I noticed it before, he slowly lumbered down the stairs. When we picked him up, he let out a yelp in pain.

But it wasn’t until after celebrated his Gotcha Day recently that I realized — my running buddy, Blue, and I are getting older.

Up until a year ago, I made various attempts to run with Blue, our beagle-dachshund mix rescue dog. I gave up, because the escape artist destroyed yet another harness and isn’t really responding to training. I haven’t been able to find another harness that fits him.

Tonka (left) and Blue, before Blue got hurt.

This past month, our days of running together officially were ended. The day after Gotcha Day, Blue and his brother, Tonka, went with me on our usual quarter-mile loop at part of GORUCK’s Ruck Your Dog challenge. We went out in the dark, when humans won’t send my dogs into a barking frenzy. About half way into the loop, Blue came to a dead stop. He couldn’t walk any more.

Blue wanted to go outside and play, but he can’t like he used to. His body didn’t cooperate. In the beginning, you could tell it was mentally deflating for him — he would lay down and hardly ever wag his tail. When we went for walks outside, if we got to far, he put on his sad beagle face and one of his front paws went up in the air.

As a runner, I’m starting to feel that recovery time is taking longer. Of course my mile times are a lot slower, but I attribute that more toward gaining a lot of weight, rather than age. Oh, please just let it be a weight thing.

So, I’m training for a half marathon in late April. Right now, my fear is making the cutoffs. I feel better health wise than I have in a while — my allergies aren’t bothering me quite a bad as they have in the past, I feel mentally and physically “fitter,” but …

It also feels like my body is betraying me or at least telling more of the truth. Despite becoming sober eight months ago, I still crave beer and wine. I found cakes, chips, crackers and baked goods to be carb substitutes for alcohol. It’s not ideal, but until I get these craving out of my system, it works.

My diet isn’t perfect and it shows. For a while, I gave up on the idea of losing weight. In hindsight, I gave up on more than that. Then I listened to “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life,” by Jen Sincero.

I’m committed to half-marathon training and my family. But that commitment is lacking when trying to lose weight or do other things for myself that I want but feel are unattainable.

The clock is ticking. My recent walks with Blue prove that you never know when the opportunity to do something will be taken away.

I started this blog post about a month ago. Blue is better, but still has issues completing an entire walk around our loop. He has adjusted and has more energy. Yet, he’s not as eager or willing to do somethings he used to do.

I recommitted to living my best life — stressing less and laughing more. I hope you can find joy in your life and make it grow. Until next time.

I’ve lost four pounds since I first typed this. My diet still isn’t perfect, but I try to eat a little bit less of the bad stuff and more good stuff. It seems to be working.