Can we run enough to satisfy this dog?

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Our daughter Rowan with Loki, the 1 1/2-year-old husky she adopted from a pet rescue last week. 

I’m not a dog person. I don’t like to pet them or cuddle with them. I figure there’s five other people in this house who do like to do those things, along with all the other things you need to do to care for an animal, so if I can simply peacefully co-exist with a dog in the house I’ve done my part.

On Tuesday, though, I was the only one home when Loki started howling. I was in the middle of researching a magazine article, and I was not thrilled to drop what I was doing to take the dog on a potty break.

On the other hand, I hadn’t yet figured out when I was going to squeeze in a run before an afternoon substitute teaching assignment. That thought had been percolating in the back of my mind, and it was a bit of a distraction. Every so often I’d think: Keep working, or take a break and go for a run?

Well, Loki settled that one for me. If I’m going to stop what I’m doing to take him outside – and you never really know how long a dog is going to take to do his business, it seems like it ought to be a fairly quick task but sometimes it isn’t – then we might as well go for a quick run.

The only problem was, I wasn’t prepared for how quick a run it was going to be. I’d gone out with Colleen and Loki over the weekend and saw how much this year-and-a-half-old husky was pushing her out of her comfort zone. But since I’m in a lot better shape than she is, I wasn’t too worried about it.

On the quarter mile over to the nearest gravel road I just focused on keeping this frisky guy as far away from the highway as possible, away from traffic. Once we crossed over, though, he was ready to go. He nearly pulled my arm out of my socket.

“There’s no way I can keep this pace up,” I thought as we took off for the woods, in pursuit of birds and squirrels I usually am not even aware exist.

The only thing that saved me was that Loki varies his pace from time to time. Every gear he’s got is faster than my comfort zone, and I was gasping for breath the whole way, but I told myself I could endure it for a mile and then I’d force him to slow up coming back.

Luckily, on the return trip Loki was more content to trot at something closer to my usual pace. That quick run was all I had time for on Tuesday, and I was glad Loki not only pushed me to get it in, but made it more of a workout than it would’ve been otherwise.

I’m not going to run with him every day, but so far he’s managed to convince some member of the family to take him for at least one run a day. The trick will be to come up with enough mileage to keep this fella happy.

Here’s an update on the Holiday Run Streak:

Day 9: Friday, Dec. 4 – Came home mentally exhausted from a trying day of substitute teaching. Fell asleep on the couch and woke up around 11 p.m. Went out with Colleen and Loki and ran around the driveway a few times. Daily total: 1 Streak total: 23.25

Day 10: Saturday, Dec. 5 – Went out with Colleen on test run with Loki to end of gravel road and back. She ran much faster than she ever has, forcing Loki to stop and walk at times, but never for long before he insisted they run again. Also did one mile on the treadmill before I had to shower and leave for my nephew’s NAIA semifinal football game. (Garrett got a QB sack as they trounced Saint Francis and are headed to Daytona for the national championship!) Daily total: 3.5 Streak: 26.75.

Day 11: Sunday, Dec. 6 – Busy day got away from me and I just wound up jogging a mile around the driveway after dark. , just went out and ran in the driveway for a few minutes. Had the feeling I would’ve been better off if I’d just run on the treadmill and abandoned the “outdoor” run streak. Daily total: 1 Streak: 27.75

Day 12, Monday, Dec. 7 – Did 15 minutes of treadmill running, but couldn’t get in a groove to put together any kind of workout. Later went out and ran a mile on the Greenway in the dark after a particularly grueling but invigorating yoga session. Daily total: 2.5 Streak: 30.25

Day 13, Tuesday, Dec. 8 – My first solo run with Loki. (See above.) Daily total: 2.5 Streak: 32.75

Day 14, Wednesday, Dec. 9 – Ran Trail 5 at Ouabache State Park with my sister Traci, cutting over on Trail 4 in the last section due to time constraints. Daily total: 4.5 Streak: 37.25

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