Yearning for the Burning

Tonight I finally got to go for a run after a month of just working. Oh man did it burn at the same time that it felt amazing. Chief seemed to crave it as much as I did. But considering I haven’t even been taking the dogs for a walk I’m sure he’s missed being out and about too. We ran. Pretty hard.

As I was running I was reflecting on the past month of work. I’ve had many ups and a few downs but in general, I’ve had a good month. It’s been a long month yet the time has gone by so fast I can’t believe it’s almost mid August. One of my favorite things has been getting to know some of my supervisors and learning with my mentors on how to handle given situations. I’ve also enjoyed building friendships with a few of my coworkers and getting to know them.

When I got to the halfway point I stopped for a bit to gaze at their field and how it’s slowly being overtaken by pine trees and wild raspberries.

“Ah Chief. Doesn’t it feel good? That burning sensation?” he wagged his tail and then trotted ahead and looked back as if to tell me to hurry up. So I lugged myself forward to head home.

I didn’t know that I would yearn for the burning sensation until I felt it again. And now, I feel invincible again. Tired and ready to sleep 8 days, but yet invincible. And as I enjoy my day off tomorrow, I’ll re-eneegize myself, drink some coffee, and prepare myself to finish this summer strong. Both work-wise and running-wise. Until then, peace. ✌🏻️ #fire🔥 #burning #yearning

One Hot Run

It’s hot out. I feel the sun rays creep on the back of my neck as I head for the trail covered in a forested shade. I look at my phone and click on my Nike+ app, and press “start run.” Breathe in. Get ready. “Chief!” And we start our third summer run.

IMG_1915Chief does his usual habits where he runs ahead and sniffs around in the woods before he comes back to the trail to give me that look that says, “Oh c’mon, Pokey” and then he turns around and heads off. “Thanks, you box of cheese” I think to myself (I call my dog random food names sometimes, don’t judge).

As we come to the field, I slow down to a walk, and we can gaze at all of the beauty before us. So many pretty yellow flowers, and long green grass that often tries to trip me. Chief makes a quick pit stop to mark his territory before he trots forward and pounces in the yellow flowers.

I managed to run a total of half mile on the run, not all in one stride. As we came to the halfway point, I stopped to catch my breath, and let Chief sniff around in the woods. I gaze at the two big Oak trees that once held a tree stand years and years ago. It was built before I was born and deteriorated over time until about 5 years ago it completely crumbled; now only the few steps nailed in the tree remain.

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Thunder can be heard grumbling in the north as dark gray-blue clouds are swiftly overtaking the blue and sunny skies.

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“Storm’s coming in faster than I thought, Chief.” He turns his head to me. I whistle. He comes. I walk the majority of this field because the grass is very tall and thick. And this field is mostly uphill until it reaches a path through a small wooded section and then it comes to the first field (the one where Chief was pouncing in the yellow flowers).

IMG_1944It’s so weird to see dark clouds to the north, and blue skies in the south. But that’s how God made nature. Unpredictable but amazing.

As Chief and I made it back through the first field, and we enter the main trail back to the house, I decide to run nonstop for as long as I could. At this point, we’re both hot, I’m sticky with sweat, and Chief isn’t as energetic as he was in the beginning, but we both have a sweet victory in mind. He usually sticks closer to my side at this point in our run, which makes it my favorite part, because now Chief is going the same pace as me and it doesn’t make me feel that slow. Our breathing is even. His paws matching my feet. When I make it halfway down the path, I come to a stop (yes, again!). Chief slows as well.

It gets me thinking about how we have such a partnership. As Forest Gump said, “We’re like peas and carrots” (yes, ironic I use a Forest Gump quote and not the “Run, Forest, run” one either). But Chief and I are really like peas and carrots. We go together so perfectly, that if there is only one of us it feels a little off balance. We aren’t meant to be without each other   yes he is my best and most precious friend that I could ask for. He listens to me (most of the time), and all I have to do is feed him and give him water and he will love me unconditionally. And he helped through my troubled teen years.

God didn’t just bless me with a dog, he blessed me with a great running partner and a lifelong companion.

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We’ve lost some weight…
Chief: 1.8 pounds
Me: 2.3 pounds

Four Paws and Two Feet: Running with a Victory in Mind

It was run number two today. It wasn’t terrible, but still, it was breathtaking    literally.

DSCF4709My dog has a habit, that when he sees me slip on a pair of shoes, he will start whining and pacing from me to the door and back to me. Then when I grab his leash, he will divebomb onto me, and nearly knock me over (he is, after all 58.2 pounds). My other two dogs, a big German Shepard and a Five-pound Yorkie, also get very antsy and start whining and getting excited at the prospect of going out. It does break my heart a little when I tell them to go lay down, but running with more than one dog is very difficult*…and they can’t be trusted off leashes (especially Buddy, the German Shepard, he will take off for hours and come back smelling like the pond). Buddy will slump back as if to say, “It’s not fair that Chief can go but I can’t.” The little Yorkie thinks she’s sneaky and will go to the side where she doesn’t think I can’t see her so that she can potentially take off (don’t worry, I make it up to the other dogs, but taking them for a walk on the days I don’t run).

As I managed to get Chief out the door and no other dogs sneaking out, I turned on my phone to the Nike+ app to track my run.

“Ahh, what a wonderful evening for a run.” Chief turns around and does a hop as if to respond, “Will you hurry up! I want to go!”
“Okay okay. Will you keep your tail on.” Yes. I know. I talk to my dog. I’m not the ONLY one, right?

We get to the starting point. Ready? About as ready as I’ll ever be. Set! Ugh…do I even enjoy running? Go! Pace. Breathe. Run. Keep going.

I managed to keep an even pace for about twice the length I did on our first run (woot!). Chief was helping with that since he was pulling me. When I did stop, I let him off the leash. (Chief is the only one that will actually come back when called…as long as no other dogs are by nearby). He immediately set off to sniff out any new scents.

In that moment, as we were out in the fields, it took me back to when I was a teen and I could run this trail nonstop. The entire trail. Granted it’s only about a mile length start-t0-finish. The memories of how I ran or walked these trails and the deer paths through the woods every day. I knew the woods better than my own bedroom. If I wasn’t running or walking, sometimes I could be found reading under my favorite Pine Tree tucked away from any path. More often than not, I’d be running the path with my horse Savory, venting to her about all my troubles with school or work (I talk to animals a lot). If these trails could talk, they would say a lot.

Throughout our adventure, we saw several deer, and heard numerous squirrels chattering and birds chirping. When we neared the end of it all, I realized just how fortunate Chief and I are.

Chief lives a very carefree life: he has food and unconditional love.

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Chief gets a lot of unconditional love from both my brother and I: He likes giving it back!

Despite all of his wrongdoings, I can never stay mad at him. His face brightens my day. He has a comfy bed to sleep on, and he is given the necessary vaccinations to keep him healthy. And all he does is rely on me (or my mom) to feed him and take care of him. He probably doesn’t worry about whether he’ll get food in his bowl  or not, or if he’ll get left outside all night.

My life is testing me: I’m a recent college graduate, with no luck in finding a decent job. Not only decent in pay, but decent in allowing me the one day of the week I need off    Sunday. But despite all of this, I have a bed I can sleep on, I have a family that loves me, and I have the companionship of a dog. Sometimes I question why things don’t work out in my favor, but I’m trying to focus on letting God work it out for me. I’m focusing on trying to live carefree life like Chief. Chief has a master that will take care of him, much like I have a God that will take care of me.

We have four paws, two feet, and one mission: strive to be successful in all of our runs by always running with the victory in mind. 

 

*side note: I wrote a blog about a year ago about running with two dogs. Read: Running Like a Winner

One dog and an Old Pair of Running Shoes

ChiefMy dog Chief had an appointment with the vet last week. A few days prior to his visit he got loose and took off with our other dogs, Buddy and Lizzy, and when he came back his back right foot was gimpy. And then the next day he wouldn’t move, he was just laying there like a lump on my bed, and when I tried to get him to go outside he just continued to lay there. I pulled on his collar, and he started growling. Panic set in. Was he in pain? I knew he needed to get his Lyme’s Disease vaccination…so I decided to let him rest, and I started doing some research about the disease. I concluded that if he would have contracted the disease, it wouldn’t have set in so soon. Pshew. A sigh of relief. But I called the vet to set up an appointment for the vaccination.

When we rolled into the driveway of the vet’s office, Chief looked all excited. Probably an overwhelming sensation of the many scents from many pets. We got out of the van and Margaret, one of the vets, greeted us with her happy-tired smile. She often looked tired from many hours of work, and few hours of sleep.

“Let’s get Chief on the scale before we give him his shot.” So I walked him over to the scale, and he walked on it like a pro. He weighed in at a whopping 58.2 pounds! Yikes!

“Chief, it’s time to start losing weight, you Lump!” He looks at me as if to say, “Psh. You should be talking.” Although I know he really doesn’t care what I look like, I knew that was a sign that we both could use more exercise to lose some unnecessary ‘lumps.’

DSCF4636So that very evening, I slipped on an old pair of running shoes, grabbed my water bottle, and we went for our first run of the summer. It was hard! The hills were killer. But, as we reached the half mile point, I felt really good about it. Sure we didn’t run the entire time, well let me rephrase, I didn’t run the entire time, but it was a good run. I felt successful. See, the definition of success doesn’t necessarily mean we ran the fastest or the longest, but it means that we did OUR best that we could! With a little time we’ll get faster and have the ability of running more than just a half mile or just a quarter of a mile   maybe we’ll run 2 miles!

Here we are at 58.2 and *** pounds, and soon we’ll hit our target weight! Praise God for the strength!

Running like a Winner

Have you ever felt like Forest Gump and just wanted to run forever, and ever. Run from the East coast to the West. Run away from your problems, and leave them in the dust. Have you ever ran so hard and for so long that it was difficult to actually want to stop. And when you finally did, your legs still had an urge to just keep running. Running, sometimes, has a way of making one feel free.

Earlier this evening, I took “My Boys,” as I refer to them, for a run through our back fields today. Mind you, this is my second attempt at running since I’ve gotten home, so I didn’t run the entire 1.08 miles. I probably only ran half of that. But I’m okay with that.

If I keep attempting to run the 1.08 miles, almost everyday, eventually I’ll be able to say I can run the entire length. Without heavy breathing, or pain. If I keep running, I’ll eventually improve my timing. Instead of it taking me 25 minutes, maybe it will take me 10. If I keep running with a victory in mind, I will eventually be victorious!

As I neared the end of my run, I realized a few things. For one, it’s so much easier to run with one dog, not two. My German Shepard doesn’t realize that he is significantly in better shape than I am, even at eleven years old, he still runs like he’s young. My other dog, usually stays close to me when it’s just me and him on the trail. And he always listens to me when I call his name.

Two, running in an uneven terrain where the grass is as tall as my knees is much more difficult than I thought it would be. I have to constantly keep myself from tripping. The hills also have it out for me. probably 1/4 of my run consisted of running uphill, let me tell you, pushing myself to actually run uphill is very difficult. I almost have no motivation.

A third thing I’ve learned is that by the time I made it to three-quarters of a mile, I was so ready to just never run again. My legs ached; I could feel them tremble. My face burned; I could feel the redness overflow into my cheeks. “I’ll walk the rest of the way home. Who wants to run anyways.” But that was when I thought it would be best to run non-stop until I got home. Granted, I made it about halfway, but hey I had to try, right? I think my dogs were okay with me walking as well. It seemed like they both yearned to just drink some water, and rest their little paws.

Like my run this evening, my relationship with God should be like this. I should be running after him, without stopping…without hesitation….with gladness…with hope…it’s okay to be a little tired, because I know He will restore me, and make me new. He’s like the second wind I get, to cross that finish line. I’ve got the shoes to run like a winner, because I am a winner.

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My Boys: Buddy (L) and Chief (R)