Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

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

March Madness Animal House Fundraiser

For the past year I’ve been volunteering for Animal House helping to take some of their more active, energetic dogs out on runs a couple times every week. And over the past few years, I’ve continued to find fun and interesting ways to challenge myself and push the limits of my running ability. But other than running local 5k charity races and chipping in a few bucks for dozens of different Teams In Training, Fight for Air Republic Stair Climbers, or any other odd fund raiser like Runners Without Borders and the HPBT, I’ve never actually organized a fundraiser myself. Running is definitely an effective way to raise money so I figured I’d finally put my miles to good use and try to raise some funds for Animal House.

The plan is pretty simple. I’m putting my entire running volume up for pledging for the month of March.

My goal for March is to run as much as I possibly can.

My biggest month of mileage so far has been 500.5 miles. I think with a consistent focus on daily volume over the full 31 days of March, 600 miles should be a reasonable target to aim for.

And just to make sure I don’t get lazy and run a ton of easy road miles all month, I will welcome pledges for total vertical feet or specific challenges. The only restriction is that I won’t be running very fast this month so pledges related to any speed performance at races or time trials won’t be very helpful.

I will consider any reasonable challenge for volume and difficulty. And I’ll probably even consider most unreasonable challenges for volume and difficulty too:-)

My only rules and limitations are that I need to stay healthy and uninjured to continue to run every day, I need to keep up with my full time work schedule, and all miles will be outdoors – treadmills don’t count. I won’t be doing any huge 24 hour or 100 mile efforts that will require too much time to recover from. My longer runs will be around 30-40 miles and I probably won’t run any single day over 50-60 miles. I also plan to keep up with my volunteer running and will aim to get out with the shelter dogs for at least 3-4 runs per week.

Here are some stats for a frame of reference for pledges.

Largest Month: 500.5 miles
Largest Week: 222 Miles
Recent volume: Feb – 273.25, Jan – 274, Dec – 322, Nov – 328.75, Oct 405

Vertical PRs:
Largest Month: 89,667ft
Largest Week: 43,935ft
Recent Volume: Feb – 25,380ft, Jan – 32,503ft, Dec – 42,294ft, Nov – 59,876ft
Greyrock: 6 loops. 45.25 miles, 15,361ft, 13 Hours 59 Minutes
Sanitas: 13 loops. 40 miles, 17,339ft, 14 Hours 24 Minutes.

Some ideas for pledges:

  • Cents per Mile (i.e. 5 cents would be $20 at 400 miles, $25 at 500 miles, $30 at 600 miles)
  • Flat Donation for a specific goal (i.e. X dollars for 500 miles, X dollars for 600 miles, etc.)
  • Dollars per 1,000 Vertical Feet (i.e. 50 Cents per thousand would be $20 at 40,000ft, $30 at 60,000ft, $45 at 90,000ft)
  • Dollars per local Peak (Horsetooth, Arthur’s, Greyrock, Round Mtn)
  • Dollars per mile or per dog that I run with from Animal House

Feel free to be creative and set limitations if you need to place a cap on your maximum donation.

If you’re short on funds and still want to contribute to the cause, come run with me!

I already have several offers to help drag me out for 5am and 6am starts before work. With the volume of miles I’ll be running, I’m sure that at some point during the month, I’ll have an opportunity to run with anyone who wants to join me.

To send me a pledge or invite me out for a run, email me at:

I will publish all pledges and fundraising totals in a Google spreadsheet online here. My mileage and vertical will be recorded based on the measurements from my Polar G3 GPS. My daily running log will be updated regularly on Attackpoint and I will post regular blog updates with my weekly progress.

Click here for a current list of pledges and progress.

Chief, Draco, Nitro, Raquel, and Zorro

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted about any Animal House dogs. Since I last worked with Mickey, Animal House has been turning over a lot of adoptions so I really haven’t spent a lot of time running with any one particular dog. Over the past few months Angel, Rocky, Kendal, Benny, Xara, Buzz, Benji, Happy, and Frieda have all been adopted.

But here are a few great dogs who are still stuck at the shelter. I’ve spent some time with each of these dogs and really think they’d make great companions with the right owner.

Chief (Photo from Animal House)

Chief has been at the shelter since last July. I’ve been out running with him a couple times and he learns very quickly and really wants to work with you. He gets very attached to people and has some separation anxiety issues so he’d probably be best with someone who can spend more time at home with him. His only other issue is purely cosmetic. You can’t tell from the photos but half of his hair is missing. Evidently it’s a genetic condition, blue hair alopecia, so other than regular brushing and feeding him high quality food, there isn’t anything you can do about it. Anyone willing to take home the funny looking dog that no one else wants is going to end up with an incredibly loyal companion.

Draco is one of my all time favorites. Animal House brought him in from some other shelter that wasn’t feeding their dogs enough and when I first met him, he was all skin and bones. He’s super friendly and loves treats and attention so he was very easy to work with. He loves to run and the first time I took him out on the trails, he just fell in naturally to bound along at my side. He’s in a foster home now and is doing extremely well learning basic commands. He’s even learning how to run nicely next to a bike. The only problem is his name. I guess the volunteers were on a Harry Potter streak assigning names and he got stuck with the mean kid’s name. It really doesn’t suit his personality. His foster mom has been calling him Drake which is a bit better.

Skinny Draco happy to be out on his first run at Reservoir Ridge.

Draco looking much better at his foster home. (Photo from his foster mom, Abby)

Nitro (Photo from Animal House)

Nitro is another one who could use a better name. Kim asked me to take him out for the first time just a couple days after I ran the Antelope Island 100k. My legs were still pretty wobbly from the race and with a name like Nitro, I expected to get dragged all over Reservoir Ridge. But Nitro turned out to be a pretty good dog. We had a bumpy start …mostly because it didn’t seem like he’d had any practice on leash and didn’t quite know how to behave. But once we got things sorted out, he was really easy to run with. He has a lot of energy and has plenty of moments when he gets super excited and occasionally spins around in circles. But he responds really well to both positive and negative voice commands. Just tell him NO when he’s in mid-jump and he’ll actually stop himself and settle down ….my own dogs won’t even do that once they get wound up! I think he’ll do extremely well if anyone takes the time to pay attention to him and give him consistent directions. Nitro is living with a foster right now and is doing great. He gets along with another dog in the house and chases the cats around, but not maliciously. For a lab mix, he’s on the small side so I think he’d be a great dog to take anywhere traveling around running, hiking, and camping.

Raquel has a ton of energy but is really very easy to run with. She’s very responsive and loves attention and treats so she’s super easy to train. I honestly have no idea why she’s still at the shelter. Other than her high energy, she has a pretty impressive vertical leap …maybe she’d make a great frisbee dog? She’ll be a lot of fun for anyone who stays active and runs and hikes regularly.


Zorro really shoudn’t be on this list of dogs that have been difficult to adopt out. He’s hands down the best behaved dog that I’ve run with yet. He walks and runs on a slack leash at your hip and pays attention to voice commands. He’ll follow behind you on narrow single track and if you tell him to go, he’ll run out in front as fast as you want to go. But he doesn’t pull and will come right back to your hip as soon as you tell him slow down. (I would love to try skijoring with him!) He knows how to sit and he is very patient and gentle taking treats. He hasn’t quite mastered “down” yet but he will gladly roll over for a tummy rub. For a Malamute mix, he’s really quite calm and gentle …definitely not your typical alpha dog. But despite his nearly perfect behavior and temperament, it’ll probably take some effort to find him the perfect home just because he’s a Malamute and it’ll take a lot of work to take care of him. He’ll need a lot of exercise, he’ll shed a ton, he’ll be miserable in our summer heat, and he sings. But anyone who thinks these are all lame excuses to pass up a perfectly good dog is going to love this guy.


If anyone is interested in adopting any of these dogs, please contact Animal House. The Animal House staff will have a lot more detailed information about each dog. Nitro and Draco are currently living in foster homes and Chief has been in and out of fosters homes and is currently back at the shelter. Some have even worked with volunteer trainers.

I would be happy to answer any questions as well. And anyone interested in meeting a dog to can always come out and join our Fort Collins Trail Runners social at 6pm every Tuesday at Reservoir Ridge. I always bring a dog from Animal House to the run.


It’s been a while since I’ve posted any new info for Animal House but I’ve been running with Mickey consistently once or twice each week for the past month. He did spend some time in a foster home in April but has been in the shelter since the beginning of May. I don’t think he has been doing well in the cramped kennels so I’d like to try to help find him a home or at least a temporary foster home as soon as possible.

Mickey is a bit of a problem case so I’m sure that the shelter managers will take extra care in matching him up with the right home. Anyone interested can contact Animal House for much more detailed information than I can provide. Evidently Mickey has had some aggression issues living in a home environment. I’ve personally never seen any behavior from him that would cause me to have any worries so I really don’t know what his exact issues might be. My best guess is that it is from fear and anxiety – he is definitely a bit shy around strangers and I’ve seen him get very skittish a couple times. I don’t think he does well being left alone for very long so I think an ideal home would be with someone who can spend a lot of time with him. And he would probably do well with another dog to keep him company. Every time I take him back to the shelter after a run, he cries and barks when I put him back in his kennel. So I don’t think he’d enjoy living with someone who leaves to work 12 hours a day. The neighbors probably won’t appreciate that either.

Personally I think Mickey is a fantastic dog and whatever his past behavior issues may have been, I think he would be perfectly fine with the right owner and home environment. Every time I’ve taken him out, he gets a little overexcited at first and will try to jump up on you (but who wouldn’t after being cooped up in a small kennel for days) but he really isn’t that hard to control. After a couple minutes, he’ll calm down and he is incredibly mellow and sweet. He knows all of the basic commands and is very smart and eager to learn. He even does great off leash. Of all the dogs I’ve worked with so far, Mickey is definitely one of the easiest to handle.

For the past month, I’ve been taking him out to our Tuesday evening social runs at Reservoir Ridge and I’ve taken him out for a few solo runs. Initially he was a bit shy and reserved around new people at the social runs but the last couple weeks, he’s really warmed up to people and will walk right up to strangers for attention. On this week’s run, we had about 20 runners and 2 other dogs and there were a lot of other people on the trail. Bikers past us and there were small children running around at the trail head. None of these distractions bothered Mickey at all and he was calm and well behaved the entire time.

For running, I don’t think Mickey is ever going to set any speed or distance records. He really enjoys going out for runs but he isn’t incredibly fast and 3-4 miles is usually enough to tire him out. I’m sure he could get in better shape with more frequent exercise but I wouldn’t count on winning the Fast and Furriest 5k or taking him out on ultra distance long runs. I think he’d really enjoy just getting out for a few mellow runs and hikes on a regular basis. I actually think this is a good quality. It’s a really big commitment to own a dog that can and wants to run 10+ miles every day.

If anyone is interested in adopting or fostering Mickey, please contact Animal House. And feel free to contact me with any questions or come out to Reservoir Ridge for our social run every Tuesday at 6pm to meet Mickey in person outside of the shelter.

InSanitas and The Fast and The Furriest

Wow, this has been a big week.

I went down to Boulder on Friday for the annual InSanitas birthday run and successfully ran my age +2 for good measure to rack up over 17,000ft of climbing. This run sounds absolutely horrible repeating the same 3 mile loop and 1300ft climb from sunrise to sunset. But the small loop made it easy for a lot of people to come out and join in for a lap or two any time throughout the day. At the end of my day, Chris and Kari where still going strong and Eric and Ning were just getting started with a fresh group planning to stay out all night. So even after spending over 14 hours on my feet, I actually felt a little disappointed leaving the party early.

Early morning view of Boulder from the Sanitas summit.

Me, Kari, Tressa, Chris, and Denise at the summit.

Hodges' home made endurance formula.

In between crazy Hardrock training runs, I found time for 2 Animal House runs. Trish joined me for the Tuesday FCTR social run at Reservoir Ridge and was great in the car, on leash, and with the group. She has a lot of energy but runs well, learns quickly, and is really easy to handle.

On Saturday, I made it out to the Fast and the Furriest 5k. Our local Towers queen of the hill, Jenn Malmberg, directs this race to raise money for the Companion Care Fund. So this was a great opportunity to support a good cause, help one of our runners, and I couldn’t pass up a chance to get out with a dog from Animal House. After 40 miles on Sanitas, I wasn’t in any condition to run very fast but figured this would be a great opportunity to just jog with the crowd and show off Misty.

Misty ready to run her first 5k.

Misty had been doing so well on leash that I decided not to use a gentle leader or harness for the race. Right up to the start of the race, Misty was still behaving extremely well walking through the crowds of runners and dogs with me so I really didn’t think I needed to warm up to try to tire her out. But as soon as the race started, Misty took off like Rocket and decided that my social pace just wasn’t good enough. I had a tough time keeping my balance trying to hold her back for the first mile and had to make a few stops with her to re-adjust my grip on her leash (by the way, she did stop and sit nicely before tearing off at a sprint again). And with all the excitement from the start, Misty had to stop take a short bathroom break.  So our race was off to a rough start with a 12:21 split for the first mile. After that, Misty settled down and fell into pace with me but we were so far behind in the pack that we had to dodge dozens of walk/joggers with feisty yorkies and weiner dogs on flexi-leashes for the next mile. But we made it through mile two in a bit more respectable 7:57 and finally found enough space to run the last mile in 6:58. Despite the rocky start to the run, Misty and I had a great time. Jenn hosted a fantastic event and it was fun to see so many of our local trail runners out. Sam finished 3rd overall but took the first dog award. Alex and Shadow ran a new Colorado PR. And Cherilyn, Celeste, and Amanda all beat Nick to the finish after his borrowed dog, Chester, decided to duck out of his collar and run off in the opposite direction at the start.

After the 5k, I had just enough time to take Baxter and Sheba over to Round Mountain for a short jog halfway up the hill and back. Today I headed back to Round Mountain again for some repeats to finish off a 100 mile week with 34,378 vertical feet. …now I just need to figure out how to do that in about 30 hours above 11,000ft and I’ll be all set to go for Hardrock.