Monday, April 15, 2013


Today has been a rough day.

Even writing that, though, makes me feel guilty.  Compared to so many today I've had it easy.  I had lunch with a friend.  I tried a new restaurant.  I got to spend time with my husband, and I'm currently sitting in bed, waiting for laundry to go in the dryer, and writing a blog post.  All of my dearest friends and family are safe and are nearby.  So many people cannot say that today, and I feel awful about that.

Today has been stressful for me.  My lunch with my friend was enjoyable, but it did not happen for a good reason.  There are things going on that I can't quite talk about, but they've left me feeling wound up and anxious.  Then, shortly after the lunch, Mom called to tell me about the events in Boston.

Two years ago, that news would have made me sad, but I don't think my heart would have ended up in my throat.  Two years ago I wouldn't have felt my stomach drop.  Two years ago, I wouldn't have become so ill over it.  Two years ago, even a year ago, I hadn't run a marathon.

A year ago, I couldn't even fathom the amount of pain, both mental and physical, that goes into running that sort of distance.  I had no idea the joy that seeing that finish line brought.  I couldn't imagine the sort of inspiration the cheering crowds could bring.  Now, however, it's a different story.

After running for 4 hours, your body is past exhaustion.  You want nothing more than to lie down.  Your feet hurt, your legs hurt, your back and head hurt.  You look to the cheering crowds and hope that someone will carry you to the finish, and with their cheers they do.

When you see the finish line, your heart swells with pride.  You've accomplished something huge.  You have more faith in yourself than you ever had before.  You feel invincible.  You're a super hero.

That was ripped away from many people today.

And what of those who hadn't finished?  What about the people, like myself, who run closer to a 5 hour marathon?  Luckily, it probably wasn't their first-ever marathon, but it may have been their first time a Boston, a huge feat in and of itself.  How must they feel, knowing they never got to truly finish?  How must they feel knowing their was nothing they could do to help?  I can't even imagine their pain.

Today was a stressful day for me, but I'll get through it.  Some people won't.

After today, no one in Boston will be the same.  Some finished a marathon and felt invincible before realizing that they were still only human.  Some weren't even able to achieve that goal.  Either way, their lives will never be the same.

My heart goes out to Boston.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Breath For The Soul

Yesterday was not a normal day for me.  I had plans.  Big plans.

To start things off, I actually had the day off.  I didn't have a pack walk to lead or a training appointment.  I didn't have any real obligations, so the first thing I did was a race!  I signed up for the Monument Avenue 10k back in February when I figured I'd be completely healed fairly soon.  Unfortunately, healing took longer than expected, and it was a bit of a scramble to get ready for it so quickly. 

If you remember, I first ran the Monument Ave 10k last year, and it was my first official 10k ever.  I was so proud of how well I'd done that I actually signed up for the marathon training team that very night.  So, yeah.  It was kind of a big deal.  Originally, my goal was to try and run it in under 60 minutes, but by the middle of March I figured that probably wasn't going to happen.  So, then I hoped to run it in the same amount of time as last year, 64:18.  I was close at 65:23, but no cigar.  Still, I'm happy with my time, as there were a few factors going into this race that slowed me down.  First, I hadn't trained nearly as much.  The farthest I'd run since January was 4-5 miles.  Second, I'm a little heavier than I was last year.  Not much, but it was enough to slow me down.  Third, and this is the real kicker, was the heat.  I was doing fine until about mile 4 when I was suddenly running in full sun.  I had to slow down just because I thought I was going to be sick.  All in all, though, a good race.

The race, however, is not what made it a great day.  It's what Hans and I did after that made it so wonderful.  Hans and I very rarely have a chance to escape the city.  On the days where we're lucky enough to have off, we usually try to sleep and recuperate a little, but this day was different.  This day, I wanted to do something fun.  I wanted to escape the crowds and the noise.  I wanted to take the chance to just breathe.  So, we loaded the dogs in the car and drove up to our favorite spot in the mountains.

There were a few more people than I would have liked, but other than that it was just perfect.  The trail was fairly quiet, the water was at a perfect level, and the weather was perfect.  We hiked to our favorite spots and let the dogs play in the water.  Lollie even took a moment to get her paws wet, which is a huge feat for this bulldog.  Then we looked at the time, decided we had plenty of daylight left, and continued upward.  We didn't go much farther, but it was just enough to make us happy and to tire out the pups. 

In the end, we hiked a total of 4 miles (which means I'm pretty sure Cody did 8 from all the back and forth he was doing), and we had some stunning views.  Unfortunately I left my camera in the car, so I don't have any pictures, but somehow I think that's preferable.  A photo wouldn't do it justice.

Afterwards, we stopped at a small pizza place we'd been wanting to try for a while.  It was quite good and the perfect end to a lovely day.

Really, though, the best part about yesterday was the fact that we took the time to do something for ourselves.  Sure there was housework to do.  Sure we could have used the rest.  But doing housework or sleeping wouldn't have left us nearly as happy as what we ended up being after that hike.  I can't wait until we have the chance to go back.  Maybe next time we'll do the whole trail, a total of 10 miles!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Life is good

In case no one ever told you, owning your own business is hard.  There are so many hopes and dreams riding on it.  There are so many things to be watched over every second of the day.  If you're a small business owner, like myself, your mind is filled with the day to day operations of the facility, plus marketing, plus current financial status, plus hopes for future financial status, plus employees, plus uniforms, plus inventory, plus, plus, plus.  And the overwhelming thought is, "No one will love you like I do."

And it's true.  No one, aside from maybe Hans, will love this kennel the way I do.  No one will fret over it or try to care for it the way I do.  No one will cry over it or laugh over it the way I do.  No one will stay up at night dreaming about it the way I do.  No one is willing to sacrifice sleep or social time for it the way I do. 

This is a hard realization.  Currently at the kennel, we are trying to find some people who can maybe take on an early morning or a late night shift.  As much as I love my kennel, I also need a break, and so do some of my more dedicated employees.  But interviewing some of these people can be so tiring.  None of them seem to care!  None of them seem to understand how important this place is to me, and the few employees who do seem to understand don't necessarily feel exactly the same way.  So, I'm left struggling to find some balance in life.  This is where I'm grateful for Hans.

One of the things I love best about running is how it gives me time to think.  It helps me clear my mind and focus, which makes getting through the day much easier.  If it weren't for Hans, I wouldn't have time for this.  Hans is willing to get up early with me, go to the kennel, and let me go for a run.  He sacrifices much-needed sleep, so I can have a moment of me-time.  For this, I am grateful.

I am also extremely grateful that all our hard work seems to be paying off.  I won't go so far as to say that life is easy...far from it, but life is far easier than it was a year ago.  I'm able to watch and appreciate the fact that all my hopes and dreams seem to be coming true.  I'm finally able to say that this business, this small child, is starting to learn to walk on its own.

So, to sum up this rambling post, life is good.  Life is hard, certainly.  But life is good.  Who knows where I'll be next year.  Maybe next year life will be even easier!  But for now, at least I can say, life is good.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

You want to know something?  I sometimes get concerned that I don't post enough about my pups.  My posts used to always be about Cody and Lollie, but since I've opened the kennel, my posts about them of declined.  This is mainly because there's nothing really new to post about them.  Changes that happen happen gradually over time, so there's no big "Guess what happened!" moment.  I'm in the kennel most days, and the routine is fairly the same, so I have no fun adventures to report.  That said, it is high time you got an update on the life of the dogs.

Lollie is doing extremely well.  I am so amazed at all the progress she's made since she first came to us.  She's still the timid one of my pups, but her confidence has really soared.  She loves playing with the dogs in daycare, and when she's tired she's more than happy to either sleep in the sun or sleep under my desk.  The kennel seems to be really good for her.  She gets super excited whenever she realizes that's where we're going (even though we go there every day), and she starts barking and howling until she gets to the front door.  It's really cute.

The biggest issues we're having with her are her allergies.  They're AWFUL.  I swear, I think she's allergic to sunlight.  She is currently on a wheat, corn, soy, dairy, chicken, and beef-free diet.  While that's helped a lot, I fear we may have to start cooking her food ourselves to cut out any preservatives as well.  This is scary for two reasons.  1) I don't even have time to cook for myself!  2) It's much more expensive.  I know we'll figure something out, but for now we're dealing with it one step at a time.

Lollie's looking at me, and asking, "Mom, why is she taking my picture?"
What can I say about Cody?  Cody is my baby boy.  He makes me smile every morning, and he keeps me warm every night.  I can't imagine my life without Cody, and I can't believe he's 5 1/2 already.

Signs of maturity are starting to show on Cody.  He doesn't play nearly as much.  He'd much rather sleep than go in the yard with the dogs.  He doesn't jump quite as high as he used to, and he wears out faster.  Don't worry that he's becoming "old" though.  He still does plenty of other things that help wear him out.

As I've resumed running, Cody has accompanied me.  I could not have been happier the first run I did off the treadmill that was with Cody.  I was worried that he'd tire too quickly.  I figured he hadn't run in 3 months either, and I was worried about his stamina.  I need not have feared.  Cody ran 4 miles with me and was happier than ever.  When we returned home, he ran up to bed, woke up Hans, and gave us both tons of kisses.  Everything about him was happy and relaxed.  He likes his runs as much as I do.

Cody is slightly less-enthused about the kennel.  I know he'd prefer to be running on hiking trails and swimming in lakes.  As the weather is getting warmer, I'm trying to  find ways to get him out more, and I'm loving on him as much as possible.  Sweet boy.  I just want him to be happy.

This is Cody's Easter Bunny impression.
All in all, life is good in the dog house.  The kids are coming home dirty and tired each day, but they're getting lots of love, and they're happy overall.  Heck, we're ALL dirty and tired at the end of the day, but we're happy to have each other.
One big, happy family.
Play with me!  Play with me!!  Play with me!!!!