Monday, December 31, 2012

I Don’t Recognize Myself

Okay, you can stop sending me emails asking where I am. Well, at least one of you was nice enough to do that.

Yes, I’ve taken over a week off from blogging and running. There I said it. Sue me. Chastise me. In the 3+ years I’ve had this blog I’ve never done either one of those things, let alone both of them at the same time. Maybe this is what the Mayans had in mind.

Lest you feel I’ve been cheating on you by writing another secret blog (Shut Up and Make Crafts with Cat Hair!) or taken up a substitute hobby like naked badminton (oh my God – is it really spelled that way? For 45 years I had no clue that badminton had an “n” in it. Thought it was badmitton), rest assured the only action around here has been this:

I’m pretty sure the video’s not contagious. Please tell me we are not the only family who spent the holidays puking, hacking, shaking with chills, popping Motrin, sipping Ginger Ale and watching so much bad TV you constantly sound like your grandmother who asks, “What is this world coming to?” (Sexting in Suburbia on Lifetime was really good, by the way).

One fine thing that came out of this was I read more books than I almost have all year. And, I unplugged from Facebook, Twitter and most blog reading. I told you I’d be doing more of this!!

I started with this one:

One Breath Away

What the hell was I thinking? I had no clue when I got his from the library a few weeks ago what it was about. A potential shooting in an elementary school. I almost put it down, not wanting to immerse myself anymore in the horror of that world than I have to, but I read on. I read on mostly because I got hooked into the story and soon figured out it was contrived enough that it didn’t upset me. The writing was just so-so and the story was pretty blah. Not one I’d highly recommend.

Then I moved to this one.

Now that’s more like it. I loved this book, even if there was only one time she discussed pooping on the trail (although you know she must have done it almost daily  - 90 times or so? – details please!)

There were so many unintended parallels to running in this book . Pushing through pain. Not quitting when you want so desperately to do just that. Enduring the highs and lows of the experience. The best part was that the writer, Cheryl Strayed (yes, she did change her name to that), was not trying to be profound or to teach the reader something. She was merely relaying her personal experience, and somehow that translated into major life lessons for me.

Yes, this book is about the author’s quest for healing by hiking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, but it is so much more than that. From the day she first puts on her heavy pack (you never learn exactly how much it weighed – my guess is 60-70 lbs.) and trekked into the wilderness to her bleeding and blistered feet that left her so injured she could only hobble, I was hooked. The beauty of this book was truly in the authenticity of the writing and the humble and real nature of the author. Read it!!

Next up was this book:

I’ve got to admit, that after the adventure of Wild, I had a hard time getting into the flow of  this book.  For sure, Jurek’s story is a good one with all the elements of overcoming adversity, pushing oneself to one’s limits and going for and achieving goals one never thought possible.  He has done this all while on a vegan diet that he swears by (sorry to end with a preposition. Would “by which he swears” sound better?). 

I’m not vegan and while I’m pretty open minded,  I just don’t envision myself making my own rice milk and using it to mix up pancakes with 6 different types of flour. I know there are many of you who live this way and are probably much healthier than I am (and I do know being vegan doesn’t have to be “hard”), but it is all I can do to just get dinner on the damn table some nights, let alone milk my own cow. Yes, I’m sure like with anything if I devoted myself to it, I could do it and do it well. Just not feeling the motivation at this point in time. Prime rib anyone?

Overall, an inspiring story by an incredible endurance runner (and on sale right now on Amazon Kindle for $3.99). This dude is unstoppable.

 

Read any good books lately? I’m always looking for new stuff. I am about to start Life After Death, which seems like a compelling read.

Are you vegan or vegetarian? No and no.

Have you or your family been sick? Give me the gory details – make me feel better.

Got any big plans for New Year’s? Yes. My couch and heated blanket with a glass of wine.

SUAR

Sunday, December 23, 2012

More of This, Less of That in 2013

It’s always fun when the holidays are speckled with fevers, pukes and body aches – the joys of the season. My least favorite illness is making its way through our home and the homes of many of our friends – I guess the Noravirus is on a rampage in these parts. Isn't that the cruise ship phenomenon? You mean I get to experience the Noravirus and I don’t even get to go on a cruise?  That’s crap. I’d prefer a touristy port town with my vomiting, by the way.

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Well, I haven’t succumbed to Nora. Not yet anyway. So far it’s just been Ken and Emma. Let’s hope that’s not my Christmas morning surprise.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be around the blogging world for the next few days. I am feeling the need to pull back, to take a break. Just like with running, sometimes it’s good to step away so you can remember why you love it again.

But, as I prepare for this hiatus I’ve been thinking about the  new year. In lieu of resolutions, I want to make a promise to myself to really focus on what makes me happy and ditch the stuff that doesn’t. Sounds basic and simple, but in this world of overstimulation, over commitments and general busy-ness, the lines can get blurred.

This year with the tragic loss of Sherry, Lucky’s passing and the horrible events at Sandy Hook and other spots, I’ve thought a lot about what is really important.

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Taken from my back porch in March

Yes, happiness is a choice and a result of our outlook, the people with whom we surround ourselves and what we choose to focus on. For me, I need more of some things and less of others.

  • More reading good books, less reading magazines, Facebook, etc.
  • More runs with no/little attention to pace/time, less focus on what the Garmin says
  • More face to face time with friends and family, less emails and texts with friends and family
  • More listening to my body, less minimizing pain/discomfort/anxiety
  • More slowing down and being deliberate, less rushing through, multi-tasking and forgetting to be  present
  • More time running the Colorado trails, less time on asphalt
  • More breaks to make a cup of tea and breathe, less forgetting to stop and clear my head and reset for a minute
  • More talking to strangers and being open, less getting so lost in my own world I don’t reach out
  • More time spent in my community volunteering or doing cultural things, less time spent between the walls of my house
  • More giving, less taking
  • More trips to the farmer’s market for fresh stuff, less relying on grocery store produce
  • More self acceptance, less caring what others think
  • More sleep, less letting the “to-do” list steal my resting time
  • More invites to people to come over, less caring if my house or dinner is “perfect”
  • More attention to/acceptance of my unique self, less comparing with others
  • More time with those who make me feel good, less time with those who don’t
  • More Peace of mind, faith and acceptance, less worry about what I can’t control

Just some of my intentions for continuing to create a quality and balanced life.

What do you need more and less of?

It’s been great hanging out with you all this year. Your insights and comments have made me laugh, cry, think, and have helped me stay inspired. See you here next year – same time, same place?

Much peace and happiness from my home to yours…

SUAR

Friday, December 21, 2012

How To Get Off Your Butt and Run (aka Finding Motivation)

Don’t pretend you haven’t experienced or felt it. Don’t act like it’s never happened to you. It’s a widespread and sometimes infectious disease that we all contract every now and again. What do I speak of?

Loss of Motivation

I received a message the other day from a reader that might just resonate with a few of you, especially this time of year.

“Recently my running motivation is gone. Nowhere in sight. My work out motivation is still there... is this normal? Possibly my body telling me I need a break? I freak out since I'm not running as much, but when it comes time to run, I choose sleep.”

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Oh, what to do about this? Or, not to do about this? Well, there’s always the option of eating Cheetos and drinking Coors Light and ditching running altogether. But, in lieu of that…

Sometimes loss of motivation to run is your body’s (and your mind’s) way of saying “Hey, give me a break. You’ve been killing me all year and I’d really like some down time.” Give yourself permission to pull way, way back. After awhile, you might actually find yourself craving the run again.

If you really haven’t been running that much and still don’t feel like running maybe you just don’t like to run (Gasp! What are you crazy?). Is there anything else you can think of that excites you more? There are lots of ways to be active, running is only one. I will agree that with running you get the most bang for your buck if you only have a thirty minutes or so – but if you HATE it, why do it?

That said,  if you truly do like to run, but have just plain lost your motivation, here are some tips I’ve found helpful:

1. Shut Up. I think the single most self-sabotaging behavior that keeps people from doing what they say they are going to do is that they think too much. If you tell yourself you are going to get up and run in the morning, then freaking get up and run in the morning. Do not wake up and look at the temperature and decide it’s too cold. Do not check in with your body and decide you are too tired. Do not look at your calendar and decide you are too busy. Do not take time to think up excuses that will keep you from doing what you said you were going to do. Otherwise, you’ll just find yourself in the same boat tomorrow morning. Only you’ll feel even worse about yourself.

2. Go Naked. Don’t have a race, time or distance goal. Leave your watch at home. Go run just for the sheer pleasure of running. You might like it more that way.

3. Sign Up and Pay Up. Do the opposite of #2. Pick a goal. Maybe you need the extra motivation of having a race PR to work towards or a distance you want to dominate.  Then, sign up and pay money so you actually do it.

4. Write It, Don’t Fight It. Every time you run or workout, come home and write down how you feel. Keep it short. A few words will do. Invigorated. Energized. Confident. Then, the next time you don’t want to run make yourself read your post-run list.

5. Grab a Warm Body. Make someone go with you. This one works because if you can’t be held accountable to yourself, maybe you care about not letting someone else down. Set up a running date with a friend or sign up with a group. Scientific research shows you’re 80% more likely to show up if someone is waiting for you (I made that up, but it sounds good).

6. Keep It Real. If you overwhelm yourself with high mileage goals or paces that you aren’t ready for, you’ll only get discouraged and quit. Start where you are. And, for God’s sake, don’t compare yourself to others. Just because some bloggers run multiple marathons per month or put in 120 miles per week (f&ckers), doesn't mean you have to shoot for those goals. This is your journey. Do it right for you, which might mean taking very, very baby steps.

Got any tips to beat complete loss of running motivation?

SUAR

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Running Texting Terms

Many of us runners love to text. For some, it’s a lifeline during a race. For others it’s a way to get picked up on a lonely back country road when you’ve reached mile 18 and can’t go another step (not that I’ve ever been there or anything). Whatever the reason for your texting, we runners need our own terms, don’t you think? Here are just a few I came up with (this is kind of a take off on the texting terms for seniors that I read recently. Hilarious!):

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Got any more running texting terms to add?

Do you text during races or long runs? No. Never. I don’t carry a phone during races. During long runs I have it with me for safety reasons and sometimes take pictures, but that’s it.

SUAR

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

5 Ways To Make It Through Right Now

I love this time of year. The lights, the music, the break from routine. But, sometimes I still want to flip off that guy who cuts me off in traffic or eat 95 cookies to fill some empty space.

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We made 10 kinds of cookies this weekend. SICK, I tell ya.

As festive, cheery and fun the holidays are supposed to be – this isn’t always the case. This time of year is really rough for some people – those who are alone, those who are stuck in memories of what could or should have been, those who have experienced tremendous loss and devastation. Sometimes we need to know that it is okay to not feel wholeheartedly happy during this time of year. In fact, what sometimes makes us the most unhappy is that we put pressure on ourselves to be happy. Ironic, isn’t it?

So, I propose to you some ideas for how to get through when you’re just not feeling it:

1.  Slow the f*ck down. Most of us are already up to our eyeballs in busy-ness, then the holidays hit and we  think we have to be super people who home bake our holiday gifts, put the damn elf on the shelf and send out 500 holiday cards. Remember you don’t have to do it all, cut yourself a break and know that you are enough.

Tip: Physically slow yourself down as you go through the day. Stop rushing through every errand and batch of cookies. It makes a difference (except for when you’re trying to do intervals – then you can speed up).

2. Shut up and run . The very moment when you feel so tired, so depressed, so unmotivated to run, bike, swim, do yoga, whatever – is the exact moment when you need to just shut up and do it. Trust me on this one. Physiologically, something happens when we begin to move, when our blood begins to flow faster and our heart rate becomes elevated. The body releases soothing and uplifting chemicals that can have an almost drug-like effect. It’s a FREE and LEGAL high people!!

3.  Accept where you are. Don’t pressure yourself to “feel better” or to be joyful and festive. Muster up what you have and offer that. Trust that you will climb out eventually, but in the meantime, let yourself feel the heaviness. And, be careful about getting sucked into Facebook and Twitter where it is very easy to start sinking deeper in the black hole of “the grass is greener” syndrome.

4.  Find it in the little things. Indulge in the small things that make you happy and don’t feel guilty about it. Spend an extra $5 to get yourself a peppermint mocha. Linger in bed 15 minutes longer. Watch a stupid ass movie on Lifetime.  Go onto Pinterest and find the most ridiculously sinful food item and salivate and go to the grocery store to get the ingredients and make it.

caramel-shortbread-closeup

Dark chocolate and salted caramel topped shortbread – WHAT??

5.  Help someone. It is incredibly easy to get so inwardly focused that we shut out the world. All around you are opportunities to help someone. I know in the couple of weeks after Lucky died, I made it a point to reach out to help – I took dinners to sick friends, I bought Christmas gifts for a baby I’d never met. Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to be there for others.

And, for God’s sake, drink and be merry in case the world ends on Friday.

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Got any tips to get through the holiday doldrums?

SUAR

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Now More Than Ever

Yesterday I got up early knowing I had to run if I was going to deal with the huge lump of sadness sitting in my gut. I know every single one of you had the same heart breaking response to the school shooting in Connecticut on Friday. I don’t want to go into details here, that is what CNN is for, but suffice it to say that the horrific nature of those events are so unconscionable, so wretched, so gruesome, that thinking about it is almost too much. Yet, I can’t stop thinking about them. All 26 of them.

Like most, we spent Friday night on the couch, huddled together grateful we could touch, hold and speak to one another. But, painstakingly aware that others could not.

The sunrise yesterday morning was calming and glorious:

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I had to run. It was the only thing I could think of to do. Ken and I did a silent, chilly 9 mile run on some trails around Boulder. The stinging cold air and the serene beauty of the reservoir and the nearby foothills did bring some fleeting peace.

suncomingup2

rezview

In all of the things I have heard said about this tragedy, I think a congressman from Connecticut expressed it best. He attended the Friday night vigil at a Catholic Church in Newtown and said (I am summarizing), “I see many children here. Yes, bring your children. Show them that there is so much love and light amidst the horror.” An interactive website called Wall of Love has been set up to demonstrate this exact thing. Show it to your kids.

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With our own kids it is hard to know what to say. I have been very honest. I tell them there are sick people in the world who do very bad things. But, I also remind them that the vast majority of people are good and want to bring peace and kindness. I tell them that in the face of all that is scary and unsettled out there, we still live our lives and try not to consumed by all of our fears of “what if.” It’s all I can say because I cannot tell them they are safe. Because I don’t know that they are – and that is gut wrenching. But, I will be damned if we are going to hole up in our house be afraid all of the time.

If you want to help the Sandy Hook victims and their families, here are some ways (taken from HERE). And, if you know of any other online efforts to help the victims, please share them in the comments.

Peace now more than ever,

SUAR

PS: This post/this blog is not a forum for arguing political and religious viewpoints, making assumptions about what I believe or don’t believe, or attacking me or others. If you leave those comments they will be immediately deleted and reported.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Today I Took a Test

What a day! Sometimes I think the most random things happen to me throughout the day.  I bet if you really thought hard, you would have some too. Here are mine, just from today:

  • I took a a pregnancy test at the doctor (No joke. I was having a symptom that the doctor thought warranted the test. It was negative, of course, which is probably good because I’m not sure I want to be going through menopause the same day my child starts kindergarten).
  • I showed the top of my underwear to the dental hygienist to prove to her it matched my  purse (I didn’t match it on purpose believe it or not).
  • I had a run with a friend that included talk of air flow that only a woman has (rhymes with reef).
  • The guy at the liquor store wasn’t able to get my credit card to swipe, so he licked his finger then rubbed it across the strip on the back (Dude. Seriously. I do not want your spit on my card. Sick). This falls into the category of “people do the weirdest things that freak you out”
  • A total of ten packages arrived at my doorstep. Merry Christmas to me. Too bad none of them were for me. Not one.
  • And, the best news of all – I had no back pain at all today during and after my run. In fact, my back pain has been gone most of the week since I’ve been paying attention to my alignment when I run. As you know, I’ve been doing Chi Running for a few months now, and it has made quite a difference. That was the first place I looked when I wanted tips for how to minimize the back pain. The advice was to make sure I was properly aligned and to not bend at the waist. More info HERE. I think this small adjustment has made a huge difference.

Tell me one odd/funny/awesome thing that happened to you today. I might just send a small care package to the one of you with the best comment.

SUAR

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

There Is Something For Everyone

Thanks for letting me vent yesterday and for playing along with me with your own vents. Man, you all had some wild things to say about being called names on eBay, cranky UPS workers, and getting hit with car doors. Damn, my life is boring.

To distract myself from unpleasant things (denial?), I’m thinking of 2013 racing goals. I am so annoyingly open and honest about most things, but I kind of keep my race goals idea close to my breasts until I am absolutely certain I am going after them.

Not being in training mode is a bit tough for me because I like structure and routine and knowing exactly what to do on a given day. But, not being in training mode can also be a good thing because then there is more time so surf the Internet for crap that I think other people need from me as gifts. I found such a gem today, by mistake, that I had to share it.

I have a friend who is a CAT LOVER. I think most people are in the cat or dog camp – although there may be some who like them both equally. I am a dog freak and find cats kind of bitchy, although there are some cats that are amazing (I had a few growing up).  By the way, if you have not seen this video about cats vs. dogs, go watch it HERE (thanks, Tom!). If you don’t laugh you haven't had enough wine tonight.

My friend like I said is a cat lover. So, today I was looking for a cat gift for her on Amazon and came across this book:

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I wonder if that cat is sniffing his own butt hair?

At first I thought it was a joke. I mean, seriously, people make crafts out of their cat’s fur? But then I looked further and read the description:

Are your favorite sweaters covered with cat hair? Do you love to make quirky and one-of-a-kind crafting projects? If so, then it’s time to throw away your lint roller and curl up with your kitty! Crafting with Cat Hair shows readers how to transform stray clumps of fur into soft and adorable handicrafts.

No. No. No. It cannot be true. Is this for real? Yes, indeed.

Life can be very exciting when you just never know what you will come across on the Internet. From camel toe disguisers to crafting with cat hair, there is something for everyone. And this book totally brightened my day.

Are you in the dog or cat camp? Or both?

What’s one 2013 racing goal you have FOR SURE? Wild West Relay (or some relay) with nine others – it’s the only thing I’ve committed to so far. Also the Bolder Boulder 10K because we do it with friends and family every year. But, don’t fret. There will be many more!

What’s the most random gift you’ve ever received? Kenny Chesney underwear. That would have been cool if he’d worn them, but no such luck.

SUAR

PS: Go check out Stephanie's 12 Days of Christmas giveaways HERE.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why I Was in a Bad Mood Today

I try to stay pretty upbeat, but there are days when enough little things happen that you end up in a bad mood. It’s okay to be in a bad mood if you don’t take it out on babies and you basically keep it to yourself. Except if you have a blog and like to wallow a bit because someone out there will understand or take pity. Or, they will talk behind your back and leave a nasty anonymous comment. Yes, I do realize these are First World Problems and that people have it much worse than I do. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t have my own experience about things and still be compassionate and sensitive to other things that go on in the world.

So, people, let’s VENT our heads off:

  • I miss my dog. That is all. I miss him when I get up and he doesn’t greet me. I miss him when I don't see him laying beside me while I type. I miss him when it is his dinnertime and he is not driving me bat shit crazy with his barking. I miss him when I want a break from work and I can’t lie down with him for a minute. I miss him every single time I come in the door and forget he is not here and have to re-live his passing over again. The water bowl is almost empty by the way.

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  • I don’t like banks. They charge ridiculous fees for nothing except to charge fees when they know you can’t do anything about it. Except make a stink and change your bank which is a royal pain in the ass.
  • I got to yoga late and had to not only be in the first row of the class, but had to be a bit in front of the instructor, towards the mirror. At least it wasn’t this type of situation:

  • This is the first December in forever that I can remember in Colorado where there is no snow on the ground. Don’t get me wrong, it is colder than a witch's tit, but the weather people promised snow and it never came and why are they always wrong? I love snow and I moved to Colorado because I prefer seeing snow to the brown ground, and I count on snow in freaking December and at Christmas time. Here is one weather man pose I do like (that’s one ballsy weather front moving in):

  • I made our Christmas cards a few weeks back and for whatever reason did not include Lucky in the pictures. Why, I don’t know. I think I was rushed and so focused on getting enough pictures of the four of us, that I neglected him. Now that he is gone, I wish I had put him at the top of the tree and I feel terrible about it.

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Okay, glad I got that off my chest. Now it’s your turn to vent your head off. What put you in a bad mood today? Or, if you are feeling all bright and cheery, tell me why and I’ll turn my frown upside down!! (<hah! I have never in my life said that, I just now felt like a pre-school teacher).

SUAR

Monday, December 10, 2012

You Can Never Be Too Rich Or…

I am not proud of it, but I committed a sin today. I went to the gym deodorant-less.  It wasn’t intentional, I’m not that mean. I simply forgot. Is it just me, or are you unaffected by your own stench? My own bad smell doesn’t bug me. Not even the brussel sprout farts. But, in all due respect to my gym mates, deodorant is a must. That guy beside me the other day who smelled like rotten onions mixed mixed with dirt needs to read this post.

So, I did a few miles on the treadmill (it was 10 degrees outside and I was feeling pussyish)– not sure how many or how fast because I had to pause it in the middle to make a run for the bathroom, and the pause only lasts 30 seconds (damn cheap gym equipment). Even for me that is not long enough to take care of things. I think it should be the law that every treadmill pauses for at least 4-5 minutes to give us ample time to drop off kids at the pool or whatever it is we need to do.

The miles (5 or 6 of them?) were good, but my lower back’s been bugging me. Causes? Who knows – Google says I’m probably leaning from my waist not my ankles while I run and that I don’t have enough core strength to keep my pelvis stable. Either that or it’s my huge boobs and the fact that I’m pregnant with quintuplets.

This is not me, but it would explain a lot

So, reluctantly I’ve been doing more core work from HERE and HERE. I better not be doing this for nothing. I always thought I had a strong core, but you know the saying, “You can never be too rich or have too strong of a core.” I think it’s funny (actually terribly annoying) that all I want to do is run, but then I have to do all this other stuff just to be able to run and to not die or be in pain.

Speaking of brussel sprouts, I came home and made a batch of one of my favorite things (roasted root vegetables). Hello afternoon gas!:

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Baby carrots, brussel sprouts, baking potato, sweet potato, butternut squash
tossed with olive oil, thyme and salt. 450 for 30 minutes.

I love eating these alone or putting them on a salad with spinach, kale, roasted turkey and blue cheese with a little Annie’s dressing (Goddess!). I will throw anything in a salad including Mike and Ikes and white chocolate chips.

Then I stuffed a 5 lb. chicken into the crockpot. Did you know you can do that? Just wash it off to remove any fecal matter, stuff your hand up the bird to get the giblets and throw them away, dry off the chicken, rub it in salt and poultry seasoning or whatever you want, put some chunks of onion and carrots at the bottom of the cooker, toss in the bird. Cook for about 10 hours. Now I am mother of the year.

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So there is your dinner idea for tomorrow, since it’s too late to do today unless you eat at 2 a.m.

Ever had back pain while running? What did you do about it? I’ve tried a chiropractor and ART, none of which has helped.

Do you love a crock pot like I do? What’s your go-to wintertime meal? I love this slow cooker beef stew.

SUAR

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hey All You Opinionated Types!

One of the many signs of grieving is that you don’t feel like doing sh*t. I could have sat in the dark by the fire, drinking Skinny Girl looking at the silhouettes of the mountains for hours last night, wallowing in this little guy

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But, we had promised we’d go get our tree and sometimes, especially as a parent, you have to suck it up and do what you said you were going to do. For the first time ever I considered a fake tree this year – no hassle, no mess. But, Ken said no and I’m glad he did. We are real tree people through and through. I hung up the stockings with care-

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…and cussed under my breath as things that lit up and blinked last year don’t anymore. What the hell?

So, can you help a girl out? A reader, Aimee, needs some cold weather gear advice:

“We just moved to Oregon and I need different (running) pants. I hate when they ride up. I'm short and I sweat so I don't want lined pants.  A pocket would be nice. Could you see what your opinionated followers would suggest?”

Hah! She called you guys opinionated! Make sure you prove her right and give your heartfelt, never to be humble opinions. She says, “pants” so I’m guessing you don’t have to limit yourself to just tights if you’ve got a favorite that is more of a relaxed style.

Personally, I like wearing 3/4 length capris even when it’s freezing. My legs just don’t get cold, it’s my core, arms and head I have to worry about. So, unless it’s below 20 degrees or so I choose one of these options (they don’t “ride up” on me but I don’t think it’s possible to avoid the “toe.”):

Reflective Relay Knicker from Athleta - $74.

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Pearl Izumi Infinity Knicker - $70.image

Skirt Sports Lotta Breeze Capri – $75image

And, on really cold days I LOVE my fleece lined Go Lite  full length tights – $55.99 (on sale now)

W's Rogue Valley Thermal Tight

I will admit as I have before that I am total cheapskate. It is very hard for me to spend more than $30 for any item of clothing, even my mink coat. But, when something is good quality and is going to last for years (I have had all of my capris for at least three years), then I don’t mind spending the money. It’s most likely that the smell of my tights from so many uses (fart central) will make me get rid of them long before they fall apart.

What are your favorite cold weather running tights, pants or capris?

Fake or real tree?

SUAR

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How Far Is Your Marathon and Other Crap Non-Runners Say

Today we interrupt Lucky grieving for some snarkiness.

I was thinking about something that happened awhile back. A few days before I ran the Boston marathon in 2011, I was at the dentist. The hygienist was doing her thing with her hand stuffed in my open mouth. She did what most hygienists and dentists do and tried to have a conversation with her fist down my throat. I should have bit her off at the wrist. I think secretly they are narcissists who love having conversations where only they get to talk. Putting their hand in your mouth makes it so they can dominate the whole thing. Bastards.

Anyway, when I told her I was running Boston, she asked, “Oh! So, how far is that marathon?”

As if marathons were different distances. I guess theoretically you could get into the fact that there is such thing as a metric marathon, but I hardly think this was where her head was at. She simply thought that a marathon was a different distance depending where it was.

I am not trying to be an elitist. I realize that when it comes to running I have blinders on and can be obsessive. Once you know a lot about something it’s hard to understand how people do not know things. I’m not really one to talk, because I knew nothing about running just a few years ago and I’m sure I was entertainment for my runner friends.

I will say – I don’t mind if people laugh at me for not knowing about golf (“Do you really wash your balls at some holes?”) or my naiveté about the practice of law (“What does the penal code have to do with penises?”).

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This got me to thinking about other things non-runners say that are funny:

-So, how was your marathon this weekend? Did you win?

-You know you could probably get the same running shoes at Wal-Mart for much cheaper

-Why do you have band aids on your nipples? Did you somehow get paper cuts on the way to the race?

-How far is a 5K marathon?

-How do you keep your uterus from falling out?

-I would run but my doctor says it might be bad for my knees.

-Can you send texts from that fancy watch of yours?

-Oh you’re running the Boston Marathon! Is that your first marathon?

-I don’t run anymore, but in high school I ran a sub three minute mile.

-Aren’t you worried about having a heart attack? That happens a lot during marathons you know (fact: happens to one in 100,000 people)

-I thought runners were skinny. You still look like you could lose a few.

What has a non-runner said to you lately? Feel free to add to the list

SUAR

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What Remains

So strange the things you find comfort in.

This morning I went for a run – of course I did.  As I came to a familiar corner, I saw two dogs in the yard. They were both black Cocker Spaniels, one who looked freakishly like Lucky (except he was not nearly as cute and had four legs and two eyes – boring). I stopped to check them out. We all handle things differently, and someone else might have found it too painful to stop and say “Hi ,” But, for me, seeing these two dogs running, playing and barking brought me comfort and made me smile. Maybe they reminded me of a healthy Lucky before tumors and diseases and old age.

I just picked up Lucky’s remains. For now I am keeping them close by on his empty bed, beside me.

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That’s a small amount of remains for a 22 lb. doggie. Morbid? I don’t know. Depressing? Sure. It feels right for the moment. The box is sweet, but doesn’t suit who he was. Need to find another urn or something for his ashes. Picking them up somehow made it all the more final. The assistant’s voice choked up as she said, “I know he had a long and good life.” “Yes,” I said through tears. “He did.”

The water in his bowl was full on Saturday. Now it is evaporating and for some reason the stupid disappearing of that water pisses me off. I feel like that symbolizes him leaving us for real. Weird how you find meaning in odd stuff when you lose someone.

Every day is a tiny bit better. The worst is forgetting and expecting him to be there when he’s not.  Sometimes it all seems surreal and I’m reminded that grieving is such a process. The thing is, grief does not have to be about losing a pet or person. It can be about non living things like:

  • The inability to run due to injury
  • Moving away from a place
  • A relationship ending
  • Getting laid off
  • Receiving a scary diagnosis

It all counts as a major grief/loss and we move through it similarly (stages here). It’s not linear though. You might bounce back and forth between stages for a long time. If I had to pinpoint, I’d say I skipped ahead pretty quickly to stage four:

Depression – Bloody hell. This is really happening. I feel sad. No shit! Is my reaction appropriate for the circumstances? Hell yes. So, I take it in, sit with it, make no apologies.

Although last night I was in stage three:

Bargaining –  What if I had done it differently? If only I had done it differently. Can't we just go back in time and forget this whole thing? I have to be careful here to not blame myself. Let the guilt go. I did my best with the information I had at the time.

Someday I’ll find myself at five:

Acceptance – It happened. That doesn’t mean I have to like it, but it happened. I’ve now got a new reality and one that will take time to adjust to.  Sometimes this just means having more good days than bad ones.

There you go. Textbook Psych 101.  What a fun past few days it’s been. Maybe I’ll go fill up the water bowl.

What kind of grief/loss do you find on your plate right now?

SUAR

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

You Can’t Rush It

My energy to write is highly non-existent right now, which doesn’t happen often in my world. Sometimes the life gets sucked out of you and that’s okay. If you want unicorns and rainbows I’m sure you can find that on your Facebook news feed.

I sit here with Lucky’s empty bed beside me, where he laid every time I sat down to write. I won’t be moving it for while. Not sure when.

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I do want you to know I read each and every one of your comments. Some made me cry, some made me laugh, all made me grateful for this community. 

This week has been an AFOG for sure. Here are some things I’ve learned in the past three, long days since I had to put Lucky to sleep:

  • It is impossible to run while crying really hard. You have to choose.
  • People who say, “C’mon, it was just a dog” have never had a dog
  • Not being able to “fix” what is hurting your child is one of the worst feelings in the world
  • Just because they are “in a better place” and/or “not hurting anymore” doesn’t mean you have to like it
  • There are some things in life that you truly cannot change no matter how hard you try
  • Sometimes doing the right thing is the hardest, most difficult and most grueling thing
  • A glass of wine, the Hallmark Channel and a warm fire does help. For awhile.
  • Grief, loss and challenges create the perfect environment for bonding with your kids and getting to know them better
  • A house feels full because of who is in it. When someone is missing and not coming home, the emptiness is almost unbearable
  • You can’t rush grief. You have to sit in it. Feel it. Embrace it.
  • A small, kind gesture from a friend or family member goes a long way (you know who you are)
  • You have to forgive yourself for being human and not doing things perfectly

That’s all I’ve got. Just some reflections on crap most of you already knew.

What’s a lesson you learned when you lost a pet or loved one?

SUAR

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lucky’s Last Day

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I woke up yesterday morning at 1 a.m. – wide awake for no reason. I went to check on my dog, Lucky, simply to make sure that he was okay. I heard him coughing and went to comfort him. I held him for awhile and realized that today would be the day we would say goodbye. His coughing was fierce and would not let him rest. I made some tea and grabbed some chocolate chip cookies I had made the day before. For the past few months, Lucky hasn’t been able to have any extra treats because he just craps everywhere. But, this night was different. We sat and shared cookies. I let him eat all he wanted.

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From 1:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. I held him on my lap. His thin body trembled and wretched with the coughing. An x-ray last spring had shown a mass in his lungs, and I knew for sure that this tumor was getting the best of him. I yearned for the sun to come up so I could go about the business of doing what needed to be done. But, I dreaded for the sun to come up so I could go about the business of doing what needed to be done. I cherished with every part of my being these sacred and quiet moments with my dog. For the past ten years we’ve been inseparable.

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I woke up the kids around 7:00 a.m., much too early for a Saturday when they usually get the luxury of sleeping in. I told them today would be Lucky’s last day and they needed to say their goodbyes. Sam came up and laid with Lucky while Lucky licked Sam’s thigh. This made me laugh for some reason. Big bulky teenager letting a dog lick his thigh. Emma, 11 years old, was so heartbroken she could not leave her bed. She has never known a day without this dog. I called my mom and dad and my dad came to say his goodbyes. When I wasn’t around, my dad was the one Lucky went to for comfort and for love.

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I finally coaxed Emma out of bed. We decided to spend the next two hours doing things Lucky loved. Being awake and on his feet, Lucky was feeling pretty good. It’s the nighttimes when he lays down and the tumor presses on his windpipe that the suffers. We got him in the car and rolled down the windows to let him feel the wind on his face. Car rides have always been his most favorite thing. We went through the McDonald’s drive thru and got him a sausage McGriddle. He wolfed it down. We took him for a walk and that McGriddle was already making it’s way out the other end. Gross but expected! We let him have some quality time with the guinea pig, Betty Sue, who he loves to lick. Then it was time to go.

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I sat in the backseat, Lucky on my lap. I wept the whole way to the vet’s office. We got stuck by a train and this was both torture and the chance to soak up a few more moments with Lucky. At the vet, Sam waited in the waiting room while Ken and I went into the exam room. By this time, Lucky was running around sniffing and wagging his tail. This just made it harder.  The vet explained what would happen. I had never been through this before. Every single cell of my being wanted to scoop up Lucky and take him home. But, I kept thinking of his suffering the night before and knew I could not watch him through another night like that.

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The medicine went in and within seconds his little legs started to buckle and we softly laid him down. I cried like a baby, probably harder than I’ve ever cried and rubbed and kissed his little head as I had done a million time before. A quick check with the stethoscope and the vet said, “He’s gone.” I cannot explain the heartbreak, but if you’ve been through it, you know. It was gut wrenching. But, I knew it was the right thing. I hugged and kissed him and marveled at how perfectly peaceful and beautiful he looked. Man I love that dog.

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I thought I would feel relieved, but I just feel empty and sad. I know it was the right decision, but there is not joy or satisfaction in that now. I see his empty bed and his water bowl still half full and my heart aches. Emma said it best when she told me, “I would rather for Lucky to be happy right  now than for me to be happy right now”.

This dog was a fighter. We no one wanted to adopt him ten years ago because he only had three legs, we saw his loving and strong spirit and never hesitated. Then two years ago he lost his eye. He never really slowed down and he always put himself at the center of our family, no matter how bad he felt. He was a lover (and humper!) in the truest and simplest sense of the word. His happiness was based on human connection (and food and licking himself).

I know he is no long suffering, but selfishly I just want him back with me.

The thing that is the hardest about losing someone or something is that there is absolutely nothing you can do to bring them back. There are no extra opportunities for a last hug, there are more more chances to take a walk in the park or to say something you need to say. What you do have, however, is the spirit that lives on – the memories and energy of that person or pet that remains steadfastly in your heart. And, this poem has given me comfort last night and today.

As you know, writing is like therapy for me. So thank you for reading my words and for letting me have a caring platform to express my sadness.

RIP Lucky Dog.

SUAR