Winter is (Basically) Here… and We Love It!

For some reason I have always been a fan of winter. Maybe it is because we are lucky enough to have seasons here in DC so by the time winter rolls around I am way sick of sweating and air conditioning, or maybe it is because some of my favorite fostering memories are from the fall/winter (it is, after all, about this time two years ago that I brought Mr. Baxter home!). Whatever it is, as the air starts getting crisper and the final leaves fall from the trees, I immediately find a spring in my (now booted!) step.

This year has been no different. I am, as usual, crazy busy, but my time with Paco has continued to be fun and exciting as the cold sets in. We’re finding new ways to work together since during the warmer months our go-to training location was his front yard.  We also haven’t let the cold stop our other activities together. Paco is a surprisingly fantastic running buddy, and the colder it gets the happier we are that we won’t have high temps holding us back from keeping up the pace during our runs. Cold weather running has always been my favorite (versus the summer – ick, no thanks!), and with a simple wardrobe addition, Paco is set to join me.

winter run

Don’t get me wrong – Paco is a good running buddy but he also snuggles like the best of ’em (as if I didn’t make that clear in previous posts).  In between training for KPA and running and hiking and playing tug, you can find Paco right here:

coldsnuggleWe like our cold-weather activities, but also appreciate curling up on a warm couch. And no, I did not adjust the pillows like that. The kid likes to burrow!

I find winter – and of course the Thanksgiving holiday – to be an excuse to look for things around me that I should appreciate, like awesome running weather or sunset skylines like this one from my house’s balcony. It might not be full of beaches, sunshine, tans and flip flops – but for this crazy dog lady, winter is a reason to celebrate!

sunset


Running with Friends & Dogs

While I would consider myself a runner, I am probably about as slow as they come. I prefer distance over shorter, faster runs so I’ve gotten really used to relaxing long runs at my own pace. Whenever someone asks if I want to run with them, I usually come up with some excuse as to why I can’t. The thought of running with another person and the pressure to keep up with them, even if they say, “Don’t worry, we’ll go at your pace,” is totally daunting to me.

When I went to take Charlie for a run the other day, Mark asked if he could come along. Now, running with Fosterdad is a big NO THANKS for me because he’s about as fast as a gazelle and his “Juliana pace” is usually still entirely too quick for me.  But this night I let him come along, and we discovered a good system that allowed us both to exercise with Charlie without the pressure of running at each other’s pace: sprints!

Speed training is phenomenal exercise. A high intensity sprint workout can be more beneficial for you than a longer, slower run because of how hard you work in those short bursts. There are all sorts of physiological benefits to it that I won’t get into, but just know that running as fast as you can for short periods (anywhere from 30 seconds to a quarter mile depending on the type of workout you’re doing) does the body some serious good.

What Mark and I did was start with a short jogging warm up with Charlie, then one of us would take him, pick a spot in the distance, and take off sprinting towards that spot and back. Charlie loved it! He immediately sprung into that speedy gallop you see dogs doing when they’re happily bounding around.   When Mark and Charlie would return, we would swap and I would take off running while Mark walked and rested, then we’d switch again – which is the way interval speed exercises work: sprint, rest, sprint, rest.  Before we knew it, all three of us were exhausted and exercised – check and check!

There’s no doubt that running with your dog is both fun and beneficial for the two of you. Now maybe you have a new way to enjoy exercising with your dog – and a friend!

If you’re interested in making Charlie your forever running buddy, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com or fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.