Week Ending March 18th

Ok, so it’s actually the 19th. I was just too tired to post anything by the official end of the week.

I think as of today, I’m starting to get tired. Thanks to Slush, I managed to get out for an easy jog this morning with Baxter and Sheba and at least got my legs moving. But after work, I was still completely wiped out and cut my evening run short to take a little extra recovery time.

As of today, I’ve run 400.5 miles with 50,133 vertical feet. Total pledges so far are up to $792.20!

This last week started off pretty well. I was tired and definitely a bit slower than usual but most of the week really felt just like any other normal training week. On Tuesday I managed to get a decent speed workout in and cost Celeste another $3 in sub 6 minute miles. On Thursday I made it over to Horsetooth to run a good set of repeats on the rock trail with Steph. And I even managed to squeeze in some weight training.

The incredible warm spring weather we’ve had this last week is probably the reason I managed to get through the week so easily. Every morning has been warm with an incredible sunrise. And each evening I’ve been out, I haven’t had any trouble staying out on the trails just a little bit longer each day.

Tuesday evening at Reservoir Ridge with Scout.

The weekend started off with the Sharin’ O’ the Green 5k at O’Dells in Old Town. Celeste and I each took a dog from Animal House. Friday morning, we ran with several dogs to try to find the best match up for the race and decided that I would run with Ashley and Celeste would run with Joah.

Celeste with Titan and Ashley.

I had a chance to run with Ashley a few weeks ago and initially I thought she might be a bit difficult since we didn’t really seem to connect. But after working with her this weekend, she’s one of my all time favorites. She’s fairly quiet and reserved and I think she just takes a little longer to warm up to people. She is really very sweet and eager to please. I’m surprised that she hasn’t been adopted yet.

When we arrived at race check in, the O’Dells parking lot was packed. They sold out the race with 1,000 more runners than last year’s race and the parking area where the start/finish was staged was about half the size they really needed for such a large crowd. Ashley seemed a bit nervous but handled it all pretty well and stayed glued to my leg the entire time. Since this was my first time at a race with Ashley, I decided not to get up in front on the starting line and Celeste and I thought we might be able to just squeeze by the timing mat off to the side of the crowd. We were only about 20 feet back and off to the side of the starting line but after the gun went off, it still took me almost half a minute to get to the timing mat. From the start, we were stuck in the crowd and had to walk to the 50 yards out of the parking lot to the road where I thought we might be able to find some space on the outside of the lane. Unfortunately they only sectioned off half a lane and had volunteers telling everyone to say inside the cones. Ashley and I had to cut and weave our way back across the crowd to find an open spot to run on the grassy incline on the side of the drainage ditch. It took us the first half mile before we could really start running and even after that we had to dart and weave our way through traffic until the last half mile to the finish. I was amazed at how well Ashley ran. She could have run faster and pushed the pace the entire time but never got out of control to pull too hard. And she didn’t have any problem dodging and weaving through heavy traffic. Our first mile ended up being pretty slow at 6:31. I pushed the second mile as hard as I could – I was determined to get at least 1 more dollar from Celeste out of this race. Ashley and I ran the 2nd mile in 5:49. By the 3rd mile my legs were burning but we were running back against the crowd of walkers and joggers at the back of the field and people were yelling that we were the second dog. So I pushed a little harder to see if we might catch them. We ran the 3rd mile in 5:50 and crossed the finish in 19:08 just 23 seconds behind the lead dog. The race didn’t have any awards for dogs but I was still pretty happy with Ashley’s second place finish. With a better position on the starting line, that other dog wouldn’t have had a chance.

Ashley and I kicking it into the 5k finish. (Photo by Kevin Hurd)

It was really after the race where Ashley really got to be a star. After regrouping with some of the other FCTR runners, we headed over to the St Patrick’s Day Parade to walk with the Animal House team. (And no I didn’t log this in my mileage). It was crowded, hot, and noisy and the streets were a gauntlet of little kid’s grabby hands. This would be a nightmare for most dogs but Ashley wasn’t in the least bit phased by all the commotion. Any time kids would ask to pet the dogs, she would stand or sit down calmly. I was really amazed at how well behaved and tolerant she was. She still needs her fair share of training work just like any other young dog but whoever adopts her and puts the time and effort into working with her is going to end up with an incredible dog.

Ashley working the crowd at the St Patrick's Day parade.

Showing the kids how to pet a dog nicely.

Joah bonked by mile 2 of the 5k so Celeste let him ride up on the float.

After the parade, I made it back over to the shelter to get Scout out for a nice 10 mile run. Overall, it was a pretty good holiday for the dogs!

It looks like Ross has finally found a home but Ashley, Joah, Titan, Scout, and many others are still available. The best news of this week is that Harley is going home with a couple of our local ultra runners. I can’t think of a nicer couple to adopt her.

So that was only Saturday ….Sunday was an even bigger day with our annual FCTR March Madness run around the reservoir. Scott and I decided to meet at my place to get a few bonus miles in before the start. We wanted to get in at least 40 miles and needed all the time we could get.

You can find a bunch of other great posts about the FCTR MM Run from Alex, Nick, Ryan, Rob, and I’m sure a few others who I haven’t found yet.

I’m exhausted just thinking about the day but to sum it up, it was another fantastic day. I ran into a bunch of good friends and some new runners along the way. And the May’s were excellent hosts as usual with an awesome BBQ potluck gathering after the run.

FCTR on the Stout trail. Starting the day with a fun social run.

Scott staring out strong charging up Audra Culver to Horsetooth Rock.

Nice view of Longs Peak from the south ridge of Horsetooth.

Zeke, Burch, and Nick catching up with us on Horseooth Rock.

Still having fun on the way to Arthur's Rock.

Steph - just stretching. Ugh.

The last hill of the day. On top of the A behind the stadium.

Scott in Pineridge just 1 mile from Alex's house. This pretty much sums up how we felt at the end of the run.


Week Ending March 11th

11 days and 246.5 miles so far.

As of today, current pledges have earned $424.15!

Last week I planned to be a bit more conservative with mileage to make sure I kept on pace for 600 miles this month. That didn’t quite go as planned and I came in over goal with 144 miles for the week. Vertical gain was a bit soft with only 16,738ft but I expected this to be low since I’ve been going out of my way to try to go out on different routes and runs that I don’t normally do.

I’ve been pretty tired this week but overall, the extra miles have been a lot of fun. I’ve been able to get out to run with a lot of different friends and since I’ve had more time and have slowed down considerably, I’ve been able to take Sheba out with me more often. She usually doesn’t make it more than 2 to 3 miles on a run but this last Friday, she finished the full 7 mile loop around Pineridge.

On Saturday, I met a good friend for her birthday and went out for an ice cream cone run. We started out pretty well running the cone part of the route but later in the day, the ice cream loop melted away ….much like our will to continue running. But I still ended up with a solid 41 mile day out in the most gorgeous warm, spring weather. Next week I’ll go back and run a proper double scoop at Alex’s official FCTR March Madness Run around the reservoir.

For Animal House dog runs, I took Scout out for a couple longer runs. We went out to the usual Tuesday FCTR social run at Reservoir Ridge and went out for another run around the ponds behind the shelter on Friday. Celeste and Lindsey came out Friday morning and ran shorter laps to take Ashley, Ross, Sapphi, Hedwig, Dino, and Titan out. If anyone else is interested in volunteering, feel free to contact Animal House.


March 4th – Harley

So March is off to a great start. 102.5 miles down and only 497.5 left to go!

Current pledges have already raised $98.53 and my current daily average is on track to bring in over $1,000. I plan to take some lighter days to get through the work week so projections should taper off to a little more realistic level over the next few days.

Today was possibly the best day of running in a very long time. After spending almost 7 hours going up and down Bear Peak on icy trails on Saturday, my legs were pretty tired. I haven’t put in that much time and vertical gain in one day in a very long time and it took quite a bit of effort to get up and get moving again this morning.  But the gorgeous spring weather and clear, dry trails made it worth spending the day outside regardless of how bad my legs felt.

The few south from the top of Reservoir Ridge looking back along the foothills that run the length of Horsetooth reservoir.

After a nice run along the Foothills trail system, I headed over to Animal House to get in a few extra “easy” miles with the dogs. The highlight of my day was getting to the shelter just in time to meet Rocky‘s new family. They seemed like a perfect match and I was pretty happy to see him head out the door for good.

I took Scout out for an easy 4 mile run around the streets and through City Park and then took Harley out for 5 more easy miles around the ponds behind the shelter.

Harley has been in a foster home for several months now and it’s obvious that they’ve been doing a great job working with her. She already knows sit and down and is very smart and eager to learn. She’s very friendly and gets along with any other dogs or people. There really isn’t anything wrong with her. Except one minor detail – she’s deaf.

I never really realized how much I use voice commands with the dogs to correct and praise them so it takes a little bit to get used to working with Harley. She’s been learning hand signals very well and on leash, the gentle leader works perfectly to give her direction. For the most part, she just naturally stayed at my side. But any time we went by dogs or other distractions, just a tiny tug at the gentle leader was all it took to get her back on track. And any time she was good and payed attention, I made sure I leaned down to scratch her ear and she seemed to respond very well to this extra positive reinforcement. Unfortunately Harley won’t ever be a dog who can run free off leash since there’s no way to reliably call her back. But this is a fairly minor inconvenience. My own dog Baxter (who can hear perfectly well) has a tendency to panic and run and can’t be trusted off leash. He’s managed to escape a couple times and it’s definitely something I always worry about. But it really hasn’t been a huge hassle to keep him on leash when he’s out in public or supervised when he’s in my fenced yard. Anyone willing to put the time and patience into working with Harley is going to end up with a fantastic dog.

Harley is a gorgeous little lab mix.

Contact Animal House for more info about adopting Harley.

I like big mutts – Joah, Rocky, and Scout

While the usual retriever, hearding, and hunting mixes are usually the most practical dogs for running and just about anything else, I always have the most fun with big dogs – especially the big bully mixes.

Today I went out for runs with Joah and Rocky. For the past few weeks I’ve been running with Scout regularly.

Rocky is a Boxer/Shepherd mix

Rocky is is a super friendly, energetic, goof ball. He could use a bit more practice with leash manners and he can be pretty stubborn. But his happy and friendly personality tends to make up for it. It takes a little patience to give him direction and get him to cooperate but he does catch on eventually. This morning he started out throwing a fit trying to get the gentle leader off but quickly figured out that if he ran nicely, it wouldn’t bother him.

Joah is some sort of a Bull Dog/Pit Bull mix.

With a face like this, I have no idea why someone hasn't snatched him up yet. (photo by Animal House)

Joah is really a great dog all around. He’s attentive, eager to please, and already has excellent manners. I didn’t use a gentle leader with him today and he’s a bit of a puller on the run. He doesn’t chase after anything or really try to take your arm off. He’s fine walking around and he didn’t seem to be interested in other dogs, people, or birds along the way. I think he just likes to pull like he has a job to do on the run. Next time I take him out, I’ll use a gentle leader to give my arm a rest.

Scout is some sort of Deerhound, Scottish/Terrier, Airedale mix. ...whatever he is, he's an impressive looking dog!

Scout is a ton of fun to run with. He occasionally wants to chase things but he’s super easy to control with a gentle leader – kind of like leading a horse around. And as long as he isn’t distracted by something, he’ll run nicely on a slack leash right at my hip. He’s very friendly and affectionate towards people and likes to lean into you for attention. And he learns quickly and responds very well to attention and loves treats.

Contact the staff at Animal House for more details about adopting any of these dogs. And if anyone wants to meet these guys or any other Animal House dog on a run, feel free to email me. I always bring a dog out to our Tuesday social run and this month, I’ll be running plenty of extra miles and will gladly make time to meet for a run.


March Madness Pledges

Current pledges and total progress for my 2012 March Madness Fundraising for Animal House.

I will continue to update this report on a regular basis throughout the month with my progress and any new pledges.

Full details about the project are posted here.

To make a pledge or invite me out on a run, email me directly at pete@k9runner.com