Bahamian Running Bud

If yesterday was a test by the running gods on the virtues of restraint, I admit that I failed miserably, but happily. After Friday’s successful outing, it probably would have been the smart thing to wait a bit before the next one, especially considering my groin was wonky on Saturday (I really do have a growing body of evidence that it gets tweaked while I sleep. Not sure how to solve that one!). I woke up Sunday morning in considerably better shape than Saturday night and told myself I would rest it that day. Of course, that thought was generated in the dark-curtained room I had been sleeping. The plan was not long for this world, however, and was abandoned about .21 seconds after I looked out the window and saw the day. Lil Sis’ recent email about not doing too much too soon flashed through my mind but was no match for this:

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I made my way outside and walked around the grounds a bit to see how my leg felt. A little tight for sure. As I was having an inner battle about the idiocy of wasting a day like this versus the idiocy of re-injuring myself, I was interrupted by this friendly fellow who was literally sprinting right at me:

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I don’t believe in signs unless they point in the direction I already want to go so the sight of this dog who was so joyful at the simple act of running set my course of action. Run! I figured if it hurt while I ran, I would stop. If it didn’t, I would have an amazing start to yet another perfect day in paradise.

I set out and was happy to see that my running bud seemed game. He had no collar and seemed to belong to no one so I felt comfortable with him coming along ( I’m no dognapper!). In both Puerto Rico and Costa Rica I had similar encounters with running dogs and was excited to see how this adventure would play out. It started out innocently enough:

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A little over a mile into the run, my bud and I stopped at this beautiful spot in Marsh Harbor on Abaco Island. I could not resist the hammock for a quick swing! My leg was tight, but ok and not getting worse.

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As I reluctantly got out of the hammock, I noticed my companion was standing alert and looking back at the road- I followed his gaze and saw a large dog. He wasn’t growling, but wasn’t wagging his tail either. Hmm. I have been in tight dog situations before and don’t especially like being in the middle of their “helloes”. There was no way out of this one though- the dog was running over to check us out. My buddy seemed friendly but cautious- I myself was bordering on panic. One large dog running at us, one medium dog taking refuge next to me. I jumped on top of a picnic table and hoped it would not come to blows.

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And it did, if by blows you mean two dogs playing an insane game of tag- it was suddenly clear to me that my bud must be a trained agility dog- he was so fast, could cut tight corners and easily lept over obstacles. He liked to run out and then zoom back to my side. The first time I saw him barreling towards me, I jumped out of the way and he collided with my leg, leaving me this keepsake:

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Once I understood that he knew what he was doing, it was really fun to watch him gleefully outpace the other dog as he whizzed past me on lap after lap.

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Eventually I needed to move on. After a few more chases, he came with me. It was then that I decided he needed a name and settled on Four Leaf, in honor of the fact he was my lucky running dog. In fact, the fear I felt during the doggie standoff was enough to completely distract me from any leg pain. It never returned for the remaining 2 miles or the rest of the day, which was significant since we spent a majority of it walking, including some hills. The brain is a mysterious and wonderful place.

We returned back to the condo thoroughly satisfied (me) and with energy to burn (him). In between post-run fartleks, he did take a moment to bask in the moment. Smart dog.

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Today was a reminder that running buds of all species make good company. Four Leaf helped me to get outside my own fears of injuries and unknown situations and take it back to basics- a woman and a dog, out for a run in the sun. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing better.

Have you had running adventures with dogs?

Do you like to run with dogs?

Run on, (dog and people) friends!

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6 Comments

Filed under Travel

6 responses to “Bahamian Running Bud

  1. Bel

    This was awesome! Happy you found a fun dog! My doggie encounters tend to be much less friendly…There’s a house around the block from mine and the owners leave their dog in the garage, seemingly all day every day. It doesn’t matter which day or time I pass it, he’s in there. He is a very large, very unfriendly pup who does not like people. His owners leave the garage door slightly open, I guess so he can get fresh air, I don’t really inderstand it. Anyway, I don’t know if they are aware of this but he can get out. He does get out. And goes after anyone walking past the house. There was a day I was walking to the park with the kids and had to turn back because he got out and the kids were terrified!! So when running past this house I wasn’t sure what would happen; if the running would encourage him more or be better because I’d be past his house faster…I was fine the first time and he stayed in the garage but I still take a deep breath and haul buns past that house every time I pass it!

  2. Linda Kisiel

    I have lots of encounters with dogs and their owners unleashed in Parvin. “Oh, he’s just glad to see you,” they say. I say leash your dog. I love dogs and I have run with a few at the park, but i don’t like it when they charge you and almost knock you down. I’m glad you and Four Leaf had a good run! Great to hear. Of course, I was crying. I know what running means to you. Remember to take it slow, my dear.

    • Yeah, my biggest issues with dogs are almost always owner related and not dog related!
      And I am def taking it slow – this weather is making it easy!! No runs til this weekend, gonna swim during the week.

  3. Linda Kisiel

    Good, very smart.

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