Our dog Clover needs to run. Too many leashed walks around the neighborhood, and she starts to get the crazy eyes. I hate to run though. Last year, in a desperate attempt to get some kind of aerobic exercise, I would leave the baby monitor in a hedge during Josie’s naps and run with Clover around the block over and over. My block is on a hill with a “busy’ street on one side. I made sure to run in a clockwise fashion, so as to look like a fit runner to passer-bys while I ran down this street, and coughed up my screaming lungs on the uphill, out-of-sight, side of my loop. This worked, in the sense that I got a good workout, but only reminded me that I hate running. So that ended pretty quickly, and with it Clover’s running as well.
Guilt sets in though (not over my lack of running silly, but of Clover’s), so after buying Josie’s bicycle trailer, one day last summer the three of us loaded up the car and headed to a nearby trailhead. So it’s become a routine thing for us. Biking four miles at a relatively modest pace does nothing for us biking humans (and nothing for Josie, who sucks down whole milk and goldfish crackers in the trailer), but Clover is getting in noticeably better shape. The first time I took her, her tongue was dragging the ground a mile from parking lot, but now she looks barely winded. It’s not like we do this every day though. I’d like to pat myself on my back for being a good dog owner, but before I can Cesar Milan whispers in my ear, qualifying his praise by reminding me how otherwise unsatisfying her nightly walks are.
What’s crazy, is my dog can get up off her pillow, where she sleeps all day, and run 22 mph, fueled by dog food, table scraps, and grass. Usain Bolt, who holds the title as the world’s fastest person, ran 27.45 mph in 2009 during the Athletic Championships in Berlin. This is astounding to me, given that I was on a bicycle and pedaling pretty darn hard. Still, a greyhound can attain speeds of up to 45 mph, and while Clover is no greyhound, I think a few more months of sprinting along side my bike and she might be able to give Bolt a run for his money.