I hope there’s blueberries in Heaven

One year ago today was extremely hard. It was the day we said goodbye to my furry little boy. The dog of a thousand names. My Gus.

Little did I know today would suck so much too.

Over the past year we’ve grieved. And we’ve tried to heal. We have very slowly put away things – like dishes and toys – but kept out photos and trinkets and memories. It took a while for those not to hurt. And now they make me smile more than cry.

I am very grateful to have a wall and a shelf and a cellphone full of photos and videos. Ways to keep his memory alive. Ways to see and hear him any time I want.

We have spent the past year doing things we didn’t get a chance to while tending to an elderly boy. We have taken trips and spent full days away from the house. And done things at a moment’s notice. Because we know he’d want us to. It was another way to honor his memory.

I still speak of him as if he’s still around sometimes, when it’s more convenient than explaining. Like when the woman at the airport noticed that he’s my luggage tag and commented how adorable he is. (That’s my boy!)

And I speak of his passing when I need to. And say how lucky we were to have him for 15 1/2 years.

I have missed him every day of the past 365. I speak to him every morning before I leave the house. Often telling him “Have a good day. Please don’t eat your brother.” (Eddie Van Hamster)

Today I had a long chat with him.

I told him how much he’s missed. And how I hope that he’s running wild and free at the rainbow bridge. Terrorizing squirrelies and chasing all the tennis balls he can find.

I told him that I hope he found his best friend Reilly. And that maybe he’s seen mommy’s childhood dog Scruffy, or even a new friend named Tweedle. And formed a pack of crazy terriers.

I told him that I hope he’s happy and that he knows how much he was loved. And I told him…I hope there’s blueberries in heaven.

Love you my boy. Every day of always.

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Dopey training…sorta

So, I was supposed to officially kick off my training for the 2019 Dopey Challenge today.  And I did…sorta.

Its 18 weeks to Expo Day!  Plus, summer is unofficially over and it seemed like the perfect day to start training (especially as its the last day of my long-weekend vacation).

I had the thought a couple weeks back to start my training with a nice 13.1 mile run.  My body however, had other ideas.

Apparently what I thought was a charley-horse in my lower right leg during my last long run appears to be a little more serious.  And I kinda can’t run.  That whole heel-to-toe transition?  Not cooperating. Hmmph!

I took a week off running and just cross trained.  Then Sunday I decided to test it out. I was in one of my favorite places to run (hilton head island) and the line where the sky meets the sea, it calls me.  So the hubs (who is suffering from a wicked bout of plantar fascitis) and I set out with the hopes of 3 miles.

We called it about 2.5, took off our sneakers, headed into the water and slowly splashed our way back to the hotel.  Almost in hysterics over how pathetic we are right now.  Its SO not funny, that its funny.

I know I shouldn’t even think about running again for another week (or two) and am doing all the stretching, icing and rolling I can.  I plan to walk this coming weekend’s 5k.  And am really hoping I can run by the end of the month for my 10k (and the half the following weekend).  But all eyes…are on Dopey.

So I decided to go out and do what I could.  I walked…. first a 10k, and then a 5k.  Both well-within Disney time limits.

The hardest part was not running.  I legit had to tell myself several times “NO.  Don’t even think about it” but I successfully made it all 9.3 miles without running.

And honestly? I’m actually still WAY ahead of where I was the first time I ran Disney.  That year I was on crutches until August 2nd, had to rebuild to walking first and then running, and yet I finished the Goofy Challenge that January. So its all perspective.

I know i’ll be back at it as soon as possible…and in the mean time, its just exciting to finally be OFFICIALLY training for the 2019 Dopey Challenge.  Let’s Get Dopey!

Feelin crafty

So….a while back my husband challenged me….to not buy any new costumes for next year’s Dopey.

And I accepted the challenge because well, I have run Disney enough times I can totally re-image some of the costumes I’ve done before. Maybe improve upon them.

Of course I was discussing this with the genius behind me running as figment this year, my sister in law. And her suggestion? Get a cricut.

Cuz yeah…spending $200 on a machine to save $40 on a shirt is such a good idea. 🙄 😂

And yet….after weeks of looking at them. And putting them in and out of my amazon cart, I took a deep breath and took the plunge.

I bought a cricut. And a buncha of materials.

Because I miss being creative. And I truly do need an outlet. I have a lot of ideas. And it’s fun to even just come up with designs that I might never even use for anything.

And I can jazz things up. And make cards. And decals. And shirts. And magic band stickers!! And this sucker is going to pay for itself a million times over.

Plus it’s pretty!!!!But what to make first? I’ve got a couple races coming up that do need shirts. And an area above my doorway that’s just crying for a quote.

Of course, being the Disney runner I am…I knew just the perfect thing.

I wanted to make a new medal holder.

See, because all my Dopey medals currently live on a Goofy medal holder. And that just isn’t right. Plus I’ll be earning a new set come January.

So I bought a piece of wood that is the same size and shape as my Goofy one. And I painted it purple.

Then I got to designing. A few rounds later I had the perfect design. And I printed it. And I got to “weeding” and I realized….omg what was I thinking?? I’m way too novice for the intricate level of detail my park icons required. 😂

So I did have to swap the castle for something slightly different. But I love it way more – so it all worked out for the best.

I may have been getting all giggly as I peeled off the transfer tape…because omg isn’t this so freaking adorable?!!?

The hubs got the hooks put on for me. And now, I just gotta hang the medals. 😁 But omg I SO love my new cricut. It was easy to use and I’m still amazed at what it can do. A huge thanks to my sis in law for another genius idea. And a warning to her as well…it might be a homemade Christmas. Lol

Summer of the 10k

I don’t normally run 10k’s. I don’t even know why. But this year I’ve already run as many as the previous 8 years put together. lol

I should blame Disney…I had SO much fun running the 10k there in January that I got a new appreciation for them.

But really, I needed a change. I needed to regroup and refocus. I needed to not have to run 20 miles in the slime on a Sunday morning this summer.

So I went to the 10k. And it’s paid off in spades.

3 10k’s, 3 PR’s!!!

June was the BAA 10k. I wasn’t trying to PR, just to run my best. I finished in 58:22. Which broke a 9 year-old record by 6 seconds. 🙂

July was the Narragansett Summer 10k. That I one was trying. I was focused and I ran hard. I “owned” that course. Lol And I finished in 57:42. A new PR by 40 freaking seconds. And I figured that would stand for a while.

Then came August. And a little 10k in the mountains.

I joked a few weeks ago I was going to try to win my age group. But after “stalking” other registered runners to see their recorded finish times (athlinks rules!), and finding someone faster than me in there, I was like okay cool, pressure is off. I can just have fun.

And Saturday, driving up the course to the start, I saw the hills. And was like “oh hell no”. We are NOT racing this sucker. We are just gonna run it.

But we all know, when you pin on that race bib all bets are off. 😁 And apparently I keep forgetting I’m darn good at hills.

So we lined up to start. The director went over a few items and told us “it’s just straight out to the turn around, where the volunteer with the orange flag and cones are, and back. If you get lost, there’s nothing I can do for you” lol

We took off, I let the surge go by me, then passed a couple people up the first hill and fell into pace behind a man in a red shirt. I actually ended up following him for most of the first 3 miles.

At mile 1.55 (cuz I checked my watch so I’d remember), a handsome deer came out from the woods on the right side of the road and ran across m right in front of red shirt guy. Whoa!!! So cool. And a definite race first. Lol

The course rolled. We we either going up, or going down. We had an insanely long uphill and I was thinking “omg where is the top of this sucker??” And then a nice long downhill headed towards the turnaround. That we then had to come back up.

I think it was the hill around mile 4 that was the worst tho. It was just long enough and just steep enough that I spent the second half of it chanting “Don’t walk. Don’t walk” which, after cresting the top was quickly replaced by “Don’t throw up. Don’t throw up” as the heaving started.

I just tried to slow down, and let my heart rate recover. And when the watch beeped 4 I snuck a glance at my pace for the first time. Holy crow – a 9:17? No wonder I almost barfed. 😂

I told myself I’d hit the water stop and regroup, but by the time I came to it, I was feeling way better and opted to just keep going.

And I hit that nice long downhill that the super long uphill on the way out had become. And ooh that was steep. But great for recovery, and that let me finish strong. Plus I caught up to red shirt guy again!

The last mile was just little rolling hills and when the sweet older gentleman out on his driveway with his dog asked “how far do you have to go” I glanced and my watch and replied “just a half mile more” 🙂

And I got passed. By a woman who I had passed walking right after the turn around. And you know that sparked the fire…

Not that I thought I could catch her, but I wasn’t gonna let her get too far ahead.

As I approached the final turn, I saw the hubs standing there and waved and grinned.

And then I turned. And saw the clock. And saw the woman. And I kicked with absolutely everything I had. I flew past her and then stopped my watch, got my medal and a water.

Hearing the announcer go “and a PR for…(a name I didn’t catch)” I looked at the volunteer and said me too!! I just got a one minute PR! He congratulated me. I thanked him. And then I looked for my training partner/biggest fan.

Jumping up and down I was like “omg!!! I just got my third PR this summer. By a whole freaking minute. And a 2 minute course PR”

Cue happy dance of joy!!!!! Lol

As I waited for the results to see what that zippy little time got me, I ate about 4 wedges of watermelon (new fave post race food). And I found the woman I passed at the finish and thanked her. For pacing me at the end. And told her it helped me get my PR.

I saw the results get posted…and I walked over full of hope. I saw I was 22nd overall (woohoo!) and I started down the list looking for women in my age group.

I spotted her. The one I knew would beat me. And she did. By 3 minutes. Wow. I am so impressed!! But she was the only one who did. I got my very first 10k age group place. 2nd!

I was also the 6th female.

And as I write this I am still shaking my head. That 56:39 doesn’t look real. Nor does the 2nd AG/6th female/22nd finisher.

I am SO amazingly proud of myself.

And while I do have another 10k in September…I think I just wanna have fun at that one. I want this PR to stand a while.

Because I mean who gets this… On these! Me. That’s who. 😁

Sprinkler Season

Runners don’t just have four seasons…

Each “calendar season” can be split into even smaller ones.

Like fall has “leaf season” and “fleece season” and “Halloween decoration season”. And spring has “delayed Christmas decoration removal season” and “tulip season”. Sometimes they occur simultaneously.

Summer has one that I both love and hate – sprinkler season. And we are full on into it.

I’m at a point where I have about 4 loops that I alternate in the mornings. And I try to remember which days the sprinklers go off on each one. But I don’t always get it right.

Like last week I picked the wrong day to run my own street. It’s a perfect 1 mile loop, and sidewalks, so when all my neon shirts are dirty, or if I just don’t feel like dealing with cars, I run that.

But apparently Thursday is “every sprinkler on the loop goes off on a staggered schedule” day. And I was getting so annoyed that I had to keep going into the road around them. Remind me to not run that again this week. Lol

Then there was today. It was hot. And humid. And just SLIMY out. I was about halfway through mile three and cutting through a neighborhood when I saw a man adjusting his sprinklers. He aimed one at the sidewalk and I smiled. I ran through it, arms raised in victory with an oooh yeah! Which of course totally cracked him up. I turned and grinned a thanks.

The relief lasted all of 10 seconds. But it did help. 🙂 Because I was about 20 seconds faster the next mile.

I guess it’s all about the timing – and love them or hate them…we gotta deal with them. At least for now. But – school bus season will be back soon enough to replace it.

Dopey Challenge 2019…the return

Well, it’s official! I’m getting Dopey again. 😁

This past week registration FINALLY opened for Disney Marathon Weekend in January. Yay! So while I’ve known I was going to be Dopey again, it’s never official until you get that confirmation email.

I mean, hotel has been booked, dinner reservations were made a week before and both costumes and travel have been in the planning stages. But now, we’re good to go.

The big question is…when does training begin?

I mean I’m always “training”. But when do we hit the line of “in training”? Is it now? Is it September?

I suppose it depends on the training plan I end up following. Last year, I had a late September marathon, so it started the day after. But this year, nothing big on the horizon for fall – just a half or two. So…I think I’ll go with September 5th.

This summer is all about speed and short races…because it’s just too darn hot and humid for distance. Plus I’m too busy having fun. Lol

But September says fall, and cooler temps and time to buckle down and get serious. So…as soon as I’m back from my Labor Day weekend getaway, we’ll say goodbye to summer and hello to Dopey!

And no worries – I’ll blog my journey once again. 🙂❤🏃🏻‍♀️

10k’s are hard…but worth it!

There is such a major difference between running and racing. Like, I run marathons…but I race 5k’s and 10k’s.

Honestly? It’s almost easier running marathons. lol I just start easy and try to stay there. 🙂

5k’s aren’t so bad. It’s just going as fast as you possibly can for 3.1 miles. But 10k’s? They require a little strategy. Because I can’t just go as fast as I possibly can for 6.2 miles. I run outta steam around mile 4.5 if I try that.

This weekend I ran my second 10k within a month – the Narragansett Summer Running Festival 10k.

It’s a great little race that’s part of a whole weekend – 5k & 10k Saturday, 13.1 on Sunday and beer, music & food after all of them. The shorter races are on a college campus – so no traffic and some pretty scenery.

When I ran the BAA 10k at the end of June I went in with no expectations. I wasn’t trying to get a PR and so it was a delightful surprise when I did. But that actually put the pressure on for this weekend. What could I accomplish if I tried?

The weather was gorgeous at 6am. But the race? It didn’t start until 8:30. And it got a little warmer and sunnier. But I was dressed for the heat…and prepared. <<
d as I waited to start and watched the 5k finishers come through looking hot and tired, I started to psych myself out.

I decided I would just seed myself with the 9 minute milers, go out fast with them and then just see what happens.

The 10k was a double loop of the 5k course. Which I actually liked, because it meant I could strategize in the second half – knowing where the water stop was, where the sprinklers were, and when I could push or hold back.

We took off, and I almost felt like an elite just sliding into a pack, staying with this group of women and letting them set the pace. It felt fast, but not "struggle fast" and when my watch beeped mile 1 I dared a glance. 9:10. Perfect!!

We cruised along and I let them go, dropping back a little because I know my habit of speeding up too much in my second mile would hurt me later and I wanted to try not to. Plus, it was nice having a little more room to run.

Mile 2 came as a 9:02. Okay, a little faster but not hideously so.

Mile 3 was the pretty mile, but also the hilly and narrower mile. I got boxed in a couple times, but chose to not try to get around. Instead I used it as a chance to cruise for a few seconds and catch my breath. Mile 3 was slower than the first 2, a 9:19. But still where I needed to be for a PR.

We hit the split for the second half and cruised down a great hill. Than back onto the gravel and grass section. Which I am apparently faster on. I think it's because I focus more on my feet and the ground. Because mile 4? Back to a 9:08.

Here, with 2 miles left I started "runner math". Trying to calculate the pace I needed to PR and if I could slow down. Because I was hitting a wall. I started being more aware of the tangents and trying to run efficiently.

As I neared the next water stop, I made a choice to risk the few seconds to take water. I was afraid if I didn't, I might pay for it the final mile. It's like, spend that time now, or spend it later. Plus I was SO hot! Tho I reminded myself, it was way hotter on July 3rd and I managed to survive that 5k. This, was nowhere hear as bad.

I made eye contact with a volunteer, grabbed the water and walking, went drink, some over the head, drink, more over the head, and back to running. 🙂

I think those seconds were well spent, as I still managed a 9:15 mile 5.

Mile 6 was a game of, you can go easy if you need to, but also, if you can push, you can get an even better PR. lol I came across the footbridge over the pond, angled across the winding path and passed a few people.

Then a few more as I got to the final hill, which really wasn't that long or that steep. But when you've been running hard for almost 6 miles, it amplified it.

I saw the mile 6 sign and started to both smile, and dry heave. Lol It happens in races when I really push. (I have pics from the Disney half this year that are hilariously hideous!) And I spent the next .1 yelling at myself to "slow the hell down". I got it under control, saw the turn to the finish and sped up.

I went into that finish chute in a full on sprint. Heard the announcer call out my name and saw the hubs standing next to the finish line grinning.

I crossed, with arms open wide, as if I was breaking the tape. Because I had, broken my record. To me that's winning. I beat myself. 😁 By a full 40 seconds. My new best 10k? A 57:42.

I think this one might stand for a bit. (Or at least longer than the 3 weeks the last one did. Lol)