Not only has Tima been on most every run I've done, she's been in a few races with me as well. In fact, she is, by far, the fastest dog ever to run the Muddy Sneaker 20k raced in Naples, NY every April. I think in the photo below we ran about a 1:35 that year.
Tima's been a little bit of everything for us, and certainly a quiet, subtle protector. When Maureen was pregnant with Riley, Tima would opt to hike with Maureen instead of run with me. We'd go seperate ways on the trail and Tima would always go with Maureen staying very close and always situating herself between Maureen and anyone else on the trail. I remember once seeing Maureen&Tima far ahead on the trail and in an attempt to be funny I said in a low, mean voice "Put that dog on a leash!" Tima spun around, took a stance I've never seen before and let out 2 very deep barks at me. As I got closer and calling her by name her stance became wider and her barks became deeper. I slowly approached her and after she sniffed me for a second or 2 she finally relaxed and gave me that "You're an idiot." look.
My all time favorite story with Tima happened around May/June 2004 when we lived in Flagstaff, AZ. Once a week Tima and I would go up to the ski resort there, Snowbowl, and do either 1h/1e or a 30 minute Tempo up the ski slopes. On this particular day I was Tempo running perhaps better than I've ever run before. We would usually start around the 9,500' and would finish shortly before getting to the top of the runs where the chair lifts end at 11,500'. But this day we had made it to the top of the runs with another 2-3 minutes left. This area is roped off so the people taking rides on the chair lift don't go beyond a certain point. With my mind set on climbing for the full 30 minutes I went under the rope, then under another rope which took me to the top of Mt. Agazzi - a place they didn't want anyone to go incase sudden lightning came to the area. As I charged through the crowd, under the rope, and up the last bit of trail, I can hear, who I assume, is one of the Snowbowl staff yelling at me to not go any further. "Fuck him." Tima told me, "We're in the zone." So I kept going. We made it to the top in what I still consider the best 30 minutes of running I've ever done, took a little breather and took in the view for a minute or 2 and began our way back down ready to run through the crowd and staff with our head down and just keep going mind set. Before I'm down, but I'm in sight of the crowd I can already here that I'm being yelled at, but I just ignore it all and keep going. I'm under the first rope, now through the crowd and then half way under the 2nd rope when I notice a woman runing towards me yelling "Stop - police." Without looking, I'm calling bullshit on this in my head thinking there's no way there's un undercover cop up there. But, this woman really pissed Tima off this time and Tima stopped turned and let out one of her really deep barks which caused me to turn around very quickly. What I saw was an under cover police woman holding out her badge and scared to death of Tima. I grabbed Tima and the woman and another person on the Snowbowl staff approached me talking some kind of ridiculous bullshit. I can't even remember what they said because I was in deep thought trying to figure out how I was going to avoid the $500 fine that I very well could have been given. My quick thinking left me with just one thing to do - DON'T SAY ANYTHING, DON'T MAKE ANY EYE CONTACT AND PRETEND YOU CAN'T HEAR/UNDERSTAND A WORD THEY ARE SAYING. It took me all but a half a second to get myself into full character when I started hearing what these people were saying to me about trespassing, fines I will receive and asking me "Who do you think you are? You think you're a big shot? You trying to impress these tourists? They don't care who you are, they think you're an idiot for running up there when we have storms moving in." After a bunch of questioning with no answers and no eye contact they started talking to eachother saying that I was faking and that they had spoke to me in English, Spaniish and French, so they knew I must be faking. I was just laughing inside thinking what a bunch of idiots - 3 languages and they conclude I'm faking. But, they were right I was faking. Now Tima is starting to get a little bored and started to wonder off a bit. Remaining in character I used my tongue to "cluck" twice at her, something I've never done with her before - and she immediately turned around and came back to my side. This was amazing I thought - Tima is right in character with me! After a few more minutes of tougue lashing from the poilce woman and staff member Tima started to wonder off again - I "clucked" twice and she came back again. Well everyting started to change now - they started talking to eachother like I wasn't there. I think they had bought it! I heard them saying that one of them would ride down on the chair and meet me at the bottom where they would issue the fine. I heard that and took off for my second best run of all time. I knew they had the chair lift on the slowest speed and it took 25 minutes for them to get down. I think I descended the 2,000' in 15 minutes, got in my car and never saw anyone! Tima made my day with the way she fell into character right along side of me.
This is the kind of story that I never get tired of telling - this is the first time I've written it down, but Tima prefers me to tell it while we're our running with friends. She gets a good chuckle out of it.