How we started

I started running with my old dog. Maisey. Am I a natural runner? No. Was she a natural runner? No. She was a Jack Russell cross pug. 3/4 pug, but loved to stop and smell the roses. Did not like to run…. We began approx 3 years ago. But she gave up on me. Preferring to stop and sniff and not run, run, run. This meant I also stopped running. Maisey was put to sleep in August after a period of illness.

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The late Maisey

The opportunity occurred for us to adopt a  new dog into our life. We knew Maisey was always ok with pugs, and she had a previous companion, Hendrix, who had been very poorly with oral cancer. So we embarked on the adoption process of a rescue pug. We registered our interest and approximately 3 months later we were matched. I was a little daunted. Our match was an overweight pug, who could not walk (let alone run) longer than 30 minutes. He arrived with a diet plan, and advice to walk him approx 10 minutes extra every week.

On meeting our new pug, I fell in love. Despite the daunted feeling, he was just like me. Overweight, in need of a lifestyle overhaul and just needed a lot of love. It is at this point that I want to emphasise something that anyone embarking on a similar journey with their pug needs to acknowledge. We were very fortunate that our pug had been assessed by veterinary professionals when he had been fostered. He has had surgery for Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome, a full health check and various diagnostics. This is of paramount importance as pugs do have problems and taking a pug for a run without approval would be potentially life threatening. 

Roland 25th July 2016 (1)
Roland following surgery

After bringing our new baby home, and confirming he and Maisey were friends we embarked on our first walk. This is no exaggeration.  He walked for 30 minutes and about 0.25 of a mile. He was very slow. Despite the bond I already felt I was incredibly reticent that Roland may not fit in with our rural walking lifestyle.

I took him to our vet, like I would with any new dog, and asked about running with him. Yes they said, but take it easy. This was no problem as I had stopped running due to my asthma. So with Couch to 5k (C25K), downloaded – off we went for our first run!

We weren’t out too long when I started to worry about my asthma. About 10 minutes. When we got home, I was worried about Roland. It had taken him a while for his breathing to settle. But we continued with the plan and achieved our 5k.

Roland needs to have 6 months checks due to some medication he takes. On his first 6 month check, the vet was astonished that he weighed 9.4kg, an amazing weight loss for a pug who was nearing double his body weight about 6 months earlier!

Over the winter months we continued to run, averaging about 2.5km before heading back. But I then felt we needed something to aim for. So 4 weeks ago we went for our first ever park run. For those non-runners like me, a park run is a free running activity where you turn up with your printed barcode and run a guided course. I had been out of practice for a few reasons but mainly post viral fatigue. But a friend had recommended it and I didn’t want to let her down. So we went on to park run where everyone was very friendly.

On all my runs, I have had the odd person mention that Pugs shouldn’t run, can’t run etc… Let me tell you. My pug is off his lead. He runs faster than me and smiles when he does so. Not only that, but i have never pulled him along on any run. If he did not enjoy it, i wouldn’t take him out. Sometimes he does have to pull me along!

So we were there, at park run. Our first mapped out, 5km run. The whole way round I wanted to die. Roland kept going. If it had not been for his pure joy I would’ve given up. We completed our first 5km in 42 minutes. We were 5th from last, but we were proud. Roland got so much praise and congratulations from the people running park run that we will be back.

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Roland after our first park run with friends!

Me being me, felt that we could improve our time. So we (I) downloaded C210k by Zen Labs. We started at week 9, which meant that we have to run 4 times, for 10 minutes. I also downloaded strava, an app that tells me how far I have gone and my pacing, as apparently this is what ‘real runners have.’ So Roland and I were runners in the app sense of the word, but not necessarily in the fit sense of the word.

Strava allows you to name your runs. Which is good for me as I can tell my mood. Our first week we managed 5.1km with our average pace 7.41km. Roland did well. I was proud of myself, but still felt daunted. We ended that week of training on 6.1km. As usual Roland managed better than me.

We are now one run into week 10. This consists of 3, 15 minute runs. We managed 6.6km with an average pace of 6.13km. We were both proud.

The next blogs will be on things I find help, how far we have got, how we have felt and of course our pug pictures. My pug keeps me going and I couldn’t do it without him. But he adores running.

If you would like to donate or adopt a pug. http://pugwelfare-rescue.org.uk/

Links

http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k.aspx

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/

https://www.zenlabsfitness.com/

https://www.strava.com/

Disclaimer – Thispugcan is not affiliated with any of the businesses and links in this blog. All views are personal. Before you start any exercise please make sure you and your pug are given the go ahead by a qualified professional. 

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