3 Down, 19 to go!

This weekend I was not productive – I didn’t do any wedding stuff, I didn’t go for a run, and I barely did anything around the house.  Oops.  But that’s what weekends are for, right?

I did finally manage to get around to third day of running yesterday evening after work.  The world seemed to be conspiring against me – my iPod didn’t want to sync the awesome new running playlist I made, and my running gear was in the wash.  I only have a few long sleeve running shirts…and most of my running gear doesn’t fit right now, so I don’t have many options.  I contemplated skipping since, you know, clothes are slightly important to running, but thanks to my awesome fiance, I decided to re-evaluate and improvise.  Anything is running gear if you try hard enough, right?

I have to admit – when I finally got out and got started, I was not having a good time.  My lower back was killing me!  (I clearly need to do some work on my core – duh!) and I just felt clumsy.  As much as I wasn’t enjoying it, I kept on.  I have this rule – I never end a run until I get to the point where I’m not hating it.  It always comes – sometimes I find my stride sooner than others.  I was planning on just doing a mile last night, but I ended up closer to a mile and a half, because I had to wait for the moment when things settled out and it became enjoyable.  I mean, still a combination of running/walking, but better than sitting at home on the couch!

On the bright side, my favorite moment of last night’s run is that as I turned into my driveway, a live song came onto my iPod, so I ended my run with applause!

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Day 2 – Ooph

Yesterday I felt pretty good – I was a little sore in my quads, but nothing bad.  I snuck in a short run last night after work – about a mile in about 20 minutes.  It was short because my awesome fiance had dinner in the oven and it was almost done!  So Ginny and I went for our brief jaunt and it was pretty good.

I have to say – I remember running sucking a lot more when I started out last time.  I don’t have the endurance, and I’m definitely short of breath from exertion, but my legs don’t feel strain like I remember them feeling when I first started running way back in 2011.  So that’s a plus.

I’m going to take a second and digress here – I need to talk about my running buddy, Ginny.  Ginny is such a wonderful dog.  She’s sweet, mild tempered, and gentle.  She’s also well-behaved on her leash – this wasn’t always the case.  When she was a puppy, she was a nightmare on the leash.  Ginny and I spent many hours fighting over this – and to this day, every time we go for a walk and she’s good, I am grateful.  Today I’m especially grateful because during leash training, the trainer we worked with had me teach Ginny a couple of commands I wasn’t familiar with – pace, left/right (okay, obviously I know the directions, just hadn’t applied them to dogs!), and cross.  Pace is our word for when she’s going faster than I feel like walking – turns out this is really handy when running too.  Ginny is faster than I am, to say the least, and sometimes she gets a little overly excited, and needs to be reminded that I choose the pace, not her.  Left, right, and cross are all used for directions – I’ve noticed this is really helpful when running because there’s no guess work involved.   As we start to approach the intersection, I’m able to give Ginny direction and it makes for seamless transitions.  Folks, if you want your dog to run with you, I highly suggest adding these four terms to your dog’s vocab.  If you want suggestions on how to train them to know these words, let me know – I’m always willing to talk dogs!

Anyway, Ginny is awesome, running isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  But I have to admit: my quads straight up started hurting last night and this morning stairs are definitely a challenge.  Guess I haven’t been using my quads enough recently!

Two down, 20 days to go!

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Day 1 – Check!

I always hear people say that it takes 21 days to form a habit – I don’t know if it’s true, and I don’t really feel like researching, so I’m just going to assume that it is true.  Well, good news, day one is done!  20 more days to go before I’m back in the running habit, right?

As it turns out, I chose a good day to decide to pick up running again.  Yesterday I got some disappointing wedding-related news from a close friend of mine, so I was a little upset when I got home last night.  Good news though, because I was able to find my running shoes and climb into my running gear – I am ashamed to admit that I looked like a 10 pound bag of flour poured into a 5 pound sack – not great, but I persevered and learned a very important lesson: old beagles do not really enjoy going for a run.

Ginny (my 2.5 year old lab) seemed too tired to go for a run, so I opted to take Darwin, our cantankerous 12 year old beagle (who is surprisingly high energy for an old guy I’d like to add!)  Of course, as soon as I got the leash out Ginny came out of her post-daycare stupor and wanted to go, but I’m smart enough to know that trying to run with both of them was not going to work.  So off Darwin and I went, and Ginny stayed home with my dear fiance.

Darwin and I did pretty great for the first 3/4 of a mile – we were alternating running and walking/sniffing intently (obviously he was the one sniffing – I was too busy trying to remember to breathe!)  But as we approached the intersection between home and more sidewalk, Darwin and I had a difference of opinion – I wanted to head for more sidewalk, and he wanted to head home.  Fun fact about Darwin: his neck is bigger than his head.  Why is this important?  Because Darwin decided he’d had enough and slipped his collar and started heading home.  I caught up to him (it’s pretty easy – he’s 12 and doesn’t stray from the sidewalk) and dropped him off at home, and grabbed Ginny for part two.

I don’t know if you’ve read any previous posts, but the last time I tried to run Ginny, she wasn’t really into it.  I’m pleased to inform you that two years of maturing has done wonders – she’s super into it now, regardless of the fact that she was exhausted from romping at daycare for 9 hours while I was at work.  We did another mile (walk/run alternating), bringing my total for the day to 1.8 miles.  Not bad, if I do say so myself.

I’m also happy to announce that my dear fiance has decided to get in on the action with me – he’s going to try to start running again too.  We have different schedules though, and I prefer to run solo, so we won’t be going at the same time.  It’s a good thing that Ginny has decided she’s okay with running now, because I’m pretty sure this means that most days she’s going to be getting two runs in – don’t worry, folks, we’ll make sure we’re not pushing her too much and that we watch for any signs of strain!  Plus you know what they say – a tired dog is a happy dog!

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Back in the Saddle?

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been more than two years since the last time I posted on here, and, if I’m honest, it’s been about that long since the last time I went for a run.  My shoes and gear have been sitting around, collecting dust bunnies and taking up valuable space.  A lot has changed for me in the last two years.

Ginny, my sweet little lab puppy is now a full grown 70 pound behemoth.

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I finished my master’s degree in July 2014.

I’ve started my career and currently work as an executive assistant (not the most glamorous of jobs, but I’m pretty good at it and I like it most of the time – it’s not what I saw myself doing, but most of my life is quite different than I thought it would be at this point!)

And perhaps most importantly, I met someone.  Someone wonderful and kind – the kind of guy you always want to meet.  Flash forward to 2015 and we’re deep into wedding planning.  In fact, we’re less than six months from the big day!  The dress has been bought, the venue has been secured, and the save the dates have been mailed.  It’s all very exciting, but also mildly overwhelming and terrifying.

So why am I here?  Why am I posting on this blog after two years?  There are a couple of reasons.

  1. Yesterday Facebook reminded me that three years ago, I was recovering from my third half marathon.  While my posts were whiny “day after my third half and my backpack is downstairs – not sure if I can retrieve it or not,” it made me think about how I miss feeling the burn the next day.  I miss the pride in knowing that I’ve accomplished something for the day, just by getting up and moving.
  2. Also, last night, one of my good friends asked me for some advice on how to start running.  This made me feel simultaneously really good and really bad.  Really good, because I’m always glad when someone comes to me and asks for my help or opinion.  Really bad though, because I haven’t laced up and gone for a run since 2013 – back when Ginny was still a puppy, and I was still in grad school, and I had only just met my man.  This leads me to point number 3.
  3. Since finishing my masters and taking a desk job, I have packed on a few pounds.  Seriously – I can’t force myself to throw a number out there, but it is not pretty.  When I look back at pictures from the first year I started running, I love seeing my transition from overweight and out of shape, to a fitter, sleeker, happier me.  Now I’m back to that overweight and out of shape me.  I love me no matter what – I’ve worked hard to become the person I am, but I have to admit, I’d like to get that fitter, sleeker, happier me back.  And not just so I can look good in my wedding pictures (though that will be a nice bonus!)  To me, running has never been about losing weight – it’s been about making time for myself, and investing in myself, and perhaps most importantly, helping me learn that I can do anything I set my mind to accomplish.

So guess what?  I’m back, starting tonight.  And I’m putting it out there, because it’s easier to hold myself accountable when others know about it.  Tonight I am squeezing into my running pants (that I know are going to be just a little too tight!) and I’m lacing up my long abandoned running shoes (side note: I REALLY hope I know where they are right now!) and I’m going to get out there and try.  It’s not going to be pretty – I know I’ll be back to running for 1 minute (30 seconds?  I’m scared to find out which it is going to be) and walking for 4 minutes and doing that on repeat.  It is not going to be pretty, and it’s probably going to suck, but I’m going to do it.  Because I need to – not to lose weight so I can look better in my wedding dress, I need to do it because I am worth the time and effort.  And also I think Ginny will enjoy it – though she’s probably going to wish I could have chosen to start on a day when she hasn’t spent the day romping and playing at daycare (yes, I am THAT kind of puppy mom).

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Slow Beginnings

Today I wasn’t really sure that a run was going to happen–it’s that point in the semester where I’m behind on grading, my course work, and *gulp* my thesis.  (For the record, I’m not REALLY behind–just not as ahead as I like to be!)  I had my day all scheduled out and by 11 am I was already running behind.  11 am is when I scheduled that Ginny and I would go for a run.  That didn’t exactly happen, because I didn’t get out of my office and home until 11:30, so I contemplated skipping it all together.  But I decided that there are other things on my list that could stand to get bumped, so I started gearing up.

While trying to get ready to go, I realized it had been far too long since I had been for a run.  I moved in May, and then had surprise tonsil surgery in July, and to be honest, there’s lots of stuff that has seemingly disappeared within the depths of my tiny apartment (not sure how, but things find places to hide!)  So instead of wearing my Altras, I had to substitute and go back to my Brooks–guess I need to add “find running shoes” to my to do list for tomorrow!

It was almost 11:45 before I finally had all of my stuff together and headed out the door with my princess.  Since we were so behind schedule I decided we’d just run out on the field across the street from my apartment.  It’s an all-purpose field–it gets used for everything from tailgating, cricket games, pickup touch football, and as I learned this morning, training service dogs.  No wonder Ginny is always so interested in the smells out there!  Not wanting to interfere with service puppy training Ginny and I stuck to the far end of the field, which was closer to parking lots and cars than I really wanted to be.  But that’s life–you win some, you lose some.

Before I started, all I could think about was how out of shape I had to be–my knees were going to hurt, I knew that I’d be able to feel the flab on my stomach and thighs.  I was going to feel out of breath.  I was going to feel defeated.

Fortunately, I didn’t really get a chance to run enough to feel that way–a blessing in disguise I’m sure.  My cute, muscly puppy baby happens to be the laziest lab I have ever met.  Seriously.  At the dog park (where we go every single day for an hour) Ginny will wrestle with anyone.  But when people start playing chase Ginny quietly removes herself from the game, preferring to splash around in the pool and patiently wait for someone to run by her so that she can tackle them without trying to keep up.

As you may guess, my lovely lazy girl did not particularly enjoy this running thing.  It was nice and cool (60s), but we still took it slow and did intervals of walking and running.  The first few minutes Ginny thought this was great fun, running up and down the field chasing mom.  Then we did a few intervals where she ran in front of me.  And then Ginny decided she was done, so she grabbed the leash in her mouth and turned to go home.  We fought for a few more passes, but I eventually decided that I don’t want this to be a negative experience for her, so we went back home.  A few minutes after we got home, I looked over and saw this:

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Someone was a little tired.  We covered less than a mile total (walking and running) but for this little lazy girl, it was enough.  And she’s been asleep ever since–which is good, because it’s giving me a chance to catch up on my work!

I don’t think GInny will be joining me for all of my runs–I’d like to rack up a little more mileage than we did today.  But even if she isn’t into joining me for all of my runs, it’s hard to deny that she is one of the cutest running buddies ever.  And she never complains about my choice in music.

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Fall is here!

Fall weather has come to the Midwest! The mornings are crisp, the sun is setting earlier. It’s my favorite time of the year. This fall is also my lab puppy’s first fall and I figure that the new cool weather only means one thing: it’s time for my sweet Ginny to start running. Yes, I know–dogs are not endurance runners so I need to be careful not to push her too hard. I also know that she’s still young, so I need to be mindful that she will be prone to repetitive motion injuries, so I’ll be careful of that too.

But I don’t think I’ll have to worry about pushing her too hard. After all, I really haven’t been running since mid-April when I first started having tonsil issues. The build will be good for both of us…and besides, a tired puppy is a happy and well-behaved puppy. (For the record though, Ginny is super well-behaved for being just under 6 months old!

So readers, check back soon and see how the training is going for me and my new running buddy, Miss Virginia.

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Well, It’s Been a While…

So, like most people, I started this year with the intention of getting re-focused and getting back to regular work outs.  But then life happened.  Starting in April I was lucky enough to be plagued with a series of ridiculous tonsil infections–the kind that as soon as I was over one, another one popped up.  Good news: I got my tonsils out in July, which sucked, but now I should be good to go.  Oh, and another bonus: the surgeon estimates that my airway is now 50% bigger now that my tonsils are gone.  That means my run times should get better, right?

The other big news in my life is that I got an awesome new running/life accessory: a super sweet, mellow, and admittedly kinda lazy chocolate lab.  Miss Virginia, or Ginny as I call her, will be 5 months on Sunday–this means she’s just about old enough to start doing some short jaunts with me.  This is good for both of us–1) because she can’t do long runs and 2) I haven’t really been running since April, so we won’t even discuss how out of shape I am!  For the record, the picture below was taken about a week after I got her, but it’s such a cute picture that I had to share it.

So, readers, if there are any of you left, how’s your summer been?  Got any fun race plans for the fall?  Image

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