People love to run with their dogs. And why not? Cats just look at you like you’re out of your mind. But dogs are like having a live-in training partner who is always amenable to your schedule. On top of which the freedom of running brings us even closer to that most loyal of friends.
But just like it takes some time for us to into good enough shape to enjoy the effort, Fido needs time, too, to develop an affection for distance running as we do it. That’s just it, dogs don’t decide to run like we do. We have an agenda, whether it’s training to race or getting back into shape. But dogs are only out there to be with us, because they’re not just our best friends, we’re their bestees, too. Just being with us is awesome! And we can never get enough of that!
But when we first get out the door and begin to warm up at an easy jog, most breeds instantly look around thinking, “Well, what are we chasing?”, “Where is it?”, and “Why are we going so damn slow?”
Then when we just keep moving at a single gear on a direct line, Spot can get thrown even more.
“Dude, you’re blowing right by all these great smells. What are you, nuts?”
That’s how dogs run. Pace? What pace? Frolic!
The dog is out there jumping around, frisky and lively, sniffing this, sniffing that. And then there’s us, shuffling along, not very economical, pretty metronomic, which is a second point to consider.
We watch how smooth and efficiently top runners move, immune, it seems, to at least a percentage of gravity’s hold. That image, along with a modicum of wishful thinking, leads us to think we, too, might be be striding along on a similar aesthetic arc. Not nearly as lovely, mind you, but in the same ballpark, right? But then we see.
I used to do voice-overs for a company called My Marathon DVD. They had come up with an innovative software program that allowed them to capture video of every runner at several checkpoints along the course at big marathons in Boston, New York, Chicago, etc. Then they would intersperse clips of their customers with highlights from the actual competition up front.
The whole presentation was a neat 20-25 minutes, and at first the concept sold fairly well. Here are the East Africans. Here’s me. Same day, same course, same conditions, the thing that makes running different from any other sport.
But it’s one thing to have your picture taken at the finish line with that one moment captured in a single frame. You could read almost anything you wanted into a single still picture. But when people actually started looking at the footage of themselves running, the effect wasn’t quite what they had envisioned.
“Oh, my God! I look like that??!! Holy – burn that film immediately! Don’t let anyone see it again, ever! Why didn’t anybody ever tell me?!”
Needless to say, the market soon dried up as saner heads and bruised egos prevailed. Cause most of us look like crap! A downright ugly bunch when dealing with gravity’s insistence.
But here’s the final thing. Don’t expect your dog to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with you, either. That tail-wager is too loving (and way too dependent) to let truth come between you. And we call that a friend?