Monday, January 9, 2012

Building blocks

This morning, the Beast and I had a fabulous run. Just under 8k - a distance that we don't normally do first thing on a Monday. But it was just such a beautiful morning - light snow falling, mild temperatures for early January - that we couldn't help ourselves but go that little bit further.

As we were pulling back into our driveway, a little breathless from kicking it up a notch on the last half-km, I was struck by a thought. When I started running just under three years ago, I almost died on a 3k run. And that was with me running for 10 minutes and taking a 1 minute walking rest. Now here I am running anywhere between 6 and 10k on a regular basis with no breaks (except to avoid getting hit by a car at a stoplight), and I feel challenged but don't exactly want to die.

And I got there with a combination of patience, smart training, and persistence. Building on small successes and adding more time or more distance each time out so that eventually, I got to the point where I am at today. Any number of times along the way, I was supremely frustrated that my body could not just complete a 5k without taking a break or under 30 minutes, making me want to quit because I wasn't "good enough". But in the same way that I had to slowly build up my strength for weight-lifting, I knew that I just had to build my endurance and my distance on the runs. One step at a time.

Just like the Beast's training. If we spend just fifteen minutes together each and every day, working on the new things that we learned with Alpha Trainer, we are going to lay the foundation for him to progress to more advanced levels of training, and for him to become a good doggy citizen. Each day, we will build on his successes, challenge him just a little bit more, and watch him grow and learn and flourish. All of us - Beast especially - will probably get frustrated at times. But whenever we get frustrated, I am going to think of that day a very long time ago when I put my running shoes on and ventured out for my first excruciating 3k run. And about all of the hard work it took me to get to the point where I can put my running shoes on today and actually enjoy running a 10k. And I'll know that hubby, the Beast and I will all feel this pride and this happiness when we succeed at this newest challenge together.

So to keep us on track, I just finished putting together a training journal to keep track of our work. And I can't wait to see how much we all progress.