May 23, 2008 at 8:30 pm | Posted in Challenges, Dogs, Jesse | 4 Comments

I have the world’s greatest dog. Really, I do. He’s friendly, easygoing, and has all of the “good” golden retriever traits.

However, he’s not the best workout partner. At least he isn’t right now. I took him on a walk tonight that was supposed to be exercise for both of us and had to bring him home and then go back out on my own.

Some of you may remember that at the beginning of the year ABW and I set a goal to lose a certain amount of weight by Memorial Day. I don’t know about ABW, but I’m definitely not going to make it. There are actually legitimate reasons that don’t involve laziness. Pretty much immediately after we set our goal I began a battle with some health issues that didn’t seem too bad at first, but progressively worsened.

One surgery, several months and LOTS of prescription iron supplementation later I am almost back to where I was when we set the goal in terms of general health. My weight has actually gone down since then and I think some of it was fat, but I’m afraid that a lot of it was muscle. I was extremely fatigued and couldn’t do much of anything for a while. I would get out of breath just taking Jesse down the stairs to go to the bathroom. Real exercise was out of the question for me which meant basically no exercise for him.

I’m close enough to my previous “normal” that it was the right time to start to think about getting active and getting back on the bandwagon again. I bought a heart rate monitor (which I am very happy with at this point- it has some really cool features). I probably went a little overboard on the HR Monitor, but I’m just not good at planning and self-evaluating a fitness program. This one can do a baseline fitness eval that can be used along with your basic demographics (e.g. age, gender, weight) and fitness goals to come up with a personalized training program. The program just tells you how long to spend in each heart rate zone (low, mod, high intensity) during each session for that week. You can choose the type of exercise you use during the exercise session. You can then use the HR monitor to track your status while exercising and give feedback about what you need to do to meet the goals of that session. I programmed mine last night for a 3-session plan the first week after I completed the fitness test (which I bombed).

Today we were allowed to leave work early and after I got home I decided to take the dog for a walk and my first exercise “session”. It sounded like a good plan in my head, but didn’t quite work out that way in reality. I anticipated that I wouldn’t be able to get into the right zone at first because Jesse would be sniffing and marking every tree. He did this. I had planned the route so that the good sniffing/marking trees were at the beginning. Eventually we got to the point where there weren’t good trees around- just bushes and flower beds that he isn’t allowed to potty in. This was good, we started to walk at a good pace and I was in the right zone. Unfortunately, we also started to see more people. Jesse, being a typical golden, needed to greet them all. Each time he would stop my HR would drop out of the zone and I would have to work it up again.

Once we got to the part of the neighborhood where there weren’t many pedestrians we had a new problem. During the last few months I haven’t had much energy because of the health issues. This resulted in me being very sedentary at home so I would have enough energy left to work and take care of necessary chores (like grocery shopping). As a result, Jesse didn’t get very many walks. It turns out I am actually in better shape than he is right now. He started to get tired and was lagging behind. So, I brought him home, walked him upstairs and grabbed a few dollars. My plan was to go to a nearby bodega and buy a few bottles of water and then walk around a bit more until I had walked long enough in the right zones. It worked out well.

Now that I am doing better, I really do need to work on his fitness too. It’s a good thing he loves walks!



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  1. I think walking with a goal in mind makes it easier. ,,to the bodega,,,to get a paper…anything that can produce an tangible return. In my case, it is walking at 6 am with a neighbor. Neither of us will wimp out on the other without prior notice.

  2. Shhhhhh…….Hubby is getting a new hear rate monitor for father’s day! One w/ the chest strap since he likes to cycle and his spinning classes.

  3. He is beautiful. I hope you are feeling better. I like your blog – keep it up!

  4. Thank you Rick. He really is a great dog and I am feeling much better.

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