Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Puppy Running

Workout: (Yesterday) 2.7 miles with Bailey and 5.9 with Ike for 8.6 total
Ike and Bailey know how to run
(Today) 8.0 miles solo

Yesterday I ended up postponing my run until the evening because I was lazy and didn't get out of bed in the morning.  Both dogs desperately needed exercise, having been holed up all day while I was busy doing very important research.  I decided to split them up and take Bailey for the first part of the run, then swap her for Ike for the last 6 or so miles.  It would be ideal to run with them together, but that is an impossible task.  Their running styles are not at all compatible (Ike likes to run very fast and Bailey is in it for the experience -- i.e. she's slow).

Separating them was not an easy task.  Bailey was forlorn to leave Ike behind, and frankly Ike was mad at me. He loves running with me and knew that that was what I was doing (every time I touch the sneakers, he knows).  He cried at the door and the Garmin was taking an extensive amount of time to sync.  Finally, Bailey and I were off and we ran two laps of a nearby park.  Overall, Bailey's running is improving, but you wouldn't have known that from yesterday's experience.  She wouldn't budge from her slow and steady 10 min/mile pace and was totally resistant to any efforts on my part to speed things up.  In fact, every 5 or so minutes, she would just come to a complete stop and refuse to move as I tugged the leash.  So I would stop too, and watch her sniff the air, sniff the grass, and watch some stranger walk by.  After about a minute, she seemed to be over whatever it was that initially brought her to a halt, and we would resume our steady plod.  A few weeks ago, we ran 4.3 miles together (her personal distance record) and she seemed much more motivated than she was yesterday.  Sometimes she seems to really enjoy getting out on a run with me, and other days she just seems uninterested.  I can't say I'm not disappointed; I would really love for her to be a constant running partner.  I wonder if this is the universe preparing me for the possibility that I will have human children that reject recreational running?  That might be a rough pill for me to swallow...

While I don't know whether Bailey loves the running, I know she loves ME!  Yesterday when we were on our run, I tripped over my own feet (actually on a wooden step at the top of a rough and steep trailed hill) and went down hard on my shin and hands.  Bailey immediately came over to revive me and lick me back to health.  My face, hands and shin were thoroughly checked out before she felt safe having us continue.  Glad to know she won't leave me for dead if something serious happens.  She knows who buys the peanut butter in the house.

Ike, unlike Bailey, has thoroughly made up his mind about running, and he loves it.  As soon as he got on the leash yesterday, he took off at full speed like a sled dog.  I've found that trying to reign him in is more effort than its worth, so we typically do some or most of our runs on trail so I can let him off the leash.  Instead of fighting with him, I usually run hard and fast when he is on the leash, and then take it easier on the off-leash trail sections.  It's like a surprise tempo workout!

This morning, I ran solo because I wanted to do a route that had no off-leash sections.  Ike knew what was going on as soon as the alarm went off and was really annoyed at me when I shut him in the bedroom and left without him.  He's back at his house now, so tomorrow morning it will just be Bailey and she doesn't seem to notice me in the morning.  She is a late sleeper.

So that is probably more than you ever wanted to know about the time I spend running with dogs.  However, I love them both and running with dogs is a lot of fun and I think it is funny how different their personalities are. And for illustrative purposes, here are a few pictures from their adventures in the park this weekend:

Ike enjoying a juicy stick

Ike chasing Bailey.  She probably stole his stick

Bailey shaking it out

A brief moment where both are still; Ike is concentrating on the stick

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ouchy calves

Workout: 7.75 miles in 1:11 (yesterday)

Yesterday's run was quite uncomfortable, for at least the first 4 miles.  My calves felt very tight and were sending PAIN! and STOP! signals to my brain with every step.  It certainly didn't help that despite it being February, the temperature was 78F and humid.  I can't believe this is winter in Austin.  I could use a little more Boston right about now!  Running in hot or humid weather is not my fav.  In fact, it makes me noticeably slower and my muscles always feel sorer.  Ideal running conditions for me are dry and 40-60F.  Hook me up with some of that, weatherman!

Anyways, yesterday the calves were driving me crazy and I had to stretch them out when I was stopped at a busy intersection.  I attribute a large part of the discomfort to the humidity, but I know what the other culprit is: Heels.  Just the day before, I had worn wedge heels for a graduate student poster competition and industry networking event I had attended.  You are probably thinking these were some really high heels if it caused serious calf pain, right?  Nope, about 1.5 inches.  They are Dockers and as far as heels go pretty comfortable, actually.  I think the problem is really that I hardly ever wear heels.  I know they look stylish, but they aren't exactly conducive to doing wet lab research requires a lot of walking and standing, basically 8 hours of it every day.  Further, there aren't a lot of incentives to dressing my best when working in the lab.  Nothing like a splash of bleach or e. coli to compliment the outfit...Also, heels usually hurt my feet, which compromises my running, and I often put running as a higher priority than style...what can I say?  So needless to say, my feet are accustomed to flat, sensible shoes or going barefoot (which I do most of the time at home.  Don't worry, I don't do this in the lab.)

Wednesday's poster session required 6+ hours without sitting, at least two of which required me to stand graciously in front of my research poster, smile profusely, and expound the awesomeness and optimization of recombinant cell line development.  My feet were so tired and hurt so much when I got home Wednesday night.  So much in fact, that Bailey and I had a special couch potato session watching lots of TV with our feet (and paws) up.

On the bad side, the day of heel wearing carried over tired and tight muscles into Thursday's run.  On the bright side, I did win an award for my poster (the Baker Hughes Excellence in Research Award).  Boyfriend won an award as well (his was from Dow), which made me very proud.  We found out afterwards that the awards came with prize money from the sponsoring companies (sweet!) and were pleasantly surprised.  Neither of us knew that when we had signed up to participate.

What will I do with my winnings you ask?  Well, first I need to buy a new pair of dress shoes that are completely flat so I don't have a repeat fiasco of this nature.  I'm not kidding! A BME friend of mine was rocking the cutest and most comfy looking pair of professional looking ballet flats and I am going to find me a pair!  The balance of my winnings?  Why, I will use them to lavishly spoil my adorable pup-daughter, of course.

Bailey (left) and her cousin, Ike (right).
Lucky little Bailey has her cousin Ike visiting for the next few days.  Aren't they cute together??