Labrador Lessons III: Pace Thyself, Human! (Our First 10k)

Our lab, looking majestic. Thanks for reading.

There are gulpers and there are chippers in this world. I am a gulper. There are no stages, no stepping stones of graduated achievements with how I proceed. There is simply the goal and myself, whatever it may be. Everything between me and the goal must be overcome. And now, today, this very instant in fact! Definitely not tomorrow or a wishy-washy “sometime later, honey.” I will stay the course, finish strong, even if doctors and nurses hurry behind me with a crash cart and tranquilizer darts. Reality be darned!

All this I thought today during my first 10k, walking at a steady pace with my saintly husband* and tolerant Labrador. And then my Lab, during mile six, laid down in the middle of the road during a water break. She peered up at me and my so-called goals.

“Go ahead–try to move me, human,” my Labrador taunted me from the ground. “But you’re going to carry my 55lb butt back to the air conditioned car. And then I’m gonna pee all over your azaleas you just planted so lovingly…”

To be clear, the 10k supported the rescue society we adopted our dear Labrador from. She was heart worm positive when rescued and that treatment saved her life. The saint and I seek out the rescue shelter at community events and usually buy a thing or two from their booth. God bless dogs–whatever did we do to deserve these magnificent creatures of yore?

As I stood there, smiling over my Lab and ready to proceed after a rest, a volunteer walked up to us, concerned about our dog and if we were planning to finish. (The saint and I realized later we were probably the only walkers to do the 10k–everyone else did the 1 mile or 5k). Everything within me rose to finish and I held back a scoff. But then my brain kicked in and my heart tapped my eyeballs to better see my environment. My dog was tired, the heat increasing quickly with the rising sun. Clearly, it wasn’t worth the risk. I poured some water on the Lab to cool her down and we turned back, avoiding the creepy mascot as we crossed the finish line.

***

“Even horses,” the saint reminded me later, “need to take breaks after running.”

This knowledge sailed between my eyes, hitting the bridge of my nose and tickled my frontal lobes. When will I learn the balance of work and self care? Is my perseverance more of a stubbornness streak and thus more of a liability than an asset? I wondered this as the saint and I later shared a celebratory breakfast, me poking at hash browns and potato pancakes, himself an omelette as big as a Giant Squid’s pupil with pancakes to match.

I will pray about this and work through it with the rabbi of dusty sandals. He is patient, forgiving and sometimes I feel feeds the saint lines when needed.

When I got home, I looked in my marathon goody bag, feeding the Labrador some treat samples and oogling over my free water bottle. I came across an advertisement stuffed inside.

“Hey, look! There’s a 5k next week to help support cancer research!” I exclaimed. “Want in?”

*Hereinafter referred to as “the saint” in my blog.

Song: “Wild Child“, Enya

Author: Peregrine Arc

INTJ female writer setting out to become a published author of contemporary literature. Writing includes horror/mystery, young adult fantasy and science fiction. All opinions, mistakes and dog hair are my own. Thank you for joining me.

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