While preparing for my run today I solidified my decision to take my grand nephew(a mixed breed dog named Steel) with me. My hesitation was that while he is the sweetest thing, he’s a bit of a lug. And to be clear, when I say lug, I mean, afraid of his own shadow. Afraid of bugs and just about anything foreign to him, causing him to be unpredictable. Not ideal since I strive to keep up a steady pace.

Despite Steel’s unique characteristics and occasional sporadic behavior I know that he loves getting out in nature, smelling the country air and chasing after lord knows what. With winter upon us, I’m also aware that Steel could put on a few pounds which could limit his mobility later in life. Not something I wish upon any dog or person for that matter.

May be an image of dog
My Coach Steel

As I grabbed for Steel’s leash, his ears did their job well and he came flying off the coach, wagging his tail in anticipation of the adventure he knew he was about to have. Truthfully this was my favorite part of the whole experience. His excitement spilling over into me.

As we headed out the door I was fully prepared to go for a slow jog as Steel took in the sights and smells around him. While not ideal for my fitness goals, one day of intermittent running won’t  kill me. To my surprise, he bolted out the door and ran full speed ahead leaving me to grasping to gain control of him and putting in work to match my pace with his. Damn, Steel, you got me.

It wasn’t until mile 1.5 did Steel start to slow his pace. Moving from a full sprint to a medium paced jog. The whole time, me trying to catch my breath, keep body awareness and striving to keep up with the knuckle head. He certainly has me beat this time.

As we rounded the corner to head home I could tell Steel was getting tired. While he may have speed, I have him beat on endurance. Haha sucker! As he looked at me, asking with his eyes to walk, I thought…. Oh hell no buddy! You just put me through the paces. Now it’s your turn.

With only 20 second stop for a pee break, him not me, though it bares mentioning, I’m not above peeing outside of the urge comes over me , we kept up our pace and made it back to the house, him panting and both of us in desperate need of water.

As I removed Steel’s leash and went about getting water for me and a treat for Steel, I took stalk of the fact that I just ran faster than I have since putting my running sneakers back on. Not only did I run faster, I also ran up hill and was pulling what I am guessing to be a 40 lbs dog so he wouldn’t run Into traffic. Ok Kerri, kicking ass and taking names.

The truth is, I had little expectation when deciding I’d take Steel out running with me. I assumed he would linger and force me to stop often so he could take in the world around him. Never did I give much thought to the fact that he could push me past my comfort zone and help me achieve my fastest run to date. He did good!

Todays run reminded me of a simple truth. No matter how hard I work, how much I push myself, I also benefit from being pushed. Being held accountable for challenging my own limiting beliefs and ridiculous restrictions picked up over the years by society and my upbringing. I, like everyone else needs someone in their corner willing to call bullshit when I start playing small, questioning my ability and what I believe I can accomplish. Despite my innate ability to always strive for better, without people in my corner, challenging me, I may never know what it is I am actually capable of achieving…..

To this point, Steel showed up as my coach today. Showing me that anyone and anything has the ability to push you towards better. Towards achieving a stronger, happier version of you. Anyone can help you learn just how  fast and how far you can “run” in life.

Whether it’s a family member or a friend, I lovingly suggest that you find someone to push you. Someone who believes in you enough to keep it . Who, when believing in yourself is difficult will remind you of all you have accomplished and won’t  let you quit despite  fear and doubt. Who will challenge you to become a better version of you. Today my someone was Steel… tomorrow it may be him or someone else. But it will be someone. Why?

Because I believe in me and I believe in you too.

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