I'm generally not a dog person. I don't dislike them, or anything, but they just don't really do much for me. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is a serious dog person, just loves every single dog she sees. At her mom's, she has a golden retriever named Benny who is, it can be said, just about the sweetest, greatest dog ever. Playful, affectionate, doesn't bark very much, just terrific. If I had enough room, I'd like a dog just like him. I don't, but if I did...
Last Friday night, the kids were staying with me and their mother was going away for most of the weekend. Ordinarily, she'd either board Benny, or the kids would make a couple of trips to her house to let him out, feed him and do dog owner things. A couple days earlier Elizabeth had called and asked (not for the first time) if he could stay with us, and I agreed...I figured it was time to not be a hardass for once. So I was a (very) short-term dog owner.
Friday night went fine. Saturday morning, I got up early, ready to try a 6-miler, my longest run since my surgery. Went through my normal pre-long routine, made some coffee, started my oatmeal and generally just lollygagged around. Took Benny out to do dog things, and as I walked back in I saw someone wearing a Reeds Lake Run T-shirt. "Hey, is that shirt from last year?" "No, it's this morning." "WHAT? They changed the date this year?"
So I sprinted up the stairs, realized that there was late registration that closed in about 25 minutes, sprinted out the door to my car, sprinted to the high school, was literally the last person to register (they were packing up tables when I walked in), and found myself standing at the starting line before I had a chance to wonder whether I was ready to do a 10K or whether this was, you know, a good idea.
Well, it turns out that it wasn't. I'm rounding into running shape, but I'm not to the point where I can do an unprepared 6 miles. I had to walk for a not-insigificant portion of the last half of the race and finished in 1:10...my previous worst 10k was 1:03, and I actually ran my PR of 52:36 in last year's race. I gots a long way to go, but I knew that. The bright side was that I was racing again - three months ago, after tweaking my good knee on my first real run after rehab, I felt like it would never happen. Being able to cross the finish line, albeit almost 20 minutes behind my PR of one year ago, reduced me to a grateful, blubbering mess.
That was a couple of weeks ago - I've since done a 6-miler in 59:58 (woot!) and a 7-miler in 1:10:51. My shorter runs have stayed around 10-minute pace. A long, long way to go, but it's coming. Oh, yes. It's coming.