Unchained From The Treadmill

Outside Running

No walls!

I have stuck to running on the treadmill while I learn to run without pain, so that I can control and monitor my progress.  It has been fairly boring.

So when I woke up early on Sunday and couldn’t ride my bike (because it has a flat tyre) and couldn’t go swimming (because the pool wasn’t open yet) I decided it was time to attempt an outside run.

For those who don’t have a pet dog, I should point out at this stage that as a dog owner, it is universally forbidden to leave your house by foot without your dog tethered to you by some kind of rope.  A few years ago, I did try to walk down our street without our dog Matilda, to deliver a letter that had been incorrectly posted into our mailbox.  For the 3.2 minutes it took me to walk a few houses down and back, I was loudly hailed as the Worst Mother Ever by Matilda and a chorus of neighbours’ dogs who joined in to support her plight.

I was given the cold shoulder for days afterwards.  I have never made the same mistake again.

And so it was that, in making my decision to attempt an outside run, I had to grab poop bags and the dog lead as I exited the house.  Matilda was coming with me.

This all took place the day before I broke my finger, so I had no concerns about carrying my phone (in case of emergency and for selfie purposes) along with the lead and doo-doo bags.  Matilda is a good dog to run with – she keeps a steady pace and turns to ‘give you the eye’ to let you know she is about to stop for the toilet or a scratch of an itchy spot.  Having scoffed a pack of Sesame Snaps for energy and done a thorough warm-up inside, I felt confident that everything would go well.

It was a beautiful morning for a run.  We set off slowly because my hips have been a bit creaky for the last few days, and they seem to get worse with running.  I may need to adjust my warm-up routine, but once I get into the rhythm of running it’s not too bad.

We faced a steady incline for about 300 metres, which got us warmed up ready for an attack by two unleashed dogs that came bolting out of a block of land that used to be empty but now has a caravan on it.  Apparently they need to purchase a dog kennel.  Or maybe just some rope with which to tie the dogs to a tree.  I swore at the dogs and we kept running but as Matilda circled me like my bodyguard I got wrapped up in the lead and nearly fell flat on my face.  I made a mental note to complain to the Council about the loose dogs but of course I have not bothered to do anything about the incident since.

We continued along a flat section for about 2 kilometres, where we spotted a couple of kangaroos and some very handsome cockatoos checking out the seeds on a spent banksia flower.  It was way better than the crap I’ve had to look at on MTV at the gym.

At about half way we had a slight decline and I happily declared to Matilda that I thought we were about half way through.  She turned to look at me and her eyes clearly said ‘This is where we Bring It’ and we both narrowed our eyes and ran onward with renewed focus.  It must have been very inspiring for the kookaburras that sat on the electricity wires and gazed down upon us.

The last couple of kilometres of our run entailed following the path beside a busy road, although at that time on a Sunday it wasn’t busy at all.  Matilda found a few nice things to smell but she kindly only gave a cursory sniff to each of them so that we could keep running.  I promised to take her back on a walk sometime this week so that she could have a proper investigation of the stinks.

As we closed in towards our street, there was a sudden flurry of cars and Matilda and I took turns in inventing stories about where each of the cars was going so early on a Sunday morning.  Most of Matilda’s cars were going to the beach and most of mine were going to the shopping centre to secure a car park before the crazy Christmas fairies filled up all the spots with pretend cars.  Freud, eat your heart out.

All in all, I had fun on my run.

hot dog

Could. not. pant. harder.

Being a beginner triathlete, my only aim was to survive and perhaps enjoy the first outside run with my dog.  I succeeded on both counts.  I didn’t have a watch on and I have no general awareness of time and space, so we could have been running for approximately 35 years for all I know; at some points it felt like it.  The point really is that we made it round the course, which is about 6km, so after a stretch and a shower I was able to join Shane for breakfast at our local cafe and have pancakes with ice cream.  Matilda got a rawhide bone.

While we’re on the topic: I’ve made a conscious decision not to blog ‘the time I completed x in’ not only because I haven’t really been timing myself, but because if I do, I personally don’t think it’s very inspiring to read how fast or slow I am.  Or even very interesting.

If you would like to know a good pace or a bad pace, there are literally thousands of runners, cyclists and swimmers on the internet documenting their achievements every day.  I find it a bit…. intimidating? Show-off-ish?  Not that my times are show-offable or intimidating…

Whatever, I aint telling you how long anything took me to do.  If I get faster, I’ll blog that I got faster.  If I do badly and get slow, I’ll blog that I did badly and I was slow.  Or maybe I’ll include rough times like ‘I hope to complete the Noosa Triathlon in under four hours’ – that one is real, if you were wondering.  Other than that, I’m focused on finishing, feeling strong, moving forward and getting better.

Having completed my first run outside, I’m happy that I have it as an option.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say ‘I know what I could do, I could go for a run!’ without it being the punchline of a joke.  I’m grateful that I’m in a position to run when I want now and I am looking forward to many more casual, invigorating runs with my dog in the future.

Matilda says ‘woof!’

5 thoughts on “Unchained From The Treadmill

  1. Thank goodness you can take Matilda, it has been worrying me since I have been restricted to ‘resting’ that she might get fat and lazy. Seriously though I noticed over the years that she needs the exercise to keep her bowels regular and if because of bad weather she didn’t get a walk she might have 3 poops over the course we usually took. Xxx

  2. Serious stuff dad. Try to keep this light hearted will you. Xxx. Love to think of you running Loz. I can really relate to this! Duckie used to come with me and I used to let her off on the set aside land. Good memories.

    • Ah yes good old Duckie, she was a fit little dog in her prime. So strong and muscly. She would have put Matilda to shame! And you would have put me to shame 🙂 but yes it is a lovely thing to do and I really appreciated the chance to do it.

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