I Dream of the Chicken of the Sea

Awww...we thought this was so cute, Bennie holding still and all, then 10 seconds later, T Junior says: "Ew. He stinks. And WHY ARE MY PANTS ALL WET?"

Greetings from rainy cloudy windy sunny windy sunny cloudy rainy sunny cloudy Oregon! We are here for a dog show staying on the show grounds with the other crazies. (Yay free WiFi!) Bennie was a complete spazz in the ring this morning. He might’ve won if he’d behaved (although the dog that won was very handsome), but he got Reserve Winner’s Dog, which is essentially runner up. The judge asked Bennie’s handler if she let him drink her Starbuck’s this morning. At least she had a sense of humor.

It was pouring when we walked the 25 yards from the motorhome to the show building at 7:45, but when we came out it cleared up. It was windy and dark, though. But it was dry! So I decided to get my long run in today (even though I got abou 2 hours of sleep because T Junior kicked me in the back all night). I’m running with Kim, (Just) Trying is for Little Girls, tomorrow but I’m not sure how many miles we’ll be able to get in and it’s supposed to rain.

So I changed into my cold weather pants and my fave red Nike zip-up (fave, as in it’s in all my pictures lately), and set out for 7.5 miles with the goal of sticking to about an 8:50 pace — it’s what my half training will call for when I start it next week, so why not just do it today, right? I like to get things started early (except when it’s something I don’t really want to do, then I like to procrastinate).

But first I took Bennie for a short walk. It would’ve been longer but he was being a freak and getting his foamy lips all over my black Under Armour tights. It’s all fun and games until someone wipes their slobber on my running clothes.

Finally, I was heading out of the fairgrounds for my run. There’s a pretty park across the street with pathways I thought I could run. I ran up to it and saw I probably wouldn’t be able to get 7+ miles out of it and went around the edge of it at first. The sun came out and even though it was windy, I was hot. Not good times.

I didn’t go too far that way before my nice sidewalk ran out and I turned around so I wouldn’t have to run on a main road. I ran past the entrance of where all the dog show RVs are and then went in the other direction. But then I ran out of sidewalk that way, too. I decided to go back and check out the park paths. About half-way into my run, I got really hungry. I daydreamed about the tuna fish sandwich I would make back at the motorhome.

The park paths were all dead ends. I felt like a mouse in one of those mazes. This way, no this way. Nope. This way. Maybe this way? Argh! None of them connected, so I kept back-tracking. It was annoying! I ended up heading out the first way I’d gone and then back and past the RVs again and around the show grounds and out to the freeway. Finally, I could turn and head back — just one more mile! Tuna fish sandwich. Tuna fish sandwich. Tuna fish sandwich.

Back at the motorhome, I had a banana instead and gathered T Junior and Lucy, who is finished with her show career but loooooves dog shows, and we headed back out to feed the ducks at the park. Since it was sunny, I wanted to go right then. We had fun and it added another half-mile onto my day…probably more, but I didn’t bring my Garmin for duck-feeding hour.

I made T Junior a PB&J sandwich and then got out the mayo, the relish and the can of tuna. Then my stomach sunk. No can opener. DAMN IT!

(I also forgot toothpaste and me and Mr. T had to use kid’s bubblegum-berry “toothpaste” and it is disgusting. I also forgot the bag of French fries for tonight, and the judging program that tells us what ring Bennie’s in and what time we show.  Yeah, I forgot a few things.)

After the tuna disappointment, I made PB&J, ate it and then Mr. T reminded me that I’d brought Ramen. DAMN IT! I’ve been craving it but don’t want to eat it unless it’s a running day. After my run tomorrow, we’ll be on the road so it’ll probably be PB&J again. I like PB&J, but COME ON.

Also, Mr. T has been on a call for work since I went for my run at noon. It is now 4:03. COME ON!

Some good news: The 8:50 pace on the long run is very comfortable. Here’s how it went:

Mile 1: 8:54
Mile 2: 8:43
Mile 3: 9:02 (dead-ends in the park!)
Mile 4: 8:55
Mile 5: 8:46
Mile 6: 8:39
Mile 7: 8:34
.5: 8:35

Just a little note: Thursday was hard. Obviously. Friday and today have been better. Thank you so much for your comments, emails and tweets. Those darn doggies. Why do they have to have such short lives? They simply are not with us as long as they should be. And now…

Can you smell me through the Internet? I haven’t showered yet. Doing any pranks for April Fool’s Day tomorrow? And WHAT is the deal with all the dead-end pathways in the park?

For My Nana

Annie (back) and AJ a long time ago.

I really hate being sad. I don’t read or watch the news. I steer clear of movies with anything depressing in them – including horror because bad things happen to people in those and it makes me sad. And I don’t like sad books. In fact, I’ve basically cut out any book that I know will have sad parts in it. It’s only chick-lit for me. Give me Sophie Kinsella every single day.

So I was having a really hard time today because I knew that our oldest boxer, who would be 10 in August, would be crossing the bridge in the evening to be with AJ, our dog who died suddenly (and in my lap) in 2009. With Annie, it is different. We chose her time. We got to say our goodbyes. (A blessing and a curse.)

Last night, I made popcorn specifically for Annie (we share a passion for the popped kernel), and I spent the entire evening sitting on the floor with her. I cried into her soft, white neck for a while, and as always, she became concerned. She’s the “mom” of all of our dogs – and our 6-year-old-boxer Lucy’s actual mother. She doesn’t like it when anyone argues or cries, so she tries to comfort you, which is basically how she got her nickname: “Nana.” I guess she also doesn’t like to be sad.

Which is why we knew it was time to let her go. She just looked so sad. And everything was a struggle for her – her back legs were almost completely useless. She only got up to eat or if we carried her outside to go potty.

Yesterday, at work, I was feeling so upset and guilty all day about the idea of letting her go. But when I got home and saw her, it was even more upsetting to watch her struggle. The really hard part, though, is that mentally, she was alert. She was not blind, she was not deaf and she was (probably) not in any pain. But she couldn’t hardly walk, let alone run, and she wasn’t interested in playing or anything like that. A few weeks ago, I bought her a pink Loofa dog, which had always been her favorite toy, and she just didn’t care about it at all.

Annie has a disease called degenerative myelopathy (DM). It is equivalent to multiple sclerosis in humans in that it slowly paralyzes the body. It is a horrible, horrible thing to watch (we first noticed her scuffing one of her back feet about a year ago). I can’t imagine what it must be like for people to live with MS (and for their families to see).

Some good news is that now there is a genetic test for DM so we can begin to eliminate this awful disease by not breeding dogs that have the gene. This is just one reason why, when buying a dog, you should buy from a responsible breeder if you choose to get a pure bred. People make fun of crazy dog show people, but we care about our breed. Our goal is to breed only the healthiest dogs possible.

“Backyard Breeders” do no testing and do not care about the betterment of the breed. They are in it for your money. They don’t give a crap about the dogs…or what diseases get passed down through their irresponsible, and sometimes inhumane, breeding practices. And they don’t care what you have to go through when you watch your baby suffering from it all. It’s really sad. Please do not buy dogs from “pet” stores; do not buy from backyard breeders. (Annie is from a responsible show breeder, she was just born before the test was available. Unfortunately, she also was bred one time before the test was available.)

Nana has had a good life. She was our very first boxer and she was spoiled. She used to sleep between me and Mr. T in our Queen-size bed. In the night, she would stretch her feet straight out, pushing us apart to make more room for herself. And when she was a puppy and wouldn’t eat, we fed her from a spoon!

Annie riding shotgun in the motorhome last weekend.

Annie, however, was not a good show dog. It’s not that she didn’t like it. It’s that she liked dog shows too much! So many people to meet and greet! Plus, when in the ring, she would ham it up, making the audience laugh, which only fueled her to clown more…and embarrassed Mr. T (which made me laugh). If only there was a talent competition in dog conformation! Annie could (before DM) jump up and give you a high-five, shake hands, and she knew how to wave.

Annie, left, and AJ - one of my favorite pictures of them.

This morning, Brad Paisley’s When I Get Where I’m Going came on the radio.

When I get where I’m going
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I’m gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly like a bird

When I heard this, I pictured Nana running with AJ like they used to do when they were puppies. I know that when Nana gets where she’s going, she’ll find him and they will be able to do this again.

Tonight, when we let our Nana go — freeing her from her failing body — I was really sad. I cried, big gasping-for-air sobs. I wanted them to be happy tears, like Brad Paisley sings about, but I would be lying if I said they were.

I need some happy news. Tell me a funny story or something good that happened to you today.

Self, Get Your Butt Back Out There

I was pretty bummed about my foot and leg yesterday. I moped around all afternoon feeling sorry for myself, jumping to conclusions and eating everything in sight. For a minute, I thought I’d relapsed into my old pre-running self: eat whatever I want, sit on the couch all day watching TV and thinking about who I wish I was.

But then I came to my senses (unfortunately only after one air-popped bowl of popcorn, one mini bag of lime and salt popcorn, a handful of jelly beans, some animal crackers and two old Project Runway episodes). I iced my foot and stretched my arch, and decided I would give myself one day to be “down.” Self, I said, after today, you will get your butt back out there. If you are injured, you can swim and bike. It’ll be good for that triathlon you said you were going to do.

Funny how a change of attitude can improve the day. In the evening, T Junior and I played games, and then had dinner. After no fevers yesterday, and his funny personality resurfacing, I could feel we’d turned a corner with this awful cold he’s had, too. And he ate! In fact, he liked the tuna noodle casserole I made (your basic Betty Crocker recipe) so much, that he leaned over and gave me a kiss mid-meal. He’s had no appetite with this cold and has lost 3 pounds — that’s a lot for a stick-of-a-child to lose.

Before bed last night, I rolled my foot and stretched my toes again while drinking water. Through the day, yesterday, the “pain” I’d felt started to become more sore — almost like what a muscle feels like after you get a cramp.

This morning, I barely felt any soreness in my right arch. I tried to recreate the pain in my shin and I can’t. My right calf is better, but I can just make out a teeny bit of soreness. I think I was dealing with some cramps, people! More and more, I think my issue may have been dehydration. But I’m being smart (well, there’s a change!) and taking another day off of running.

I’m a freaking H2O-aholic today. Great, but I’m getting some strange looks from my co-workers as I rush to the restroom every 30 minutes. I also may have been laughed at while standing in front of the water cooler chugging Nuun.

Tonight, I have plans to will swim, and after re-reading the section on cross-training in Run Less Run Faster, I realize I don’t need to sprint my laps — I can take it easy. Tomorrow, I will run.

Do you ever have conversations with yourself that begin with “Self”? Have you tried lime and salt popcorn? I like it. Mr. T doesn’t. But he likes Spam and eggs, so his taste-level is questionable. How much water am I really supposed to be drinking? As of noon, I’ve had about 50 ounces.

Looking for a Answers in a Bowl of Popcorn

Yep, I’m back on the popcorn.

Last night, I noticed my right arch was sore. It almost felt like a cramp. I rolled it with a tennis ball and put a heating pad on it and my calves. Then I went to sleep hoping it would be gone in the morning.

(Side note: I have had some very light arch soreness post-run, so I’ve been religiously stretching my feet and calves after runs.)

When I got up, I could just barely feel some soreness in my arch. It wasn’t that noticeable…until I squatted down onto the balls of my feet to get something out of a lower cupboard and pain shot up my right outer shin! I cried out, then sobbed while limping around the kitchen and saying, “Oh no, oh no, oh no.” I took some Ibuprofin and got myself under control so I could get T Junior to the doctor — he is STILL sick!

Now that I’m home and the house is fairly quiet (the dogs are all zonked from the weekend at the dog show and T Junior is watching TV on the couch), I’m freaking out. I tried squatting down, gently this time and I can feel it in the shin area. If I roll up to the balls of my feet, I can feel it, too. I can even tell it’s there when I’m walking barefoot.

A little research on plantar fasciitis, the recent calcium tests, and the fact that I’ve fractured a shin before (the other one) has made me jump to the conclusion that something is terribly wrong…maybe broken. That’s sort of how I roll. One extreme or the other.

Should I just call my podiatrist now or should I take a few days off and see if it goes away first?

The other thing I’m sad about is that today was supposed to be the first day of logging miles to support Harmony‘s family (Team Davis) and the Ulman Cancer Fund’s Rev3 Run Across America. I’m going to have a big fat zero. Donating money will make me feel better — can you spare a few bucks under TEAM DAVIS HERE to help beat cancer?

If T Junior wasn’t sick, I would’ve ridden my bike, but I can’t make him ride in the trailer in the cold with a cold. I considered walking on the treadmill, but I’m not even sure if I should be walking on my foot right now.

So I ate a bowl popcorn, and jelly beans and had several wooden spoonfuls of T Junior’s Kraft Mac N Cheese. I need help…and someone to tell me I am not injured. Thanks.

A Pachyderm Sighting!

So, let me know if this has ever happened to you?

You’re running along with a couple friends on a paved trail through the trees. You come into a clearing and out of the corner of your eye, you see an elephant.

No?

Yeah, me  neither, and you don’t really expect to see those in Western Washington, which is why I let out a little gasp.

One of the reasons I love this blog is because I meet the coolest people from it. I mean, I met Zoe and Mel and Chelsea and Jill…and basically 99 percent of my running friends because of Mom vs. Marathon.

I met Melissa and her husband, Brian, at the You Go Girl half marathon in September. She recognized me from the blog and introduced herself as we waited in line for the potties at Tully’s. Her hubs was there, too, and he took some awesome pictures of his wife, of course, and some members of Team Will Run for Ice Cream. In fact, the main photo on this blog is by him! I really love the picture because I’m smiling — I usually look like I’m going to die, and he caught me smiling as I crossed the finish line with a 1:52 PR!

This weekend, I knew I was going to be in their neck of the woods at a dog show. I threw out a notice on my Facebook page to see if anyone wanted to meet up for a run and they were game. I had to run in the afternoon because boxers usually show in the morning, and they were still willing to meet. In fact, they are rock stars because they ran in the morning, then came to the dog show, picked me up to take me to the trail and ran again with me!

I had a blast! I only ever looked at my watch to see how far I’d gone and they let me blab on and on the entire time. They essentially took me on a loop and, in about 6.5 miles, I saw the whole town by foot!

Including the elephant…and a giraffe.

Me and Melissa...and an elephant. (It's just a giant cut-out, by the way.)

And there was sun, which was like the cherry on top. When I got back, I put a still-sick T Junior down for a nap, and refueled with a dark chocolate granola bar, cabernet sauvignon and college hoops in the motorhome. Then I set up a chair and soaked up the sun — well on my lower legs, feet and face anyway.

And, in case you are wondering, Bennie won both days, so he’s officially half way to his championship. The only bad thing about this weekend was that T Junior is still fighting a fever and some really horrible congestion. The fever goes away usually during the day, but then it comes back at night, so he isn’t sleeping well. (Doctor in the morning.)

Once again, thank you so very much to Melissa and Brian for hosting me in your town!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen on a run? Do you meet up with other runners when you’re away from home?

3 Loud and Currayzee Miles

Have you ever seen Go, Diego, Go? Why must the children in this show yell when they talk? Oh, and then they encourage the viewers to yell back at them. I mean, freaking Diego even says, “Everybody scream!” Hey, here’s an idea, how about, NO. Let’s not everybody scream.

But T Junior is sick, therefore, I’m basically letting him watch television all day and eat animal crackers for every meal. Hey, it’s what I’d do if I was sick.

Because my treadmill is so loud, I had to turn this Diego clown up to 35 so T Junior could hear it. And there was no way I was running without music, so I had my speakers on, too. Between Kelly Clarkson, the stomping and whirring, and that screaming cartoon child, I’m surprised we’re not all deaf.

Luckily it was an easy day. Yep, “3 easy” on the plan. I walked a half mile to warm up, ran 3 at about a 9:30 pace, and then walked a half mile to cool down.

My left shin and calf are pretty tight, but that usually happens after I run on the treadmill. I ran on that thing two days in a row now. I must do something funky with my stride on there. Luckily, T Junior’s fever seems to be gone and I can get back to some outdoor running — especially since we’ve had sun the last two days. Of course we did…on days I couldn’t even go outside.

Crazy that the cooooold photo below is from six days ago:

Go HERE to see more pictures of me looking like I'm going to die.

What I DO like about this picture is that both feet are off the ground. That’s pretty cool.

What are you doing this weekend? I will be running somewhere new! What do you eat when you are sick? I usually go for toast with lots of butter. Man, I love toast.

The Cheater Tempo Run

I always think of a tempo run as something that’s supposed to get your body familiar with a faster pace. So running one on the treadmill seems like cheating to me (because you just set it and go), but we all can’t always run outside, so go ahead a call me a cheater.

Besides I haven’t officially started my training plan anyway. Technically, I can do whatever I want and actually, I wanted to do a tempo run because I’m weird and I like them. So while T Junior slept off his fever, I fired up my running machine.

I walked a quarter mile and ran .75 to warm up, then set the ‘mill at an 8:20 pace for three miles while watching the NCAA women’s swimming championships and listening to my St. Paddy’s Day playlist twice. ESPN U has really been saving me lately. I cooled down for one more mile, ending with a total of five.

The last half-mile of my cool down was brutal. Why? Well, I was running slow, but I could barely catch my breath watching the fly portion of a 400 individual medley. Zoe and I swam one lap of butterfly a couple weeks ago. I basically tried not to die. Butterfly is like prolonged drowning. It’s evil. In fact, I bet the devil just looooves swimming butterfly. You know, if he swims.

Satan swimming butterfly totally makes me think of those Seahawks commercials in which Eugene Levy was the devil. Does anyone else remember these ads? I’m so sad I can’t find them online. I can’t even find a picture. The Internet sucks!

So now I’m way off topic, but there’s not really a lot to write about when you do a tempo run on the treadmill. Besides, I’m pissed that I can’t find a picture of Eugene Levy as the devil to go with this post. I’m sort of not getting over it right now.

Do you do tempo runs? Do you like or loathe them? What do you watch while you’re on the treadmill? I have a hard time watching anything with an actual story line since the TV has to be on, like, 150 for me to hear it.