For the past 15 years, running and I have had a love/hate relationship. I started running in high school out of necessity, because my field hockey, basketball, and softball coaches required us to run both at practice (obviously) and also on weekends to keep in shape. My weekend running involved running loops on the local track with my handy dandy CD player. In college, it was the treadmill and my iPod. After graduation, running helped me explore Boston, San Francisco, and Brooklyn, but always with music and usually only for a couple months at a time until I got sick of running.
Even after running off and on for 15 years, I never truly caught the elusive running bug. I’ve trained for and completed a handful of half marathons. I’ve made countless motivating running playlists. I worked for Runner’s World magazine, have gone on group runs, runs with friends, runs with my husband, and many, many, many solo runs…but something always eluded me. Sure, I’ve experienced joy from running — completing a race, feeding off the energy of a group run, and always feeling great after completing a run. But the actual running itself was never really my jam.
Until I started running with this guy.
There’s something about running with a dog that has made me enjoy running more in the past 3 weeks than I have in the past 15 years of my life. I’ve been running without headphones, something I rarely, if ever, did previously. I’m present, I’m mentally engaged, and more importantly, I’m having fun. Our first few runs were a learning process for both of us. Who runs on which side, how not to get excited and lunge at skateboards, how to keep pace with each other. Slowly and surely, we started to get in sync. We started out with 1/2 a mile, then one mile, then two, now three miles. I feel good, Indy feels good (you know what they say, a tired puppy is a good puppy!), and I’ve finally truly discovered the joy in running.