Sunday, June 29, 2008

Easy like Sunday morning

It was a beautiful Sunday morning at Fairview Park today --- the marine layer did not stick around so it was sunny but cool as the temperatures never got up past 68F during our run. Six dog teams hit the trail today, including the schnauzers Einstein and Sally while Ruby the 8-month old husky newbie hiked along and later on did a short run in harness with Einstein.

Today I ran with the two brothers, Obi and Coal --- all legs, a lot of brawn and extremely driven. It's always a joy to run with these two as they are so evenly matched and just love to pull. It has been awhile since I've run them together and they definitely have gotten so much stronger that running them on a scooter has now become, umm, a little bit scary.

And along for the ride, so to speak, was our resident tourist Silver. Silver has a lot of speed but at just about a year old, he is a bit "focus-challenged". Often times, he prefers to look around and watch the sights (much like a turista) or better yet, grab onto the neck of any unsuspecting dog running next to him specially if they happen to be his adopted sisters Gaia or Gidget. But when you put him at single wheel with the Bash Brothers on lead keeping the line tight and setting the pace, then it helps him maintain his focus.

So off we went for a 3.2 mile run down the asphalt, around the Big Loop, Behind the Fence, on to The Freeway, detouring through the Mud Run, zooming past Damnation Alley and finally back on to The Freeway before taking a water break at the Talbert Nature Preserve picnic area.

There were 5 teams that were running together and they were all running great! No tangles, not much goofing off, just smooth focused running. And today I made it a point to mount my digital camera onto my handlebars so I can take videos. I purposely rode the brakes to hold my team back and bring up the rear so I could be in a position to take some action movies.

I could only imagine how the footage would turn out specially as we ran through the Mud Run, where the dogs always put on an extra burst of speed. And even though we started at the back of the pack, my team soon moved out front but before long, I heard somebody shout "Trail!" right behind me. I glanced back and lo and behold, it was Henning and the all girl team of Gidget, Gaia and Lyka.

My team gee'd over but nobody passed us. So I slowed them down once we rounded the bend through Old Road Junction and soon Henning and his team went past us as well as Matt and the Reds (Blue, Scarlet and Noah). This would make for some exciting footage, I thought to myself as all three teams hit Damnation Alley and suddenly went into turbo mode. It was a mad dash out of there with Henning's team leading the way. But the boys weren't about to let the girls get too far away so we shot past the Reds (we were going so fast that I had to squint in order to prevent all the sand and grit particles that were shooting off of the front scooter tire from getting into my eyes) and then took that sharp turn back on to The Freeway.

But Henning and the girls continued to keep their fast pace. I was pleasantly surprised at how motivated they were --- even though Gaia is a fast runner, Gidget usually prefers life in the slow lane while Lyka is my slacker dog. But today, all three were running fast and smooth and continued to churn and burn in front of us, giving the boys a run for their dog treats. In the end, we did catch up with them and barely beat them at the finish line for a much deserved water break and rest under the cool shade of the picnic area.

So the dogs all took a break as we hung out and commented on how great a run they had. The running season is all but ended and our dogs have definitely gotten stronger, faster and healthier than they were nine months ago. Yes, they were tired, with slobber and drool coming out of their mouths, but they were happy and seemingly content and fulfilled. After all, they were running with their buddies and getting to do what they were born to do --- what more can you ask for?

We eventually made our way back up to the parking lot, taking a direct, shorter route as it was starting to warm up. It was a beautiful day and life was good....and all the more reason to take it easy like a Sunday morning should be.

(BTW, as it turns out, I was pressing the wrong button on my digital camera the whole time that I thought I was filming. So no videos were recorded but I did get some action shoots, some of which are posted on this blog. I guess I have a long ways to go before coming close to being a Warren Miller but it was still a heck of a fun ride!)

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