2 Days, 25 Degrees

Holy balls, what a difference two days can make.  I ran 5 easy miles Thursday.  That’s what my training plan called for.  And honestly I found it difficult to run at the easy pace that my plan has prescribed.  It felt too slow.  I felt awkward and clumsy and just well… weird.  But it was an enjoyable run.  It was cloudy and 35 degrees.  There was still a lot of snow on the ground and clinging to the trees.  It was beautiful.  And I had two running partners for the last half of the run.  Two golden retrievers joined me.  I don’t know who they belong to, but I’ve seen them in that neighborhood before.  They had obviously been having themselves a big ol’ time.  They were soaking wet from head to toe (There’s a creek in the area near where they joined me.  I suspect they had been swimming.), tails and tongues wagging.

Fast forward to Saturday.

It was 60 degrees and sunny.

Get that?  Thursday 35 and snow.  Saturday 60 and sun.  Thursday tights and long sleeves.  Saturday shorts and a tank top.  The day was simply gorgeous, but this gal hasn’t run in anything above 40ish degrees in months!  I still find it absolutely amazing the role that temperature acclimation plays in my running performance.  To put it bluntly, I SUCKED the entire six miles yesterday.  The pace that I couldn’t run slow enough to keep on Thursday, I was struggling to run that fast on Saturday.

Ah well.  It’ll come back.  Maybe.

Update on Harley:  He’s doing MUCH better!  The bandage is off now.  It still looks like hell.  It is ugly and gross, but the vet says it looks just like what he wants it to look like.  All that dead black skin has sloughed off, and he lost all the hair in the area where the blood flow suffered.  All that you see now is that bright red, raw skin.  He gave me some disinfectant to spray on it a couple of times a day and said he should be good to go.  He’s not acting like it bothers him whatsoever anymore.  He’s 100% back to his old self.  He and Bella and wrestling in the back yard as I type this.  He does still lick it a lot, but that’s to be expected with a dog with a wound.  As of right now, we don’t have to go back until the middle of February.  He’s due for his shots then anyway, that will hopefully be the final check on his tail.  After that, fingers crossed, we’re done!

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Another Week in Paradise

There has been absolutely nothing postworthy about this week. 
I put in 40 ordinary hours at work.  I’ve run 18.5 uneventful miles along my typical routes and biked 45 unexciting minutes at the gym.  I went to the same ol ‘grocery store and cooked a few ho-hum meals.  I did the same mundane housework.  I sat in the same well-worn spot on the couch and watched the usual TV shows.  The only thing NOT ordinary about this week was this:
Snowy sunrise from the back door of my office.

We got about five inches of the prettiest, fluffiest, clingy-est snow I’ve ever seen Tuesday night.  You know, the kind that makes a killer snowball.  That made for a super fun Wednesday afternoon and two super tired dogs!

Race Report: Race on the Trace 5 Miler

Saturday morning I drove up to Natchez Trace State Park for the Race on the Trace 5-mile race.  It was a repeat from last year, so I knew the course was incredibly hilly.  It kinda put a hurtin’ on me last year, but I wanted to do it again for a few reasons.  1)  It’s cheap.  2)  It’s close to home (an hour away).  3)  I like to do repeat races occasionally just to see what kind of improvement I’ve made on a given course.

I wasn’t sure the race would even go down as scheduled.  We got some snow here a couple of days ago, but I emailed the race director and he had driven the course that day and gave it the green light.

I left my house in just enough time to get there, get parked, pee, stretch, and walk the half-mile to the start line in time for the 11:00 gun time.  Who am I kidding?  There was no gun.  But at 11:00 sharp, the dude yelled “GO!” and we went. 

It started off by going out a mile and then turning around and coming back.  I liked that because it gave me a chance to scope out who was in front of me.  I was watching for chicks that looked to be in the 30-34 age group.  It was kind of hard to tell since everyone was so bundled up (It was 27 degrees when I got out of my truck.), but I was pretty sure I saw two early-30s girls running together.  I was pretty certain at that point that I was in 3rd.  And I hung on to that position until right before the third mile marker.  It was then that a girl that looked to be about my age came from behind me and passed me.  She didn’t blow by me or anything, just kind of inched ahead.  I was okay with that right then.  I just told myself I’d hang with her and try to pass her later.  But she just kept creeping ahead a few inches at a time.  At about the four-mile mark there was a monstrous hill.  I was struggling up it, and that’s when I saw it.  She started walking!  I tried so hard to kick it in and pass her on the hill, but when I made it to within just a few feet of her she started running again.  DOH!  As much as I wanted to chick her in the final stretch, I just wasn’t able to do it.  She had me.  She crossed the line I would guess 15-20 seconds ahead of me.

When I crossed, they handed me my card with the #76 on it.  I put my info on it and turned it in and then went to change into some warm, dry clothes.  When I came back out I looked at the board, and card #75 was in the 3rd place spot for AG 30-34.

Dangit.  So close.

Garmin stats:

Mile 1 – 9:28
Mile 2 – 9:36
Mile 3 – 9:38
Mile 4 – 10:20  (The Hill)
Mile 5 – 9:34

Total time 48:37, average pace 9:44.  Considering my time on the same course exactly one year ago was 54:40, I’ll take it!  And it’s good enough for a new PR anyway!

On Display

My birthday present from my husband finally came in this week!  He ordered this for me from Allied Medal Displays.  Pretty flippin’ sweet, huh?  Now it just needs some more medals to go on it.  (From L to R, Clarksville Half Marathon ’09, CMM Half Marathon ’10, Clarksville Half Marathon ’10, and RnR Vegas Marathon ’10.)  I learned about this company from the giveaways they have done through other blogs.  I highly recommend that you enter these giveaways.  Or if not, do as I did and come off a few bucks ($39 plus shipping for this one) and buy one.  I couldn’t be happier with mine.

I also found something to keep my race bibs in.  I’ve seen the Bibfolios, but those are just too expensive.  And a little too cutesy and scrapbooky for my taste. 

This was like six bucks on eBay.  It’s just a cheap 8×10 photo album, but slap a couple of 13.1 and 26.2 stickers on it and TAH-DAH!  You have yourself a bib display.

And this one is old, but while we’re on the subject… this is my only trophy.  I got it in 2003 when I ran my first (and only until 2009) 5K and took 1st place in my age group.  (No, you most certainly may NOT ask how many people were in the group!)

Not that I expect to add any more bling to my collection as a result, but I have my second race of the year this morning.  It’s a 5-miler at Natchez Trace State Park.  It’s part of the Tennessee State Park Running Tour.  Pretty courses and dirt cheap entry fees ($6 no-shirt option)?  Yes, please!  We’ve had some crappy weather and it’s pretty cold (20 right now), so here’s hoping that everyone else in my age group stays home snuggled up warm.

Update on Harley:  We went back for a recheck yesterday. They had to sedate him to get a good examination.  They think the tissue was so traumatized by the surgery (Doc says the tail is a very difficult place to do surgery on.  I can see how that would be.) that the bloodflow to the distal tail has suffered.  While he was zonked out, they did some kind soak trying to stimulate blood flow.  While the tail was soaking, the vet was explaining to me that after the soak he was going to pin-prick the tail and that we wanted to see blood.  And we did.  So that was a very good sign.  He sent us home with the tail wrapped up really good and gave us an e-collar.  Whoa boy.  The dreaded e-collar.  Poor fella just stood there petrified when I put it on him.  After about 20 minutes of standing there, he took a couple of steps and when the collar “followed” him, he FLIPPED. HIS. SHIT.  I feel terrible for doing something that scares him so badly, but I know it’s for his own good.  Doc says as the blood flow increases the tail will tingle and he will be even more likely to lick and chew it and do further damage, so the collar is a must if we’re going to avoid our absolute worst-case scenario, which is that the tail would have to be amputated above the incision site.  Recheck middle of next week.  Until then, thank God for tramadol (for him) and wine (for me).  (Side note:  I absolutely love my vet.  As many times as we’ve been back since the surgery (three) he has not charged me one red cent except the cost of his meds.  This guy is truly in it for the animals, not the money.  A rare gem.)

Three Things Thursday – Animal Edition

1.  Harley is having a lot of problems with his tail post-op.  I have had to take him back to the vet a couple of times.  Once just because I thought he had pulled a stitch out.  (He hadn’t.)  And yesterday because he really started just acting like he didn’t feel good.  He was being really pissy with Bella, and I noticed him really guarding his tail.  He wouldn’t wag it or anything.  He just kept it curled up next to his body.  When I made him let me look at it, it was red and swollen.  Not just around the wound either.  From the incision all the way to the tip of his tail.  He was running a fever at the vet’s office, so they gave me another week’s worth of a stronger antibiotic and some pain pills.  We go back tomorrow for a recheck and for suture removal.  He doesn’t seem any better to me today.  It hurts my heart to know that he is hurting.  They did call me back today with the lab results.  The path report showed that it was a histiocytoma.  Completely benign.  Thank God for that.
2.  It is driving Bella crazy that Harley won’t play with her.  She, in turn, is driving us crazy.  It’s cold and snowy and crappy out, so our outside time is limited.  She has a lot of energy to burn off and she’s doing it by getting into EVERYTHING.  She has even found a new place to sleep–in my dining room table.
3.  C.C. has woke me up at approximately 4:00 the past three mornings.  Apparently something has happened during the night that she just couldn’t wait to tell me about because she comes into the bedroom tellin’ it all.  “Meow…. MEOW….MEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!!!”

Embracing My Inner Old Lady

Apparently I’m practicing for retirement this weekend.  Yes, at 31 years old.

I ain’t done SQUAT!!!  We’ll call it catching up on some much-needed rest.  It’s been a monster of a week.

It started Thursday night.  I fell asleep on the couch watching $#*! My Dad Says just a couple of minutes after it came on.  D was all, “Are you seriously falling asleep at 7:30?”  I don’t remember my exact response, but I think it was something along the lines of, “Suck it, I’m sleepy.”  At some point I got in the bed and slept until my alarm clock forced me out of bed for work at 5:00 Friday morning. 

Friday night was equally exciting.  Taco Bell on the couch while watching Comedy Central Presents.  Rock on.

Up at 6 this morning, caught up on reading blogs, watched Social Network, ran 6 miles, showered, and took another nap.  Anybody noticing a pattern here?  I did finally get my butt off the couch long enough to put on some makeup and we went out to eat tonight.  Now I’m sitting here with a belly stuffed full of delicious cajun food watching Juno for the bazillionth time. 

Anybody want to take bets on how long I stay awake?  My money says approximately 4 more minutes.

Virtual 5K Race Results

So the turnout was small, but all the cool kids were there, so who cares, right?!

Several folks said they were in, but I only ended up with 8 race reports, including mine.  Adam broke the virtual tape with a time of 18:32 with Kim taking 2nd overall and myself in 3rd.  I, for one, am going to revel in it because this is likely the only time I will find myself in the top 3 of anything!

Links to the reports, in no particular order…

Me – 28:38
Bobbi – 34:16
Rose – 33:39
Kim – 24:53
Molly – 29:56
Adam – 18:32 (showoff)
Bootchez – 35:17  (Her recap is an absolute MUST-READ!  Go now.  Laugh hard.)
Allie –  29:05

(Apologies in advance if I missed anyone.)

Thanks for playing along, guys!  It was fun!  Maybe next time I’ll actually be able to afford some prizes!  The house will be paid off in 12 more years!

Ten… nine… eight…

Counting backward from 10 is supposed to keep you from blowing your lid, right?

My children are driving me nuts tonight.  (My children are my animals, for those of you that aren’t aware.)

Harley had surgery today.  He had a tumor removed from his tail.  When I gave him a bath last weekend I noticed a little bump about 2/3 the way down the shaft of his tail.  I didn’t think much about it at the time.  He and Bella are bully breeds and they play ROUGH and CONSTANTLY, and they both always have little nicks and scabs as a result.  I thought that’s all this was.  But within a couple of days this proved not to be the case.  This this grew in size very quickly and became red and scaly.  I made an appointment and took him in yesterday afternoon to be seen.  The vet said it was a tumor, which he believed to be benign but said it definitely needed to come off and be biopsied to be sure.  Surgery was scheduled for this afternoon.

On my lunch hour, I made a mad dash to the house to pick him up and took him to the vet’s office.  Although we have had him for almost a year, he still hasn’t gotten over his fear of unfamiliar men (He was rescued from an abusive male owner.), so Doc asked me, for Harley’s sake, to keep his stress level at the lowest possible level, if I could hang around until they gave him a sedative.  I so didn’t want to because I was afraid it would bring back the still-very-raw memories of being in the room when I had to have my baby girl Lucy put to sleep a couple of years ago.  Bet since the vet felt it was best for Harley, I stayed.  Turns out my fears were completely unfounded.  There was no comparison.  And let me just say… if you’ve never had the opportunity to watch a dog be sedated, put it on your to-do list.  It’s like watching Saturday night in a bar in extreme fast forward.  He went from stone-cold sober, to wobbling a little bit, to stumbling, to laying in the floor with his tongue hanging out within a matter of about three minutes.

With that, I went back to work.

I picked him up when I got off, and he was still pretty woozey.  Doc said he would be for a little while yet.  As soon as we got home, he jumped up on the couch (after one failed attempt–still drunk!) and tried to go to sleep.  My dear darling Bella would have no part of that.  She wanted to play, and it was driving her up the stinking wall that he wouldn’t.  She was barking and rooting around on the floor and moaning and just making a complete ass of herself and driving me crazy in the process.  I guess Harley finally decided she wasn’t going to leave him alone until he got up, so he got up and tried to play a little bit… and got sick all over the place.  (Vet said he would be nauseous from the anesthesia.)  I didn’t figure he could have much in his stomach since he hadn’t eaten since yesterday afternoon, but something came from somewhere.  Ew.

He laid back down and went to sleep.  I turned my back for a few minutes and next thing I know he appears at my side sans bandage.

Crap.

I looked at the wound thinking maybe I could just leave it off, but nope.  Doc wasn’t able to get good skin closure where the tumor was excised, so it was gaping a little bit in the middle.  I called him on his cell, and he said if he would leave it alone it should be fine.  But no.  He would not leave it alone.  Back to town to Walgreens I went to get the makings of a wrap.

And in the time it’s taken me to type this, he’s already thrown up again.

So today I’ve spent WAY too much money on unexpected bills, dealt with temper tantums from the jealous one, and been elbow deep in vomit, and played nurse on top of working all day, cooking supper for the humans, etc.  (No running for this gal today.)

And people wonder why I don’t have kids.

Virtual 5K Race(s) Report

In honor of my 31st birthday tomorrow and in honor of Adam just being an awesome virtual race director, I ran two 5Ks today.  Simultaneously.  See, you can do stuff like that when they’re virtual races. 

Adam, DQ me if you must.  I missed your race date by a full day.  I had every intetion of doing this yesterday, but after my friend’s 40th birthday party Friday night, I was in no shape to run a 5K on Saturday.  No shape whatsoever.

So it was today or bust!  After church and The Walmart Experience, I was ready to do my thang in my own It’s M’Burfday and Adam’s Freeze Your Thorns Off virtual 5Ks.

At 3:00 pm with a wind chill of 18, with a t-shirt, an Under Armour hoodie, a pair of Reebok tights and a pair of Under Armour cold gear tights on over those, gloves, and ear warmers, I was off.

Don’t I look like I’m ready to freeze something off?

Mile 1:  8:40 pace – “This is awesome!  Why don’t I run this fast more often?!”

Mile 2:  9:15 – “Ooooh yeah.  This is why.”

Mile 3:  9:49 – “What kind of idiot puts this kind of hill on the last part of a 5K?  Wait a minute, what?  I got to pick my own course for this race?  Idiot…”

Mile 3.1:  0:53 – *WHEEEEEEEEZE*

Not fast for most, but for me a big PR.  I hadn’t done a 5K since 3/20/10 with a time of 29:27, so today was a 49-second improvement.  I’ve been saying I want to work on speed this year, and today will serve as my starting point.  I have another 5K (a REAL one with ACTUAL REAL, LIVE PEOPLE) coming up on 2/12, so we’ll see if I can pick up a few seconds between now and then.