Up With the Moon

I’m an early riser.

This wasn’t always the case; back to my 20s and pre-kids I was a champ at sleeping well past 10am. Naps were my best friend. And I’d balk at waking up before 8am. Or 7am. Let alone 6am. However, as the years have gone on, I find myself waking just after 5am. And even more astounding to my 20 year old self, it’s usually to exercise! Even on Saturdays.

Of course the winter months have had me wanting to hibernate inside my house, sticking to mainly treadmill running and going to the gym (which is less than a mile from the abode). The first nice weekend that rolled around was this past one; it also just happened to coincide with my pal Brandi’s running clinic AND my scheduled running date with Sarah.

Meant to be!

Just to add a little spice to the already spicy salsa, I decided it would be a great time to introduce my pup, Gemma, to running.

Just in case you’re not keeping track here, let me reiterate: First run outside in a couple of months. With Sarah, who is making her triumphant return to running after having her second bouncing baby boy. And with a dog, who isn’t used to running on leash for more than a couple of minutes, let alone a couple of miles.

What could go wrong?

If you answered everything, you would be correct. But going into it, we all expected it to be a learning process. Everyone has to start (or start again) somewhere, right?

At exactly 7:30am, Brandi started off the clinic with stretching exercises, getting us warmed up for a short long run around the 3.68 loop.

Brandi and Sarah on the track, stretching the legs.

Brandi and Sarah on the track, stretching the legs.

Sarah was happy that Gemma the wonder pup was there because, first off, PUPPY. And secondly, it definitely takes the pressure off when you have a dog who isn’t used to running. We decided we would do intervals, while chatting and working on Gemma’s running manners.

What do running manners for a dog include?

  1. Stay on the left side of your person (don’t trip me)
  2. No seriously, stay to the left side (don’t trip the others)
  3. Don’t pull, you silly dog. It’s so much more fun when you stay right next to your person!

I’m sure you’re sensing a common theme here and at this point, that’s mostly what we were working on. The first mile or so was rough but then she started to get it! We need to get used to cars passing us (it’s a bit unnerving as a person, let alone a pup) and we definitely tired her out.

We slowly made our way around the loop, getting passed by Brandi and the other clinic attendees along the way with shouts of encouragement. Toward the end of the loop, Gemma was d-o-n-e, done, but with promises of the car and the banana we’d share once we got there, we all finished strong.


Following the run, we met up with Brandi once again to stretch it out and chat about our experiences. While it was Gemma’s first time doing the loop, it definitely won’t be her last. (Although it’s supposed to snow later on this week again. Have mercy!) She slept good and hard on the ride home, snores and all. That’s the downside of waking early… you’re ready for bed before most.

If you’re new to running with a pup, Aimee, over at Running with Sam wrote a great post with tips for running with your dog and it’s one that I have read more than once.

Who is your BRF (Best Running Friend)? Next weekend I’m running a 5k with my Dude – hoping to help him PR.

Ever run with a pup? Got any tips for me on teaching Gemma her running manners?

13 thoughts on “Up With the Moon

  1. I am still working on running with my dog. We got her in September, when she was 10 months old. We have had a horrible winter without much running outside. The few times she has gone with me, we discovered a few things. She likes to pull, mostly on the uphills. I finally got her a Gentle Leader and it has really helped. We are still working on her staying on my left side. She does for the most part, but occasionally will dart across to the other side. We have had a few close calls with that.

    • I’ll definitely have to check out the Gentle Leader and see if it’s something that might work with Gemma. She was zigzagging in front of me a lot during this run and I was scared that I could ultimately hurt her or myself if I tripped! Definitely have to work on that! And now that the spring is (nearly) here, I figure being consistent and getting out there will help a lot. 🙂

  2. I’m learning to run with my Great Dane. The worst part is if she cuts in front of me. It’s like hitting a wall! Definitely still working on our running manners, too.

    • Ooooh, you have a Great Dane? I adore the breed. But yes, totally agree – I can only imagine that it’s like hitting a wall. 😉 Best of luck to you! WE CAN DO THIS!

  3. I also surprise myself with how early I get up now. Even just a few years ago, sleeping till 10 was a normal Saturday thing. Now I’m angry if I sleep past7 because I’ve lost half the day.

  4. I’m jealous of your relative lack of snow! It’s still full-blown winter here. Also, I think it’s awesome that you’re training Gemma to run with you. It’s always nice to have some company, regardless of the species. 😉

    • Well, don’t be TOO jealous. Because… from what I hear we are going to be getting snow again on Thursday. Sigh. But yes – company definitely helps on a run, I very much like having a partner. I feel like it will help get me outside more.

  5. Ahhh I love that you are training your pup to run! I don’t have a dog nor do I really want any… but Speedy for sure wants one and said as long as the dog can be a running companion! And doesn’t shed, jump on things, stay out of the kitchen, bathrooms, and no drool. I still have some things to work on…

    Honestly, I think my running BF is myself! I don’t know if that makes me depressing or weird but… I love the ‘me’ time exercising offers. It is my time, all about me, and re-collecting myself.

    • Ha, dogs are definitely a lot of work but their friendship is pretty rad too. I’m so glad to have her – she’s currently curled up next to me, snoring away. Apparently I bore her!

      That doesn’t make you depressing or weird – I think that ME time is definitely awesome and I do love running alone. But I also get lonely sometimes. That probably makes no sense.

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