Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 In Review

Well folks, tomorrow I am getting on a plane and heading for Los Angeles.  A few weeks ago I surprised Eric by booking a trip down there so that we could visit his brother and friends, and also so we could kind of shake things up for New Years Eve.  We usually just sit in our living room in our pajamas like old people, and frankly we may or may not be actually stay awake until midnight.  We always talk about actually DOING something for New Years, and I figured that this was a good way to close the year out.

I posted this to Facebook but not sure if everyone is on there or not...anyway to prove my point about saying my goals aloud, you know how I said I was going to get as many runs in as possible to see how far above 300 miles I could get for the year?  Guess who woke up on Christmas Eve feeling like absolute shit, and subsequently finally had to give in yesterday and go to the doctor for the first time in like 2 years to be diagnosed with a sinus infection?  Yep.  And let's remember people, I had JUST gotten over being sick.  I suspect it was a relapse of what I already had, but it's been really, really awful.  I mean I'm talking 102 degree fever for 2 days, unbearable sinus pain, coughing, the works.  The doctor gave me an antibiotic, which I haven't taken antibiotics in probably 12-15 years, and Walter White grade Sudafed, which I absolutely hate.  Anyway, I haven't had the energy to move from the couch, much less run.  I suppose the 2013 record will have to stand at 300.4 miles.  And don't even think about asking me what my next goals are, because I'm not EVEN writing them down on this blog.  ;)  Seriously though, who gets a sinus infection for a month?

Anyway, since I will be out of town, I am going to go ahead and write a little "recap" of what I perceive to be important events for me in 2013.  I cannot believe that I am writing a post recapping 2013, which was an incredibly odd year and really falls into the "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" category.  This year has gone by in such a blur, it really has.  I was telling Eric awhile back that the first part of the year (roughly January to June) feels like it happened 4 years ago.  In some ways this year has been really awful and Eric and I are both ready for 2014, but in other ways there are some personal triumphs and bright spots to the year. I wanted to highlight some of the more important events from the year, both running related and non-running.

1.  We lost the best dog in the entire world in early February.


I wish I had the adequate words to describe what a good dog Natasha was, and how big of a void her death left in our lives.  She was quirky, sweet, goofy, smart and the most loving dog  you could ever meet.  Her enthusiasm for everything was unmatched, and she was the best greeter when we would come home, as though that moment every day was the greatest moment of her life.  She had an epic head tilt/derp face combo, especially over the words "treat" and "go" that never failed to crack us up, and was an unrepentant beggar who infinitely preferred treats over her normal dog food.



She adored Eric and clung to me like glue, and had a steadfast refusal when it came to taking treats from strangers.  She had horrible breath that could melt steel, a funny little walk, made crazy noises that sounded like a combination of a dolphin and a monkey being strangled, and would tap you with her paw if she felt she hadn't been adequately petted.  Despite having the most huge, loving, forgiving heart in the world, we had to put our baby to sleep just a few months before her 15th birthday due to heart issues and possible cancer.  It was a traumatic event that honestly colored the rest of the year for us, and we have never quite gotten over it.  Even my mom, who is not a huge animal person sobbed uncontrollably when Natasha died.  She was just that irresistibly lovable.  She was one of those "once in a lifetime" dogs, and I am so lucky that I was blessed with her.  I wrote a post about her after her death, so if you would like to read more about her and see more pictures of her, please go here.

2.  We adopted a retired racing greyhound, Molly.

After Tash's death, I felt even emptier because it was the first time since I was about 5 or 6 years old that I didn't have a dog, and it felt completely unnatural.  I spent about a week after her death thinking that I could never own another dog, and then just as quickly realized that I would go insane if I didn't get another dog right away.  Besides my obsessive longing it just felt like the right way to honor Tash, to give a loving home to a dog who needed one.  After annoying the shit out of my ever patient husband and coworkers with constant shelter links to various dogs, and several depressing shelter visits where we left empty handed, we were about to give up in our search.  I then remembered a few years ago meeting some greyhounds at the Blazer games and totally loving them, and their personality fit our lifestyle so I broached the subject to Eric.  We went to a "meet a retired racer" event and loved up on some greyhounds, and decided to pull the trigger.  After a lengthy application, phone interview, required reading (seriously!) and a home inspection, we were approved for a greyhound, but it took about an extra month to be matched to one that was a good fit.

During the last week of April, we got an email that they wanted to pair us with a greyhound named Nikki (Molly's foster name), and did we want to meet her that weekend at the local Petco.  Eric claims he knew all along we would come home with her, but I was gun-shy and didn't want to have my hopes dashed like all the other times.  We stepped out of the car and saw a lone black greyhound in a group of fawn and brindle greyhounds, and I was instantly in love.  I knelt down and she walked right up to me and licked me on the face, which her foster mom said she'd never seen her do to anyone.  It didn't take us long to decide that of COURSE we were taking her home.

Molly has a sad history to a certain extent.  After racing 52 races in Texas, she had been bounced around from foster home to foster home, was adopted and then brought back because she bit the lady's other greyhound.  Bless her heart, in her 2 years since retirement, she has not had a forever home.  When we first got her she was pretty aloof with us, probably because she assumed she wasn't here to stay, but has really grown more and more affectionate and attached to us.  It's been so fun watching her open up and it makes me so happy that she finally has a forever home to call her own, and that we could be the ones to give her that.  Of course she isn't Tash and can't replace her, but she's brought back a lot of joy in the house.  We totally love her.  She's a complete diva and defiant, to the point where you just have to roll your eyes and laugh.  She also goes from regal to derp in a moment's notice.


She is strong as an ox and I am pretty sure she will break my nose at some point during one of her wild woman moments, or cause lasting damage with her whip tail of destruction.  She has cost us a grip of money with her ridiculous antics that cause us to have to rush to the vet, including eating an entire onion she stole from the pantry.  Like Tasha, she will tap you with her paw when she's in her "you must pet me for hours" mode, and she also tilts her head at the word "cookie" and "go", though not quite as magnificently.  She is so beautiful that we can't go 30 feet during a walk without having someone stop and admire her, and was a crowd favorite on the greyhound float at the Starlight parade.  When some of the other greyhounds on the float were quaking in fear, she was sound dead asleep on her back, and I was using her paw to wave to people in the crowd.  As far as greyhounds go, she's actually quite confident and fearless, which I am happy about, and she has me hooked on greyhounds for life.  Owning one is a total trip, and you have to throw everything you know about dogs out of the window, because they are weird little aliens who don't behave like a normal dog!

3.  I finally did it!!!!



Obviously the crowning point of both 2013 and my entire life is finishing a marathon.  I didn't finish it fast, and it was the most physically and emotionally grueling process I have ever gone through, but I did it.  It's more than likely this will be the only one I will ever do, I definitely feel like I got my marathon ya-yas out, but you couldn't find a better "one and done" marathon than Portland I think. The marathon showed me that I do have an ability to follow through, something that's probably one of my weaker points.  It made me feel like a better person, and is definitely something I can be proud about for the rest of my life.

The best part of doing the marathon were the people around me who made me feel so loved and supported.  I know that a lot of runners don't have that kind of support, but I had it in embarrassing abundance.  From coworkers, to family to my husband, I was supported and propelled to keep going when I didn't think or believe I could.  Eric particularly was consistent in listening to the tears, the bitching and the complaining, but in refusing to allow me to quit.  If you'd like to read my recaps on the marathon, you can find them here and here.

4.  I ran my first "destination race"

Because I like to do things backwards, my first half marathon came 2 weeks after the marathon, and it was the glorious Nike Women's Half Marathon in beautiful San Francisco.  In many ways, signing up for this half was the key to my being able to run the marathon.  I got a lot of good running tips from the TNT people, and being obligated to training for and fundraising for the half made it critical for me to not quit.  Thankfully this race put the fun back into running, since I was definitely ready to divorce running after the full marathon.  I also earned my first Tiffany necklace, which wasn't such a bad part of the deal either.  ;)


If you'd like to read more about my SF half, you can read my recap here.

5.  I ran more this year than I ever have.

It's kind of a big deal.  Just a few years ago a doctor told me that I'd never be able to run due to painful plantar fasciitis in my foot.  In fact, I could barely put weight on my foot during normal every day activities, much less run.  But I couldn't get my desire to run out of my head, so I kept trying to find a way to heal.  With a combination of yoga and all minimalist shoes, my foot allowed me to start running again last year, and miraculously I've remained uninjured.  I've done 8 races this year, and between races and training runs I've run 300 miles, which means I've effectively given that doctor from a few years ago the finger!!

Obviously all of those things are just a snapshot of everything that happened, but those are the things that stuck out to me as important.  I am looking forward to letting go of this year and seeing what 2014 has in store.  I hope that 2013 has been a good year for all of you, that you have a safe and wonderful New Years, and that 2014 will be stellar for all of us.

XOXO.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Unleashed

Well, it doesn't look like I am going to make my 350 mile goal for the year, which really bums me out.  I ended up getting super sick right after I decided to go for 350, which I swear to God always seems to happen right after I make a goal.  Either that or work springs some kind of horrid project, trip or utter nonsense on me.  It's really so discouraging and makes me want to never want to strive towards a goal, much less voice it aloud, because life seems to like to swoop in and shit on it as soon as I voice it.  I know that is a terrible attitude, I'll get over it, but it's kind of the truth.

What did happen today that was a little more positive was that I hit 300 miles for this year.  I ran for the first time since getting sick (and I'm still coughing up grossness after 2 weeks!), and just went out and did a short 4 mile run.  It wasn't my fastest time (more on that in a moment), but it didn't feel horrible at least.  Anyway, my short little jaunt put me at 300 miles!  It's definitely an okay consolation prize, even though I didn't keep very good records in 2012, I for sure didn't run 300 miles in one year!  I am going to try to squeeze in some miles before we leave for Los Angeles, but I am going to do my best to get some more miles added to my tally.



So okay, about the slow time.  Obviously I've never exactly been Jesse Owens when it comes to my running speed, but today I got handicapped by unleashed dogs.  I hope I don't hurt anyone's feelings here, but I'm just going to say it.  If you have your dog unleashed in public, you're an asshole.  I don't care if your dog is friendly, I don't care if Ceasar Milan trained your dog personally, I just don't care.  You guys know that I'm totally dog crazy, I HAVE a dog and I adore dogs of every shape and size, but when I am running I want to feel safe.  My greyhound is the friendliest dog on Earth, but she is also a complete gomer, and she stays leashed in public at all times with a REAL leash and not one of those bullshit retractable leashes.  I already have to deal with living in a kinda trashy neighborhood with an insanely busy highway (where a couple of people have been hit and killed because a tweaker rammed their car up on the sidewalk), as well as deal with idiots who text and drive, who turn into crosswalks without looking, and people who blow a giant cloud of cigarette smoke right into my path (I am allergic).  The last thing I need to deal with is your dog running at me, causing me to have to stop and stand still until I determine if it's safe to move.

Today there were 3 unleashed dogs on the same street, and it frustrated me immensely.  The first one was this mean looking lab who was staring me down while he and his owner were taking a walk down the street.  I tried to not make eye contact with it, and of course I slowed down to a very slow walk so that I wouldn't look like a fun target.  I am pretty good at gauging whether a dog is friendly or not, and this dog definitely wasn't.  So I get through that boondoggle and then further up the street was the same blue heeler who ran at me a few months ago, unleashed of course.  I slowed down again because I knew for a fact the dog was mean.  Fortunately he stayed with his owner even though he stared me down pretty hard, and I was walking pretty slowly so that it didn't get any ideas.  So I start jogging again, and not 30 feet up the fucking street was ANOTHER unleashed dog.  This time it was a little Pom, but little yappy dogs usually are the most likely to nip.  This time it started running towards me and following me.  I stopped dead in the street, and his owner was having a conversation with his neighbor and was completely oblivious to the whole thing.  It's one of those situations where you wish for a brief second that a car would mow down the dog and teach the owner a valuable lesson.  Again, I love dogs, I certainly would never want to see one hurt, but if you truly love your dog you won't let it run in the street.  The guy finally turned around and was like "Oh you've made a friend."  I grappled between saying "My friend is completely fucking my running pace", or "my friend is going to be a pancake in the street if you don't keep it leashed up."  I said neither one and just continued walking.  So between all of that, I wasted about 7 minutes, which really made me mad.  It's the type of thing that makes me hate where I live, because I wish I just lived in a quiet, tweaker free place that had sidewalks, and people with a small nugget of common sense.

On to happier things, I cannot believe Christmas is almost here!  I have 98% of my shopping done, and just need to get a few more stocking stuffers for people.  My aunt and I were joking that the family pets have more presents than the rest of us do!  I can attest that Molly is a spoiled turd who has a jam packed stocking  from us AND a wrapped present under the tree from my parents.  We got some pretty cool stuff for my aunt's cats that I am excited to give them.

On Christmas Eve we will be doing our traditional church service with my aunt and uncle and my uncle's parents, followed by shrimp gumbo at my aunt's house.  The gumbo dinner is a nice tradition, in fact I think we've been doing it the last 7 years or so?  Then we all open presents and take family pictures.  And for Christmas day Eric and I will be doing our traditional prime rib dinner with just the two of us, and we'll open our presents to each other.  We'll also watch our traditional Christmas day movies, which include Will Vinton's Claymation Christmas and SNL's Best of Eddie Murphy.  The Eddie Murphy thing got started because my aunt gave me a bunch of the "Best of SNL" DVDs for Christmas in 2006.  Eric and I were still dating and were in fact just freshly engaged!  I don't know if anyone remembers, but James Brown died on Christmas Day of that year, so in "tribute" we pulled out the Eddie Murphy DVD in order to watch the "James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub" skit, and then got sucked into the rest of the skits because they are hilarious.  Every Christmas Day since then, we have watched that DVD on Christmas morning.  The Claymation Christmas got added in later on after my brother gave it to me as a gift, it was our very favorite Christmas thing to watch when we were little, probably because I was apeshit about the California Raisins as a kid!  It really is the coolest and most underrated  Christmas thing, I included a clip from it below of "We Three Kings".  The music from it is awesome, and I love the camels.  :)



Well, I will leave you with something that is sort of Christmas related, a picture of Molly harassing me when I was trying to wrap presents.  She hates having her picture taken, so I started doing selfies of us just to annoy her and get her away from me.  And the angle of the shot is sort of unfortunate, let me put it this way, I DO have a shirt on.  It's a tank top so it's hard to see, lol.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

350

Today I did something shocking, I actually forced myself to run after work!  I have been really, really awful about it, which sucks because at this time last year I was somewhat consistently running during the week.  I've brought my gear several times, but I always end up letting work get the best of me, and just blow it off.  But the Louisiana Half is getting closer by the day, and I really want to have a decent time and possibly PR, so I've got to get off my ass and start getting those miles in.  I don't want to totally lose my distance base!

I really only had about 30 minutes today to get a run in, so I only did 2 miles, but it felt really freaking great.  It was SO cold, it was actually about 30 degrees at 4 pm, but it felt so awesome.  I forget what a great stress reliever it is to head out right after work, and was really scolding myself for not forcing myself to do it sooner.  Instead of feeling all tense and mad when I got in the car, I felt really energized and happy.  I posted my time to Facebook, but I did my 2 miles in 24:50.  Not bad really, the cold definitely helps my speed.

Something else that would help my speed is to stay on track nutrition wise, but alas, that has not happened.  I don't know what it is, but I cannot get my head in the game.  Work gets so chaotic and makes me feel so stressed that I end up eating and drinking really crappy.  Or I'll just eat way more than I should of something that's moderately healthy.  I keep trying my best, which is all I can do, but have tried to not beat myself up about it.

When I got home today I wrote how many miles I ran on my calendar like I always do, and then I counted up how many miles I've run so far this year.  I nearly peed my pants when I saw that I'm like 10 miles short of hitting 300 miles for the year!  I know to seasoned runners that ain't no thang, but it's a big deal to me.  I obviously am going to hit 300 miles, so I thought it would be fun to strive hitting 350 miles by the end of the year.  I really only have until December 28th to do it, so I would definitely have to put in some miles, but I know I could do it if I consistently run for the rest of the month.  I am kind of excited about it actually!