Adventure and the dog I needed

I love adventure. Running on trails that I’ve never run before and exploring the many paths they might lead to makes me feel like a kid on a grand adventure, seeing the world for the first time. This weekend I went to Gatineau Park and explored fresh trails. Our run started at the picnic area in Chelsea, went up to King Mountain trail, then to Meech Lake and back.

Cooldown moment on the run

Titan, the dog that thinks he can run forever

Titan wasn’t the dog I expected him to be. When I first picked him up in Toronto as a puppy, the owner told me he was a Shepard and Golden Retriever mix. I thought he’d be about 90lbs with a mild temper and fairly easy to train as far as dogs go. Instead, I got a shrimp (mix of many breeds), a tough dog to train, with no Golden Retriever in his genes.

He’s loving, a little crazy, enjoys cuddling in bed, and can’t get enough running. In the morning he follows me everywhere and waits for me to put on my “smelly” socks. We ran 30km’s in the trails together on Saturday and I don’t know that there are a lot of other dogs that could do the same. I believe his ultra-light frame and high energy made him the perfect fit for me. He wasn’t the dog I wanted, but he is the dog I need.

Meech Lake the turnaround point of our run

Changes I’ve noticed in myself

When I’m on these long trail runs, I’ve noticed that I forget to turn my headphones on for a podcast. I get a lot of chances to enjoy being in the moment. I can’t say the same for road runs. In the trails, I hear the sounds of all the animals and the flow of water down the creeks that often zigzag around me. Maybe I secretly want to hear the bear that’s chasing me before I get clobbered.

Fun trails to follow heading back from King Mountain Trail

Another change I’ve noticed in myself is that I look forward to every run. Rather than running to win my age group or be a faster runner (those are still important), I run because I really enjoy it. The pressure I usually have on myself, practically forcing myself out the door, isn’t there right now. I wake up and can’t wait to tie my shoes and get out the door.

It looked like a good place to step

This run ended my current training block. I have a week at half mileage before building back up again. I’m already missing the longer workouts, but I know the importance of rest and recovery to rebuild stronger.

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