Finding the perfect partner to run with is almost as difficult as dating, if not more so.
Like dating, you have to find someone that you are compatible with. Someone you can talk to with ease, and at the same time someone that you can have comfortable silence with. Someone to challenge you every day to be better and can share the accomplishment of a good workout and make you feel better after a bad one. Someone who will listen to you rant about your work day while you pound out your aggression through your feet.
Most importantly, this person needs to be a runner, whereas that requirement is something that can be skipped in the dating world if you find the right person.
Although some people have been lucky enough to find this elusive perfect training partner, it is something that I have mostly gone without since leaving university. In my situation, it’s me who is the bad running partner, not you. Really. That’s not just a bad dumping line. My schedule is tough to match a lot of the time and I feel bad being the person who goes away for weeks at a time for work, leaving my partner to run solo. And the relationship never lasts. Sigh.
Instead of drowning my loneliness about another running related break up in some Hagan Daz, there was an easy solution and I have found myself with the perfect running partner. She has four legs, lots of fur and responds to the name of Cooper with an adorable sideways head tilt.
My perfect partner is my dog.
I’ve been running with her for since she was just over a year old and there are very few things that she likes more than going for our daily run – her green dragon, eating carrots and her BFF, Scallywag, who only runs after balls. She knows that when I put on my running shoes and shorts that we are going to Run. She dances in a circle and woo’s at me in a way that only a husky or husky mix can do. She’s learned to share a water bottle. If I fall off pace, she grabs her leash in her mouth and gives me a little tug – her way of saying “Excuse me? Keep moving, bringer of squeaky toys!”
And like any crazy dog owner, my life is often centered around my dog – as are our runs together. I have 5, 7, 8, and 10km regular loops mapped from my house that we do, that all include water fountains for hot days, a dog park for a mid run break to wrestle, run and bark with other dogs, and plenty of squirrels to look at longingly – and perhaps chase if she spots them before me.
Like any runner, there are things she doesn’t like. Winter running is tough – not because of the cold but the salt on the streets hurt her paws, so we stick to the trails. In the summer we keep it short, drink lots of water and find rivers to jump in, because it’s hot, and she’s got more fur than should be possible. The big hill near our house is rough on both of us, because neither of us feel that hills should be at 80 degree angles.
But she’s the perfect partner. Always ready when I am, she doesn’t seem to mind when I talk incessantly about my day (while others may feel that I’m that crazy chick talking to herself…) and when we get home, we both like to lie on the couch and eat a c-o-o-k-i-e.
I think that this partnership will have many more happy years together – unless she gets too fast for me, of course.