After spending a week (or a few of them) stressing about my research and what I hope to be doing for my upcoming general exams, and then spending all day Friday and Saturday working on a programming assignment, I decided to spend Sunday relaxing and doing some things that I enjoy doing.
First thing: sleeping until noon.
Running with Charley: Once Charley (my furry quadrupedal companion) finally got me out of bed, we headed to the park for a 3 mile run and some doggy socialization. In this very large community park there are tennis courts, baseball fields, a hockey rink, a dog park, and so much more. We typically park the car at the dog park and run for 1.5 miles in some direction on some path, and then make the return trip where Charley gets to then socialize with the other canines. Charley is a 2.5 year-old yellow lab/golden retriever mix (pictured below), or at least that is what we are guessing since I adopted him from a local shelter 9 months ago. Charley has lots of energy. Therefore Charley cannot go to the dog park without being exercised, since he tends to terrorize the other dogs when his energy level is on high. I put an extra few pounds on Charley’s back via his backpack (to slow him down to my speed) and we went for our 3 mile run. Average mile time: 10min 59sec. Not great. I have just started to use the Nikeplus app on my ipod to track my runs (let’s be real – my running before this was really on a weekly/bi-weekly basis whenever I didn’t have time to give Charley a long walk and get him tired enough in the morning so he wouldn’t destroy anything in the house while I am gone for the day). So this was my third run using the app and tracking my times, and definitely not my best. I blame Charley and his desire to pull towards, and bark very ferociously at, any dog that we run past. This needs to stop – we are working on it. So between his “episodes” and needing to stop to do his duty a few times, our stride was totally thrown off. With the weather getting nicer and my excitement at getting all of this data from my runs using the app, we will be running more often, and my goal is to get our time to under 10 min/mile. Very possible, since my other runs have been closer to 10 min rather than 11.
Dog Park Adventures: So we get back to the car, Charley gets out of his pack, I put on my extra layers (running clothes were not warm enough for standing around in the dog park – and my extra layers weren’t even warm enough for the windy sunless day), and we head for the double-gated entrance of the park. Charley, just tired enough from our run, doesn’t go completely bonkers when we get into the gate, and all doggy-introductions of sniffing are conducted. We were there for only a few minutes before a wave of people and dogs decided to retire. This tends to happen at the dog park. Typically some new dog arrives and throws off the good dynamics of the pack that has been playing together previously. Charley tends to be this dog. But on an early Sunday afternoon, more dogs were sure to come and they did. But it didn’t matter much to Charley anyway, as one dog that remained was Titus (a german short-haired pointer), and with Titus was Titus’ owner. This man had a device that had Charley in awe: a slingshot for tennis balls equipped with squeaky Kong tennis balls (Charley’s favorite). He would shoot the balls all the way across the dog park and the dogs would take off after them. Charley could hardly be distracted by the other dogs arriving to the park. Although the next dog to arrive was Spike a 120 pound brindle-colored mastiff, who decided he really liked Charley. Charley and Spike would start playing and then Spike would put all of this weight on the poor 70 pound Charley and knock him straight to the ground. It was exactly what Charley needed. Charley tends to be bossy and a bit too rough at the dog park, so getting another dog to knock him around a little is just what he needs. Charley got tired of that real quick and decided to stick to the ball-chasing. Eventually there were 10-12 dogs running around having a good time. Then the dog came (Zoe) that threw the group dynamic off. Titus was leaving, so we left too. Over an hour of fun social time does wonders for Charley, and after our 3 mile run and all the ball chasing, he was pretty beat.