I count on running to be a stress reliever, a time where I can figure things out while simultaneously improving my heart health, and the size of my ass. It’s always been a chance to call a time out when presented with a problem that needed solving.  I almost always feel able to tackle any situation after a good sweaty run. It’s a way for me to feel free and happy, and on many runs, allows me to bond more closely with my Four Leaf Rover, Seamus O’Malley. There are scientific hormonal thingamajig’s going on as well, but I don’t want to be soporific, so I’ll refrain.

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My gorgeous Four Leaf Rover: Seamus O’Malley

As much as running has kept me fit, it has also allowed Seamus to enjoy an incredible level of health. The average life span of a dog is 12.8 years.  Within this average for all dogs, is a large range of life spans where certain breeds live longer and certain breeds live less long. Specifically the average life span for an Irish Setter is 11.8 years. Seamus turned 6 this past May 3rd. It’s my job as his owner, and as the person who loves him deeply, to ensure he stays as healthy as possible. Seamus will be with me for a short time, and I’m determined to make sure that short time is filled with health and happiness.

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See how he looks at me? I HAVE to keep him healthy.

Unlike many fitness trainers and professionals I have encountered on blogs, facebook and Instagram, I don’t leap out of bed and change into my running clothes while singing On top Of The World by Imagine Dragons. (I also don’t put on a full face of makeup before shooting a video and telling my followers I’m about to go for a run…but that’s another blog post).

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This is me. Heavily filtered. Tons of makeup. I’m not going for a run. I’m going out to dinner, and I don’t even really look like this. I filtered out my dark circles, for cryin’ out loud!
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This is me. NO filter, no makeup, hiding behind glasses because I’m pretty sure I have bags under my eyes, and I am indeed about to go for a run.

I’m a normal 56 year old woman that absolutely wants to exercise, but finds it extremely hard convincing myself to go on that run first thing in the morning. Having Seamus O’Malley as a running partner solves that for me. If you would like to see a video of us running together on a track, click here. We’re doing cool down laps after speed work.

Seamus O’Malley is a reliable alarm clock. His full bladder first thing in the morning ensures his appearance at the side of my bed, and if I don’t discern his presence, then a quick jab into my closed eyes with his boopable nose quickly wakes me up.

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Now, I don’t know about all of you…but once I’m up, I’m up. After letting Seamus out, it’s just a matter of taking care of my own bathroom needs, taking a quick look at any messages I have received, and then I’m changing into my running clothes and we’re off. I run fasted in the morning, and by default, so does Seamus, therefore I don’t worry about eating first. Regardless, I’d never run with Seamus after he has eaten. You shouldn’t do that with any dog. Ever. Here’s why, if you’re interested.

Obviously this is not an exact routine every morning, but it plays out the majority of the time. I make this happen because I have decided that my health, both mental and physical, and the health of Seamus O’Malley is important. Not kinda important, not marginally important……it’s a top priority and necessary. End of discussion. I felt this way before I got cancer and I feel the same way now.

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I don’t put unnecessary obstacles in my way either. I plan and prepare the night before. Here is the truth: There is not one morning where I don’t think to myself….well, I could probably skip today’s run. I’m bloody tired and perhaps I could just miss it. Yes…these thoughts go through my mind, as I’m sure they do with many dedicated runners. It’s normal. Here’s the thing though. I brush those thoughts aside, which is pretty easy for me to do because Seamus O’Malley is usually cavorting around, eager to get vamoosing. However, what about those days where I’m not running or exercising with Seamus? What do I do then? Well, I still brush those thoughts aside. Because I can. Because I’m a thinking human being that can stay consistent. I’m certainly not special. You decide upon something and then you follow though. Anyone can do that, and that includes you.

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Completely….

I’m often asked…what is your secret for getting out there and exercising? I don’t have a secret. However, here are some things I do before going to bed that help me get on my way in the morning and allow me to circumvent my dumb thoughts upon waking.

  1. I layout my running/exercising apparel. Everything. It’s all within easy reach and already put together. Whether its leggings, shorts, t-shirt or tank…that outfit is run ready. I even have Glide Anti Chafing balm sitting next to my gear if it is a) hot b) a long run and c) short and tank weather.
  2. My charged Garmin watch and Road ID bracelet are on the kitchen island.
  3. My shoes are at the door where I exit.
  4. My sunglasses are polished and placed inside one of my running shoes.
  5. If I’m running without Seamus, I have my charged iPod and Yurbuds bluetooth connectivity ear buds, placed together in my other running shoe. However, when I run with Seamus I NEVER bring my iPod with me. I don’t listen to music. Instead, I listen and pay attention to my dog.
  6. If it’s not winter, I have my hydration belt packed with Seamus’s collapsible bowl and two water bottles have been filled and are sitting in the fridge ready to be holstered.
  7. I pack Seamus’s backpack with poop bags and latex gloves (yep..I use gloves to pick up my dogs poop) and hang it up in my back foyer, next to his Six Legs to Fitness leash.

Those seven things allow me to exit smoothly and seamlessly in the morning, with minimal moaning and complaining from my brain. You see, I know myself. As much as I’m dedicated to staying healthy and fit, and as much as I love running, I also know I am completely capable of saying: screw it. So, to circumvent my propensity for being a clodpate, I plan. I decide. I follow through. For me, Six Legs Running means a happy, tired dog and a strong and vital me.

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Dear readers: Are you a Facebook user? If you liked this post, and my style of writing, please share this blog post on your Facebook timeline. There’s a  FB icon button just below this post that you can click to do that. Thank you!

I also invite you to go to my Capable Fitness with Gail Facebook page and click the “like” button. That LIKE button is right there on my cover picture of me and Seamus O’Malley.  You can instantly go there right now by clicking this: https://www.facebook.com/capablyfit/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. You’ll find doable exercises, delicious recipes, actionable fitness advice, inspirational messages and some laughs as well, all delivered to you on a daily basis. I’d love to have you on board as one of my “fans” and hearing what YOU would like to see on my page.

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