Monday, October 29, 2012


Lately, all you've gotten from me are blog posts about running.  I really haven't talked about the dogs or the kennel or Hans or anything else.  This is for one reason and one reason only...I'm exhausted!

Things are going well here, and the kennel is doing well for its first few months, but things are overwhelming.  If you want to know the life of a new business owner (especially one who's training for a marathon), let me give you a few bullet points.

  • You will never get to eat at home.  I'll be honest, I got so sick of eating out that I even started telling friends that if they wanted to board their dogs with me, they could trade a few nights for a few home-cooked meals.  Eating out isn't necessarily bad, but when all your meals are some sort of fast food, it gets old (and expensive) fast.  Even on the nights when we may have had time to cook, you won't have any groceries, so the combined time of grocery shopping and cooking just isn't worth it.  Hans and I have started to get into a bit of a groove, so we're eating out less.  Our wallets and our waist lines are grateful.
  • Sleep is a think of the past.  If I'm lucky, some nights I'll get as much as 7 hours of sleep.  That's if I'm really lucky.  It's not at all unusual for me to only have 4 or 5 hours, and I'm not exactly high-functioning at this point.  Often, these short-sleep days stem from nights at the kennel followed by early morning runs, so the runs leave me a little energized.  On mornings when I don't run, I often feel tired and cranky.
  • Forget about social activities.  There's a concert you want to go to?  Forget it.  A friend is having a party?  No way.  You want to go out to the movies?  Not an option.  On days / nights where you might have the time (and possibly even the money) for these extra-curricular activities, you most certainly will not have the energy.  Your life will consist of working, talking about work, thinking about work, and trying to escape from work.
  • You learn what and who is really important to you, and you make time for it.  Going to the movies is not important to me, but spending time with my best friend is.  I could care less about parties, but my running is what keeps me sane most days.  I am willing to sacrifice sleep and even a home-cooked meal so I can make sure I take time out for these important things.  My health and well-being are also important, so I am learning how to give up some of my time at the kennel for more rest and time with family.  This means letting go of some things and trusting my employees.  It's like leaving my child, and this is not easy by any means.
I don't want this blog to sound like I'm ranting or complaining, because I'm not.  Yes, I'm tired.  Yes, I'm often frustrated.  Yes, I sometimes think about what life would be like if I'd opened a store that had nothing to do with live animals or if I just worked a regular 9-5 job.  However, the rewards are fantastic.  Being my own boss is just the tip of the iceberg.  I love caring for the dogs, and seeing them go home happy and healthy is a joy.  I'm also finding that I'm discovering myself a bit.  I'm coming into my own and learning what I can tolerate and what I can't.  Of course, that's a whole other blog post.

I hope life is treating all of you well.  If it isn't, kick it in the ass!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Week 22- Twelve Miles

Going into this week's run I was prepared to explain how we're tapering before the marathon.  I was prepared to talk about some running-related things (like how I feel when I don't run), but to keep today's post fairly short.  I mean, this was only 12 miles.  I've run 12 miles plenty of times.  Twelve miles is easy stuff.  However, I was not prepared for the reality of today.

This past week has been more than a little stressful.  My neighbor gave birth to her second child, leaving me to care for her two year old for the day.  While I am in NO WAY complaining about this, and I think he's a super-awesome kid, waking up at 3:30 in the morning, caring for a 2 year old, and working a 15 hour day is exhausting!  Then, on my morning off (the only one I get), one of my employees never showed, so I got to work a little extra.  After that, I thought I'd finally get some extra rest, but my best friend called and shared some upsetting news with me, leaving me with little sleep and a lot of stress.  Anyway, going into this run I'd gotten little sleep, had a lot of stress, had missed all of my weekly runs, and had not eaten so well, particularly Thursday and Friday.

Boy did I feel it!

My run started out OK.  I was running with two girls I don't usually run with, and they were taking things at a faster pace than usual...a much faster pace.  I enjoyed that pace for a while, but I quickly realized that pace was unsustainable, so I slowed it down a bit.  I shortly fell into a 10:30 pace, and I felt quite comfortable.

It wasn't until somewhere around mile 6 that things really changed.  My calves started to tighten, my breath was erratic, and to top it all off I was met with a gigantic hill.  I've gone up the hill before, but today was harder.  I wanted to stop right then and there.  Instead, I just slowed down some more and kept on going.

I made it past mile 8, and we hit another hill.  Last week, I climbed this hill at mile 19, but this week I just couldn't do it.  I was too exhausted.  I walked up the hill.  Once at the crest, I started running again.  Towards the bottom of the hill, I actually ran into an old friend and the person who first encouraged me to join MTT.  She said she and her friend were struggling too and were stopping at 9 miles.  This sounded like a wonderful idea!

I just couldn't do it, though.  I knew I'd be angry with myself if I didn't finish, so I continued on.  By mile 10, I was regretting this decision, and I slowed to a walk again.

The last two miles were awful.  I shuffled along slowly, and walked frequently.  When I finally reached the end, I wanted to cry.  There it was!!  I was done!

In conclusion, this week did not go so well.  I went into my run tired, stressed, and physically exhausted.  On top of that, I pushed myself way to hard in the beginning, and I paid for it dearly in the end.  Still, though, I finished.  I learned that even though I felt miserable, I was capable of finishing.  Of course, I wouldn't want to do this all the time, but today I feel proud...and tired.  Here's to sleep!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Week 21- Twenty Miles

Honestly, I don't even know what to say in this post.  I feel like I've said it all before.  I'm so amazed at what I've accomplished so far.  I can't believe I've come this far.  This is such an amazing experience.  I suppose today would be a good time to let you in on some of the things I've seen in thought of as I ran 20 miles.

1) I'm running 20 miles!!!!

2) It is very interesting to see a man running in a running skirt.  Granted, it looked different from most running skirts, and he may often wear kilts, but it was definitely a skirt.  Hey, if he's comfortable, more power to him!

3) Running when the high for the day is only 70 degrees is much easier than when the high is 100 degrees.

4) Apparently, cool October mornings are when everyone and their brother walks their dogs.  One guy even ran past us with his dog.  I cannot stress how much I wish Cody had been with me.  This was particularly true when one guy passed us with his dog pulling on the leash and everyone said how well-behaved his dog was.  If only Cody could have been there to show off!!!  (Note: I did ask if I could bring Cody on some of the training runs, but they would not allow him.)

5) It is important to really know your route before you head out.  At one point, I realized there was no one ahead of me.  I checked my route and realized I had missed a turn approximately 3-4 blocks back.  This will really give you an "Oh Shit!" feeling.

6) The last 6 miles of any run is the hardest.

7) When all your teammates have just finished running 20 miles and you just finished 20.36 because of your missed turn, you will feel extremely special and awesome.

8) Choosing to not stop your watch at SAG stops will kill your time, but it gives you a better idea of how long it will take you to finish the full race.  My final time for 20.36 miles was 3:57:46.  My goal is to finish in under 5 hours, so I may need to step it up just a bit.  Luckily, I know my weak spots and have a plan on how to get through them.

Well, that's about it for today.  I'm so extremely tired, but I'm also very proud of myself.  This was our last looong run before the marathon.  Now we start to taper and prepare ourselves mentally.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Week 20- Twelves Miles and A Birthday

Yep!  Today's my birthday!!  Happy birthday to me!!!!!

When I first looked at the training schedule I was quite relieved to see that today's run would only be 12 miles.  At the time, 12 miles seemed daunting enough, but the thought of running 18 or 20 miles on my birthday was terrifying.  Truth be told, I'm still really glad we only had to run 12 miles!  And, while I contemplated skipping this run and sleeping in (I could really use the sleep), I'm glad I didn't. 

Today's run started out cold.  I'm actually quite proud of myself, because, while I was chilled, I actually wasn't as bad as what I thought I'd be.  I knew that I'd be moving soon enough, and I just wanted the run to start.  As a special birthday bonus, I happened to win a pair of gloves in a trivia contest just prior to the run.  Yay for warm hands!

The run started off, and my running buddies were back...and cheerful.  I happily ran along, chatting and having a good time.  Then, around mile 3 or so, one of the running coaches started running along with us.  I started chatting with her, and before I knew it I was going faster than I usually do...and I was quite comfortable.  I looked back and realized I had lost my running buddy.  This both makes me sad and thrills me.  I didn't mean to leave her behind, but I was loving the faster pace. 

I continued on this pace until our first SAG.  Apparently my buddy was not too far behind, because she caught up with me there.  We continued on, running together...until we were joined by another one of the coaches.  Apparently, his wife owns a veterinary clinic that I'm quite fond of, so we had lots to chat about.  Back to the faster pace. 

We continued on for a while, and a few other people joined us.  I kept the faster pace and felt pretty good.  I looked at my watch, and there were only 4 more miles left.

Finally, around mile 10, I started to feel the effects of my pace.  Running at that speed was becoming more and more difficult, and yet I wanted to keep up the conversation I had going.  Call it stupid, but I was going to continue on.  There were only 2 miles left.

Luckily for me, there were actually only 1.67 miles left, because I was tired.  I looked at my watch, and we had just hit the 2 hour mark.  I ran 11.67 miles in 2 hours.  OK, so that's not an Olympic time or anything, but by comparison, my half marathon time was 2:22, so I shaved some time off (approximately 30 seconds per mile in fact).  I know that's not the pace I want to keep for the marathon, and I'll have to be careful to not get sucked into a faster pace just because I'm talking, but I really loved it today.  I loved the cooler weather, and the fact that I was able to go faster because of it.

Afterward, I came home, and Hans was in the process of making me pumpkin bread French toast (super tasty).  After I had showered and had breakfast, Mom, Hans, and I went shopping, and I promptly treated myself to some running arm sleeves.  I'm super stoked, and I really hope it's cool next weekend for my 20 miler, so I can try them out.  Huzzah!

Alright, off to birthday dinner, where I'll happily eat all of those 1300 calories I just burned off!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Week 19- Eighteen Miles

If one were to look in my bedroom now they'd see quite a sight.  They'd seem me laid out, laptop on my lap, wrapped in my comfy robe, hair wet, with two dogs and a cat surrounding me.  They'd see someone who looks both exhausted and content.  They'd see someone who just ran 18 miles.

One of the things I love about training for the marathon is that I get to see parts of Richmond I've never seen before.  Even though I group up in this area, there are plenty of roads I've never gone down and plenty of sites I just wiz past and never give a second thought to.  Running allows me to see these sites, and this run did not disappoint.

This run started out fairly normal.  We ran down streets we'd run down before and nothing was unusual.  As the run progressed, I got a little excited as we ran past St. Bridget's Catholic Church.  It's a beautiful stone church, and just the image of it made me a little stronger.  We ran through the parking lot, and there was one of our coaches, telling us to turn down this small side street.  That's when the run got interesting.

First, this road was practically all down hill.  Of course, this is not easy on the joints, but it's more enjoyable than uphill.  Second, there was tons of tree coverage.  Considering this day was sunny, warm, and humid, trees were quite welcome.  Third, and most important, it had to be one of the most beautiful runs I've ever been on.  The houses were gorgeous, the landscape was amazing, and I couldn't help but feel in awe of it all.  It was a particularly wonderful way to pass a few miles.

It was also during this section that I started to break away from the people I was running with.  The girls I was running with were wonderful, but I found that my body wanted to take things slightly faster.  My natural groove had me breaking away, and I just listened to what my body told me.  I didn't want to push to hard, but I also didn't want to hold anything back.  While I missed the conversation, it also allowed me to focus more on what my body was telling me.  I was happy to listen.

From that wonderful road, we ran through the University of Richmond campus (again, lovely), and then it was back to familiar roads.  By this point, we were out of the shade and the sun was HOT.  I did my best to make sure I stayed hydrated, but I could not wait to find a SAG stop.

By the time I reached the second to last SAG, I looked at my watch and saw that I only had about 5 miles left.  I was hot and tired, but I've run 5 miles plenty of times.  I knew I could do this.

When I reached the final SAG, my fuel belt was dry, I was thirsty, and there were only 1.5 miles left.  I had a few cups of Gatorade, filled my fuel belt (did I mention it was hot?), and set off, determined to finish.

The last mile and a half was tiring.  I wanted to be done, but I was so proud I'd come so far already, I wasn't about to stop.  I was in full sun at this point, I could feel the heat from the cars and the road, but I knew there was just one more hill until the finish.

Finally, along with one of our training coaches, I crested the hill.  I was rewarded with a cool breeze, and that was enough to get me through the finish.  I charged on, gave a few high fives, and made it to the end.  When all was said and done, I'd run 18 miles in 3 hours 19 minutes.

I may be exhausted.  I may not want to move right now, but I reached a goal.  In 34 days and 8.2 miles, I will run my first marathon.  Wow.