Friday, May 30, 2014

Lucky

Even though I life with Barley is not always easy, I know just how lucky I am to have this crazy girl in my life. I might not have "a normal dog like everybody else," but I'm constantly reminded of all the good things Barley does for me.

Most recently, I've been especially thankful that she's such an incredible walking buddy.

I've never really thought of myself as being particularly in shape. I hate running. I haven't done much strength training after my parents no longer had a YMCA membership for my sister and I to use over the summers. I love eating, especially bacon cheeseburgers, and my favorite part of eating out in Pittsburgh was that you don't have to make a decision between a side salad or fries because you can get fries IN your salad. I've always been of the opinion that as long as I don't have to go up a pants size I don't need to up the exercise or cut back on my favorite foods. Basically, I eat what I want, when I'm hungry and then I walk my dog regularly. That's it.

Recently, though, I was spending time with a group of people my age. That's rare. Most of my co-workers are at least a decade older than I am and our agility classmates are all my mom's age or older. The only time I'm really active with people my own age is when I'm with my sister--and she runs, so she skews my perspective on what people my age are like!

As my friends and I took a little hike, I realized that I might be in better shape than I thought.  We went on a short, 2-mile hike on relatively easy terrain (only a 56 ft. elevation change and more of the loop was downhill or flat than uphill) and walked at a 20:47 pace (my average pace with Barley this year--including our slow, trudging through snow walks and our leisurely admiring the scenery walks--is 17:65 or 3.4 miles an hour).
A slower pace is fine with me when you have pretty trails like this to enjoy!
Our short hike included many stops for my friends to catch their breath; I hadn't even broken a sweat. It made me realize that compared to some other people my age, I might actually be in better shape than I give myself credit for.

Barley is the perfect walking buddy. She's so attuned to my pace and is content to trot along at a quick pace or enjoy the smells along the trail on a more leisurely stroll. She enjoys a short loop around the neighborhood and she loves exploring the parks near us. Whatever kind of walk I can fit into my day, Barley's up for it.

Now that we're back at home, we are buckling down and trying to log plenty of miles to make up for all of our missed days this winter. Luckily, Mother Nature is on our side and we've been in the 60s and 70s all week--perfect walking temperatures! Barley doesn't get too hot as long as we have plenty of water and everything is green again, so the walks are beautiful!

We had a great 5-mile walk at the Arboretum after our make up agility class yesterday morning. It was like walking through the Emerald City--everything was so lush and green it seemed like it was glowing!

 There were also a lot of flowers blooming throughout the park, so everything smelled magical.




We ventured to the other side of the creek for the first time this year because it was finally warm enough that if I got my shoes wet while hopping across the rocks I wouldn't be upset having to walk around with wet shoes all day. While I'd missed the views in the maple collection, I had not missed the crazy stairs that you have to go down (and then back up) to get to the creek--and I had to take a little break halfway up (but hey, that's why they put benches in the various landings in the stair case, right?).
Barley got a good laugh at my need to stop half way up.
Even though my legs were burning by the time we got back up to the main trail, we had a great hike and followed it up with a 2-mile, post-dinner neighborhood stroll in the evening.

Slowly but surely, we're gaining on our resolution goal and I feel so very lucky to have such a great pup to keep my company when it's time to get off the couch.


20 comments:

  1. I can relate to your comment about how you can sometimes be surprised by the level of fitness you slowly obtain when you are out walking your dog every day. I have had similar experiences where the people I walk with. Veruca, Ava, and I start everyday with a 2 mile walk. All other mileage is just extra fun.

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    1. Usually I notice the opposite--how quickly I get out of shape! In December, we were walking an average of 3 miles a day. In January and February, it was so cold that there were many days we couldn't walk at all or could only get in a quick 1/2 mile at a time. The first time we got in over two miles this year, I thought my legs were going to fall off!

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  2. Good job. We love to read all of our Hopper posts about their walks and exercise commitments. It's so good for you as well as Barley. Well done. Thanks for joining the Hop.

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    1. Thanks! The encouraging comments from everyone are always good motivation to get out for a walk even on the days I'm feeling laziest!

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  3. Great hike! And such good work on those photos - love that huge dog smile!

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    1. She is a very smiley pup! Especially when we hike at the arboretum :)

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  4. That's great that you're both getting out to walk! It IS more exercise than you think, and so good for you! Keep up the great work!
    Diane and Rocco

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    1. It's always nice when exercise doesn't really feel like exercise! We have so much fun on our walks (most of the time) that it rarely feels like work :)

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  5. I don't consider myself particularly fit either but Mr. N is making me log some miles!

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    1. I am always impressed when I read how many miles he's getting in on his little legs! And he never looks worn out in his adorable pictures! Mr. N seems like an excellent walking buddy, too!

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  6. Haha thanks for calling me not normal :) I love all the pics! Can't wait to take my baby girl on hikes with you this summer!

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    1. Haha. We love you for not being normal! We are going to have to find somewhere else awesome to take you this summer (and hopefully you'll be up for another donut stroll by the lake because I've been craving them)!

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  7. See? Walking dogs does help keep people fit!! Thank so much for dropping by my site!

    Now, tell me more about this french fry salad...

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    1. It is a magical, magical creation. I'm not sure who came up with the idea, but it's the "traditional" of Pittsburgh style of salad in Pittsburgh, PA--everything you'd normally have on a salad with French fries mixed in. Genius ;)

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  8. Dog walking is a great way to burn calories and get fit! Our Alfie needs an hour walk a day and the San Francisco hills are great for toning! I recently got a fitbit to keep track of how much I walk and the steps and miles add up quickly :-)

    Linda - alfiesblog.com

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    1. Barley usually needs about an hour a day, too, but in warmer weather she stays worn out longer than usual! I bet the hills are great for toning--we have relatively flat terrain in our city, but there are lots of great parks around with some serious inclines when I feel like it's time to burn a few extra calories!

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  9. "my favorite part of eating out in Pittsburgh was that you don't have to make a decision between a side salad or fries because you can get fries IN your salad."

    What is this magical place?!

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    1. It's something they offer at most local places in Pittsburgh! Primanti Brothers also has sandwiches with fries INSIDE! I highly recommend it.

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    1. She really is! Her tail wags even when she's sleeping. It's hard not to smile when you're with her (unless she's getting caught eating out of the litter box or climbing on the counters to get the cat food)!

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