Sunday, August 16, 2015

As Britney Spears would say...

...Oops I did it again!

Remember that time back in May when I said I was going to try to start Blogging again? You know...because I hadn't blogged ANYTHING since the end of 2014.

#EpicFail

I can't explain what's been going on. 

I mean I've now completed 7 half marathons (a far cry from where I was this time last yet but still...) and I went on a FABULOUS vacation to Paris, France! But where has the time been to blog about it?

Alas, I'm really going to make an effort to get caught up. So some things are going to just be short and sweet (kind of like me!) and will be lumped together. I will try to still do a recap of each race - from what I remember - and of course Paris will consist of several posts  if for no other reason than I have a gazillion pictures.

So with that said...stay tuned (again)!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Crossing Over The Rainbow Bridge



I didn’t blog about this last year but on December 23, 2014 I took our oldest dog Patriot to the vet because he hadn't pooped in 2 days….and THAT was not like him at all. It was determined that his bowels were blocked, he had to have 2 enemas and other treatments before he finally got some relief. However, our vet was pretty sure that he was showing signs of having developed lymphoma. Needless to say my heart broke right then and there. We’ve always done what we could for that kid (and over the years, that’s been a lot) but this was one thing that we weren't going to be able to fix. Chemo was an option but not a good one for him because of his age – he was just shy of 12 years old – so we opted to try Prednisone. The doctor told us that best case scenario he would have 3-6 months; worst case was 4-6 weeks. We brought him home, cried a lot, prayed a lot and made it our mission to make sure his remaining days would be as good as possible.

 Home from the vet’s office after a rough day (12-23-2015)
 Looking a little brighter in the eyes after one day (12-24-2015)

Christmas Day and he’s looking even better and the swelling in his back leg is starting to go down a little. My husband and I didn’t exchange presents this year but the greatest gift we both got was having Patriot with us for one more Christmas!



But on January 3, 2015 the lab results were in and it was official. Patriot has cancer. We would continue on with the steroid treatment, hope for the best and just make him as comfortable as possible. Although we’ve always made him feel loved, it was time to take that to “off the charts” level.

January 16, 2015 – the steroids are causing him to pant all the time and drink a lot which means he has to go out to use the bathroom almost every hour. He can’t make it up & down the stairs anymore so (since I’m not working) we’ve switched sleeping arrangement. I sleep downstairs on the couch Sunday through Thursday nights and then my husband sleeps downstairs with him Friday night and Saturday night. These aren't restful nights for us but they aren’t for him either. I cry almost every night. It was cold every evening and often there was even still snow on the ground but I think it must have felt good to him because he would go out – even in the middle of the night – and just lie on the ground. He would eventually push his front end up but we had to lift him up under the back end. So because of this, if he was outside you needed to be out there with him to get him up.

January 24, 2015 – he can’t walk very far without having to stop and lie down. He continues to lose weight although his eating is still mostly good. There are days were he looks bright-eyed but I began to think it was time. I even think maybe we should have already made this decision but we just can’t bring ourselves around to doing it.

January 27, 2015 – we’ve finally decided that it is time. My husband said he would call the vet’s office the next day to schedule the appointment. He said that everyone at the office was in tears as well when he called. They’ve taken care of Patriot since he was 9 weeks old and they were instrumental in helping him survive Parvo Virus. The plan was for them to come out on Saturday, the 31st. We made another change in the sleeping arrangements, brought a twin mattress downstairs and we are all sleeping in the living room with him.


Our friend AC came over on the 28th to say goodbye and with some framed pictures that she made for us. She had taken the pictures of him as well.


January 29, 2015 – he really wasn’t doing well and after talking it over with my husband, I called the vet’s office and change the appointment from Saturday to Friday. He would only be with us for one more day.  


Our dog sitter came over to say goodbye and gave us a printout of a memorial statue that he ordered for us to have.


Our dog sitter JS saying goodbye and the memorial gift he ordered.


Then a great big surprise from my friend AW. She was in town for a meeting but before heading back to Chicago she drove out to the house to say goodbye to Patriot as well.


The craziest thing on the 29th – as AW was getting ready to leave – I got a call with a job offer. I couldn’t even talk to them and explained the situation so they agreed to get back with me on Monday.
Later in the evening my husband said that Patriot had a gift for me. Since he knew he wouldn’t be here next month for my birthday, Patriot got me a Yellow Lab calendar. Oh how I cried!



January 30, 2015 – one of the worst days in a long time. Today was the day we were to say goodbye. While you know it is for the best because you don’t want them to live in pain and be miserable, the thought of them no longer being with you is soul crushing. We were determined to CELEBRATE him today and to make his final hours with us be filled with things he enjoyed and of course extra extra love.


One last group photo

We scrambled some eggs for him. A scrambled egg was the key to get him eating again when he was a baby recovering from Parvo so it was only fitting that it would be his last supper as well. He had a piece of toast too and really seemed to enjoy them both.




Later we decided that we’d talk him for a “walk” but we knew he wouldn’t be able to go far. He loved going for walks when he was younger. So with the help of a towel supporting his back-end, my husband took him outside. His tail wagged and wagged. He was so happy to be doing this again. We only went out to our side yard and he had to stop and rest twice but he was so excited to be out there. Quite the contrast from the dog that back in the day would run and jump and catch the Frisbee out in that side yard. We shot a video of his “final” walk. To this day it makes me smile and makes me cry.

That walk outside pretty much wore him out so we spent the rest of the day inside, loving on him, crying and taking pictures. We kept a constant watch on the clock cringing as each minute ticked by knowing our time with him was getting shorter and shorter. I just wanted to stop time right then and there.

He hadn't finished all of his eggs from earlier so we gave him the remainder of those. He continued to rest. We took more pictures and we cried more tears.




He wandered in to the front part of the house and looked out the windows. I wondered if he knew we were waiting on Dr. Allen & AJ to arrive.




They got to the house around 1:45PM. In typical Patriot fashion, he was happy to see them and wagged his tail and bounced around a little bit. Its amazing how when adrenalin kicks in, you have more energy. He followed them into the living room. AJ got on the floor and loved on him. She has known him since we took him to the office that very first day as an extremely sick little puppy. She nursed him back to health. She helped save his life back then and now she had to help us say goodbye. The circle of life, I guess.

He “fought” the initial shot which was to relax him. He never was a fan of getting shots but who really is. They let the shot take its effect and let us love on him some more while they prepared the final needle. Just like when we had to say goodbye to our first dog General, I had a moment where I wanted to shout, “Stop! Don’t do it. Let’s give him more time.” but I knew in my heart that this was what was best no matter how much it broke my heart.

Since he was a larger dog, they brought two vials but they didn’t even have to use all of the first one. He was gone after half of the injection. I try to find comfort in that this was certainly a sign that his body was ready. They stepped out of the room and let us have as long as we needed / wanted to remain there with him. We clipped some hair from him to keep and put it in a baggie that would eventually go in his memory box. It was approximately 2:10PM - Patriot was in Heaven with his brother General. He was no longer in pain. He no longer had cancer.

It was so difficult watching them drive away with him. I think we were both numb

Our lives sure were better because he had been part of it. He helped me get through some difficult times. And although he had NUMEROUS health problems throughout his life, we never regretted spending a penny on him. His value was greater than any financial bottom line.

Five months have passed since he’s been gone. Its taken me several days just to type up this post because I’ve cried through every keystroke. There will never be another R Miracle Patriot W Skelton (his registered name).



I love you Patriot. You will always be my tiny little baby. Thank you for being in our lives. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Forgive me Bloggers, for I have sinned…

…it has been over FIVE MONTHS since my last blog post!

Part of me wants to say that nothing has been happening but of course many things have. So to start, here is an overview of the past 5 months. I will follow-up with details in subsequent blog entries.

JANUARY

  • The saddest of all – we had to say goodbye to our oldest dog Patriot
  • But I finally got a job offer

FEBRUARY

  • I celebrated my 50th birthday
  • I started going back to the Brunch Bunch gatherings
  • Started the new job
  • Went to the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce Annual Auction & Dinner

MARCH

  • Attended the Indiana Historical Society’s unveiling of “An Evening at Ayres”
  • I was hired to be a Running and Fitness Blogger for the Visit Hendricks County website
  • Did my first half marathon of the year – the No Luck Run
  • Little Big Town meet and greet & concert
  • Another Brunch Bunch
  • My husband had his first colonoscopy (TMI?)
  • Surprise 50th birthday party for a friend (one of many I attended)
  • Dinner with two high school classmates & their spouses

APRIL

  • The NCAA Final Four Men's Basketball Tournament
  • Carmel Half Marathon – I struggled A LOT!!

MAY

  • Had a Senorita Sunday Brunch Bunch at my house
  • Gave up my job as the VHC Blogger Sad smile
  • Seymour Half Marathon – still not properly trained
  • I’ll be doing my first ever (legit) trail run on May 23rd – and shockingly, I still haven't trained!

I hope this finds me back on the road to blogging.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Running Recap

December 31, 2014

I set a three running goals in 2014. I ended the year 2 for 3.

The first goal was to complete my 50th half marathon before I turned 50. I checked this off this list on May 17th at the Geist Half Marathon. I won’t turn 50 until February 2015 so NINE MONTHS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. #GoalCrushed

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The second goal was to complete 31 half marathons so that I could level up within Half Fanatics and “land” on Earth. I#GoalComplete

THIS FIRST COLLAGE REPRESENTS:

Polar Dash Half / Fly With The Eagles Half / GHS Half Marathon

Get Lucky Half / (Half Fanatics) / Southern IL Spring Classic

Hoosier Half / ORRRC Half / Carmel Half

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THIS SECOND COLLAGE REPRESENTS:

Illinois Half / Seymour Half / Geist Half

Noblesville Half / (31 Half Marathons) / Sunburst Half

Indy Women’s Half / Biggest Loser-Rockford / Cincinnati Half

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THIS THIRD COLLAGE REPRESENTS:

Rock’n’Roll-Chicago / Biggest Loser-Chicago / Mahomet Half

Boom Shakalaka Half / (13.1 Miles) / Blues at the Crossroads Half

Hodson Half / Women Rock Half / Dayton River Corridor Classic Half

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THIS FOURTH COLLAGE REPRESENTS:

Boilermaker Half / Springfield Half / Chicago Monster Half

Monumental Half / (EARTH) / Veterans Half

Space Coast Half / Santa Hustle / Believe You Can

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At the beginning of the year, I bought this wall calendar to help me track – at a glance – all of these races as well as all the triathlons that my husband would be doing.

Brand new – waiting to be filled in (crappy photo)2013, 11-07 Half Marathon Calendar for 2014 (1)

2014 completed – yellow boxes are half marathons, pink/orange boxes are 5Ks, 10Ks or miscellaneous distances and the green boxes are my husband’s triathlons.010

RANDOM STATS:

  • Longest streak was half marathons 5 Saturday’s in a row.
  • I did back to back (Saturday then Sunday) half marathons twice.
  • Twice I did a half marathon on a Saturday morning (in one state) and then did a 5K later that same day (in another state)

THE MEDAL WALL:

My side of our medal “display” in the basement:2014 Total(2)

Medal Wall 2014, 12-31

The third goal was to run 1,000 miles in 2014. That total was to include running miles only: training miles and competitive miles but no “walking” miles. I don’t track walking miles although I did not “discriminate” against the times I took walking breaks during competitive events.

I did not hit this goal. I only logged 904 miles. I was experiencing some major hip pain in August and only completed 43 miles that month and then only 38 miles in December. I think I was a little burned out in December. Interestingly, I logged 109 miles in January and almost all of those were on the treadmill since we were in the grips of the Polar Vortex.

I haven’t officially set my next set of running goals. I’d like to tackle crossing off more states from my 50 State Challenge and the states I need are further away so travel costs will increase. That probably means less half marathons. But I’d still like to complete at least 12 (and hopefully 15) half marathons in 2015.

As always…stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Santa Hustle–Race Recap

December 21, 2014

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This would be the third consecutive year that I’d done Santa Hustle. For some reason though, I didn’t sign up right away and it went through a price increase. The first year I waited because I wanted to see what the weather was going to be like. This year I NEEDED this race. It would be my 31st (and final) half marathon of the year and would level me up (technically its called “mooning up” but I think that’s weird to say) to Earth within Half Fanatics. I registered on October 28th and I found a $5 off discount code so with taxes and fees, the final cost was $59.83. This year runners would be receiving a dri-fit hoodie instead of the usual “Santa shirt” tech shirt.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20TH: I headed to the JW Marriott for packet pickup around 11:00AM. I wanted to get it done and out of the way and then I was going to the Indiana Historical Society to check out the Festival of Trees event. You could attend today for free and I figured it would get busy as the day progressed.

I parked half way between the two buildings and walked over to the Marriott around 11:30AM.

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Basically the same expo as last year. They have this gigantic space and use maybe half of it.

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What was different this year was the exchange table was really busy. I don’t remember them specifying that the hoodies were gender specific because if they had, I would have ordered a medium. But even THAT would have been too small. I ended up with a large and it doesn’t have much wiggle room.

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I checked out some of the other Santa Hustle merchandise and there were a couple of things that caught my eye but since I still haven't found a new job, I didn’t get anything. Of course I didn’t NEED anything anyway but it sucks not having the option.

So after the Expo and checking out the Festival of Trees display, it was back home for the evening.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21ST: This race doesn't start until 9:00AM so no crazy super early getting up for me. That is always a welcomed change. I got up at 6:00AM and was out the door at 7:30-ish. There was a Half Fanatics group photo scheduled for 8:45AM and that would give me plenty of time to park and get to the meeting location.

The initial plan was to park in the Indiana State Museum garage. That must have been everyone’s plan because it was full! I had to drive around the block and park in the Government Center garage. It wasn’t that much further away but waiting to get in and actually parked put me behind schedule. I sent A.L. a text telling her to wait for me for the picture and that I was on my way.

Not many people showed up for the photo. I wonder if the location was too far west and not right by the start line. But having it near the start line probably would have been a cluster.

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I walked with T.R. to bag drop and then went to the porta-potties for one last stop. As I was waiting I could hear them calling for the half marathon participants to get lined up. Thankfully the line moved rather quickly. A a very nice girl that was doing the 5K (which didn’t start until 9:30AM) let me go ahead of her.

As I was walking toward the start area, I happened to see Dave. A selfie with Dave might need to be a new pre-race tradition.

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We wished each other well and then I made my way on to the bridge. It was there that I saw M & J! Time for some more photos.

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Below I was trying to make “31” with my gloved fingers but she got me in mind stance.

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The weather was “better” than last year for this race. Last year we were in the beginning stages of the Polar Vortex and had quite a bit of snow. Although this year was cold – it is December in Indiana after all – there was no snow!

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My phone stayed in the holder this entire race. My third time to run this route and there are a couple of other races that use this same course as well. There was one sign I would have liked to capture at mile 10(?) but I resisted.

I saw Dave and his “posse” on the course and at the 4 mile marker, I saw C.V. She was cheering on folks from Back on my Feet. We exchanged a high five. High five

As we were running north of 16th street, I could smell the donuts being made at Longs. They smelled so good. But as good as that smelled, when you are running the final stretch behind the zoo you can small animal urine (elephants, maybe?) and that is NOT good.

There was one girl that I was chasing. I named her Happy Braid because her hair was in a braid (duh!) – and it was thick which always makes me have hair envy – and when she would pass me she was always smiling and spoke to me a couple of times. She would pass me when I took a walking break. I would pass her when she took a walking break. But after the 11 mile marker, a friend that had already completed the race joined her and she never took another walking break. Thus she finished before me.

A nice surprise was seeing my husband at the finish line. He got video of me crossing. And then took some miscellaneous photos of me as well.

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They had live reindeer in a pen. They were getting along at first but then they started locking racks. I couldn’t get a clear photo of the rassling!

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In the distance, I suddenly see A.L. heading toward the finish line. She was hard to miss in that Mrs. Claus dress. So I ran over the cheer her in. Then I see The Grinch, Rudolph and Frosty running in with her as well. I thought they were “part of the race” but would later learn that they were her family members. How fun is that?

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They became quite the draw for everyone to have their picture take with and A.L. told me that they were still there as the last runners were coming in and the event was taking everything down. What troopers.

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My husband needed to leave to finish up a Christmas project but the event photographer did get this cute shot of us before hand. Heck, I might even order it!

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There was an after party at Howl at the Moon. A.L. couldn’t go but I when I saw M.W. at the finish waiting on her husband and talked to her about going, she thought they might. Long story short, they got there before me and said it was over. WHAT? Nowhere in the info from the event did they mention there was a time limit for it. The venue isn't even close to where the race took place. I drove over and had already paid for parking to only then find out there was no more “party” going on. I know it was going on at some point because T.R. went there to get her age group award. Not cool Santa Hustle! All of us slower runners never stood a chance to participant in the after party.

I can’t say that I’ll do this race again next year. I haven't officially set how many half marathons I want to do in 2015. I’d like to cross a few more states off my list so if that means less “local” half marathons, then so be it. But this race is good to keep in your back pocket as a last minute end of the year pick up.

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