A bond forged over miles and miles, along roads and trails alike, is not easily severed.
Neither are the memories of my time with Riley, my original running buddy and Golden retriever during my marathoning years. With a heavy heart, I look back one year ago to the last day we spent together.
In anticipation, several weeks ago, I began thinking about putting together a short video tribute. Below there are a few of Riley’s pictures, which I’ve shared in posts long ago.
Before leaving the house this morning, I watched the video. Then I stepped into the brisk, calm air to reflect on a year without Riley. He ran aside me while training for each of the 15 marathons I’ve run. We shared lake time, McDonald’s french fries on weekend drives to Walker, Filthy 5K runs north of Moorhead, and ice cream. Every time I went to lace up my shoes, Riley tapped his feet and stood in front of the door, determined to make sure he followed in tow. During our last run together, before he became too weak to join me, I injured one of my calf muscles. Weeks passed before I ran again, but we shared a few last walks around the neighborhood.
But it has given me a chance to redeem my running, and reflect on all on the reasons to be thankful. There are plenty, including irreplaceable time with a big, red dog who touched the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Everyone who met my special Golden retriever loved him.
Grateful for those memories, including so many people who stopped me at races and airports across the country to talk about Riley. And appreciative that I’ve found another Golden retriever. Still a pup, Coby is maturing – slowly – through the stages of puppyhood. But this amazingly athletic and energetic companion makes me smile, and I look forward to miles and miles with him.
Below are some recent photos of Coby, including three from his birthday run last month.