Chewie is my favourite running partner. Runs with him are, on an average, 274% better than runs without him. Just watching him run—along or ahead—gives me an extra 50W of power. Chantries is our favourite running ground. We both love running up and down those trails, specially the sections through the dense trees where few people walk.

I took Chewie for a few Parkruns years ago. His competitive spirit, and my inability to run like the wind meant I had a torrid time. He used to drag me around for the first couple of Km. Then we’d run together for the next Km. And I’d have to drag his sorry, tired ass around for the final 2K. He didn’t know how to pace himself when there were other dogs to catch and beat. I didn’t know how to run at his blitzing pace.

There was also the matter of his loud howling and crying with excitement as everyone lined up for the start.

I took pity on both of us and stopped taking him along. He enjoys lazy Saturday morning cuddling up with R in bed till 10 or 11. I get to run at my own pace.

A has been asking me if we should take Dudley for a Parkrun. Dudley is lot more people friendly than Chewie, and has a more tempered approach to life (and running). It may be easier to run with him.

I’ve been strangely non-committal. The reason is that Parkrun is my time to mingle with all the other dogs—Jasper, Danny, Lizzie, Archie, and all the other lovely 4-pawed lovies. It’s the one time of the week I’m openly unfaithful to Chewie and Dudley, and give undivided attention and love to my other friends.

Taking Dudley might shift my friends’ focus from me to him. Dudley (and Chewie even more so) may not be so amenable to them meeting me as usual—Jasper jumps up and hugs me on my shoulders, then rubs his sides on me, then sits down between my legs, my hand in his mouth, and begs for belly rubs.

My dogs may not take kindly to my unfaithful actions :)

Continue reading Unfaithful

Shifting expectations

When I went for Parkrun yesterday, I hadn’t run much all week and still was feeling sluggish. I also hadn’t eaten anything all of Friday. So, I planned to keep it steady and hoped to finish in around 25 mins.

I felt good on the warmup jog, so by the time the run started, was hoping to finish under 25 mins.

When the timers announced the time after the first lap, I was surprised to hear 11:35. That was unexpectedly fast! Maybe I’d gone too fast on the first lap. I’d probably suffer on the second lap and run it in maybe 12:30. I was hoping I’d make it 12:24 on the second, and scrape in under 24 mins. I hadn’t run sub-24 since late June, so getting a time starting with 23 would be a good boost.

I finished the run, met the dogs and the humans, and went for the cool-down jog. When we were back at the car, I tried to estimate my actual run time by subtracting the warm-up and cool-down times. It seemed to be about 23:23, two seconds faster than my fastest time this year. However I’d been late starting my watch so I didn’t know what the official recorded time was.

When I got the official result a few hours later, it said 23:30.

It was my second fastest time at Guildford Parkrun this year, and the 3rd fastest ever. So I am surprised to discover that I was disappointed at that result!

I went in planning to finish in around ~25 mins. After warm-up, I reset that expectation to sub-25. After first lap, I was hoping to sneak in under 24 mins. I finished in 23:30, and was disappointed because I wasn’t another 6 seconds faster :/

How quickly and easily does our brain reset expectations?!