get outside with them.
German Shepherds
At the dog daycare I worked at there was a young German Shepherd. She was the craziest dog in the place. German Shepherds love to work and they are extremely loyal. They need a job to do. They are great dogs for off leash trail running because they are pretty easy to train. Just make sure to socialize them well when they are young because they can be wary of new people that you may meet on your runs.
Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes
These dogs are great for colder, longer runs. Be careful in the summer that they don’t overheat. They were bred to pull sleds for miles so they have great endurance when it comes to running in the snow. The huskies I’ve met do seem to be very independent so make sure they are obedient before you let them off leash because they may wander.
Border Collies

I don’t have a lot of experience with this breed but this is another breed that loves to work and have a job to do. They are lightweight so it’s easy for them to get around obstacles. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Unofficial Snow Day

This morning I woke up in a bad mood because my whole family got a day off because of snow except me.  I got in my car to leave for work, backed out of the driveway and got stuck right away in the snow. So I decided if it only took one second for me to get suck I wasn’t going to brave the 20 minute drive to work.  I’m a wimp when it comes to driving in the snow so I called in to work and said I would most likely be staying home today. Therefore, I’m calling today an unofficial snow day.

Whenever I have a day off because of snow (official or not) I take the pup for a long walk in it. He has a blast running in the snow; it’s so fun to watch. The snow was so deep it was a workout just walking through it. We should have run in it! Talk about good 50k training. 

Less than a week until training starts! I can’t wait. I’m getting in all the sweets I can this week (but in moderation of course :-P) because I’m really going to miss them when I start training. 

I’m really looking forward to more of the below picture.  I love it when I actually tire him out; a tired Hershey is a happy Hershey. 

Have a great rest of your day.  Anyone else have a snow day today?

Friday, January 29, 2016

50k Training plan and the last Donut!

My 50k training starts in a little over a week. I’ve found that I actually have to set a date to start training or else I’ll fall into the “I’ll start tomorrow” habit and never start. I’m really excited for this training plan; I haven’t really trained for a big race since my last marathon, almost two years ago so I’m happy to get back at it. My plan has me running 5-6 times a week, weekly mileage varies but the longest training run is 26 miles. Yikes!
One day a week is hilly run or hill repeats, I’m really bad with hills so I’m not really looking forward to those days, but I know I’ll feel great afterwards so I’m just going to keep telling myself that. I’ve been scouting out some hills and that’s been fun.
I’m planning on doing some cross training on the weeks I have two days off of running. So one of the days I will, hike, bike, swim, or whatever besides running. I also decided I need to work on my strength training so on my easy run days I will finish up with some strength training; working on my arms, legs and core.
And lastly, the long runs. My plan starts with 10 miles and goes up from there to the 26. I actually really enjoy long runs, although I haven’t done more than 10 in a while so we’ll have to see if I still like then in a couple months. I have one training race planned. The 50k is a trail 50k so I signed up for a trail half marathon about three weeks before the big race.
I’m actually extremely excited for training to begin. I’ve been stuck in a lazy mood lately and haven’t been getting out as much as I should. So I have a feeling this will be the perfect thing to get me going again.

Hershey is excited to start training with me too. He’s my constant training partner and coach. 

Some other random stuff:

Saw a beautiful sunrise Saturday morning.

The other day on my run it was a little windy so I tried using this headband. It did not work. I kept feeling like it was going to pop off my head any second so I just gave up and took it out. People driving by who saw me running with windblown hair were probably scared out of their minds.  Does anyone know of any good running headbands, ones that won’t fall out?

My last donut before the 50k; it looks kind of gross but believe me, it wasn’t. I decided I’m going to try and not eat a lot of sweets during my training so I have to say goodbye to donuts for a while. So far I’ve decided I’m going to allow plain chocolates, chocolate milk for after runs, and hot chocolate because I don’t think I can live without it in the winter. I’m still debating on whether or not I’m going to allow myself to use coffee creamer, because to be honest, that’s the only reason I really drink coffee. So it’s either stop drinking coffee or keep the creamer. Such a hard decision!

Have a great rest of your day.

Is anyone training for a race right now? How’s it going?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Random questions and a 50k

I was thinking about my last post and realized that if I want my readers to know the real me I should come up with some questions to make it easier for them. So here are some questions (mostly dog and running related) I thought you might like to know about me.
1. When did you start running?
I started running when I was around 14. I hated running when I started but I wanted an excuse to eat junk food so in my 14 year old mind that was perfect. After that I was hooked and now run because I actually like it (and maybe a little because I love food).

2. Have you always liked dogs as much as you do now?
Did you notice I love dogs? As early as I can remember I’ve had a passion for dogs. My aunt had a Scottish Terrier when I was growing up and that dog started my obsession. I begged my Dad for a dog for years and he finally gave in when I was 14. Now I see why he was so opposed to the idea, I feel like even at 14 I wasn’t truly ready for the responsibility but I believe the bond I have with Hershey is so strong because I was so young. In a way, we grew up and learned together.

3.  What is the longest race you’ve run?
I did two marathons in 2014, so 26.2. I just signed up for a 50k though (stay tuned to hear more).

4. What is your favorite breed of dog?
This is a tough question for me. I don’t think I have one specific favorite breed. I work at a dog daycare and am always finding new breeds to love. I do have a list of favorites though. Obviously Vizslas, Pitbulls, French Bulldogs, German Shepherds, and Corgis are all on my list. As I was typing I kept coming up with more so I figured I should stop at five or the list would go on forever. There’s a Yorkshire terrier at work that is stinkin’ adorable though. Ok I’m done.

5.  What is your favorite thing about running?
Hmmm… another hard one for me. There is so much I love about it. I guess my favorite thing about it is that it lets me escape for a bit. Sometimes life is so hectic that I am so grateful for a run, even if it’s just for 30 minutes, it lets me escape and just focus on me, the awesome scenery and Hershey. I also love it because I can enjoy it with Hershey and it makes him happy. I also like the challenge of running, when I was younger I was on the heavier side, not obese but a little overweight. My friends were always skinnier, prettier, and better than me in my eyes. Running gives me the feeling that I can be those things too. When a run starts to get hard it takes me back to the feelings I had when I couldn’t keep up with my friends and it makes me push even harder.

6. Any dog breeds you don’t like?
I think all dogs are awesome but I’m not a huge fan of poodles or other curly coated breeds. Sorry to any of you who own or love poodles.

7.  What is your favorite activity besides running?
Probably hiking, pretty closely related to running but I like it because I can take my time and just enjoy the scenery. I’ve done one backpacking trip without Hershey and I’m hoping to do more and be able to include him in them because I know he’ll love it.

8. If you were to get a second dog what breed would you get?
I would definitely get a rescue dog. I’m not sure of the breed yet, nothing too small but whatever stands out to me. I worked at a Humane Society for a year so I don’t think I could go another route now when it comes to getting a dog. It’s just sad to see how many need loving homes.

So that’s me. If you have more questions for me feel free to let me know. 

I did something crazy the other day. I signed up for a 50k. 31 miles! (I read somewhere that the race I signed up for is actually 32 but I don’t know if that’s true) It hasn’t really hit me yet but I’m sure it will once I start training. I didn’t really think it through because the race I wanted to do has a limit to the amount of people they let race and I didn’t want to miss my chance. More on this soon to come…
Have a great rest of your day. A random picture to leave you with. He doesn't really understand the game of fetch. 

Anyone ever do a 50k?

Anyone have a dog? What breed(s)?

Monday, January 11, 2016

If I didn't have him...

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how different my life would be if I didn’t have Hershey. Put simply, I would be lost without him. I know that’s a very strong statement to make about one dog but I truly believe that. 

Let me explain a little bit. When I was about ten years old I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). This was before I had Hershey and while I got through that and now know how to handle and manage it, it often presents itself in other ways. When I was younger I would be terrified that something would happen to me or my family so I would do perform rituals, (that’s what they call them I believe) like turning the light switch on and off over and over. It sounds crazy, but in my mind at that time, that was the only way I could protect myself and my family.

I think I eventually realized how unreasonable that was and although OCD never totally goes away, I have a much better control on it. However, as I got older I developed a lot of anxiety. I have generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder. This is where I feel having Hershey has really helped. I worry about so many things but just looking at Hershey seems to calm me down. He also gives me something to talk about with people so instead of focusing on myself when I’m around people, I focus on him.

Sorry for the super long rant that probably made no sense, I just feel like people reading this blog should know who I am, truly. I hate being fake. Hershey gives me a reason to get out of the house on days that I’d really rather stay home and be alone. I love being able to explore new places with him. I think it gives us both more confidence and it makes me feel like I can accomplish anything. Does that sound crazy? Maybe…but I love my life, my dog, and myself. I guess having Hershey just makes me realize that more often which is what I need. I can’t wait for our next adventure!

If you got through all that without leaving, thank you. I hope to continue this blog and post as often as I can and I hope that this has given my readers, if there is any, a little bit more information on who I am. I promise not to do crazy long post like this very often; this was just something I had to get off my chest. Thanks again for sticking around.

Speaking of things that calm me down; another picture of Hershey sleeping,  I’m just a little obsessed. 

Oh, and I almost forgot! One of the highlights of my week! Snowmen marshmallows, my family just shook their heads when they saw how excited I was about these.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Mountain Trip and Fourteeners

Hello everyone. Hope your week is off to a great start.

Yesterday my family and I headed up to the mountains for a winter getaway. It’s been super busy in my world lately so it’s really nice to sleep in, hike, and just relax. 

This morning we went on a hike, we only went for about 5 miles because we didn’t think we would need our snowshoes… but we did. Oh well, it was fun fighting through the snow, and you burn more calories that way too right? Plus Hershey got to run around in the snow like a crazy person so he was super happy. I don’t get to go hike in the mountains with him too often so when I do it’s really special. (Keep reading to hear more about our recent goal that involves fourteeners!) 

Is this a big chair or is Hershey just a small dog?

Hiking in the snow is hard work! I will never get tired of watching him sleep.

So recently I’ve really wanted to get out and hike with Hershey in the mountains more often. I feel really bad coming home from work to a crazy dog that has been stuck in a room most of the day with only a small walk. He deserves more and I need the exercise. I’ve been super lazy with running since my last race and I needed a goal to get me active again. So one day I was looking in a book about dog friendly hikes in Colorado and came across a page about fourteeners. I never really realized that most fourteeners in Colorado are open to dogs. The book listed the fourteeners based on their difficulty and dog accessibility. In total, there is a list of 39 Colorado fourteeners that I think Hershey and I are capable of climbing together. Our goal is to do all 39. We did Quandary Peak a couple years ago so that makes 38 left. As an added incentive I decided we were going to donate $10 to a different dog rescue organization for every fourteener we summit. I’m super excited about this and it has given me renewed motivation to get out and exercise so that we are in the best shape to do the fourteeners. We have at least three planned for this summer and we will see how it goes from there! I’m going to make a recap post for each fourteener but I’ll probably post it on another page in my blog. I haven’t figured it all out yet so I will keep you all updated.  Thanks for listening to that long explanation. I hope it made some sense, my thoughts are kind of jumbled right now because I'm so excited about it. 

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Treadmill Miles and Winter Tupperware

The other day I did about three miles on the treadmill because it was super cold, icy and dark outside and I am super clumsy. That combination would not have made for a successful run in my book. So I decided to use my treadmill. I personally am not a huge fan of the treadmill so to make it easier for me to get up and use it I thought of all the pros of treadmill running:
        1.    I don’t have to worry about how I look- I can just get up, throw on my running shoes and I’m good to go. I don’t have to worry about the fact that I look like a half asleep crazy haired girl because no one is watching me. (Except for the cat, but cats are judgmental no matter what.)
       2.    I can run in shorts and a tank top when it is snowing outside- I don’t  like running in with layers because I end up extra sweaty and stinky at the end of my run, super uncomfortable. I also feel lighter and faster when I wear shorts so it helps me get more out of my running. 
       3.   I can watch TV while running- When I’m on the treadmill it sometimes seems like time is standing still. So turning on the TV or watching Netflix on my phone helps the miles pass by more quickly.
         That’s about all I got. I really prefer outside running but I am grateful for the treadmill on those days where going outside is not really an option. Something else that helps me while on the treadmill is bringing a towel to cover up the display. If I don’t cover it, I end up watching every .01 mile that passes and time goes even slower. If anyone has any other treadmill running tips I’d love to hear them too. 

Some random happenings in my world recently.
I found winter Tupperware! It’s sad how happy this made me. (you can't really tell from the picture but they have snowflakes on them)

Went on a beautiful snowy walk with the pup. 

The walk was extra awesome because it made Hershey do this when we got home.

Hope you are having a great weekend!