Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Over the past couple of weeks I have taken up running. I signed up for a 5k in October called Run or Dye. I really don't have any goals for the race except that I would like to be able to run the entire thing without stopping or walking. Unfortunately, due to the color dyes, dogs are not allowed to run the 5k. But my dogs are generous and have been helping me train anyway.

I didn't really start out with any specific goals in mind. I knew I needed to start running in August to get in shape for a race in October without injuring myself. I knew I should start slow and build up distance and speed over time. I seriously thought about doing the Couch to 5k program, or something similar, but I ultimately decided against it. I tend to rebel against schedules. Instead, I just made a promise to myself that I would go for a run at least three days per week.

My first few runs were just around my tiny neighborhood, basically circling the same few blocks for a total of about 20 minutes. I even stopped on the beach on the way home from a friend's wedding and went for a 20 minute jog on the sand. Then, last week, I got a smartphone for the first time. The first app I downloaded, even before I got Facebook, was MapMyRun. I thought it would be really fun to be able to map where, how far, and how fast I was running. Its helped motivate me to run in my much broader neighborhood area, covering new paths and different streets.

Unfortunately, the weather has also gotten hot and humid the past week or so. I tried venturing out for a run in the late afternoon once last week, since it was overcast. I ended up having to head home less than 10 minutes into it, because the dogs were having a really hard time and I was barely able to breathe and totally dripping with sweat. So I've been running at dusk or after dark.

Night Run-8020
Starting out

I finally took my camera along last night to get some pictures. I headed out a bit before dark. Whether I run in the daylight or at night, Koira always wears her safety vest. She is a black dog, so can be hard to see, and she also likes to be out in front of me, though she is pretty good about not pulling most of the time.

Night Run-8027
Smartphone setup
I just got this little arm case for my smartphone. I like that it has a small built in pocket (meant for a house key) that I can shove poop bags into. You can also see that I had a full poop bag in this photo as well. Technically the case is meant to be worn higher up, on your upper arm, but I liked being able to see it when I was running.

Night Run-8039
Double swivel leash set up
Last week I decided to make the dogs a double leash with a double swivel set up so they stopped tangling up their leashes when we went running. I hated having to stop and untangle them. A few bucks at the local hardware store, some webbing I had laying around my sewing bins, and a few minutes of sewing later, I have a tangle free leash. The dogs can weave in and out with each other and the leash just swivels and keeps them untangled, which is awesome. I highly recommend one of these if you walk two dogs together often. It has full length leashes, as you can see in the top photo, but they each clip onto the swivel which is then attached to a small handle loop.

Night Run-8043
LED and reflective vest

Since we are running at night time, I also have a whole safety set up for the dogs. It looks much darker in this photo than it actually was yet, but it lets you see what all we have going on. Both dogs are wearing LED collars (Koira has red, Pallo has pink). Koira has her safety vest on, though I need to remember to put some new reflective strips on it. Pallo has not only a standard leash on, but also an LED leash. We end up being pretty bright when running after dark. I would like a second LED leash so both dogs could have one, but for now, this method works.

Unfortunately my motivation was just not there last night. I've been doing so great with the runs since the beginning of the month. Once I get out and get going, I actually am enjoying myself a lot. I haven't really sped up much, but I feel like I am able to run longer without stopping to walk, and that I can maintain a faster pace more consistently than I first could. But that might just be in my mind, because I haven't seen much to support that in MapMyRun- though admittedly I am jogging just barely faster than a quick walking pace, which makes it hard to tell a difference. 

But last night, man, it was just not happening. I did jog for a while, but couldn't even make it to the end of the first street without slowing down. It was still really hot and really muggy, which I think had something to do with it. I kept trying for a while, but running, no matter how slowly, felt like torture. I finally gave in to my body and just walked. We did cover over three miles with our walk, so it wasn't a total waste. But I'm hoping I'm feeling better tomorrow.

And just for fun, LED leash after full dark.
Night Run-8054
Koira doing some light painting 

PS: I am totally loving all of the reader input on yesterday's post! If you missed it or have any questions, post/subject requests, etc, please check out yesterday's post and leave me a comment. Or feel free to comment here too!


  1. Good luck with your training! I'm sure it will go better for you when the weather cools down. Maybe you could try going at dawn. Love the LED gear! Very cool!

    Susan and Wrigs

  2. Good luck with your running and don't worry with the lack of stamina appearing I had that too and it passed quickly. I'm glad the dogs are enjoying themselves on your runs. Stick to it and have fun!
    Dina Mom

  3. Good luck with training and the race! One of my friends here is a crazy intense runner (with her dog, too), does most races she can find in OR/WA... and usually comes in the top 3. I, on the other hand, just cannot seem to get into it. I have a million excuses/"reasons." But it seems walking is more my pace.

    I love your safety setup and the smartphone holder--I need to get one of those!

    Btw, if you are serious about running, you might look into a hands-free system! They allow you to run more naturally without having to hold/focus on leashes.

  4. As always I am amazed at what you can do! Hope the weather cools down for you all soon. Well done.

  5. Good luck!!! I did the couch to 5k program, plus some, and it was incredibly helpful for me. But it sounds like you're already way ahead of where I started- which was pure Couch. If you're able to go early in the morning it's been pretty nice around here!

  6. The map my run is nice but it will tell you your run is a little longer than I really is. Subtract off about .08 miles for every mile it says you did. Good luck!