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Learning to run with my furry friend running alongside me

With a goal to get fit in 2016, our blogger Susan has been regularly heading out for runs. In doing that, she’s seeing how her fuzzy little training partner is also gaining from her new habit.

Susan_Farrelly_Feb._5Many people have asked me why I’m not enrolling in a Learn-to-Run program to meet my goal of being able to run 5K in 12 weeks or less.

I realize that if done properly, the program would get me to the goal a lot quicker. The problem: I’ve tried one in the past but I never finished it. The issue was me. Maybe I wasn’t ready. Maybe I was holding myself back. Maybe it was just another task on my overly long to-do list and so it felt like a chore. Or maybe it was because in my mind, it wasn’t fun.

RELATED: Why I’m running 12 races in 12 months

This last point leads me to my focus on the fun and fitness factor. Having fun while getting fit is important to me. How you define “fun” can vary from person to person. To me, races are fun. There’s a buzz of excitement and energy at the events, along with a tremendous sense of accomplishment in having completed it.

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I’m not the only one gaining from committing to my goal of running 12 races in 12 months. When I started, I was hoping to inspire others to join me in my training. So far, the happiest participant is my faithful training partner who runs alongside me– our dog, Misha.

By not exercising regularly over the past several years I’ve neglected not only myself but also our beloved fur baby.

As soon as I say ‘walk’ her ears perk up and she cries in trembling excitement. Soon, I’ll be able to say ‘run’ and she will be even more excited.

These days, when we set off into the evening darkness, it makes me happy that we are both panting. I don’t feel so alone when she’s beside me. We are in this together. It doesn’t make me happy though, when I’m running and she’s walking at a fast clip beside me. It does however make me want to run faster, just to see how fast I actually have to run before she needs to break into a run to keep up with me.

That will be a challenge for another day.

For now, I’m adding running into my walks to prepare for the upcoming Valentine’s Day 5K Road Race in St. Catharines. The race is a low key runner-walker friendly event. I’m looking forward to the unlimited food and drinks after the race as well as the live music. Chocolate hearts are awarded after the race which make for a nice, festive touch and all proceeds are going to Gillian’s Place, a shelter for abused women. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon– doing something active while helping the community at the same time. That fits my definition of fun anyway.