Over the next 14 weeks of my marathon training program, I may relay some important lessons I've learned from running that have helped me professionally (just because I can't help myself), but today, I'd like to write about something much more important.
Running is not just about getting in better shape, losing weight, or realizing personal goals. It can also be about finding a new buddy.
One Sunday morning, I embarked on a 10 mile run. Inside of the first half-mile, I felt this little beagle nipping at my heels, and despite my discouraging tactics, he just kept on running with me. I didn’t recognize the little guy as one of the neighborhood dogs, but I was reluctant to have him follow me too far for fear that he’d get lost. Sometimes, I’ll carry my cell phone with me on runs 10 miles or longer, so I called my wife to ask if she’d come outside and grab the beagle for me. I circled back, and he followed me to the house. His ears were completely horizontal as if he were half-running and half-flying, only to be scooped up and introduced to our two Rottweilers.
Upon my return, our dogs, Bear (130 lbs.) and Greta (85 lbs.) each met the beagle – one at a time at first. Eventually, all three of them were playing in the house, with the beagle making aggressive moves toward Bear from time to time. We considered that if we couldn’t find a home for him, we would keep him and name him “Lunch”. This little beagle was fearless. Fortunately, despite the Rottweilers’ much maligned reputation, Bear is a sweet dog and quickly adopted him as his little brother.
For the first week, we did everything possible to find the owners; but admittedly, the longer he stayed, the less we tried. “Barney” was part of the family now.
Six years later, while Barney may have hung up his running shoes, he’s maintained his boyish figure. And, from time to time, when he’s just lying around sleeping (which is usually for 22 out of 24 hours a day) you’ll see him dreaming of his running days.
If I had stayed in bed on that fateful Sunday, as I’m sure I wanted to, just imagine what we would have missed!