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Running with Chet Baker

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A thoroughly inviting road. It has everything I need.

On July 30, I decided to try running. Phoebe's been running all summer, and she doesn't feel right when she can't go out. So that morning, I ran and gasped a mile behind her lithe form as it disappeared around the first bend. She met me, still outgoing, on her way back.

Running behind a 104-pound teen with a BMI of 16 is not what I, or anyone my age, should be doing. So the next morning I went by myself. Well, I went alone, but for Chet Baker. He's essential.

There followed a week of very sore legs and feet while I decided whether running was what I should be doing at my age. Ow, ow, ow. Kneeling down was excruciating. I figured I'd run right through it, every day. Didn't want to quit. Something about seeing your daughter disappear in front of you spurs you on. I'd only tried running once, when I was in college, but the harsh pavement and antique shoes killed my shins and I had to quit.

We have no pavement, only fine gravel that crunches and gives underfoot. The road stretches well beyond where I go, but I go a little farther every day.

Soon enough, the soreness went away. Stretching and a decent pair of shoes helped.

And I found that getting out in the early morning was just what I needed to get my blood circulating and my thoughts arranged.

We have Queen Anne's lace, chicory, and garnet red clover that sparkles with dew.

We have a towhee that sings alone from the fastness of a mist-wreathed forest.

We have bees that hum in the pinetops, and the odd red-eyed vireo muttering away to itself.

Sometimes we have bunnehs, but not enough to suit Chet.
They always get away.

We have our own curious cows, Angus-Holstein crosses, perhaps?

Perhaps you remember Abby and Veronica from winter sledding parties. Veronica (the mostly white calf) has grown tremendously.

They like us.

I'm glad to have them as training cows for Chet, who with their help has become completely reliable around cattle. Abby, the white-faced mom, helped by being sort of snorty and stompy to Chet when he ventured under the fence a couple of times. Good girl. Tell him he's trespassing.

Now: No scolding, no lead, no collar...just the understanding, and the trust between us.

I don't have to say a word to him. He knows we no longer harass cattle. As a two-year-old, he was wild, nipping, darting,'s hard to believe he's the same dog. They do settle down, become the dog you dreamt of, if you give them time and love and trust.

He turns on his heel and trots away. Good BOY, Chetty!

He flicks an ear back to acknowledge the praise, and there's extra spring in his step. He's proud of himself, too.

Extra Orcas for Chet Baker, you good boy, you.

Running with Chet--a month out, it's turned out to be a very good thing.


What a beautiful place for running!

How funny. My post today is about walking with my dog, and the trust that grows between two old friends.

Great minds, eh?

You are what we in the biz call an NBR - a natural born runner. Your form is flawless and you are fast and solid on your feet. Had you been introduced early on to proper footwear and proper breathing -I suspect this would be old hat.

Isn't it a marvelous way to clear the head and too the few extra calories that flush with it.

Wait until that day, just around the corner, when those endorphins show up for a visit and the whole things is effortless for those random minutes they kick in. It is impossible to explain to anyone who hasn't had the pleasure. I got the hit on my last day there. You have to stop yourself from ending up in West Virginia. Or, when you look up and see Big Muskie's Bucket - you know you've gone too far.

Wow, good for you Julie! I tried several times as John was a runner, but could never muster it up.

The less I say about running, the better, but I do want to thank you for putting in the Donate button in the right sidebar. This is a wonderful way for some of us to express our appreciation for your contribution to our lives, in a manner at least as meaningful to an artist and writer as our comments. And it is a great reminder for the rest of us to acknowledge in our hearts a gift freely given.

I've always like jogging, as it is easy, cheap exercise, but I've long been out of the habit. Perhaps this will shove me out the door one of these mornings....

Our puppehs do give it up after a few years. Chloe gave up vacuumm cleaner a year ago. Took 13 years...

I would love to love to run. I'll stick with dancing and brisk walking!

I'm proud of you because I imagine the start-up wasn't easy. Ouch.

Well, good for you Miss Julie. My deep dark suspicion is that (most) women are not meant to run. Certainly not at my age. Too many parts getting shaken around. ;-)
Oh well. I did try it once, and PROMPTLY my left knee ballooned up. So no more running. But I walk and walk and walk. Much easier on knees.
As for dogs for company, the best. Nothing beats walking with a dog.

Good for you ! I'm happy to hear that running is going so well.

Good to know Chet's NOT SO HYPER anymore! ;-)

Way to go mamma!

TR and Murre, you fill my heart. You all do. Donna, I harbored the same suspicion. Like, how do I work this? Once I learned to corral some of my shakier parts, it helped. Working on breathing---it's much quieter and less gaspy now. I've had just a couple of mornings so far where I surprised myself by just keeping on. I made it to the graveyard today! and then rewarded myself by sitting on a stone (first apologizing) and thinking for awhile. Thinking goes so much better when you've had some exercise.

Cyberthrush, The Bacon is not only not hyper, he's beginning to wonder if I have all my marbles. He turns back down the driveway when we're only halfway done and has to be asked to continue!

And Kathi, I haven't had to cut his toenails since we started. One of those hidden benefits!
Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. It's not easy, but it's not as tough as it was a month ago.

Everyone, please go read Kathi's beautiful tribute to lovely Lab mix Holly, and time alone walking with a good dog.

It's a dandy, absolutely beautiful. And then, when you've read that one, just keep right on scrolling to see her little Boston terrier, Panda, get fixed--by her own Momma!! Woweee!

Love your post Julie, but here's what I know to be true... There's a special room in hell where you have to run for eternity and THAT alone is motivation enough for me to be good on this earth. That's about how I see it. :c)

It's been years, nay, decades, since I ran. I credit my then roommate of getting me successfully going, once she taught me the art of pursed lip breathing so that you aren't gasping the whole way. Not sure my knees and back would appreciate the activity these days, but maybe... I always liked the way it made me feel -- strong and fit. Keep at 'er!

Nice! I'm very impressed Julie. For about 10 years now I've been giving running a try - maybe once or twice a year. There must be some part of me that believes I my old high school athlete body will magically materialize that very same day. I have yet to get over the initial hump and make it a habit again. I too like the way running made me feel - and I have literally been having dreams about it. I've always been prone to shin splints so I may have to shell out some bucks for a new pair of kicks first but as usual...visiting this blog gets me fired up in the best of ways. Now if only I didn't live on a hill surrounded by hilly dirt roads! One of the few times I wish for flat, paved streets is during my annual runs!

Is it really true about Chet's toenails?? I thought that was something my husband just liked to say! How does Chet do running on those little feet? I'm a little hesitant to bring Fender along for jogs - he's a fantastic sprinter but there's this little part of my brain that worries longer distances might not sit well with him. That part of my brain is probably the crazy part come to think of it. I'll take any suggestions about running with a dog, however!

Stefanie, yes--the way it makes you feel--connected to your muscles, aware of what you can do that you thought you never could.
Jen, it's hilly here, too--probably not as bad as NH, but I have three Heartbreak Hills in my route. They're good for me, I tell myself as I puff slowly up them like the Little Engine that Has to Stop Occasionally.
I think Fender would surprise you. Dogs are built for endurance. Chet has some ACL weakness in his left hind knee but thus far has shown no skipping or discomfort whatsoever. He does look at me like i'm nuts some mornings--I don't miss his emphasis, just go about jollying him out of it. I hope and pray his joints hold out, because I don't want to think about running without him. It's good for us both.

Oh, I wish we could run together--just back from my own run around my wee island. I'm recovering from achilles tendon malfunction--these days, it's one minute walk, three minutes run until I tire myself out!

Just checked out KatDocsWorld - thanks. The link you gave left out the 'L' in world, which confused me for a moment, but I got there with Kathi's link and then realized what the problem with the address was.

Did you have Chet Baker fixed, speaking of fixing? The husband is resisting my urging to have our new baby, Bugs, fixed. He's just about a year old now. A Boston/Pugg mix. You talk about cute!

Oh, duhh! Nothing like posting a link to a friend's blog and getting it wrong. I'm going to try to post a link. Hope this works. If not it's

Yes, The Bacon is fixed. It was tough for me. But he had a bit of a Napoleon complex that wasn't getting better with age (we had him fixed a bit late at 9 mo.) I'd do it again. They often live longer fixed. Good luck with your decision. I know it's difficult, because he's so PERFECT just as he is, but it won't hurt him. It'll help his personality.

Thanks. Your input may have convinced my spouse! And I meant "Pug" not "Pugg." Bugs is a Bugg. Confusing.

Kimb, I really agonized over this, too, so I understand what you guys are going through. I got a wild hair and actually called up his breeder and asked if people ever get vasectomies for dogs. She paused for a long time, said, "I've never been asked that!" and then gently explained just what I told you. (We roar with laughter about it now). I was really worried that being deballed would ruin his personality. NOT A CHANCE. It just made him less aggressive toward other dogs and less likely to take off in search of girls. Which in Bacon's case is a good, good thing because he is so tuff.

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