My dogs’ clock

The dogs have a weird sense of time.

I leave them and go for 10 mins. When I return, they howl and cry and jump and lick as if I’m returning after an year on the moon.

Yet, they are better than any alarm clock at reminding me when it’s 6AM (breakfast time), 11:30 AM (walk/run time), 12:30 PM (lunch time), 6:30 PM (evening play time) or 7:30 PM (dinner time). They never miss those appointed hours for anything, even when we’re travelling.

How is the clock in their heads so perfect in some ways and so screwed up in others? :)

Last week, I…

October 2019 calendar dog confetti

… turned 40.

The calendar dog celebrated with confetti.
The dog looks like a 1 year old Chewie with Dudley’s hair colour. Chewie was a master confetti creator at that age :)

00000IMG_00000_BURST20191007113147779_COVER.jpg

… finished reading a book that I started reading more than 10 years ago.

It was worth it. I shouldn’t have taken that break for 9 years, 11 months.

… did a shit load of work.

It was one of my most productive weeks. Long hours + deep focus = lots of good, happy output.

… started seeing the autumn colours everywhere.

IMG_20191006_180535-COLLAGE.jpg

I missed carrying a camera on my runs. But I did get a few shots in on Chewie’s evening walk yesterday.

… ran nearly every day

Missed a run on Thursday due to bad weather in the morning, and Athletics world championships in the evening.
Yep, I didn’t run because I was busy watching better runners run :)

… ran 50 km in the week

It was my first 50km week since the marathon in April

… set a new high for running mileage in a year

My total running mileage for 2019 reached 1,213 km. Previous highest was 1,202 km in 2015.

… sat for an IQ test.

I scored 133.
The score is 12 points lower than what I remember scoring in my early 20s.
Still, apparently it suggests I’m ‘gifted’. Not sure in which way.

It was a good week.

Unfaithful

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

It was a good run

I went out and ran, about 10 mins after posting the last post. Writing the fears our helped.

It was an easy ~11 mile run on one of my regular circuits—Mount, Sandy lane, Loseley park, Artington, Shalford, town bridge, riverside and return through Sandy lane. I changed the return loop today to double over the Artington—Loseley section.

The run started well when I met my favourite doggo Toby on the warmup lap. He was busy sniffing something in the woods but came running as soon as I sat down and called him. Checked with his guy about cricket; he didn’t look too happy. Met Toby again on the lap return. He refused to leave the path and go with his guy. Waited for me in the middle of the path, tail wagging furiously. I love that kid :D

Running form was really good, and legs were feeling nice after last night’s stretching and foam rolling. Didn’t feel a thing in the back.

I saw a way marker for the Pilgrim marathon—out local trail marathon—on the Sandy lane. That’s the return route. I didn’t see any runners so thought it must be late. When I reached Loseley park, I saw a steady stream of runners returning. Turns out they’d reversed the route this year to celebrate an anniversary run.

The next section, all the way to Shalford, was fun. I cheered and encouraged all the runners. Most said a nice thanks. Some just smiled. Some grimaced… but that was really a smile that came out as a grimace after 18 miles on sandy, hilly trails. I understand their suffering; I’d run this race as my first marathon ago years ago.

The section from Shalford to town bridge was fast and normal. Didn’t meet any runners, dogs, or dog runners, or runner dogs, or any other interesting thing. It was nice though—mostly in shade, good running form, only gently rolling except for the Ferry lane.

Oh I did meet a cat. It was at the top of the Ferry lane climb. That’s my usual breather spot. Just as I stopped, this cat came to me, meowing and rubbing herself on my legs. I squatted and gave it a few rubs. It instantly wrapped herself between my feet and started arching for the rubs. She wasn’t happy when I said goodbye and started on the run again.

Ran from near the town bridge to St. Catherine’s docks on the riverside. First bit had a strong sweet smell of MJ. Next bit was full of young couples holding hands and walking on the riverside. The final bit was the best.

Met a young man carrying a little dog. The dog had decided it was tired after some running around, and was making dad carry it back. Reminded me of the days when Chewie used to pull that trick on me :)
This one was just 13 weeks old—only his second week out into the wild, wonderful world. No wonder he went bonkers and emptied himself.
It was also funny hearing about him from both the guy and his partner. Even though he was carrying him, she seemed to be way more excited about the puppy. (Again reminded me of our situation, where I got the dog and took care of it, but R sounded like she was the one bonkers about him)

The final section back from St. Catherine’s to home was hard. I was getting thirsty and tired. The lovely ladies at the Pilgrim marathon feed-station at Loseley park offered me water and cookies. I didn’t take the cookies, but water was more than welcome. We chatted a bit about the new route, the weather, and the runners. A mile later, I met the final (on my route) set of Pilgrim marshals. They remembered me from my run out—brown guy running around in Surrey countryside while loudly cheering all those runners. They cheered me on my way back over the stiles and up towards the Sandy lane. Taking the Artington route instead of Sandy lane had been a good decision!

It was on Sandy lane that my legs finally started giving up. It may have been the heat. But I guess it was also the realisation that all I’d eaten all morning was a peanut butter toast. (Though with enough peanut butter to feed a small family in Eros). The run up the steep Compton down was a killer. Probably the first time this year I had to take a break on that climb.

I managed to finish with a small first gate loop to take it close to 11 miles. Even on that, I couldn’t manage my usual sprint over the last 300m.

Despite the slow, painful finish, it was a good, happy run. Toby, Pilgrim runners, the cat, the 13wo puppy, and all the Pilgrim volunteers made it great. Even the golden retriever who teased me with his confusing mix of barks and tail wagging approaches helped. Glad I went out :)

Weekend

Sis was here. After months of radio silence, she suddenly made an appearance for Rakhi. I wasn’t happy at first about this visit. I prefer normal, friendly relations year round rather than the tamasha of happy relations for a festival. She, and most of my family, prefer friendly appearances at festivals irrespective of relations—good, bad or non-existent—rest of the year.

On R’s suggestion, I tried ignoring the ‘Rakhi’ aspect of the visit. Once I ignored that, I could accept the visit as a rare visit from my sister, and enjoy that for what it is. Helpful advice. By the end of the visit, I was quite happy about her visit. I even wished that she visited more often.

Aside: Sis also brought gifts for Rakhi, two polo tees in a Selfridges bag. Most people who know me a bit know that I hate exchanging gifts. My sis seems to have fallen in my mom’s camp here—she’ll exchange gifts for her own prestige irrespective of what the other person thinks.

Barnaby was here. He’s an 1.5 year old Golden Retriever pup. Like any puppy, he’s hyper and restless. Like most dogs, he loves being touched. He’ll place himself next to any human who’s giving him rubs, and then refuse to let them stop. Unlike most retrievers, he’s not very interested in food. He’s not very well trained. He doesn’t understand some common commands—down, leave, wait. Like a puppy, he’s moody about obeying the ones he doesn understand—come here and sit.

One thing that I really liked about him is that, unlike Chewie and Dudley, he doesn’t make any noise. I heard him twice in the 26 hours that he was here—once when he locked himself out in the backyard, and another time at night when he heard something outside. Otherwise, there wasn’t a sound out of him. Chewie, on the other hand, barks often and talks a lot. Dudley mumbles and groans to let everyone know his feelings. Barnaby was pleasantly quiet. (But I’m still planning to cancel his week-long stay over the year-end holidays).

I learnt fat != unfit. My sister is fat. Too fat for my liking. Yet, I observed on multiple occasions that she isn’t very unfit. Not at all as unfit as her looks would suggest. The first instance where I noticed this was when she got on the wobble board. It was her first time and she managed almost 2 minutes. Amit and S haven’t managed that long yet. I’m not sure even R has. But she did. Another time was when I took the three kids out on the walk. It was a brisk short walk, but she was able to keep up with us most of the way without getting out of breath. She isn’t very flexible, can’t really squat, and has many many other health issues. But it was comforting to know that at least she’s fitter than she looks.

I didn’t run. Chewie was unwell on Friday night. I had to stay up with him for almost an hour. As a result, I couldn’t wake up in the morning for Parkrun. A mix of things—unexpected rain, Barnaby’s arrival, my laziness, and my discovery and addiction with Expanse meant that I didn’t run during the day either. R was out all Sunday, and sudden, surprise showers closed the morning run window. Result: I didn’t run on Sunday either. Instead, I did the thing I hate: I binge watched The Expanse.

I threw away the weekend to binge-watching Expanse. I saw the S01E01 on Friday evening. By the time I finally slept on Sunday night (after 1 AM), I was at S02E08. The first thing I did today was to delete the Prime Video app from my phone.

I didn’t do any of the planned house work. The tap hole in kitchen top stays unfixed. The ivy from the side fence still needs to be removed. The kitchen oven is still to be cleaned. I started, but abandoned midway, the monthly cleaning of the utility room.

The tinnitus has been bad for a few days now. It’s been wrecking my head and hearing since at least middle of the last week, but it really peaked on Friday and Saturday.

It was a horrible weekend in most aspects. The one thing I was not happy about before it started—sis visiting—turned out to be the one small bright spot.

Running + dogs = el mejor

…I took the leash off, and we ran.
We ran next to each other. A mini stampede. We were completely in sync, and not thinking about much but the present moment. We ran as fast as we could as the trees whooshed by. Gizelle came up to my hips, but she never tried to jump in front of me or nip at my feet like a lot of dogs would. Her jowls flapped in the wind and her long pink tongue flailed happily out of her mouth as she ran next to me. Like a protector. Like a friend.

—Lauren Fern Watt, in Gizelle’s bucket list

I’m happy

It’s been a terrible week. I didn’t run. I really struggled with work, faced multiple setbacks. I had to abandon a feature with TTS. Got even more disappointed with Axc—another week of abysmal communication. Even the sleep was erratic. Hadn’t seen/spoken to parents for nearly 3 weeks and I was missing them.

The only good thing was the dogs. Dudley gave us company on Monday and Wednesday, and Barnaby was here for half a day on Thursday. Above all, Chewie gave me loads of extra love. Perhaps he could sense the sadness in me, and decided to do his bit to help.

Today’s been better.

I ran.
Body and head didn’t want to get out of bed. But I got dressed and went.
Legs were stiff and heavy on the warmup but I managed the full 10 min warmup jog. , Tummy was unsettled and legs stiff, so ran the Parkrun at an easy pace. Didn’t have the the heart to go with the pacers today.
Finished in 24:35. Took a quick toilet break to give the tummy some relief, and finished with another easy 20 min jog.

It wasn’t a pleasant run. I definitely didn’t enjoy it. It hurt way more than such an easy jog should have. But I ran, and that makes me happy.

The stretching afterwards felt really good, coming after a week of no running, no stretching, and sitting on a chair for hours.

Meeting Jasper, twice, was an additional bonus. Also met Rich after a few weeks. Saw Andy, Keith, Maddie, Prab, and others as well.

Returned home, stretched a bit more, topped up with a peanut butter toast, and took the boys out for a walk. Met lots of friendly dogs and a few familiar faces.

On the return section, we met a big group of students out for a country walk. Based on dress and behaviour, they didn’t seem from around here. They were definitely not comfortable with dogs. Dudley, ever friendly, decided to go say hello to all of them! And everywhere he went, the students shrieked and jumped away (or froze and stopped breathing)! That shouting triggered Chewie off, and he went barking to everyone. It was a mess. Took me a bit to get them both under control. The students were shaken, but good natured, and hurried off with hearts racing but smiles on their faces.

On return, took a long shower, shaved (after nearly two weeks), and been watching a big stage of Le Tour.

After lunch, called home. Mom picked up quickly today, after no response for two weeks. Turns out they’ve been missing me just as much as I’ve been missing them. It was satisfying to see and speak to her. Dad was taking a nap so didn’t get to see her. But it was good to have at least spoken to ma.

It’s been a tough week, but today has made it a bit better. I’m happy.

Continue reading I’m happy

Barna-baby

00000IMG_00000_BURST20190718114146582_COVER
Chewie posing, Barnaby learning

Had this handsome nutter over for half a day yesterday. His behaviour traits all remind me of Chewie when he was that age—restless, cute, ball addict (still is), bark at doorbells (still does), lay down to meet dogs, always wanting to touch some part of me…

It was fun revisiting those crazy, lovely, hyper, cute early days with Chewie, just for a brief morning.

The dog perspective..

These humans are so dumb. If only they understood doglish, we wouldn’t have to communicate with them in sign language using head, tails, ears and eyes.

I often wonder if we’ve got it all wrong—because we can’t figure out their communication, we believe they don’t have a ‘language’. And they think the same of us.

Just a thought.

Continue reading The dog perspective..