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.



  1. This post made me happy. Except the bits about Natasha, that just made me cry. <3 I hope 2014 is an awesome year for you!

  2. (just popping over from Diana's blog) Love your dog stories! Natasha looks like SUCH a sweet dog. :( So sorry about that. We had to retired greyhounds and will have more in the future, once our daughter is old enough to treat a dog w/ a little more respect (she's 3). We had Tyler put down around age 15 and Sonic died suddenly of a stroke/aneurysm around age 7-8. That broke my heart, so I totally understand how you feel about Natasha.

    Sounds like you had a great 2013 of running!

  3. What a good year. Except the Natasha part. We lost our furbaby, Buzz last year too. I'm well past ready to adopt another dog again, hopefully soon. But Molly! Wow. I just love that derp face! Too cute!