The passing lane

Mountains, memories and lots of miles.

That pretty much sums up the past 3 weeks of running. Thankfully, I was able to make a trip back to the Arizona desert last week and race in one of Aravaipa Running’s desert trail races.

A few year back, I got hooked on these trail races, which seem to be the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. This particular location, in Usery Mountain Regional Park, happened to be the site of my first such race and not too far where I spent 6 years of school. I’ve been scheduling short winter retreats to the southwest since – and scheduling the trips around the races.

But another run sticks out in my mind. Far from the mountains, it was an easy Sunday run not long ago that brought back memories. It also proved to be a special run as I swung home after about 6 miles. Once there, I let Coby out of his crate, grabbed a leash and small baggie, and headed back out. Along the way, I offered encouragement to my new pup while recalling how Riley once joined me for many of my miles. With the leash in one hand, I sprinkled some ashes with the other. In the middle, there was me – the link between a special companion and a rambunctious youngster.

This month, I’ve continued to pile on the miles, while aiming to settle into a routine offering a few other athletic endeavors: an occasional visitor for an early morning spin class at my health club and a little weight lifting. Both need to be a bigger part of my weekly repertoire as mileage continues to increase.

And since I’ve last written a blog post, there’s plenty of progress with Coby. Now at 17 weeks old, the Golden retriever who appeared so tiny when I brought him home now has been through a few growth spurts. He’s gone to doggie daycare several times in Moorhead, where I also boarded him during my Arizona trip.

Daycare and boarding have helped him immensely as he socializes and learns better manners. He’s going to puppy kindergarten, too, and we’re working on some skills. And while we don’t run together much right now, out of concern for his growing bones and joints, we still do a little. He’s also getting some adventure in other ways, and exposure to new things and tastes. For the record, he loves pineapple, turkey sausage and Greek yogurt. He likes quite a few other things, but those are among his favorites.

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