Let’s Talk About Running…

I didn’t do much running in 2013.  Some.  But not much.  I ended out the year with a little over 400 miles.  I had planned to cut the mileage back during the spring and then ratchet it back up in time for a fall half, but that just never happened.  I didn’t race all year.  Well, unless you count a turkey trot that I did on Thanksgiving Day.  I knew I wasn’t in 5K shape, but I did it anyway just for fun and hoping that all the other 30-34 women would be home cooking.  haha  They, in fact, were not.  Turns out I was in 4th-place shape.

So I started increasing the mileage a couple of months ago with plans of running the Little Rock Half the first weekend of March.  And things are going…. meh.  My short runs are going pretty well.  I’m holding a decent tempo pace in the low 9:00s, but when it comes to my long runs I’m really sucking hard.  I think I’m just not where I need to be fitness-wise to run those miles yet.  So I’m revamping my plan for the spring, slowing down my mileage buildup.  I’ll stick with my plan to run Little Rock because I’ve already registered, I have a free place to stay (with my mom’s BFF who lives just outside Little Rock) and because the medal is effing awesome.

It’ll just be a super fun training run for what has become my new “A” race, the Murray Half Marathon on April 12th (and most likely another local half in between the two just for giggles).  I was really hoping to pull a PR out of my ass this spring, but unless things drastically turn around, that most definitely won’t be happening.  It just may have to wait until St. Louis this fall!

What are your upcoming racing plans?  Got your 2014 racing schedule all planned out yet?

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It Ain’t All Sunshine and Roses (alternate title: "The C Word")

Since coming back out of the blogging closet, I’ve mentioned all the positive things that are happening.  What I haven’t mentioned is… the C word.  I have two stories to share.

Last fall, I had Bella at the vet for a routine visit and while we were there they noticed a spot on her rear end that I hadn’t ever noticed.  It was a thickened, ulcerated spot about the size of a quarter, but it was covered by her fur.  They thought it was a hot spot and gave me some topical steroid spray.  Ten days later it was no better, so they gave her 10 days of antibiotics.  It still didn’t improve, so they wanted to biopsy it.  It came back as a mast cell tumor.  I was floored and devastated by the cancer diagnosis.  Surgery was scheduled for the next week.  The tumor sent off for staging and histopath, and thankfully it came back showing that it was in the early stages and had been completely excised with good, clean tissue borders.  Since it was caught so early (thank the Lord for a super attentive vet staff) and had been completely removed, there was no further action required.  They’ve just told us to be super vigilant and watch her closely for recurrence in that same area and for any new lesions elsewhere on her body.  In addition to that, since she’s had several issues in her short little four years that can be attributed to a weak immune system (demodectic mange, lots of allergy problems, and now this), I’ve started her on a pretty stout immune system boosting regimen.  The whole ordeal was nerve-racking and upsetting, but at least it was over and done with one simple surgery.  It in no way compared to what the family is dealing with now.
Also in the fall, D’s mother began having a lot of unrelenting sinus pressure and congestion.  Like COMPLETE congestion.  A total inability to breathe through her nose.  She went to an ENT who told her that she had sinus polyps that needed to be surgically removed.  This was around the first of November, and she insisted that the surgery be put off until after the holiday season.  That surgery never happened.  Things increasingly worsened and when she started swelling into her neck they knew that what they were dealing with was more sinister than plain ol’ sinus polyps.  On December 26th, the biopsy results came back:  stage 4 neuroendocrine carcinoma.  It’s in the paranasal sinuses, behind the cheekbone, up close to the eye, very close to the brain, and down into the neck.  On January 10th, she began chemotherapy.  The plan is four months of chemo (three days on, three weeks off) with radiation to be added during the last seven weeks.  I need for every single one of you to pray that this works because they’ve already said that she is not a candidate for surgery given the location and the fact that it has invaded the bone.  So please, pray for her, send healing thoughts, do whatever it is you do when you really want something to happen.  We can’t bear to imagine the alternative.

Fresh Meat

I’m looking for fresh meat.  Not literally.  Ew.  I’m a veg-head, remember?  haha  I’m looking for fresh blogger “meat”.  When I came back I really pared down my reading list.  Some of the blogs cut were ones that hadn’t posted since before I took a blogging break, some were blogs that had gotten too big for their britches and I couldn’t tell if I was reading a blog or an advertisement, and others just plain ol’ didn’t interest me anymore.  I even cut out a couple that I used to only hate-read.  haha  You know the ones… like bad reality TV shows.  The ones that are total train wrecks but you can’t pull yourself away and you only watch it because you hate it and you HAVE to watch it so you can judge and make fun of it?  Yes, those!  The same thing can totally apply to blogs.

Anyway, most of the blogs I used to really follow are gone, so where are all the cool kids hanging out these days???  Are there any good new bloggers out there that you’re following?  Are YOU a new blogger?  Link it up!!!

Phases

I’ve always taken things by spurts.  I’ll go through phases where I’m totally into something, and then in the blink of an eye I’ve completely lost interest.

I’ll go weeks on end painting and repainting my nails a different color every other day, then I’ll go months without doing it once.

A couple of years ago I spent no telling how many hours a week with Rosetta Stone because I wanted to learn to speak Spanish.  I got pretty good at it, we went to Cabo, and I haven’t opened the program since.

I’ll go from never watching TV to watching an entire series in a weekend.

This trait is also probably why I ran 1,000 miles in 2012 and a little over 400 in 2013.

My latest infatuation is jewelry.  I’ve never been one to wear a lot of jewelry.  That’s really unfortunate because I’ve got some really nice pieces!  I never wear jewelry to work for the same reason I don’t wear nice clothes to work–I don’t want to ruin anything!  I don’t even wear my wedding set to work.  I replaced it with a plain tungsten band for fear of losing a diamond.  Until a couple of weeks ago, I don’t even remember last time I had a pair of earrings in, and now all of a sudden here I am in the throes of a new jewelry obsession.  All it took was a friend posting a link to Facebook of some new things in her Etsy shop and another friend sending me a Lia Sophia catalog and POOF I’m a jewelry whore.  Apparently I’m highly vulnerable to the power of suggestion.  I’m every marketer’s target customer.  haha  I have a couple of things that should be coming in the mail any day now, a few things on my eBay watch list, and a wish list a mile long that I have to work on trimming down before the Lia Sophia party.

Do you ever find yourself doing this?  Are you all in or all out with hobbies or interests?

I Could Use More Fridays Like This

Every once in a while I have to travel locally for a training class for work, and I love it when it falls on Friday.  That’s as close to a three-day weekend as I can get without using a vacation day!  Two hour drive to Nashville, three hour class, two hour drive home = a full work day.  Yeah, it’s only 7 hours but the way I see it all my 10+ hour days make up for that hour.  😉  And I would have gone in if I’d had anything that needed to be done, but I checked in with my right-hand woman and she had things under control, so I called it a day!

These training days are the only times when I actually get to dress cute for work.  I always dress in uniform khakis and a company shirt when I’m working because I know I’ll get nasty and I’m not ruining my good clothes!

And since I was in Nashville, I couldn’t resist a quick trip to Trader Joe’s!

And Starbucks!  Yes, believe it or not, there are still people in this country for whom that is still a treat only available when we go into the city.  Ha!

Then when I got home I found the boot socks I’d ordered came in!

It had been almost a month since I ordered them (they came from China), so I’d almost forgotten about them.  I love fun surprises in my mailbox!

Now it’s time to get the real weekend started.  I think I’ll start with a nap!  Driving makes me sooooo sleepy!

How was your Friday?!  Any big plans this weekend?

For the first time in a while, we have ZERO plans!  This excites me!

"Hello? Can everybody hear me?" *tap tap tap* "Is this thing on?"

I have clicked the “Create new post” button at least a dozen times over the past couple of weeks and then just sat there with my my fingers on the keyboard not knowing where to begin.  How does one pick up where she left off when it’s been almost a year?!  (Just how in the HELL has it been almost a year anyway?!?!)  I have no good reason for my absence, really.  When I’ve taken a hiatus before, it was because things were full of suck and I just didn’t care to talk about it, but that wasn’t the case this time!  2013 didn’t suck at all!  It didn’t involve much running, and I spent way more time working than I would have liked, and sure it had it’s sucky moments, but overall it didn’t suck!

Allow me to share some highlights…

  • We split a week between Destin, FL (my favorite beach spot within a reasonable driving distance) and New Orleans where we celebrated our 6th anniversary in May.
We usually go to Destin in the late summer, but  from now on we’ll be going early in the year!  We were there the second week of May and it was GLORIOUS.

Anniversary dinner at Cafe Giovanni

We even had the opportunity to volunteer at Villalobos while in New Orleans!
D with one of the adoptables at Villalobos.

The famous Cafe Du Monde.  Who knew “beignet” was just a fancy word for “funnel cake”?

Jazzin’ it up.
  • We saw Kevin Nealon at Zanies in Nashville… HILARIOUS!  (But now I’m pissed because I know I took pictures that night and now I can’t find them!)
  • D and I both took up a new hobby.
  • I became more involved in rescue by volunteering locally and doing some volunteer driving on transports.  

I cry every time I see this picture. I’d like to cut a body part off of whoever cut her ears like that.

  • I started a new program here in town inspired by Abbi’s Miles & Mutts!  We take local shelter dogs to the park for exercise and socialization and to hopefully meet potential adopters.
Chops – ADOPTED!

D with Einstein – available for adoption

Me with Chops again

Cola – available for adoption.  She’s my pick of the pack right now.  I started this program last April, and she was already in the shelter then… who knows how long before that.  She’s been overlooked so many times… the “large black dog” syndrome.  She is such a fantastic dog and excellent running partner.  She sat a distance record for herself this weekend at a local 5-mile race!  I’m getting her out and networking her like crazy trying to get her out of that shelter!  If you’re looking for the perfect young, affectionate, high-energy black lab girl, please contact me!
  • Bella had her second surgery on her knee.  This was definitely not one for the “doesn’t suck” category, but it was a major event of 2013.  Financially anyway.  She reinjured it only a few months after her ACL repair and had to have meniscal repair too!  We were referred to an orthopedic specialist at UT Knoxville Veterinary Hospital for this one, and they did a wonderful job getting her back up and running.
  • Lots of fun times with the furry kids. 
Bella knows no stranger.  If you are at the dog park and you have a ball, she is your friend.

The old girl, C.C., enjoying some sunshine.

Bella’s first hotel stay the night before her appointment with the orthopedist in Knoxville.

Summertime fun.

Harley never got in the pool.  He was more interested in the water hose.  He loooooves getting sprayed.

Redneck baby gate.  This is how you allow your dog to get some sunshine after surgery when stairs are still off limits.

Nothing like a pittie smile.

More dog park fun.

Supporting a neighboring county’s humane society at their Barktoberfest.

Harley’s new friend, Gnash.  Bella and Harley have a new pupsitter, and Gnash is her dog.  Instant buds.

Bella and Gnash.
  • Saw Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band in concert.  AMAZING musicianship!

  • Crossed a major item off my bucket list and went to a Cardinals World Series game!  Remember Game 3?  The one that ended in extra innings on an obstruction call?  The one they’re calling the most bizarre ending to a World Series game in history?  Yeah, WE WERE THERE!  It was a night I’ll remember forever.

So there you have it.  That’s my year in a nutshell.  I actually didn’t realize how fantastic it was until I started looking back through a year’s worth of memories in photos.  It may not be that exciting or interesting to some, but it’s my life, and I freaking love it.