Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Years Eve

Yes, it is barely 20 degrees outside, but I could not, with good conscious, go into the new year knowing that I made excuses for not going on a run with Henri tonight.

Really, it wasn't that bad. We ran through the neighborhood rather than around the outside, to avoid the wind chill. I have a feeling it would have been much different had we run the outside. It probably would have taken me longer to warm up, but maybe I wouldn't have been so uncomfortable when we got back inside. I was literally tearing off my clothes. I was still too hot after changing so I stood outside for a little bit. So, I'll have to figure out the proper amount of layers for each degree of temperature. At least I didn't have to worry about where to put my gloves.

Since we went a different route tonight, I didn't have my usual markers to know when to walk, but I knew this route was shorter so as long as my ankle felt okay, I was running the whole thing. I did and it felt really good to be able to run the whole run. If we can continue to get two runs in a week, maybe I can be back to my three miles by the spring and start working on the speed again.

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Threads

I was able to take one of the new running outfits I received for Christmas for a spin tonight. This one is C9 from Target, part of their Always Be Seen Collection. Both the pants and the shirt are reflective so we can be seen better at night. We do both wear our LED lights, but it never hurts to have more visibility! The best part about this outfit is, it's blue! Yeah, okay, all of the running clothes I got were blue. I have an obsession. I'm also OCD so all of my stuff matches and I can mix and match as the weather changes.

Another new addition to our running experience is my new FlipBelt (in blue, of course). This was a prize in the virtual 5k we participated in this fall. I was really hoping to win it, but I knew if I didn't, I still needed one. I didn't win it so, it was in fact added to my Christmas list. I'm so excited! It will come in handy in the spring and summer, when I don't have pockets, but it gives me more versatility in my outfits now, too. I don't have to worry about wearing a jacket that has pockets. It all fits in this belt! I felt ten pounds lighter not having to wear my jacket and not having things bounce around in the pockets. I didn't have a place to put my gloves once my hands warmed up, but I can figure that out.

Feeling lighter and feeling cool in my new suit, we ran a little faster tonight. It was new stuff, it was fun and Henri knew I felt good so, he felt good. It wasn't a lot faster, but I could tell a difference in the pace. I had to focus on my breathing towards the end and I got stitches in my side so I didn't push the last block just to work out my ankle. I'll do that later this week. 

Check out my MySpace Selfie! Kickin' it old school with the camera angle. For some reason all of my MySpace pictures only showed one of my eyes. I had to stay true to that. Anyway, cute blue outfit and fuzzy accessory. My husbands comment upon our return home and seeing me (and after Henri sprinted around excitedly because he was so happy with our run) was, "Whoa. Look at the fancy outfit!" That's right. I have reflectors. I am fancy. (And blue!)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmastime is Here

It's Christmas evening. Christmas is almost over. The hustle and bustle is coming to an end. Soon we will be able to breath a sigh of relief and go back to business as usual.

Henri and I went on a run after I got off work yesterday. It had been raining all day. It was supposed to snow, which it did briefly, but big gloppy snowflakes that fell like lead. It wasn't even pretty. It was rather disappointing considering we were supposed to have nice snow for Christmas.

There was finally a break in the rain when I got off work, so we took the opportunity to go on a little festive run. Since it wasn't going to be dark, we were able to stop by some trees that I've been trying to get our picture by. The picture still didn't turn out great since it wasn't dark enough to see the lights, but with a few stickers and filters, it celebrated the fact that we went for a run on Christmas Eve.

I got some new running clothes for Christmas, some more suitable for the cooler weather. I'm excited to take them for a spin!

Henri was very good boy this year, or at least he must have been because he made out like a bandit this year for Christmas. He got his BarkBox on Monday, which had two toys in it. I got him a personalized Pridebites fribee, which he has been working on finding a weak spot to destroy it. I got him a glow-in-the-dark Chuck-It ball for playing at the dog park when the sun goes down. My husband even picked out a toy for him this year, which they put a hole in it within minutes. My sister got him a few toys that should be able to withstand his destructive habits, for at least a while. 

He likes to unwrap his presents, shredding the paper into tiny bits. He immediately starts punching the toys with his nose, hunting for a squeaker. He had a big morning, opening presents, playing with his presents and playing with the wrapping paper from our presents. We went to the park since the sun decided to come out today, where he played and enjoyed being outside. He ate pork stew for dinner tonight and has been enjoying his favorite uncles visiting. It's probably been one of the best days of his life! Isn't that what Christmas is all about?


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Good News, Bad News

Let's play Good News, Bad News. 

Good News: We had snow flurries this morning! (Because I like snow!)
Bad News: It didn't stick.
Good News: The sidewalks were not treacherous for our run!
Bad News: The temperature finally dropped into the 20's.
Good News: It's going to warm back up this weekend (Back to the high 40's!)
Bad News: There's rain in the forecast early next week.
Good News: That rain might turn to snow on Christmas Eve!
Bad News: I go in to work earlier next week, which usually means going to the dog park instead of going on runs.
Good News: It's going to rain so we might not be going to the dog park (Mud)...
Bad News: Or running...
Good News: But maybe running!
Bad News: Next week is Christmas!
Good News: Next week is Christmas!
Bad News: I've got lots of stuff to do to be ready, crafty stuff that takes time.
Good News: If it's raining I'll have extra time (?)
Bad News: That means no running, no exercising for Henri (Or me because it's really hard to jump around in the living room with the Christmas tree and it's not fair for me to get exercise and not Henri, haha!) 
Good News: I added a little more distance to the run with the ankle. My body was hitting it's stride and I would have loved to kept going, but I need to be good.
Bad News: Not running next week will put a damper on that.
Good News: I have Henri and he is the best motivation for running I could ever ask for so if there is a way, we will be running.

That was fun!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Playlist

It's wet and rainy again. We just can't escape it. It was hardly a mist so I decided we could handle it together. Especially since it's still in the forties, it acts as more of a cooling agent, keeping us from overheating. 

Despite the lack of snow, I ran to my Christmas playlist. I have some of the classics, but I also have some more updated versions of some of the classics. One of my favorite Christmas songs is Carol of the Bells, mostly because of the California Raisins Christmas special that used to come on when I was a kid. I know. You probably have no idea what I'm talking about. You're missing out, I'm telling you.

Clearly this is not the version that I ran to. While I wouldn't have been able to see it, I would have still known every claymated move and been laughing, making it that much more difficult to run. So, I created a little playlist of some of the songs we ran to today because as soon as I starting thinking of one great one to share, I thought of another, then another. You get the idea. Anyway, It was cool to run to just Christmas songs with the Christmas lights, even though the weather is not quite "Christmas" to me.

It was also important that we went on a run tonight because afterwards I took Henri to the mall to see Santa. He's always so nervous at new places and I thought maybe a little run would help expense some energy and make it a little better for him. He did sit while we waited in line. That's a huge step for him in a new place. Well, we'll keep working on it then. Pictures to come! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Rain, Rain and More Rain

Seriously, I know it's been all about the weather lately, but it's so confused! I guess it's great that temperatures are above average. (I don't know if that's actually true, but it seems like it, especially after last year.) Instead of snow, we just keep getting rain. Lots and lots of rain. I guess it's better than having to worry about ice or snow covered sidewalks, but it's still annoying when we can't run. It wasn't too bad yesterday when I got off work, but it was misting and I didn't think that it would be very enjoyable for Henri, and it's ultimately about him so we opted out.

Today would normally be a dog park day, but I had an appointment right after work so it was dark before I got home. Of course, with the weather changing back and forth, I'm now getting a cold. It's just a runny nose right now, but that's not exactly helpful when running in the cold. I also felt kinda icky today, but for some reason, moving around actually felt better than sitting around. So Henri, my nose and I went for a run. Ew, gross! Actually, I thought it would be much worse.

Of course, now our schedule is all out of whack. I am not supposed to run consecutive days so we can't run tomorrow as we normally we. Maybe it will rain. That will make it feel okay. Or maybe I'll feel really icky. Not as okay, but still helpful.

I accidentally forgot to wear my ankle wrap when we went out today. I didn't notice it till we were walking back up to the house. What I did notice was that my ankle and foot didn't hurt at all. It hurt quite a bit after our run last week so this was a welcome change. In fact, last week it hurt until I took off the ankle wrap, which I usually keep on for a bit after to keep my ankle compressed. Suddenly, the pain went away. I'm wondering if the wrap is doing more harm than good. I might have to email that sports physical therapist.

I'm still pretty disappointed that we didn't get to do our Polar Paws 5k this past weekend, especially since every weekend since they've cancelled it has been in the mid to upper 30's, if not higher. Way to go, people! Low sign-up due to cold weather. Wusses! Yeah, I'm bitter. I waited a whole year for this! I had some super cute outfits planned for Henri and I! Now I have to hope that they'll work out for next year. Crossing our fingers and paws! (Next year there will probably be a blizzard!) 

I should have planned my own virtual Polar Paws! Not that I have that many followers, so it still might have just been me and Henri participating, but I should have thought of that! Next year, if it's cancelled again, I'm doing it. Somehow, I'm doing it. Stay tuned for that!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Oh, Mother Nature...

The weather really cannot make up it's mind. Is it going to be warm (for this time of year) or cold? It is December after all. 60 degrees this past weekend, still in the 40's today, it's the perfect weather for this puppy! He is playing so much more at the park, playing with dogs he's never played with before, just for the joy of playing in the cooler air. He was always excited to go on our run, but probably just because it was a run so he got to be moving fast...ish :) Now it just feels good to be outside. Crazy dog!

Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide which weather I like running more in. It's nice to be able to breathe, but the coughing and nose running faster than I am is...probably a sign that I'm getting a cold from the back and forth weather changes. I've got plenty more winter to decide, or at least I think I do. I'm sure mother nature is just teasing us with this warmer weather and we will back to snow and ice in no time. It is the Midwest after all.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Lights Lighting Our Way

We were not able to go for a run last week. It was disappointing, but it was really windy on Monday, and Wednesday, my husband was off so Henri had just gotten back from the park when I got home and would have taken him for a run. If it had been a few hours, he would have been fine, but I didn't want to push him. Then the retail world sucked me in so when I wasn't trying to catch up on sleep, we were at the park. In just that one week, I lost my motivation and it was hard to get it back to go on a run today. It might have had something to do with it going from 50's and 60's this weekend to the 20's as well.

There was something that helped inspire the run today. Christmas lights are going up all around the neighborhood, so, even though the cold wind was blowing (Really, is this wind ever going to stop?), we could run within the neighborhood and be protected by the houses with the pretty lights.

The downside to running within the neighborhood rather than around it is it's a shorter run. It's just under 2 miles, which is what I'm consistently running on my ankle right now. I'd like to keep extending that, but it is winter. I can give myself a break. I could probably find another block to loop around or something, but I honestly might get lost.

I enjoyed to lights. Henri didn't really seem to notice until we ran past a house with a blow up Santa in the  yard. He watched it suspiciously, but it wasn't moving this time so we ran by without any incident. (See? Protected from the wind.)

That one week off made my ankle ache more than it has in awhile. I might need to go to the gym if it gets too icy or cold for us to go on runs, just to keep working on my ankle. That's disappointing. If Henri wouldn't be afraid of a treadmill, I'd get one for each of us, so we could still run together, in the comfort on our own home.

Here is a picture from our run tonight. Of course, it's dark, but we are wearing our own Christmas lights. I'm disappointed that the Polar Paws 5k that Henri and I were going to run this Saturday was cancelled due to low sign-ups. I was really looking forward to the holiday part of it all. Being in retail, it's hard to keep up the Christmas spirit. Hopefully, or festively lit runs will carry me through.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bring It On, Winter

Whew! That was a cold one!

It's been pretty cold around here lately. It's snowed a little, not accumulating much, but enough that the sidewalks were not going to be safe to run on. We had to pass on our Monday run. Today it warmed up to the mid thirties so I was pretty confident that we could avoid any icy mishaps.

Despite the cold air and few ice hazards, we made pretty good time. Each week we are getting a little faster and running a little farther. It was hard to breath at times, with the cold wind taking my breathe away. My fingers were a little numb at one point, but the blood must not have been circulating yet because they warmed up and didn't bother me again. All in all, it felt like a good run. 

I have a lot of people asking me what Henri and I do when it gets cold. Is Henri sad that it's cold now? Does he miss the dog park? Are you seriously going on a run in this? What do you do when it gets cold? The runs and the dog park do not stop just because it's cold. Does Henri stop needing exercise now that it's cold outside? Does the change in temperature suddenly change the requirements of his care? Nope, thus he is super excited. He still gets to go out and play at the dog park and go for runs and he doesn't get hot. He can play and play and play and he feels great!

We were at the dog park for 45 minutes yesterday and he wanted to play Fetch over and over with me. He wanted to wrestle and run and chase with every dog in the park, even with multiple dogs at the same time. Then he wanted to play Fetch some more. Throw in some Keep Away and it was the best day every! How can I deny him that because I'm cold?

Unless it just isn't safe for us to be outside in the chill, we will be out there, I, with my 7 layers of clothing and Henri, naked, because he really doesn't need anything. Don't worry though, he's got a coat for when he does. Bring it on, Winter. Bring it on.

(Henri, yesterday, after 45 minutes of play and still wanting to play with a dog all the way across the park, thinking this stick would entice the dog to come to him. The dog couldn't even see him, but he was bouncing around with a stick in his mouth, taunting the other dog. I had to lighten the picture since it was almost dark by this point, so pardon the graininess.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Cold is Here

Today took a little bit of psyching up for the run in the cold, but we did it, and of course, it wasn't really that bad. I forgot how I used to dress for the winter runs so I was actually a little warm, but thankfully the wind was cold enough to cool me down when that happened. It was about 30 degrees, but it felt like 20 with the wind chill. Brrr...I imagined Henri and I as little freight trains, chugging along, as you could see our breath.

Despite being pretty achy yesterday, my ankle didn't bother me at all the entire run. I wanted to keep running, past the point that I extended our run to on Monday, but I didn't want to push it. I'll just hope that this continues and that I can continue to be smart enough to know when to stop.

So, I think the cold weather is probably here to stay now. This is our running life. The good news is that Henri loves it and is super excited about going for runs, going to the park or just being outside in general. I don't know how he knows the difference when I walk in the door, but he does. As long as he's excited about it, we're good.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Solid Run

Yeah for 60 degree weather! I walked out of work and immediately knew it was going to be a great run! I rushed home and got ready as fast as I could, which isn't fast enough for Henri, but I try. 

I was right. It was a great run. We moved at a comfortable pace. I knew I wanted to try to run an extra block today, so I wanted to make sure I had the energy for it, since we would be running into the wind at that point. It was another windy day. I know an extra block doesn't sound like much, but my ankle and my foot know the difference. I'm just going to keep adding blocks until I can get back up to 3 miles, then we'll work on the pace. We're at a solid 2 mile run, which still hurts occasionally and I was a little gimpy when we slowed to a walk, but most of the discomfort was gone before we got home.

All that really matters is that Henri has a good time. We must have had a pretty decent run since he got several long drinks of water when we came home and he is already upstairs, taking a nap before dinner. He ran beside me for at least the first mile. He always gets spooked by the skateboarders at the skate park. It's hard to get him to slow down after that. I think after running beside me for so long today, it felt good to go faster. He didn't slow down until we started walking, which means that we passed at least 3 spots where he usually falls back and checks on me. He must have been in a motivating mood today. It worked.

I heard today was the last warmer day for awhile. Glad we got to enjoy it!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Yesterday Was Perfect, Today...Not So Much.

It was 60 degrees, making for a perfect after work run. Sure, the sun was going down, but we live in the west so we got the best of all the colors. People were talking about how beautiful it was and we were out there, together, enjoying it.

That was yesterday. Today, it's in the 40's. It was dog park day. I don't know if that's better or worse. I could wear more layers, but there is a lot of standing and walking, depending on what Henri wants to do. At least if we were running I'd be, well, running, warming myself up. Ugh, the windy days are the worst!

I don't know what's wrong with me. Last year, I barely noticed the temperature change. It was more a matter of fact. Well, it's colder now. Still have to go to the dog park. Let's see how many layers I can fit under this coat! I didn't feel sluggish or lose motivation. I hope I'm not getting lazy because of the inability to work out as much because of my ankle!

I'm afraid of how I'll feel when it's time to run in these temperatures. These are the exact temperatures that we first started running in and ran in a lot last year. It never really felt that cold.

I actually like winter. I don't like being cold, but I like heat. Heaters and fires and hot chocolate, oh my! I also love snow. I don't want it to mess with Henri and I getting out and getting exercise, but I love it. And Henri certainly loves winter!

Maybe it's just been the lack of fall. It's been back and forth and never really felt like fall and now it's just getting cold, heading to winter. Maybe it was just a dreary day. Maybe my mood is just a reflection of the light drizzle and grey sky. I need to snap out of it! We've got months of this. I can't be getting the winter blahs already!

I know yesterday was an anomaly. I'm thankful for the days that are beautiful and even the ones that are not, because I get to be outside with my bestest buddy, and watch him enjoy it. Whether we're at the dog park or on a run, we're together and enjoying life and each other, no matter the temperature.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Love This Dog

Have I ever mentioned that I love this dog? Because I do. I really, really do. As I begin to write this, Henri is at my feet, rolling onto his back. He does this when he wants attention. Apparently, the last 40 minutes that we spent together on our run just wasn't enough.

I came home and he was very impatient as I put away the groceries. I don't know how he knows the difference between run days and park days. He seems more excited for the run days. I'm sure he enjoys the park days more, but he acts like he can not WAIT till we go for our run. He's bouncing around, his monkey hanging from his mouth. I make a move that he interprets as going towards the stairs to change and he takes off, only to find that I'm not yet behind him and I'm still putting stuff away. He whines and looks at me expectantly. I'm not trying to torture him. I'm going as quickly as I can!

Finally, we are going upstairs where he dashes up and down the hall, coming around corners and diving onto the bed in extreme excitement. Every move I make is supposed to be to go back DOWNSTAIRS so we can go. More whining. It's annoying, but it's pretty hilarious. I can't even be mad at him.

Today, we ran past several dogs who wanted to visit with him, but he went on by. Henri was busy. He had a job to do, and by job I mean he needed to get me out of the house, around the neighborhood and back home, as quickly as possible, though he seems to get that my injury still slows me down.  Even one of the more "aggressive" dogs behind a fence, Henri ran on by, looking nervously behind him, but he didn't engage.

He gets the command "Front", when plants are grown over the sidewalk and I need him to go in front of me, even though I don't use it that often. He still runs in the grass at the places I used to say "grass" because the new houses had mud running off onto the sidewalk and it was really slippery to even walk through. He's just smart!

Then there his is running beside me, prancing along side me, smiling up at me, his tongue hanging of the side of his mouth. He's cute, too!

Friday, October 31, 2014

My Running Partner Has Four Legs Link Party

Hi! This is Henri! He is my running partner! *whispers* He has four legs!

If you search through different parts of this blog or read through my blog posts, you will learn a lot about Henri and the adventures we have had over the last several months since I started blogging, but since this is meant to be an introduction post for anyone who wants to connect through the My Running Partner Has Four Legs Link Party, I will give you a brief synapses.

Henri is a two and a half year old Shepard mix. He was born in a shelter nearby and advertised as an Australian Shepard mix. Mixed with what, we're not sure. He has a tail that makes people think Husky. I think German Shepard. We could all be wrong and he's part Chihuahua (but I doubt it).

I started this blog in hopes of connecting and inspiring others to run with their dogs. I, personally, believe that there is no better running partner. I have attempted to run on my own several times. I just never got into it. I had a roommate that ran, but I couldn't keep up and that did the opposite of motivate me. I ran a few times before I got Henri, but I never felt like I was any good at it or that it was really worth my time.

Then came Henri. This bouncing ball or fur and energy that I could not wear down. If we did not go to the dog park, it was not going to be a restful evening. He wanted to play non-stop. Just when you thought he had calmed down, you moved your legs to a different position on the couch and there he was, springing to your side with a toy because, obviously, you were playing a game.  

It was around this time, two years ago, when there were just days we could not go to the dog park. It was raining or it had been and it was muddy. The time had changed and it was too dark. Something had to be done with Henri and a walk just wouldn't cut it. That's when we took our first run. The look on his face when we were done...whether I was good at it or not, we were runners.

This summer, because Henri hates anything over 40 degrees (only a slight exaggeration), I decided that the dog park was out and running was in. We got up early in the morning, Monday through Friday, and went for a 3 mile run. Then I would blog about it. This was about our time together, just the two of us, and how our bond and love grew.

If you've ready the blog you might know that I got injured. I rolled my ankle. This has slowed us down exponentially, more than I thought it would. I'm getting back out there, a little at a time and Henri is patiently waiting, with a smile back at me when I need it most. 

Thank you, Lea, for giving us another way to connect and share our stories of running with our dogs. I hope to read and follow many of you and hopefully, you will follow us, too. I can't wait to read your #happytails!

You can follow Henri and I, here on our blog, or on twitter @6legsarebetter.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


It's a weird feeling to be nice and toasty, but then you touch your own skin and you jump from the chill of it. 

I fear this is our running life now. It was 50 degrees today, so not bad at all. We've run in colder temperatures, and we will run in colder temperatures over the next several months, but it's still a bit of an adjustment. How many layers go I put on? Do I wear long sleeves or short sleeves and a jacket? Do I wear gloves or no? Am I going to be cool enough while we're running and warm enough while we're walking? 

I tweaked my ankle a little bit on Saturday. I wasn't even running! I stepped unevenly on the ground and it turned again. It didn't feel great, so I put off running for a few days, just to give it some time. I considered not running today, but I think I really wanted to as I couldn't seem to make myself stick to "I should skip today," or "I'll only go running if I get the Pro Compression socks I ordered." and Henri really wanted to. He was running and jumping around when I came home. I can't say 'no' to him!

So, we went and it was good! I think my shoes are really good for the state my ankle is in right now. I felt a little wobbly when we started, but I just kept us at a slow pace and it felt better after awhile. We even pushed it to 2 miles again (I don't remember if I mentioned that last time). I know Henri wants to keep going, especially since it feels awesome outside to him. We'll keep working on it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy Howloween

This weekend was packed with Halloween festivities! PetSmart had their "Frightfully Delightful" event this weekend, a boarding/training facility down the street had their "Howl-O-Ween Bash" and the Champaign Dog Park had their "Howl'oween" Event!

The first year we had Henri, he was Indiana Bones. We didn't go anywhere and he really only wore the costume so I could take his picture. Last year, we found out about the Dog Park Costume Contest. I think we found out about it kind of late because I remember not having much time to come up with something. There were several categories, one of which was the Best Group Costume, in which the dog(s) and human(s) coordinate. Henri was The Big Bad Wolf and I was the Third Little Pig. It was clever and Henri didn't mind wearing a sign and having the first and second little pig dangling around his neck. Perhaps my artistic interpretation just doesn't translate super well. We didn't win anything, but we were super cute. At least I thought so. I was able to see what we were up against though, and knowing that, I was able to think bigger this year. Still striving for the Best Group Costume, I came up with Henri as a scuba diver and I was a jellyfish. My husband could pick something else to coordinate with us if he so chose.

Scuba Diver, huh? Yeah, simple. The hard part was sewing a scuba suit, because I'm not very good at sewing yet, but I'm going to have to learn if these are the types of things I come up with! So, I worked several late nights, creating a scuba suit for Henri, finding just the right supplies to make his oxygen tank and flippers. I put the goggles around his neck, making sure he was okay with them hanging on him, because there was not way he was wearing them on his head. He fussed with them at first and then he was fine. I tried his suit on earlier in the week, to make sure it fit and he was okay, even running after a toy while wearing it. Friday night, I finished his tank and put it on him and he froze. He didn't like it. I had made it as lightweight as I could, keeping the hose from dangling off of him, attaching it all to a harness that he was already use to, but he was not happy. I didn't know what to do! I have just spent all that time on a scuba suit, a jellyfish umbrella and even a shark hoodie for my husband and Henri wasn't going to wear his scuba tank! What was I going to do? I couldn't scrap everything and come up with something new in one day! The PetSmart event and Dog House on the Prairie event were Saturday, the next day. I could skip them and work on new costumes or I could just forget the whole thing.

I've mentioned I'm stubborn before. I decided we would take in one event at a time. If Henri would just wear his tank for a picture at PetSmart, if he would just walk through the store in his costume, we could skip the afternoon event if he was miserable. Guess what? He wasn't miserable! Once I got him to move, he was okay. I think he liked the attention he was getting. 

After PetSmart, I drove him out to a lake to take some pictures of him by the water, as if he had been scuba diving. I then proceeded to buy him some McDonalds, which he shared with me, as reward for doing so well. He really did do well! I was so proud of him! 

We went to the Dog House on the Prairie, which was a new place so I knew he would be nervous, but he even lay down at one point, relaxing a little. Yes! This was going to work! Just one more event!

There we were, Henri the scuba diver, my husband the shark and me, the jellyfish. Henri did surprisingly well with the fact that I had an umbrella, but my jellyfish tentacles did not do very well in the wind, which there is always more of out in the open area of the dog parks. The got tangled and snagged, some ripping off. We didn't even get a picture of the three of us. In the end, Henri did win Best Costume on a Dog. So, my hard work paid off. Maybe we can get Best Group next year. Hmm...what could we be?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Wish

Tonight we ran close to two miles before we slowed to a walk. My foot didn't bother me as much. I'm hoping that trend can continue.

I'm going to miss the sun casting a silhouette of Henri and I as we run by fences. I wish I could take a picture of it. It's motivational for me. I don't look as stupid as I think I do! 

The weather in the Midwest is that you can start off running, needing a long sleeve shirt, but you're going to be too warm once you get going. Then the sun is really going to be going down and you're going to be cooling off, really fast, thanks to not knowing whether to wear short sleeves or long sleeves. Really, either way, it's not enough. It does feel good while you're running though.

I wish the weather would stay like this another month or so. I wish that it wasn't going to be dark every time we go running soon. I wish I could run more now, before all this "fall" happens. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Shoes Work!

In case you missed it, I got new shoes!

They're pretty! That's a very important feature of my shoes. Yes, it was extremely important that they where right for my feet and my ankle, but after that, "Do you have anything in blue?" The guy sympathized with me. He liked blue, too. He worked hard to find me some blue shoes. He had to special order them, but they are beautiful! And blue! Now I have two things to smile about when I look down while I'm running.

It was nice to run again. I was super tired after a long, exhausting weekend. I had a million excuses for not running after work today, but I had one really good reason to run, and it wasn't my shoes :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

An Ankle Update

We went for a mini-run today, but that was only because our walk was taking too long and I needed to get to my sports physical therapy screening. I was not prepared to run for even the few minutes that we did. I hadn't wanted to confuse Henri so I used a regular leash, as opposed to the around the waist leash. I had my iPod clipped onto my pants instead of in my armband and my keys (Yes, I'd brought more than just my house key this time) weren't exactly secured so they were jingling the entire time. It was awkward, but it did shave a few minutes off the walk, and if my GPS hadn't told me the place was on the right when it was clearly on the left, I might have made, I was still late. I hate being late.

Anyway, the good news is that she didn't think I needed an MRI at this point. She thinks I irritated the ligaments that connect my leg to my foot. I'm pretty sure she said irritated. My ankle is still swollen and I should still be icing it and elevating it. I need to work on strengthening and balance. 

I also need new shoes. I was trying to put that off until Christmas, but she acted like I should not run in those shoes ever again. That makes my shoes sound like they're in really bad shape. Sure, I knew I was pushing the limit of the miles on these shoes, but the tread still looks good. I don't think they're that bad. They are also colorful now that they went through the color run. 

I know, they have a hole in them and they're a little worn. Call me sentimental! They're my first real running shoes! I was going to ask for new ones for Christmas. That's just a few months away! Fine. Henri is worth it.

I think I've come up with a plan for now that it's cooling off, and now that I know more about my ankle. We'll run on Mondays and Wednesdays, the days that I get off work later and we wouldn't have time to go to the dog park before it gets dark. The other days will be spent at the dog park, unless it's rainy or muddy and running is the best option. I can go after work and we'll be safe. It will also be warmer because while it might be cooling off, at least it would have gotten to the days high rather than the evenings low. So, every once in awhile, we might get a bonus run, but for now it will be twice a long as everything goes well.

I do love running with Henri. I love his attitude. I love the way he smiles up at me. I love how he watches me for cues for our paths and turns. I don't think I would enjoy running this much if I didn't have him to go with me. I can't think of a better running partner!

Monday, October 6, 2014

So Many Decisions

You may have noticed, I did not blog on Thursday or Friday. We didn't run either, which hasn't really stopped me in the past, but I was feeling discouraged and frustrated so I decided that it was just time to take a break.

We did run today, this afternoon, after I got off work. We're getting to the point that we are going to have to make a decision about the adjustment to the cooler weather and the shorter days. The time changes this Sunday so it will be darker later in the morning and darker earlier in the evening. 

While I continue to figure out what to do about that, I'm also trying to figure out how to get my foot better, so that I can run my 3 miles again. I'm going to go to a sports physical therapy center this week. They can do a free assessment and maybe help me figure out what needs to be done next. My foot still hurt last Thursday from The Color Run. My ankle just feels weak, though I think some of that is in my head. It felt good to run today, but my foot still hurt and I had a little limp after we ran our 1.5 miles. Even if I can't run every day, it would be nice to have the option when it's been raining for days and the dog park is soaked, or I get off work too late for the dog park, but a run can still happen. Plus, I have this blog now. I don't want to give up on it yet!

All will be figure out, eventually. We'll see what runs this week brings. The point is that we enjoy it, Henri and I. It was good to run with my little buddy again. He makes it all worth it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What A Beautiful Dog

I don't know how to respond when someone compliments me on how beautiful Henri is, or how beautiful his coloring is. Of course I thank them, but other than that, I just feel awkward. This happened four times at the dog park yesterday, and it's just got me thinking.

Oh, how awful! Everyone compliments you on your dog. Are you bragging? 

Yes, I think Henri is a cute dog. I always thought that I just felt that way because he was mine. You know, like people feel about their kids. Your kids are always the most beautiful kids in the world, but that's a little different because they're also a reflection of you. You can see yourself and your spouse in their looks, their mannerisms and hear them in their laugh. I had nothing to do with how Henri looks. He does not have my hair or my husbands eyes. His beauty is not a reflection of me, unfortunately for as much as he is complimented :)

We picked him out of a litter of eight. I suppose he is a reflection of our taste, but we didn't really know how he was going to look when he grew up. I actually wanted him to be fluffier, have the longer hair of an Australian Shepard. My husband wanted him to be lighter, more golden like a Golden Retriever. He didn't turn out the way either one of us thought he would. Is he still a reflection of our taste when we pictured him looking differently when we picked him out?

What do I do when I'm so enamored with a pup that I just can't keep it to myself? I'm pretty sure I always tell the dog that they are cute, not the owner. Maybe that's just me being me and preferring to talk to the dogs over the humans. Maybe I feel awkward because I don't really know how to communicate with humans. I guess the dog has no control over how cute he is either, so am I doing the same thing to them that others are doing to me? Is he sitting there as I pet him, thinking, "I had nothing to do with it, Lady. Go talk to my mother...but, wait until you're done rubbing my face."

Sorry for making you feel awkward, Puppy. You're adorable! Henri is, too. I guess I will just have to continue saying, "Thank you," until I can learn to better communicate with humans. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Waiting Game

Yep, I'm playing the waiting game with my foot again. It still hurts from Saturday so I'm not walking and I'm certainly not running. I guess I have to start over, letting my foot rest and building back up to the running again. At least it shouldn't take as long this time. I also have more time before another 5k, so I'm not as pressured, other than by myself, and let's face it I'm the worst when it comes to pressuring myself.

It cooled off today. It finally felt like fall. Henri was pretty happy about that. He was able to go to the dog park and he actually wanted to run and play. He got some other dogs to chase him. He chased a ball. He just enjoyed being outside. He hasn't seemed too upset that we have missed our morning activities thus far this week.

We'll take off one more day and see how I feel tomorrow. Maybe we'll at least be able to get out and walk on Thursday morning. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Color, Color, Everywhere

This was my Saturday. How was yours?

The Color Run was AWESOME! I must do it again! Like, now. Well, not now because I definitely overdid it and couldn't put weight on my foot for about 6 hours and am still struggling with a little pain 48 hours later, but I'm going to go ahead and say it was worth it.

Truly, I did want to do it again, immediately. It was fun. There was music. There was dancing. There was color. There was the running part, too, which after only one week of getting back into it, was a little much, but I pushed through. I realized that this was my first actual 5k. I walked the Polar Paws 5k last year. I would have run it, but I didn't know that my sister was going to run it and that would have left my mom walking all by herself. So this is the first 5k that I ran! And I ran the whole thing! Ignore the fact that running the whole thing was probably a mistake.

Seriously, what a great way to start the day! We stayed for the after-party for about an hour, dancing in the color clouds. When I got in my car, I didn't really want to sit down. I turned my music up and danced a little more, on the way to brunch.

I did miss my four-legged running partner though. I may or may not have given him a hug upon coming home.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Game

I did the right thing and didn't go for a run this morning. This is really only the right thing for the sake of my ankle. Not me. Not Henri. I have to be able to run in The Color Run tomorrow!

I knew my ankle needed a break. I just didn't want to give it one. It was a little achy. I went from walking about two miles a day to jogging a mile and a half and then walking the other mile and a half. I probably should have eased into it a little better, but I was excited to be at it again. It just felt good! I knew I needed to be able to run tomorrow and I didn't want to go six days in a row with only one day of recovery. If I didn't have to run tomorrow, I would have gone this morning. I wanted to and Henri wanted to.

My alarm went off and Henri came in, his tail wagging. He followed me around as I started to get ready, tail still wagging, until he noticed I put on work clothes, not workout clothes. I felt so bad! His tail stopped wagging and he just looked at me. Ugh, I'm so horrible!

I did play a game with him before I went to work. I hope I can do this story justice, because I was pretty impressed with him. He had a plastic dumbbell toy that he was wanting me to throw down the hallway and then play keep away when he brought it back. We played a few times and then he started getting frustrated with me always asking him to 'drop it' and 'leave it'. The keep away part was taking over, so, I grabbed his favorite monkey and started cuddling with it and walking it around. He dropped the dumbbell and I took it, putting Monkey in my lap. He's amped up and ready to run, so, I throw the dumbbell and he totally fakes me out and grabs Monkey from my lap instead! He was so fast, I didn't even know it was happening and then I just sat there, shocked that he had pulled that off so successfully. 

I think he's a genius. Just saying.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Side By Side

It was a quiet morning run. I don't think we saw a single person out this morning. There even seemed to be fewer cars going by. Maybe everybody decided to sleep in today. Not us. We got up and ran.

I'm doing my best to keep at a slower pace, to run fewer miles, to give my ankle time to build itself back up. It's hard, but I can tell it's the right thing. 

Henri is spending more time right at my side while we're running. I don't know if it's the loose leash training we did while we were walking, or if he's trying to encourage me to keep going, but it's so cute when he trots along side of me and smiles up at me. It's probably my favorite thing he does. 

I don't really know how people do that on sidewalks. I feel like I need him to be in front of me or we will trip, and that's probably more due to my lack of grace than Henri. Sometimes I just find myself not going in a straight line. Plus, if he's in front of me, I can use his collar to light up the sidewalk for me so I can make sure I'm not tripping over anything. So, we've got a new command for our runs. "Front" for when we're going by a bush that juts out onto the sidewalk. I don't know if he knows the command or if he's just nervous that there is a bush in our path. He's not doing his normal, "Eek! A thing!" movement, so I think it's the command.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Virtual Run Day Three

We finished the last mile of the Running with Ollie Virtual Run this morning! Here's our "something that makes you smile".

Yes, we really found this on our run! How perfect is that? I never saw the starting line, but I supposed that's not nearly as important as the finish line. Well, that's not true, but then we're just getting deep and philosophical and it's Wednesday.

So, we have two images left for the scavenger hunt. Thankfully, we had a little sunlight at the end of our run today. I was trying to think of something that would be considered unique, in case I didn't just happen across something. I realized that most people probably don't have a skate park practically in their back yard, so we're going with that as our "something unique".

When we went by, it was still pretty dark, so I planned on running around the park one more time. Then a semi-aggressive dog that we had come across on a previous run entered the park. I didn't want to have to create any stressful situations for either parties so we continued on our normal route, to turn back around once the sun was up.

Lastly, "a record of our run". Here you can see that I forgot to turn it on at first, hence the start and finish are not at the same place, and you can see the crazy path that we took, just to take a picture at the skate park :) I can hardly make sense of it and I ran it.

There you have it! I would have liked to have attempted the four miles in one run, had I not been injured or had time to work up to my normal runs. Sometimes I feel like three miles is the best I can do, but what's one more mile, really? Maybe next time! Thanks, Lea and Ollie, for giving us something fun to do this week!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Virtual Run Day Two

Another mile and a half down in the Running with Ollie Virtual Run! Tomorrow we will finish our four miles off!

Since a majority of our runs are at o'dark thirty, I am going to have a harder time completing the scavenger hunt than I realized. If it's not too dark to see anything, it's too dark to take a picture or I'm being blinded by headlights and then having to adjust to the to the dark again. I can't see anything!

Well, you know I think my running partner is pretty great. I decided I want to figure out a way to work him into every picture for the scavenger hunt. Yeah, because it wasn't hard enough already, but, really, what is the one thing I can see the entire run? Henri. So here is my solution for today:

"Something Beautiful" Matching pretty blue lights! And a Henri smile! Some minor editing, sorry for the blowout.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Virtual Run Day One

I did what I was supposed to. I took the time off from running for my ankle to heal. I didn't run on Thursday or Friday (or this weekend) so my back could finish sorting itself out. Today, we ran! And, boy, did it feel good.

Okay. It wasn't really a run since I'm supposed to work up to a run. It was a run-ish type thing, and that's what matters. I have to get my ankle strong again. I could feel it as we were moving, but, seriously, I'm just so excited about running again!

Just in time, too! This week starts the Running With Ollie Virtual 4-mile Fun Run and Scavenger Hunt. I've never done a virtual run before. It's run that can be run wherever you are! You can do it all at once, or in pieces. You can do it running around your neighborhood or on a treadmill at the gym. It's pretty much all up to you! You just report back online. Of course, I'm excited about this one because Lea, who organized this whole thing, runs with her dog, Ollie (Hence the name of the run and her blog). Ohmigosh! I run with my dog! 

So, today, since I still have to build my ankle back up, we ran what we'll call a mile and a half, at a steady pace. It probably wasn't that much slower than our normal running pace, but it could just feel that way since I haven't ran in 6 weeks and I was SO ready to run!

Now for the Scavenger Hunt part of the run. I have to post five things for the scavenger hunt. A running selfie, something beautiful, something unique, something that makes me smile and a record of our run. Today, I choose the running selfie even though it is also something that makes me smile and I think it's beautiful.

Henri is so happy to be running again! I'm so happy to be running with him! And yes, it counts that my feet are in the picture.

I've been telling him all weekend that we were going running today. I have made sure not to walk our normal running path because I didn't want to confuse him and have him pull me while I needed to be walking. He perked up when I told him to turn towards the running path instead of go straight. He was one happy puppy!