Saturday, March 31, 2012

Monument Avenue 10k

Well, I did it!  I ran my first official 10k!!!!  Let me tell you about it!

First off, I have to thank my neighbors.  Between the hours of 9:00 am and 9:30 pm on Friday, I was home for a total of 45 minutes to let the dogs out and vacuum (I hate being gone that long, but it does happen every once in a while).  While home, I saw my neighbors, and in chatting with them, I realized that dinner probably wouldn't happen until about 10:00 pm, so they did something really nice.  While I was at my last appointment of the evening, they texted me that they had made pasta (meat free for Friday), and if I wanted some they would have some warmed and waiting for Hans and me when we got home.  Bless them!

Anyway, even with dinner being made, bed time happened later than I would have liked (about 11:30).  Still, though, I'd had worse nights, and figured that 5.5 hours of sleep is better than 4.5 hours of sleep.  I fell asleep quickly and slept well...until 4:00 a.m.  Apparently I was excited and nervous, because I couldn't fall back to sleep at all.  I told Hans I kind of felt like I did on our wedding day.  I quickly made breakfast and got dressed, and then I paced until it was time to leave (I call that warming up).

All dressed and ready to run.

In my running stance.
Weather was kind of chilly and rainy, so I had a sweatshirt and track pants on that could easily be removed before the race.  At about 7:00 a.m., Dad arrived at the house, and we headed down for the Blessing of the Runners.  It was a lovely service, and I'm glad I went to it.  While there, we saw some friends of ours from church!

We're all ready to run
After the Blessing of the Runners, Hans went to get Dad some breakfast (and a brownie for me for later), and Dad and I went to watch the elite runners start the race.  I'll tell ya, those runners look like gazelles!!

What came next was a very long wait.  I had about an hour before my wave started, and I was antsy.  With 42,000 people in the race plus spectators (totaling a little over 80,000 people at the race), it was a little crowded, and warm-ups were limited.  I was scared of missing my wave, so at about 9:00 I left Dad and Hans, and I went to stand with my group.  Of course, this means I didn't even have anyone to talk to, but luckily I'm friendly, so I made it work.

Waiting not-so-patiently for the race to begin.
Dad's telling me about some stretches I should do while enjoying a cup of coffee.
At 9:28 my wave started.

Here I am at the start.  I'm very, very happy!
I have to say, the feeling was amazing.  There was music and dancing, and there were so many people cheering.  I almost started to cry I was so happy, but then I remembered that if I cried I wouldn't run as well, so I got a grip.  :P

After that there was just a lot of running.  The rain had stopped, but the clouds hadn't left, so the weather was kind of perfect; cool without too much sun.  At the halfway point, I saw Mom cheering exuberantly for me.  This had not originally been planned, but parking was easier at the halfway, and having her there was awesome.  I really felt that I had someone to run towards the whole way.  I loved it!

Around mile 5, I started to feel tired.  I thought briefly about walking, but I knew I could do this.  At mile 6, with just .2 miles left to go, I tried going really fast.  I weaved in and out of people, and I could have continued that awesome pace except for one thing...the dreaded side stitch.  My stomach had been a bit off all day (probably due to nerves), and I'd been battling a mild stitch through most of the race.  With the increased speed, I forgot to monitor my breathing.  That stitch hurt so bad that I almost had to stop and walk (or cry).  Instead, I slowed my pace back down, let out a grunt (cause that's what real runners do), and continued on.

Two blocks from the finish, I picked that pace back up.  I felt awesome.  I felt like I was flying.  I never saw Dad and Hans waiting for me, but at some point I heard Dad's whistle...a cheer that I heard many times in my swimming career.  I was kind of expecting it, really hoping for it, and super-happy to hear it.
It's a small picture, but I'm the one in the blue.  Hopefully a video will come later.

My final time?  That's the best part.  My final time was 64:17.  My latest goal was for under 66 minutes, and I beat that!  Oh, and do you remember how my trainer had set a goal for me to catch up to them and run with them.  Well...they finished in 73:??.  I never even saw them as I ran past!!

Afterward, I enjoyed hugs and cheers from friends and family.  I came home and happily jumped into the hot shower.  Then Mom took Hans, Jess (who had come out even though she was sick), and me out to lunch, and I enjoyed a big burger and a milkshake.  When we came home, I climbed into bed for a great nap.

Today has been a very good day.  I'm so thrilled at my accomplishment!!!!  My next 10k will be under an hour!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Breaking Dawn Part 2

As excited as I am for this movie, you know it's going to be bad when even the trailer to the movie makes you chuckle at how horrible it is.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Was It Worth It?

I keep asking myself this question over and over, and the answer is a resounding NO!  No, it was not worth it.  I absolutely, positively was NOT worth it.  No, the fondue and chocolate mousse with brownies followed by a big burger the next day was not worth how I feel right now.

Hans and I kind of have this agreement.  We both want to live healthier lives, so we eat healthy throughout the week.  He's eating salads, I'm making smoothies, and we feel great throughout the week.  However, we'd both get sick of food if we had to eat like that all the time, so we take weekends off.  Ideally, it's not meant to be a splurge, but rather a relaxation.  This is when it's OK to have a little ice cream.  It's when we might eat out.  It's when eating super-healthy takes a back seat, and carbs are the driving force.

In theory, this works really well.  I feel like the break allows me to start Monday with renewed vigor, and Hans is willing to eat salads simply because he doesn't have to every day.  In practice, it has one major drawback- how we feel afterward.  Personally, I feel hungover.  My head hurts, my mouth is dry, I'm craving greasy foods, and I think I'm going to be sick.  Oh, and the only alcohol I've had all week was the wine in the fondue, and that cooked off.  Friday I felt so good.  Saturday I felt capable of anything.  Sunday afternoon (just a few hours after my Energy post) is when it hit.  I crashed.

I didn't have any energy, and I went to bed early.  I slept very poorly, waking up every few hours, but I thought I'd be fine by Monday.  Yesterday started out well, but by mid-morning I was a wreck.  My whole body ached, and all I could think about were the brownies left over from the weekend.  Thank God that we had apples, because I don't think I would have been able to resist them.  I went to bed early last night, and hoped that I'd feel much better today.  Well, I do and I don't.  I slept in an extra two hours, begging Hans to take care of the dogs for me.  I did get my run in, and it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.  I feel better than yesterday and my headache is less, but I still feel sluggish.  Oh, and don't even get me started on the depressing thoughts I'm fighting off.

I hate this feeling. 

I'm OK with relaxing the rules every once in a while, but I think that unless I have a couple days to sleep it off, I should stay away from the really rich foods.  Because those really rich foods just aren't worth it. 

You live, you learn.  That's all there is too it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wishin' and Hopin' and Thinkin' and Prayin'...

...Plannin' and dreamin' each night

No, I am not thinking about a guy (other than my hubby).  Rather, I am dreaming about race day.  It is now less than a week away, and I am excited.  I want to run as much as I can just to get my jitters out!

I signed up for the 10k with the goal of finishing in 70 minutes or less.  Two weeks ago I was able to run a 10k in 68 minutes.  Two DAYS ago I finished one in 67 minutes.  My new goal is to finish in under 66 minutes.  Given that the course is flatter than what I've been running, and I'll have adrenaline coursing through my veins from all the excitement of it all, I think this is a definite possibility.  HOWEVER, a friend / trainer of mine as proposed a new goal. 

He and his girlfriend are running in the wave just before mine.  It starts 3 minutes before mine does, and the estimated finishing time is 60-65 minutes.  He suggested that my goal be two-fold.  First, catch up to him and his girlfriend.  Second, keep up and finish with them.  I am tempted to make this my official goal, but I have one big hesitation.

I have no doubts that if I started with them I'd be able to finish with them.  I always run faster in a race than I do in training, and I think I'd be able to achieve this with a bit of effort.  My fear is that I will waste all my energy in trying to catch up to them.  I want to start off slow and finish strong, not the other way around.  Still, though, I think I can use them as some extra motivation.

I know now on race day I will have two things driving me forward.

1) I hate it when people pass me.  This is my awesome competitive nature, and while I'm OK with people passing at the start, once we're in the flow I will push myself much harder just so I stay ahead of someone.  I'm OK with not being first, but I sure as hell won't allow myself to be last...not even in my wave.

2)  I have someone to see!  While I'm OK with not catching up to my friends, how cool would it be if I did?  It's not an official goal, but I know I'll run faster with them in mind.

For now, though, I'm just focusing on training runs and a healthy diet (something made harder after the fondue fest of this weekend).

Sunday, March 25, 2012


The one thing I really haven't been able to get over lately is how much energy I have.  While I'm keeping super busy, and I'm working hard, I also feel much more energetic and productive.  Sure, I'll reach points where I am so tired I can barely stand (last Friday around 8:00), but those moments generally come after 12+ hours of going non-stop as opposed to after 4+ hours of going non-stop.  Take yesterday for example.

Yesterday was my scheduled long run, the last one before the Monument Ave. 10k next week.  The skies were cloudy, and it threatened to rain, but I went out anyway.  I was drizzled on a bit, but it didn't really pour until about 10 minutes after I got back.  Here are the results:

I'm terrible at adding maps to the blog, but this basically says that I ran 10.11 km in 1:08:17, shaving a minute off my 10k time from last week.  Woot!
After my run, I was supposed to go to a lesson, but we were rained out, so after discussing what Hans and I would like to do instead, we decided to go to the gym.  I swam a leisurely 600 meters before my body finally said it was tired and would like to stop.  I could have pushed myself farther, but I think I did OK.  :)  After swimming, I relaxed in the sauna, showered, and then Hans and I grabbed lunch. 

After recharging over noodles, we went to the grocery store.  Then we came home, and while Hans helped our neighbor install some flooring, I bathed all the dogs.  Afterward, as the dogs dried off, I tidied up a bit, and Hans started making dessert to go with our dinner (chocolate mousse can sometimes take a while).  At 3:15 I gathered my things and headed off for a 4:00 appointment.

I was home by 6:15, and at 7:00 the neighbors came over to join us for a tasty fondue dinner (sooooo yummy).  At 8:30 we headed back over to the neighbors' house so their two year old could play with his toys.  We didn't return until 11:00 pm (much later than planned), and there were still dishes to wash.  I briefly considered leaving the dishes for the morning, but I knew that would drive me nuts, so washed they were.  Hans and I were in bed by midnight.

That was a long, fun, exhausting day, and I enjoyed every moment of it.  The most amazing thing is that I'm completely functional today too.  Yes, I slept in an extra hour.  Yes, I plan on taking it kind of easy today.  Still, I'm much better than what I used to be after days like that.  First of all, I made it through yesterday, and that's kind of surprising.  Second, at no point did I become cranky yesterday.  I felt tired, but not irritable.  Third, I do have some lightly active things planned for today, and I'm still looking forward to them.  I have to say, life is kind of amazing once you actually start living it.

All that said, my Monument Ave 10K is next Saturday.  I now know for a fact that I can reach my original goal, so now I'm just trying to go faster.  I'm really excited, and only a little nervous.  If anyone would like to track my progress, you can sign up for email or text message updates during the race here.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Running Saved a Kong

I'm finding that running is really paying off in many aspects of life.  I'm feeling more toned and healthier.  I'm more energized throughout the day.  Twice now, I've had to chase after a loose dog, and I haven't had to worry about tiring out before the dog does.  And yesterday, I saved a Kong Wubba. 

First of all, in case you're wondering what a Kong Wubba is, it's a dog toy.  It's made by Kong, is covered in cloth, and often floats.  It looks a lot like this:

Yesterday, Shannon had one for Ollie at the river, and being the dingbat that I am, I forgot Cody's.  Well, Cody gets a little excited about toys, so he ended up playing with Ollie's Wubba most of the time, and Ollie ended up chasing a stick (it's a good thing he's so flexible).  At one point, though, Cody didn't see where the Wubba landed.  He looked around a bit but got tired, so he swam back to shore.  Ollie saw the Wubba, but he had a stick in his mouth.  He tried his hardest to herd the Wubba back to shore, and he almost made it, but he didn't want to drop his stick, and that Wubba was being kind of tricky.  Eventually we had to command Ollie to leave it just so Ollie wouldn't get sucked down stream (much worse than losing a toy).  I felt bad, though, and I didn't want to lose Shannon and Ollie's toy.  As I looked down stream, I realized that the Wubba just might get caught on a little peninsula.  Off I went!

The way the river flows, I couldn't just run along the bank.  I had to back track a bit and take a trail around some inlets to get back to the main river.  Cody was with me, but Lollie had decided to follow as well which meant I couldn't run as fast without leaving her behind (the poor girl was trying hard, but she's not a running breed).  By the time I made it to the peninsula, the Wubba had floated past.  However, I looked down stream and I saw it!  It was caught on some debris.  Off I went again.

My goal was not to make it to the Wubba, but to make it past the Wubba so I could catch it.  I got to where I wanted to be, turned around, and saw Cody running through the brush towards the river bank.  I called him back, heard him splash, and called him again.  I was hoping that he'd gotten the Wubba, but when he returned his mouth was empty.  :(  I crawled through some underbrush trying to make it to the bank, but I couldn't see the Wubba anywhere.  I was just about to give up when I looked at Cody again.  This time, HE HAD THE WUBBA!!  He must have gotten it the first time and dropped it when I called him.  I didn't care what had happened, I was just happy to have rescued it.

Cody, Lollie, and I all ran back to Shannon and Ollie.  I raised my arms in victory, and I did my celebration lap around the trails.  The best part was, I wasn't even winded when I returned!  I only felt happy.  I was happy because I'd gotten an unexpected run in.  I was happy because my face wasn't red and splotchy.  I was happy because we'd saved the Wubba. 

Today I'm happy because after another 2.5 miles my time has improved a little more, and I still have two tired dogs.  Is there any better feeling than this?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Items of Interest

This has been a good week overall.  I've noticed a complete shift in my attitude.  I'm happier, more energetic, and I'm willing to do more things around the house.  For instance, yesterday I had half an hour at home before having to leave for a lesson.  In the past that half hour would have been spent on Facebook or on the computer, but yesterday it was spent doing dishes and then reading in the few spare minutes I had.  This is an improvement.  That said, though, yesterday and Monday felt a little off.

I could tell my attitude had shifted, and I was still happy, but I was so unbelievably tired.  For most of the day on Monday, I had a stiff neck and a headache.  It even carried into Tuesday a little.  I wanted to sleep through most of the day, and I even cut my workouts short just because I couldn't handle them.  Monday especially, I was really thirsty and I found I had to work harder to swallow (like sinus drainage, but different). 

A lot of possibilities went through my mind.  I hadn't eaten the best over the weekend (that's my off time), and that could be affecting things.  Maybe I had over-trained, and my body was too tired from Saturday's run, although I felt fine on Sunday.  I was really scared I was getting a cold.  The only really puzzling piece was my hand.  There was a large, inflamed spot on my left hand.  It was very sensitive to temperature changes and ached a bit.  The area around it was even a little numb.

I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier, but all of a sudden it dawned on.  Sunday evening, I had decided to weed the flower beds.  I couldn't find my gloves, and I don't have any problem getting dirty, so I did it bare handed.  While weeding, I saw a small black widow spider.  I told Hans that if I started feeling ill, it might be best to go to a doctor, but other than wanting to call it an early night, I felt fine.  Now I'm wondering if all my symptoms from the past few days are actually the result of a mild black widow bite.  I'm fine now, but it's interesting to consider.  Heck, I'd rather that than to catch the flu!

Today, though, since I'm feeling much improved, I took Cody and Lollie, and we met up with Shannon and Ollie for a romp by the river.  After much swimming, jumping, and running, and one adventure downstream where he had to rescue a lost toy, I brought home two very tired, VERY DIRTY dogs.  Two baths later and a change of clothes for me, I now have two very tired dogs.  It's a good life.

There's one last thing I wanted to share with y'all today.  I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror today.  I was rushing to change my clothes and grab some lunch, when I caught a glimpse of myself.  I look at myself in the mirror everyday, but this for some reason was different.  I suddenly saw the way my body is starting to change.  I saw how my belly is getting smaller and my legs are becoming toned.  As I put on my clothes, I felt how much looser my jeans are.  My well-fitted top is a little less well-fitted.  I saw all this, and it made me smile.  Oh, and it made me want to go for another run!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'm Happy

Yesterday was the day I'd scheduled my long run.  Last week I ran over 8 km (5.15 mi), and I was hoping to reach about 9 km this week.  Of course, I had an unspoken goal of keeping my pace at 7 min/km, but if I didn't reach that this week then I knew I still had 2 weeks of training to take care of things.  This week, however, things played out differently than planned.

Last week I had planned my route.  I'd gone to Google pedometer and measured where 8km would take me, and then I ran that.  This week, for some reason I didn't.  This week I decided to just run until I felt like turning around.  I told myself that I couldn't look at my Garmin to determine distance or pace.  I just had to run, and I could speed up or slow down as my body told me. 

Here are the results:

For those of you who may be having trouble reading this.  I ran exactly 10.0 km, and my pace was 6:52 min/km...exactly my goal two weeks ahead of schedule.

Now then, I'll be honest with you.  I did end up looking at my Garmin.  When I was nearing the end of my run, and I was really starting to feel tired, and I wanted to stop, I checked the Garmin.  I just wanted to know how far I'd gone.  When I saw that that I had already gone 8.75 km I put a knew mantra in my head: Just finish it.  Just finish it.  You can do.  Just finish it.

So, with the Monument Ave 10k (my first OFFICIAL 10k) only two weeks away I have already reached my initial goal; to finish a 10k without stopping and under 70 minutes (I may not be fast, but I'm lapping everyone sitting on the couch).  Now I have two extra weeks to surpass my goal.  In two weeks I will be a little faster.  I may not win any medals, but I'll have won a victory in my mind, and that's all that really matters.

Oh, and as for Cody?  He was with me every step of the way.  He slept quite well yesterday too.  As a reward to both of us, I let us sleep in this morning (well, we went back to bed after taking care of the other dogs).  It's amazing what 3 extra hours of sleep can do for one's well-being!  I'm happy today.  That's all there is to it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Training With Resistance

At least once a week I have on really bad training day.  So far, this day has always landed on Thursdays.  Last week, Thursday and Friday were kind of awful, but Thursday was by far the worst.  This week, without fail, I had a not-so-great day...but for different reasons.

First, I woke up feeling not-so-great.  My stomach was achy, and I just felt kind of drained (I'm blaming hormones for this one).  I thought about canceling / postponing my run, but I knew how I'd feel if I didn't go out.  Plus, I had a dog who needed some exercise.  So, I laced up my shoes, and went on out.

Second, I ran with more than just Cody.  I have a dog staying with me for the week who is very sweet but is also very hyper.  Her issue as always been that she has a lot of energy, and I knew a run would help her out.  Since she knows a good heel command, I figured she'd be OK.

What I never figured is that I'd outrun her!  We hadn't even gone two miles when she started to fall behind.  At first I thought Cody was just in her way, so I gave her a little slack in the lead, and I had Cody switch sides.  Then she fell back more.  Then I heard her feet starting to drag the ground.  Yep, it was just about time to stop.  I struggled to finish the block with her, and then I slowed things down to a walk.

At first I was really disappointed.  I mean, these are my training runs.  I'm trying to work on speed and distance and endurance, and the last thing I need is to be slowed down by a dog.  However, I realized something, besides the fact that I felt kind of poopers to begin with, the thing that had made this run so difficult was her pulling me back.  She was acting as resistance.  On top of that, even with her resistance, I was able to keep a desired pace.  That's all good news.  Of course, there's the added bonus that this hyper dog is now tired.  Not passed-out-on-the-floor tired, but she's calmed down considerably.

I know I won't take her on my long run on Saturday.  That day will be reserved for Cody and me time.  I'm not even sure I'll take her for a run next week, since I really don't like working a dog that hard when they're not used to it.  Still, though, it was nice to know that I could push myself that hard.  It's nice to realize that runs are becoming easier for me.  It's nice to look in the future and see more running.  I like these thoughts.  I like them a lot.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dog Food

Earlier today I watched the movie Food Matters.  Much like Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, the basic idea was that the food we eating is actually poisoning us.  This movie, though, focused more on the medical side of things.  It wasn't one man's journey, but rather it was how food can affect the majority of people.  It made the assertion that the majority of chronic illnesses (i.e. depression, diabetes, heart disease, etc), which are currently being treated with drugs, could actually be treated by a change in lifestyle. 

This is not new to me.  In fact, the lifestyle changes needed are ones that I'm struggling with.  Basically, I'm fine when I'm on my own, but interaction with people who are not living that lifestyle can be quite difficult.  I'm not saying I agree with EVERYTHING they asserted, but I do think the majority of people alive today are slowly killing themselves with food, and I think that some drastic changes need to be made.  I know I'm feeling a lot happier and healthier since I made some changes.

What the movie really got me thinking about, though, was dogs.  If our food has changed so much, then dog food has gotten even worse.  I want to feed my dogs the best possible foods, and so I've done some research.  What are those things listed in the ingredients list of my dog's food?  What does it all mean?  What are the benefits of a hypoallergenic diet (no wheat, no corn, no soy, no dairy)?  How is dog food made?  What is the difference between wet food and dry food?

My conclusion: I really wish I could afford to make my own dog food.  Instead, I feed my dogs a hypoallergenic diet that is moderate to high in protein (they move a lot, so they need fuel).  I generally only feed dry food, but will give wet food if someone needs to gain weight or is having trouble eating (bad teeth, poor appetite, etc).  In dogs that have had issues, there are some substantial changes that I've noticed.

1) Merlin. Merlin has never been the perfect dog.  He will always have some issues, but when he's on a hypoallergenic diet he seems to be better.  His aggression is less, and he seems overall happier.

2) Lollie. When Lollie has non-hypoallergenic foods, she becomes much more fearful.  You can normally see a significant change within 24 hours.  On top of that, her face breaks out, and she develops sores.  In comparison, when she eats hypoallergenic foods, her skin is clearer, her attitude is better, and her coat is soft and shiny.  Hers is probably the most noticeable change.

3) CJ. CJ suffers from seizures.  When his mom switched him to a hypoallergenic food, he went from having a seizure ever 1-2 weeks to a full 17+ weeks without a single seizure.  He has had seizures since, but not nearly as often as they originally were.*

4) Kyla & Alex- This is actually a report from my mom.  After having her dogs on a hypoallergenic diet for a few months, she reported something very interesting.  She said that, while she expected the new food to be more expensive each month, her dogs ate less of it, so she didn't have to use as much.  I really think this is true for people.  The more sugar / fillers you eat, the more sugar / fillers you crave.  When you cut those from your diet, you won't crave as much food.

Now then, what kind of food you choose is a very personal decision.  I can't tell you what to buy or what will work best for your dog.  Plenty of people make their own dog food, and plenty of people are switching to a raw food diet (which is kind of creepy in my opinion), but each person is doing it for his / her own reasons and based on his / her dog's needs.  What I can tell you to do is to do your research.  Research your dog.  Assess your needs.  Talk to your vet.  Read books.  Search the internet.  Make sure you're fueling your dog as well as (or better than) you fuel yourself.

*CJ's dietary changes were done in tandem with drug therapy.  He had been on drug therapy for a few months before changes to the diet were made.  While he continues to be on medication, it is noted that seizure activity generally begins if he does not follow his strict diet.

For Your Viewing Enjoyment

Lollie, just chillin' with my tongue out.

And now, Cody's impression of Lollie!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Running With Dogs

In all my posts about running (this morning's was amazing, by the way), I've done very little mentioning of the dogs; how it's affected them physically, mentally, emotionally.  Part of this is because I really only run with Cody.  The last time I went out with more than one dog I tripped over one of them and broke my toe (also a reason why I no longer run in Vibrams).  The other reason is that I've just been kind of me-centric.  There have been lots of new things to report about my running, but not much has changed with Cody.  Or rather, the things that have changed with me regarding time / distance / etc. are the same changes with Cody.  But, it's time to talk about the dogs. 

First, we are fulfilling the basic need for exercise.  Some dogs can only walk about two blocks (Ellwood), but other dogs can run for miles (think Weimaraner).  These are the dogs that really benefit from runs.  I notice a huge difference in Cody when we run regularly.  He's calmer, more affectionate, and less feisty.  The structure of running teaches him to follow me a little more, so his walks are better.  It's not just Cody, either.  This morning, Hans decided to join me on his bike while I ran.  I took Cody, and he took one of our fosters, Tina.  Tina is a habitual trouble maker.  She's high energy, inquisitive, and stubborn.  After a 3 mile run, she decided to rest.  I'm pretty sure that's the longest I've seen her on her bed and not in a crate.  This is good!

Physically, it has certainly benefited Cody.  Cody has always been a lean dog.  I've watched his weight like a hawk, and he enjoys running as fast as he can as often as he can (he's hilarious in an open field).  Still, I've worried about his weight.  Sometimes I worry he's too lean, and maybe I should feed him more.  Shortly after I start feeding him more, though, I think he's getting a little chunky and I cut back on his food.  When clients ask me how much they feed their dogs I tell them it's an ever-changing equation.  Basically, start with a certain amount and see how your dog does...then adjust accordingly.  Anyway, the last time I took Cody to the vet, I was nervous.  He seemed like a healthy weight.  I knew he'd put on a couple of pounds since our last visit, but it didn't seem to be fat.  His chest had broadened and he had simply become a more sizable dog.  So, as the vet examined him, I held my breath.  Then she said, "He looks good."  I breathed a sigh of relief.  THEN she said, "He feels REALLY good.  He has a great physique."  I smiled.  Running had not just been helping me, it had been making him stronger too.  That dog was born to run.  Oh, and the number one comment we get on Cody when we have him groomed (besides how cute he is): Holy cow!  Look at the thigh muscles on that dog!  My boy has some strong back legs.

Running with Cody has been going quite well.  I'm so proud of how well he has done, and I really enjoy the bonding time with him.  Running really is our special Mommy-Cody time, and I think he likes that part best of all.  Oh, and for anyone worried that I'm working him too hard, after our 5.15 mi run last Saturday, Cody greeted the other dogs by running as fast as he could around the house and yard.  I guess he needed to release that final bit of energy before it was time to sleep.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


The other day I was looking back through old posts.  As I read through some of them, I realized that many of them were about my goals.  I had so many posts about wanting to run.  I had posts that stated goals, and posts that listed plans.  There were posts with helpful links, and there were posts that just had me rambling.  Y'all must have really gotten sick of all those posts.  I got sick of them, and they were MY posts! 

Still, though, for those of you who have kept reading, and for those of you who have continued to cheer me on, thank you.  Having your support means a lot.  And it is because of that support, that I am only three weeks away from my first official 10k!

As you know, I am trying to shave some time off my pace...about 30-40 sec per kilometer, and things are going very well.  I'm focusing on speed twice a week and distance once a week.  On the days in between, I'm swimming and mixing in some strength training.  On top of that, I'm really watching my diet.  Losing a few pounds will definitely help me run a little faster.

So, far things are paying off.  My two speed sessions this week were...well, not so great.  The first wasn't too bad, but the second was terrible.  I felt weak and out of sync.  I had to stop early because I just didn't feel that I had the strength to continue moving.  Of course, since that was my last run before my long run this morning, I was kind of dreading this run.  I kept thinking, "What if I feel like I did the other day?  What if I just can't hack it?"  Still, though, I went on out with Cody, and I just kept repeating, "Nice and slow, nice and slow, nice and slow." 

By the end of my run, I'd gone 8.29 km (5.15 mi)!!  On top of that, I shaved about 20 seconds off of last week's pace.  PLUS, I felt better after this run did I did after last week's.  HURRAY!!!!

I feel so happy I could fly!  I still have to shave at least another 15 seconds off my pace, but with three weeks left to go, I think that is totally doable.

Now, I'm just looking into the future.  I'm looking at triathlons, half marathons, and marathons.  I even discovered that I would qualify for the marathon training team for this year.  That's a little daunting, so I'll probably stick with the half marathon this year, but it's exciting to think of anything with "marathon" in the title is a possibility for me.

You may ask, "Why is this so important?"  Actually, my SIL, Liz, wrote a lovely blog post the other day.  You should go read it.  I'll wait.

The thing is, that post really describes my experiences.  In elementary school, I swam a lot, so weight wasn't quite an issue, but I hated those Presidential Fitness Tests.  I couldn't touch my toes (still have problems with that), was never able to do a pull up (it's still on my list of goals), and I NEVER ran the mile.  I was always one of the last ones to finish, and I always hated it.

Now, though, it's different.  I'm accomplishing one of my three goals from my childhood.  Not only am I accomplishing it, I'm blowing it out of the water.  This makes me happy.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Curse You Facebook!

About three weeks ago, I decided to give up Facebook for Lent.  It's time for a progress report.

All in all, it's been...not as easy as I'd hoped.  I seriously did not realize how much Facebook had become a part of my life.  I keep up with people through Facebook.  I follow the news through Facebook.  I promote my causes and my business through Facebook.  Staying away from it has been difficult.  I find that I have little thoughts running through my mind all day, and many of them I think, "I should post that on Facebook!"  Obviously I needed this Facebook detox.

To make matters worse, I keep getting Facebook "reminders."  My mom or Hans will say something like, "Did you hear about so and so?  They announced on Facebook..."  Hans even asked me one day, "Did you see this on Facebook?"  He definitely got an icy stare for that one.  That's not the worst of it, though.  Apparently, if you're gone from Facebook for a period of time, they'll send you a notice.  It's just a friendly little note informing you of news you may have missed.  This could be notifications on your wall or just little tidbits that your friends have posted.  I got one of those yesterday.  Curses!  Oh yeah!  And just about everything is linked back to Facebook now.  It's frustrating!

All that said, it's not terrible.  I'm finding that I'm more focused throughout the day.  I'm not wasting all my time on Facebook.  Now I'm going for runs or bathing the dogs or writing a blog (not much better, but better).  Oh, and I've really gotten a lot of reading done.  I'm already on my third book in two weeks.  Of course, the nicer weather and the ability to read outside on my porch doesn't hurt.

When it's all said and done, I do think I'll return to Facebook after Lent.  I also think I'll do my best to limit my time there.  There is so much life to live, why should I spend it staring at Facebook???

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Eating Right

As you may already know Hans and I went to visit his grandma in NC this past weekend.  While there, I ran my longest run to date (hurray!), and I saw the film The Artist (I recommend it).  We also ate out a lot. 

It's kind of funny, because on our way to NC I told Hans that I was really going to need his help eating well this week.  I know that in order to reach my goal time in the 10k, I'm going to need to drop a couple of pounds, and I also know that traveling and family can equal disaster when it comes to eating right.  Sure enough, I was right.  I'm going to take a moment here to yell at Hans.  Sweetie, I love you, but you were kind of useless on the eat right band wagon. :P  Still, though, I'm the one who ordered those Nutella crepes from Ihop (definitely hit the spot), and I'm the one who had one too many cookies.  It wasn't a terrible weekend overall, but for what I'm trying to do it was flat out awful.

Yesterday, I started the week with renewed vigor.  I know I need to start eating more fruits and veggies, so I made a salad for lunch, and I sat down.  Lunch yesterday came much later than I prefer, and I didn't have a whole lot on my plate, so I decided to sit down and watch a movie on Netflix.

A friend of mine, Kristie, posted recently on her blog about this movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  I'd seen it on Netflix, and I'd been wanting to watch it, so after her review I figured this should be the movie I watch...a perfect salad movie.

I have to say, it was very interesting.  A lot of what was said I've always believed to be true (we are what we eat, many medical conditions are the results of poor diets, etc.), but this guy really took it to the extreme by doing a juice fast for 60 days.  He lost a boat load of weight and also cured an autoimmune disorder that he'd been suffering from for quite a few years.

Well, while I thoroughly enjoyed the film, it did not quite motivate me to do a juice fast (mainly because I don't own a juicer), but has motivated me to seek more balance in my eating styles.  The goal for the next month is to incorporate more fruits and veggies and to reduce the amount of meat and grain I'm eating.  There are so many fruits that I love, but that I never know what to do with.  There are so many veggies that I'd love to try, but I also don't know what to do with.  I'm hoping this will encourage me to incorporate them some more.  Oh, and to Hans' credit, he's decided to join me on this adventure.  He even made his own salad for lunch (a true shocker if you know my husband).  I am really hoping this works for us.

The Dogs Now That We're Home

One more thing about our trip.  Apparently the dogs missed us.  We took Cody, but we left Lollie and the fosters at home.  I still think this was the best decision, but I feel guilty about leaving Lollie behind.  She is SO happy that we're home.  Really, they're all happy, but Lollie is thrilled.  She's been a little chatty Cathy; barking at us when we get home or when she's in the car, or even if she just wants attention.  I think it's sweet!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Long Run

I thought about taking today off from running.  My general schedule has me running every other day and swimming on the days in between.  Yesterday I swam a full mile and at a fairly good pace (lately I've been satisfied with half mile swims), so I thought I might take the whole weekend off.  Two things changed my mind, though.

1) I want to run at least three days a week.  If I took today off, I would have only run twice this week.

2) Hans and I are visiting his grandma in NC.  Visiting family often means eating out, and eating out often means eating too much.  Last night I had a much bigger dinner than I'd planned, and I wanted to work it off.

Since I had decided to run (luckily I'd taken my running clothes just in case) I figured I'd make this my long run.  My previous runs had been in the 3 mile range (5k), and I wanted to make it a little higher.  I figured, if I could, I'd run 7 km.  First, though, I had to find a place to run.

God bless the internet, because it didn't take me long to find a greenway nearby that looked long enough for me to get a decent run in without having to loop around 3 times.  With a little help from Gan and Hans, I had an easy route and a place to park.  So, I put a collar on Cody, grabbed a poop bag just in case, and off I went.

I didn't worry about pace.  All I wanted was to go a fair distance.  The run started quite well, and I was feeling good.  The route was very quiet, much quieter than I'm used to, and it took a lot of getting used to.  It didn't take long for me to get a little paranoid, waiting for something to pop out from around a corner and attack, and my breathing suffered.  Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th kilometer I started to feel awful.  My legs felt week, breathing was hard, and everything ached.  This was definitely not good since this wasn't even my normal distance, much less my long distance.  I decided to turn around and start heading back.

I think two things happened at this point.  First, I had already seen everything on the return trip, so I was less nervous.  Second, I finally realized that Cody was with me, and no one was going to bother me with him around.  I started to find my stride, and things stopped hurting as much.

By the end of my run, I looked at my watch.  I was hoping / expecting to have made it at least 7 km.  Imagine my surprise, though, when I saw that I'd gone 7.70 km!!!  That works out to 4.79 miles. I was oh so close to 8 km, and part of me wishes I had just run a little farther, but I was tired and it was time to end the run.  My pace wasn't my best, but it also wasn't my worst.  I'm not too far off from my goal pace.

I'm really hopeful now.  Distance-wise, I only need another 2.3 km.  Time-wise, I need to shave off 5 minutes.  I have 4 weeks to train.  I think I'm going to make it!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A First Time For Everything

Well, I've done it.  I've signed up for my first 10k.  Eek! 

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post.  I was sad because I wasn't going to be able to run the 10k that I'd wanted to run.  This past Sunday, though, I went on my first run in weeks.  Tuesday I ran much longer than I'd expected.  I looked at my times, and I evaluated how I felt, and last night I finally did it.  I signed up for the Monument Avenue 10k.

I am terrified.  I was close to doing a 10k last fall, but I never made it.  Now, I'm planning on running a 10k in four and a half weeks, and I'm only currently running a 5k distance.  Not only that, I had to choose which wave I could be in.  I could be in a runner's wave and estimate that I'd finish in 66-70 minutes, or I could allow myself some leeway, enter a jogger's wave and estimate that I'd finish in 70-75 minutes.  My current 5k time would estimate that I'd finish in 70-71 minutes, but my times last fall were a little faster.  Guess which wave I entered.  That's right, the runner's wave in 66-70 minutes.  I may not be fast, but I am determined.  Luckily, today's run had my average pace at 6:57 / km.  If I can keep that up for a 10k, then I'll be fine.

All that said, Hans did say one thing to me today that made me smile.  He said, "If I had told you that 9 months ago that you'd soon be running a 5k every other day, what would you have said?"  Obviously I would have laughed and thought that was something I could only dream of.  So, yeah.  I'm pretty happy about that.