Fort Collins, CO
I was always active growing up. I skied and played soccer in high school and played rugby in college. I kept up with rugby for several years after college in Seattle until my work schedule took over my life. Eventually I ended up tired, over weight, out of shape, and wondering what the hell happened.
In 2006, I started to running on a regular basis as a convenient way to try to get back in shape and make sure my dogs got enough exercise at the same time. Sheba always had a lot of energy to spare and Baxter was a challenging case from the shelter. He had spent his first year chained in a back yard before animal control picked him up and had lived in the shelter and in and out of foster homes for another 2 years before I got him. He was extremely skittish and terrified of men but still dominant and stubborn. Figuring out how to control and train Baxter was a huge challenge but running seemed to help immensely.
At the time 3-4 miles was still a very long run and a 10-11 minute mile was pretty fast for me. With my 34th birthday coming up in January 2007, I decided I didn’t want to get any older and was sick of feeling tired and worn out. So I signed up for my first marathon and started the Hal Higdon beginner’s training plan on the 1st of the year.
I finished the Colorado Marathon in May 2007 in just under 4 hours and have been hooked ever since. Since then I’ve run quite a few more marathons, ultra marathons, and other trail races. I’ve lost about 40lbs in the process and have gotten a bit faster.
The dogs are much better off too. Sheba has slowed down a lot as she’s gotten older. She used to be able to keep up with me almost every day but now she just enjoys short jogs and long naps. Baxter still loves to run and can keep up with me for a few runs each week. He can still be a handful but he is much easier to manage, enjoys meeting people, and is generally very outgoing and happy.
Since the dogs don’t run with me full time anymore, I volunteer at the local Animal House shelter a couple times each week to take some of their more active and anxious dogs out running. I’ve worked with a few challenging cases but so far none have had any severe, unmanageable behavior problems. Most shelter dogs are perfectly good as-is and have just been dumped by people who were too lazy or irresponsible to take care of them. If anyone is looking for a good running partner, feel free to email me. I’m sure I can find a perfect match and most are already socialized, trained, and ready to go home.