Wednesday, December 30, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 52: Peace

The past week has not been a great one for me. While I've been battling some health stuff all year, it's really been coming to head lately. This has made the holidays somewhat hard to enjoy. It has also made it difficult to get out for runs with Henri, which is often times the best part of my day

Yesterday, I had some tests which came back clear. I also had a day where I felt 90 percent. Today, while I felt 70 percent, I decided that was good enough for a run, so out we went, into the cold, for a run. 

Henri was pretty excited. He kept looking up at me, long enough to trip himself up because he wasn't watching where he was going. It's always good to get out for a run after time off, but having some good news gave me a little extra motivation. Sometimes it just feels good to run. A few fluttering snowflakes added an extra element of enjoyment. It was happiness all around.

Bonus kisses after the run. Here's to hoping that more good news follows more doctors appointments or at least better feeling days so I can be where I want to be and do what I want to do.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 51: Friend

I had two options for this week's photo; a picture of us running with our friends or just Henri and I. Well, it's cold and we don't get to run with our friends very often, so, I guess it's just me an Henri, as it should be.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 50: Neighbor

I'm going to cheat on this one a little in that I'm going to use multiple pictures and I didn't take any of them.

This time of year is about giving back. Henri's stops to see Santa each give back to some dogs in need in the community - our neighbors. I call it Santa Tour 2015.

Our first stop was to see Santa and his elf in support of Hospice Hearts. An organization providing care and foster homes of pets with terminally ill owners or at owner's passing. They were able to raise $300 to help care for these pets in transition. 

Henri's recent run in with our actual neighbor-dog has made him, understandably, even more apprehensive around dogs, but also strangers. I guess that includes Santa, so I am making more appearances in these pictures than originally intended.

Our second stop on Santa Tour 2015 was to benefit MARS Pet Rescue and Snap Cat, two more area rescues. Over 70 pups were photographed, including one that that was adopted from MARS Pet Rescue. Some of the proceeds also went to Crisis Nursery Pregnancy Center, so babies and puppies benefited from these pictures.

Next stop, our annual pictures to benefit the local Humane Society. Funny thing, squeaky toys get the attention of Santa and the owners, too, but this picture was cuter.

Lastly, pictures to benefit our friends at PetNet, another local foster organization. Henri also donated some of his toys he no longer plays with to give to some of the dogs in foster care while they wait for their forever home. Maybe he will eventually be able to share his home, too. Henri thinks that idea is hilarious!

We made good use of our ugly outfits from this years run since I worked so hard on them. Henri made sure that you could see my skirt and the back of his sweater. Santa wasn't sure what to think.

And just because I love my latest creation, Henri and I in our matching scarf and bandanna.

Christmas is around the corner! Hopefully, all of our dog friends in the area will get to enjoy the holiday a little more because Henri posed for some pictures with a scary guy with a beard!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Feels So Good

After much rain, the cooler weather has come in (for now - it's supposed to warm up again next week. What!?) and we are loving it! The wind can be a little chilling, but other than that, this is our sweet spot. Anywhere in the thirty degree range is perfect! I can totally do the twenties, too. 

Don't get me wrong. I don't want the cold to stick around forever. I like the cold for running, that is it. The rest of the time you will find me sitting on top of a heater. I'm sure we are not going to see the end of Winter until May now, knowing Central Illinois. I'm just going to appreciate it while I can. It's a little harder to get psyched up for a run, sure, but it feels so good!

Yeah, I've become THAT person.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sick Day(s)

Tuesday morning started out pretty much the same way most Tuesday mornings start out. I got up, fed Henri, let him outside and proceeded to get ready for work. Henri comes in from outside and realizes he is tracking in what I first thought was mud, later discovered in was poop, but that detail is not really that important to the story. Either substance that was tracked in, Henri came and set next to me, seemingly very nervous. I think that he's upset that he tracked something in or thinks I'm upset with him rather, which I am not. I hardly care at all, not even cleaning it up right away as I am getting ready to for. I look at him a moment later and he is salivating profusely, as if I am dangling a slice of pizza in front of him. This stirs me into action. I start talking to him, asking what is wrong, telling him it's okay that he dragged mud in, grab a paper towel to wipe off his mouth, then clean up the mud...oh yes, it's poop. He doesn't salivate any more, but he still sticks very close to me. I don't know what's wrong with him. I can't see anything. He isn't telling me anything. He's just not himself! 

I'm watching him as I continue to get ready to work, trying to decipher what he might be trying to tell me, but failing. The vet doesn't open for another hour and a half. I'm not taking him to the emergency vet. He's just being weird, even for a weird dog. I'm trying to decide what to do. He knows it's time for me to leave and he gets a treat when I leave. He's a dog of routine and he can get impatient. Now I don't know if he's being weird or if he's just waiting for me to leave. I wake my husband and one, I just woke him up. He isn't thinking clearly, but he does mention that Henri might have swallowed part of a squeaker after I went to bed (This is why I have rules about playing with certain toys unsupervised!) Okay, but he ate fine, he's just being weird. Maybe he is just waiting for me to leave, so I went to work, giving him his much anticipated treat and trying not to choke on my tears as I say 'good-bye'. (Yes, I made sure to say, "I love you." That's probably what killed me.)

I start getting texts shortly after getting to work. He is still acting weird. He is staying close by, but still, that's all he's doing. So, I call the vet and, of course, there isn't much they can do without seeing him and even then, are they going to be able to help? Who knows, but now I'm going home and getting him, taking him to the vet and staying with him for the morning until my husband can get some work to work on from home. The vet checks him out, says to watch for vomiting and gives us some anti-nausea medicine.

Despite the beautiful mid-fifties weather, no run, obviously.

By Tuesday evening, Henri is much more himself. He eats fine, he isn't throwing up and he wants to play with his toys. Possible crisis averted.

Strange noises in the middle of the night are coming from Henri's bed, but he must have been dreaming. As soon as we say his name, the noises stop.

Wednesday morning, Henri seems to be better. the daily routine starts and Henri is whining at me, like I cannot move fast enough to get to feeding him. This isn't exactly abnormal, but it makes much more sense when I walk downstairs to find that he has thrown up overnight (He's hungry!) and there, in two humongous pieces, is the squeaker. The whole squeaker (minus the little part that always pops out, which I find is actually the only part that was found after Henri may have eaten some squeaker)! Well, at least it's out. Feed me, Seymour! - says Henri.

Another beautiful day, and Henri had been so spy the night before, I'm planning on a run. I get home and start to change, telling Henri we're going for a run. This is the whole point of this story. I tell him, "We're going on a run! Do you want to go on a run? Do you feel okay? If you don't, that's okay. You just have to tell me and we will not go on a run." Henri gets up on the bed, lies down and looks sad. Okay. I asked. He said no. Why couldn't he have told me what was wrong the day before this easily? I'm just amazed at how well he communicates (and how well I listen. Come on, I get some of the credit)! 

He must have felt better today. He was up for a run. We were able to go out for a run, in the 60 degree weather in the middle of December. What!? 

Monday, December 7, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 49: Bokeh

One (and probably the only) perk of running in the dark is the Christmas lights. It gets darker earlier and given that half of our runs in a week occur around or after 5pm, we are caught in the darkness. The Christmas lights bring...well, Christmas cheer! And they light the streets pretty well, too. That comes in handy!

Speaking of Christmas lights, I put up our Christmas Tree this weekend. I don't know why I love these cotton-headed lights so much. They just raise my blood pressure every time I try to put them on the tree. It usually starts out fine, the teases, and half-way through, BAM! A light bulb burns out and blows the fuse of every strand of lights connected to it. Every single time I get going, and that's if the strand lights up at all. I marked some boxes with blue post-it's but I don't remember what that meant so I guess that didn't help.

So, I planned my task of putting up the tree around going on a run, which I was sure I was going to need either during or after putting on the lights. I should have just worn my running clothes. I would have been ready to go. I planned on taking some pictures of us running by some of the houses while I destressed, but then a happy accident happened. Henri, waiting ever so patiently for the inevitable run, lay in the middle of the lights. He was so adorable! I decided to use a picture of that instead of stressing myself out by trying to get a picture of us in the dark and just use the run for what it was meant for. Getting away from my Christmas Tree! Oh, cursed OCD! The tree does look fantastic when I'm done, if I do say so myself. I suppose I will keep these lights as long as I can buy new fuses

Sunday, November 29, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 48: Thankful

Piggy backing on the previous weeks theme of Passion, of course, where your passion lies, so does your heart and this boy has my heart. This boy had some big paws to fill. I am thankful for these moments during out runs when Henri looks up at me with such joy on his face and I reach down and scratch his cheek and we run like that for a few seconds, connected. We probably look pretty goofy to any passerby-ers.

Thank you, Henri, for getting me outside, for inspiring a love for running, for being my running partner, but most of all, thank you for showing me that I can love another dog without losing the love I had for the others.

Pumpkin Paws Jog

You may recall, a long, long time a ago, Henri and I ran in the local Polar Paws event. This was in 2013, so it's been awhile. It was our first organized run and we had a blast! I was looking forward to and prepping our outfits for the 2014 Polar Paws event when a snow storm came in early in November and scared off all the sign-ups, thus the event was cancelled. Boo. Disappointment ensued. I tried not to become too hopeful when they announced the event this year, now named Pumpkin Paws and moved up into November in hopes of missing the colder weather. The ironic thing was that the weekend it was originally scheduled last year was a beautiful weekend and not cold at all. Irony hit again as, this year, the weekend the event was scheduled, we received our first snow.

I had been busy with our Halloween costumes up until the Halloween event, so as soon as that was over, it was back to working on the pieces for our holiday themed outfits for Pumpkin Paws. Since the event was the weekend before Thanksgiving, we decided to bring in the holiday cheer with some "Ugly Sweater" themed outfits. I made an ugly Christmas Tree Skirt from a real Christmas Tree Skirt for myself and Henri got an ugly fleece jacket. I worked tirelessly from the point of completing our Halloween costumes to the week leading up the run. Then I realized I was running out of time and stayed up late every night that week to finish all our parts. I was working until 1:20pm on the day of the 2pm event. Yeah, I cut it that close. 

My sister and Payton joined in on our "Ugly Sweater" fun. Our outfits went perfectly with the snowy conditions! 

Henri and Payton, historically, have had some issues, but they ran very nicely together, even running side-by-side for part of the run. The sidewalks were a little icy in spots and all of us have other activities to do that are best done with all ankle and legs intact, so we ran a slow and careful run. We sure looked good though! I'm going to have to reuse the outfits though. I worked far too hard on them to have this be it ;)

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 47: Passion

I can be a bit "obsessive" when it comes to the things I am passionate about. I'm an all in type of person. One of the things I am passionate (obsess) about is dogs, obviously. There are many reasons for this. First, dogs are awesome. Enough said. Second, I really wanted a dog for a long time and was not allowed to have one so I may go slightly overboard now. Third, I am at an age where I want children, but I have a dog, so guess who is my baby.

Those are the three most obvious reasons I am so passionate about dogs, but when you are able to build on the passion and do something with it, it just solidifies that this something is real, it's important and it can matter to more than just you. Running with Henri does that. 

While Six Legs Are Better Than Two hasn't yet become what I want it to, it's still important to me. It has created a bond between Henri and I that I wouldn't trade for anything else in the world. I want others to be able to have this same bond, this same passion. This passion will continue to bend and grow. I will continue to share our "happy tails" and we will see where this passion leads, but even if all it leads to is the end of this leash, I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Crazy Weather

It's been days of rain and wind which means no runs! Boo! While we were experiencing record lows last November, we're experiencing record highs this November. Crazy weather.

We were able to run this evening, even though it was getting dark. I rushed around as quick as I could after work. Henri waited patiently, if you consider laying in the middle of the floor with his head resting on his paws and wearing a mopey face and letting an occasional sigh or whine escape from his throat, "patient".

Many things contributed to a high speed run tonight:
  • 3 days off
  • 60 degree weather
  • High speed winds at our back for much of mile 1
  • 2 skateboarders on the sidewalk behind us in the park for a portion of mile 2
  • The wind cooling us down because it's 60 degrees out and we were running fast - that just felt good!
  • A Beagle on his run for the first half of mile 3, howling like he was chasing some game
  • We'd already run most of the run at higher speeds - finish strong!
All in all, it just felt good to run. I don't want to go back to only running a few days a week because of cold weather!

The Beagle has made me slightly nervous for Henri's run on Saturday. We will see how it goes. At least our outfits are going to be awesome...if I can get back to making them. Gotta go!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Busy weekends are the worst! Especially when all the busy takes you away from things you would rather be doing, like working on your projects, playing with your four legged friend or just sitting on the couch, doing nothing. Well, I'm going to do all the busy AND do the things I want to do, they will just occur in much smaller increments than hoped for.

Since I knew I would be gone a lot Saturday and Sunday, I took Henri out for a run. We went destination again, despite the smaller window of opportunity. Some things are worth making the extra time. 

I needed to get Henri out and running around other dogs again. We have a doggie 5k next weekend and while he's run by a few dogs on our neighborhood runs, I needed to test him around the more frequent occurrence of dogs. One of our destinations have wider sidewalks and the dogs are usually pretty well behaved. It's usually the same dogs, or at least dogs that walk there often enough that are comfortable and familiar, leading to better behavior. I thought it would be a safe place to get Henri back in his groove.

I planned it out carefully. We went one direction so that we would be coming up on most of the dogs face to face, not passing from behind. I wanted them to know Henri was there, to be aware of him and doing whatever they were going to do so I could adjust Henri to what he needed to do. He passed with flying colors, literally. He passed each dog, sometimes not even turning his head to sniff at them. I'm sure he was still sniffing, I just didn't see it. We even came across a few that we had to pass from behind and he kept moving, focusing on the run. He was a little nervous, I could tell, but stuck with me, did what I did and looked up at me with each praise, seemingly so proud, until he didn't seem to notice them anymore. Besides the other dogs, there were loud gun shot-ish noises coming from nearby. (Obviously, I did not know the loud noises would be occurring or I would not have taken him there.) He didn't like that, but he kept focused on me and the run and he didn't whine. It was either the best time to test him or not the best time to test him, but he did great, either way. I kept a close eye on him while remaining calm. I might try to get him out there one more time during the week, but I'm confident he'll be great for our run on Saturday. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 45: Fall

I really wanted to run today, but, being the weekend, I thought we should adventure out of the neighborhood. We can't waste these beautiful fall days! 

So, it was harder to find trees that still have leaves on them at this point since it's rained several times since Fall began (and that's just how Fall works), but we were able to enjoy some Fall colors here and there, especially as the sun was beginning to set.


Friday, November 6, 2015


We got a run in every day this week thus far and I'm pushing to get at least one in this weekend, too. That might be overdoing it a bit. I don't know. We'll see.

I felt pretty slow today, but, again, it turned out to be my best time of the week. I guess after the run in the wind and rain yesterday, my legs just felt like they were struggling. I would have thought it would have been the other way around, they would have felt free! Once we got past the first mile and a half, they snapped out of it and it just felt like a steady jog. Henri was extra motivating with lots of smiles! Way to keep me going, Henri!

Actually, Henri cracks me up sometimes. I don't remember if I've mentioned it before, but he's a little bit of a show-off. When we're passing other people, especially with dogs, he puffs out his chest as we run by. I guess it's the same as when runners correct their form when they go by another runner. I kinda did the same thing today, which was even more funny. Really, I think I was trying to avoid the dog barking at Henri, but we moved into the street and we were moving at a pretty good pace. Unfortunately, it was a pace I couldn't keep up for very long today, but Henri and I really are becoming the same in all things :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Christmas Is Coming

As we ran through the neighborhood today, I remembered that Christmas lights are coming! While running through the neighborhood rather than around it slows our pace, slowing or stopping at all the crosswalks, Christmas lights will make it worth it. Well, it depends. Henri doesn't like those blow up things that get put in the yards so we'll have to see :)

It's fine. It's November. I can use the C-word. I also work in retail, so if I can still get excited about Christmas, so can you.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Tomorrow Is Another Day

I knew today was going to be a busy day at work. I had a lot to do before noon, plus all the regular Monday tasks and the regular day-to-day tasks. There was a lot going on, not surprising, and of course, that last hour is when you start to remember all the things that really need to get done today and the interruptions keep coming. I just didn't want to be there anymore. I can put things off for future me to deal with. I just wanted to get home and run with my boy.

I really wanted to make sure I got off work on time. I was scheduled a little earlier than most Mondays, which was going to come in handy as I wanted to take Henri for a run, but I wanted to avoid the darkness as much as possible. Last Monday it had been getting dark when we went for a run and so I couldn't see the dog was out that ultimately ended up biting Henri. The combination of the time change and this incident has put us in a weird spot. I need every run to be a positive experience for Henri. I need to ease him into situations in which he has to choose to react to a dog barking or not and get him comfortable making the choice to run by. I need to be able to see the situations he's about to get it, so I need to be able to see.

He had one interaction with a dog in the park. They were walking and we were running behind them. The dog noticed Henri and wanted to say 'hi'. Henri froze. I slowed down and eased him by the dog and kept going. Henri didn't look back. He didn't whine. He just didn't remember what he was supposed to do. I'm okay with that. I can slow down to help Henri remember that dogs are not there to hurt him. I can show him to just keep going and nothing bad will happen to him. If we can stick with a few interactions like this a run, I think he'll get his confidence back. I know where all the dogs live in the neighborhood. I know where they are in their backyards when we run by. I can avoid these spots for now and get him back to the place he was. Fingers crossed.

Friday, October 30, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 44: Scary

Today was our first run since Monday. This is not just because it was raining a few days and then really windy. This is because Henri got bit by another dog on our run, Monday. I, of course, stepped in and also got bit.

I know you are not supposed to try to break up a dog fight with your hands, but he had Henri by the nose and wouldn't let go, so I tried to break his grip. Henri was screaming. What was I supposed to do? There was a lot of blood. I'm still not sure whose blood it was. I had blood all over my hands. There was blood splattered on my clothes and face. It looked really bad, thankfully, worse than it turned out to be. It was getting dark so I couldn't see how bad it was and, of course, I didn't care about my wounds. We were almost home, literally a quarter of a mile left of the run. I needed to get Henri into the light so we walked the rest of the way home, Henri seemingly fine, even stopping to pee on the way.

We both ended up with Emergency visits that night, both of us just getting cleaned up and sent home. No stitches for either one of us, just a little bit of gauze and medical tape for me. Most of the bites were isolated to two fingers, my right pointer finger and my left pinkie. I don't know how that happened. I was just trying to do something. Henri's nose was swollen and he was licking a lot, but we were both given a clean bill of health and sent home with antibiotics to fight infection. Look at that! We really do do everything together! 

Let's agree to never have a theme like this again. I was just thinking before we left on our run how I was not going to be able to incorporate our running with "scary". This event was truly scary. My poor baby's nose! It was really the best possible outcome, considering the amount of screaming and blood. The vet said that Henri most likely just blew out of his nose and it sprayed everywhere, making it look like the scene of a murder, rather than the series of paper cuts (really bad paper cuts, made with cardboard) that is was.

Henri moped around for a few days. I know my fingers hurt, so I'm sure his face hurt. He would make loud noises with his tongue as he tried to sooth it and get the swelling to go down. Also, his antibiotics had a side effect of upset stomach, so he really wasn't felling himself.

Today though, today was a beautiful day. The rain was gone. The wind was gone. The cold was gone. It was a perfect day for a run. When I got home from work and started to talk to Henri about it, he seemed more and more like his old self. I wanted to make sure this run was a positive experience for him, so I planned out a route that would avoid dogs barking at him. I had taken off my bandages and while I still couldn't bend my fingers all the way, the bruises had faded to yellow. I wasn't sure what blood quickly pumping through them would feel like, but I would use them as a reference for pain for Henri. The cooler temps in the air would also help keep us comfortable.

I got a little scared right before we left, not for fear of getting attacked again, but for Henri and how he was going to be. I wanted to make sure that he didn't become fearful, nor aggressive in response to what happened to him. I had to get over my fear or Henri was going to feel it and respond in exactly the way I did not want him too. We did pass one dog barking at us. Henri whined, but he was responding in the same way he normally did at that house, so I was comforted by that. I continued to reassure him as I always do and we carried on.

He seemed to enjoy the run. He didn't seem to have any ill effects from the previous encounter. I will continue to watch him as we get back into it, but I am thinking all will be okay. Time heals all wounds, both physical and mental.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads

We finally did it! We won the coveted "Best Group Costume Award". Well, I don't know how coveted it is, but I have tried to win it every year for three years running. The first year Henri was the Big Bad Wolf and I was one of the Three Little Pigs (You know, the last one, because I survived, building my house out of bricks and all). Last year, Henri was a Scuba Diver and I was a Shark. Henri won "Best Costume on a Dog over 25 lbs" (Hey! Are you calling my dog fat?), but we still didn't win the Group Award. I wasn't even sure how I was going to top his Scuba Diver costume, but as a team, we did it!

This was not an easy one. Besides sewing Henri's Doc Brown outfit, I had to make a Delorean that I could wear and walk around with, but still looked cool. I thought I was being pretty detailed with Henri's scuba gear, but the Delorean was much, much more difficult. Yeah, I couldn't just let it be a cardboard car. I did it to myself. I had real seat belts, side view mirrors from bikes, Little Tykes wheels and steering wheel. I had to build the Mr. fusion Home Energy Reactor, the power source on the back of the Delorean and fashion headlights and taillights out of reflective tape and of course, I had to get a miniature version of the license plate. All of this meant many, many hours of cutting, spray painting, gluing and taping.

As I prepared our costumes and asked people for spare parts, I had to explain what I was making. Many people asked, "How are you going to run in that?" Gosh! Can you imagine? (Besides the fact that I would feel pressured to run 88 mph) I had to explain that it was just a parade. Henri and I don't always run. We do lots of fun stuff together, like pretend we are from movies from the 80's :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 42: World

When I've got a million things going on and I'm stressed about getting it all done, my mind is racing and I just don't know where to start, because that's where I've been living for weeks, this is where I start.

It's my favorite place in the whole world. Running, side by side, with my boy.

The Color Run 2015

The happiest 5K on the planet and I couldn't be happier or prouder of my running protege for running the entire thing.

Of course, it was the coldest day we've had yet this fall, but it was sunny, which helped with both the cold and the addition of glitter. We really did shine!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 41: Animal

I'm still playing catch up with the Snapshots of Life challenge! Funny how something that happens every day, suddenly stops happening when you need to take a picture of it!

I'm serious. We see deer while we are running at this particular park every day. They aren't always in the same spot and they are getting harder and harder to see as the leaves start to change color, or as it gets darker earlier. I know they're there, I just can't see them, let alone get a picture of them. They don't seem to be too bothered by the fact that people and dogs are everywhere. Henri doesn't seem to mind them too much either. He just watches them and they watch back. There is a mom and her babies we see the most often...or it could be several set of moms and babies. I don't know.

I know there was a baby or two when I took this, but as in most of my pictures, they disappear, camouflaged into the background. This must be how Nessie and Big Foot stay unphotographed. I'm convinced. They are real.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 40: Framed

I'm a little late and this is not exactly what I had in mind, but I've run out of time to get what I want and I do love this picture. It was my back-up plan, so...

I saw this wall, with this art and I just had to run by it. Of course, my little wolfie and I are blocking the picture of little red riding hood and the big bad wolf, but I guess that's kind of suiting.

I Get By With A Little Help...

...from my iPod.

Fourth run in a row: New hardest run of the week

Well, at least I'm improving past third run in a row. I am thankful for screamo songs that yell, "Go ahead. Run! Run!" when running uphill, followed by a little "We are the champions". Thank you, iPod. That was very motivating.

We went out to one of the parks again today, but we were on our own. Perhaps spoiled by yesterdays adventure, plus the association of this park and our running buddies, Henri seemed a little confused that no one was running with us today. He kept looking behind us and around. I thought maybe someone was coming on a bike, or there was another runner, but no one was ever there. It was a little nerve racking! Maybe that's what made the run so hard ;) Yeah. We'll go with that.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I Must Be Chopped Liver

I think Henri's day was just made!

Henri loves his Papa! He gets super excited whenever the three of us go anywhere, which I guess that should be an indication of how often that happens. Henri seems to think it's a big deal. He has a hard time calming down. He sometimes forgets all the things I teach him because, who cares? Papa's here! So, guess how excited he was that Papa went on a run with us today. SO excited! (Insert replay of Jessie Spano from Saved By The Bell singing 'I'm So Excited' here - but not the scared part, that doesn't apply today.)

We have all run together once before, but we had gone somewhere else, not just around the neighborhood. This made it different. He really wanted to be with his Papa. I was trying to slow down to give them some distance so Henri wouldn't trip him, but I think Papa was trying to slow down to stay with us, or to keep Henri from pulling me the entire run. Either way, Henri had The Best Time! 

By the time we were at the halfway point, Henri calmed down and focused more on the run. He was still trying to keep up with his Papa, but I was starting to run out of gas. Come on! It was my third run in a row this week! That is, historically, my worst run, but I kept up (with maybe a little help from my sled dog). I had to push a little harder, but that's okay.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

That's Better

Today's run went much better than yesterdays, and by that I mean that it did not end with me sitting in the grass, in pain, trying not to pass out or throw up. I'm okay, I just got some stomach cramp or something that activated my wimpy genes that make me pass out. I'm not sure where the nausea came from, but I haven't been quite able to shake it since. I was determined to get the run in today, even if that meant I was sitting off to the side, waiting till I could walk again. I would just stop much sooner this time, instead of seeing how much I could push it.

Luckily, I felt fine. I felt really good actually. I just wanted to run. We kept it at a comfortable steady pace and finished strong. Henri is getting more and more confident all the time. He does better when dogs are barking as we pass their house. He wasn't even fazed when two dogs that weren't on leashes run up to us as we went by their house. He's doing better at home with the neighbor dogs, too. Now, if I could just get him to be better about going new places...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Running and Getting Nowhere Fast

We were on our own again today, Henri and I. We stayed close to home, so we got out a little earlier. We caught a little more of the sunshine and a lot of wind.

I am not really good at figuring which direction the wind is blowing and where we're going to be running into it. Thankfully, more often than not, it's blowing in a direction that we're heading into at the beginning. Sure, this makes it harder to get going, but it's mostly smooth sailing after that if we (I) can push through. 

Today's run felt like a metaphor. Sometimes, life is hard. You work and you push and sometimes you just feel dragged down, or like you're trying, but you're getting nowhere fast. Then, one day, you're through it and you're stronger for it. Maybe you weren't really that weak to start with. It may not have gone quite the way you wanted it to, but here you are, on the other side. Oh, and it's always better to go through it with a friend close by your side. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Two and Two

Yes! Another day in the 60's! I think Fall is here to stay! I've left the shorts behind, but I still need the tanks. I just have to remember to bring a hoodie to the destination runs because the cool down happens fast between my body and the sun going down.

We saw multiple other people running with their dogs today. It excites me to see this. I still want to get a running club together locally and the more people I see doing it, the more hope I have that someday, maybe. For now, it's our group of two and two, and that's a good group. We have some work to do with Piper anyway, before she can be running with more than just Henri. We're still hoping Henri teaches her a few things, like how to run past others without thinking they are there for you. Henri does think they are there for him, but just to see him, so he puffs out his chest and runs a little faster, a little stronger. Yeah, I'm still connected to you Henri and I'm just not that impressive. Sorry. You're really cute though.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Jumping for Joy

Yeah, when I said we would make up for the short run yesterday, I wasn't kidding. We pushed! I bet my trainee is glad he didn't go running with Henri and I today!

So, it was 67 degrees at 4pm today! Hooray! Sure. It's still the high 60's, but we'll take it! It was still a little warm, but it was pretty windy, so that made up for it, except for that I was already pushing and then I was pushing into the wind. Well, I did want to challenge myself today. So, yeah, it was awesome. I'd like to say I did awesome...I did pretty great, considering. Let's keep it going!

Hooray for 60 degree weather!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Safety First

Today was, unfortunately, another warm and humid day. Though I think it might be the last one of the year (Fingers crossed!) it slowed us down a great deal. Even out in the open park, there was very little air flow and Henri was dragging. If Henri is dragging, the run is off. I won't push him or put him at risk.

We did get one full mile in before we stopped and walked. After a cool down walk and some water, we ran for another half a mile, but it was at that point I could tell Henri had had it. Lucky for the other six legs with us, I wasn't going to push. We'll make up for it as it cools down this week.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life} Week 39:Shadow

Sometimes you are running and you need just a little motivation to keep going. Sometimes that motivation comes from seeing yourself running. It's not something you see that often, but sometimes you just catch it out of the corner of your eye and it surprises you. There you are, running with your best friend, looking strong (Hopefully. If not, you straighten up real quick!) and it's enough to get you to push on or push harder. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Focus and Resolve

Today felt like the best run we've had in over a week! I don't know if it was the slightly cooler weather, the difference of running in the opposite direction, or the fight I was having with my body, but it felt good.

I'm constantly battling waves of nausea. This is sided with heat, clamminess and a little vertigo. This has been going on for at least six months, if not longer. I have yet to figure it out, but sometimes, it makes it hard to run. I can be fine all day, but I can get motion sickness driving home, or to wherever we might be running, and it's all over. Today, though I'd had a few bouts of nausea, I was determined to run. I took some motion sickness pills, I kept my eyes focused on one point as much as possible driving to the park and I prayed. Whether any of those things worked or if it was a combination of them all, I was able to run, and I ran pretty well.

We did run in the opposite direction, hoping that by the time we got to the hills, I'd already be going well that they wouldn't effect me as much. This seemed to work. I was definitely feeling better by the time we got to the rolling hills. I was actually feeling really good. I felt good most of the time. Every time I felt like I was slipping, I shook my head at myself and pushed. A few moments later, I was feeling good again. I just needed a little refocusing.

Henri has been very impressive lately. He is super focused while running. He hardly notices the other dogs. He doesn't seem bothered by the bikers, the roller bladers or the skateboarders. One family was somewhat spread across the path and the two kids made just enough of an opening for us. Henri just took the opening and kept going, not even sniffing in either one of their directions. He's finally growing up! He's still a big baby and hates sitting around before or afterwards, but we'll go with a work in progress.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First Run of Fall

It's the first day of Fall! Hooray! Unfortunately, it doesn't really feel like Fall till about 7pm so we're still pushing the evening runs.

Today was difficult because it was still about 82 degrees when we started. The air was kinda thick and there wasn't much of a breeze. Plus, the hills! Will I ever get better with the hills!? I think the problem is, depending on where you park, you can get started and get your breathing under control before you hit the hills, or you can head straight into the hills. With some road construction blocking the first option, we're stuck heading straight into them, unless we just ran the other direction, but I don't know if I like that idea...because I'm a creature of habit and I don't like change...but I should probably consider that option.

Thankfully, it cools off fast and it gets easier to breathe as the sun sets. Plus, you really get to enjoy the sunsets! Before long, we'll be running, racing the sun or finishing right before the sun goes down, where we can sit and enjoy it...before it gets too cold. I know I complain about the heat, but I know it will cool down and it will cool down fast. I should enjoy it while it lasts, but it tends to just make Henri and I miserable so...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Way To Go

Yes, that is my trainee(s), running ahead of me. He ran a full 2 miles before stopping today, and even after that, he did intervals the rest of the way, or so I'm told, as I ran ahead, running a full 3.5, just in case he was still waiting where I left him getting a drink of water ;) Either way, just running the 2 miles is stupendous!

I was struggling almost the whole time. I could not get my joints to loosen up! Maybe it was the side effects of the hilly run on Saturday. Maybe it was because I had just been to the chiropractor to get more sticky acupuncture needles for my back, plus an adjustment. I would think that would loosen my up, but perhaps not. Struggle aside, I could not let him crush me on this run, so I kept up as best I could, obviously passing him after mile 2. I was running at a comfortable speed, so I stayed there, not pushing my body too much and so I didn't get too far ahead of him. He was only about 5 minutes behind me, again, stupendous!

No time for a run tomorrow :( so hopefully my back, hip, knee and ankle joints get themselves sorted out for Wednesday!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life} Week 38: Feet

While most of the week was spent training our friends to run, Henri and I were able to go out by ourselves a few times. Sure, a lot of time is spent by ourselves as they are learning endurance, but there is something different about it being just us for an entire run, especially when we go out to the woods and there is no one around.

I knew the location had a route that was really hilly, thus we have not attempted it with our trainees, nor in the heat because it was really hard the day we discovered it. While that route had gone through mostly prairie, thus being in direct sunlight most of the time, I wondered if the opposite direction would head into the forest, thus being mostly tree cover. Even though the temps were in the low 70's, we needed to find a location with either lots of wind or lots of shade. We found the shade!

We found some hills, too. It might have been payback for my "coaching" this past week, choosing something that was difficult for me. It was hard, but I was off for two weeks. I'm trying not to beat myself up about my speed or the struggle. I've eased into running again this week. I've been running at slower speeds to stay with the pack, but that's okay. That has probably been good for me. Really, my speed wasn't that bad. I shouldn't put so much pressure on myself.

So, while there have been many legs on our runs this week, it was back to just ours. We enjoyed a new, scenic run through the woods. The sun was breaking through the trees. Squirrels were snacking on the path, then running away as Henri's nails click, click, click-ed towards them. It was quiet. There was hardly anyone else around. Everything was still pretty green, but I'm sure that will change soon.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Fantastic Four

It was another training day for what we are now calling The Fantastic Four! Two humans, two dogs. Henri and I have been running together for quite awhile. Now, we are teaching everything we know to a new set of running partners.

It was hot. Just plain hot. It didn't matter if we tried to go later, it was hot and muggy, which is hard for anybody (I think), but especially hard for someone who has just started running. Oh, and I decided to go running at a more scenic location, also hilly. I must be trying to kill our new partners! That's what coaches do, right? 

Keeping the heat in mind and the heat sensitivities of all parties, human and canine alike, we decided to do intervals. The heat didn't overwhelm anybody, but we still got a little workout in. I'm sure it was good for human partners training, building his endurance and the shorter distances kept him motivated ;)

All this week, Henri has been in front. I've really taken to calling him my pace bunny. He's got the fluffy tail and all!

Even Henri was feeling the heat towards the end, so I called it. All my little troopers did well! Here's hoping that the cooler weather really does come next week!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Territory

I am so pumped to be able to run again, seriously. I can't even believe it. Aside from the exercise that it gives Henri, making him easier to deal with (Sorry, Henri! - It's not your fault you are active...or is could be my fault..), the time we spend together and enjoying the weather, it just feels good. 

Today, we had six additional legs with us again. Today was about figuring out a new route and keeping it slow and steady, so we all stayed together. Our partners are doing well. They'll both be keeping up with us in no time! Our pace was actually pretty good, considering. Our first mile was still a ten-minute mile and they were with us almost the whole way. Not bad for someone starting out! I'm sure his four-legged friend helped with that. They're good like that! I also know she was trying to keep up with me (Henri), as I felt her on my heels several times. I tried to slow down! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Two Down For The Week

We are seriously ready for Fall now. Someone else can have the 80 degree weather. We're done with it (at least Henri and I are).

It's still getting to the low 80's right now, and that's still too warm for Henri, thus myself, to run. We're waiting till 6:30/7pm to run, which is really throwing off my dinner, but at least we get some cooler temperature and the safety of the leftover sunlight.

My legs were still sore from last weeks when we went out yesterday. It worked out because we had some company on our run, both the two legged and four legged kind. Our company doesn't run as much as we do, so we slowed it down a bit. I say that, but it all honesty, I was struggling so the slower pace was good for me, too. Just a reminder from my body not to take two weeks off again, if it can be avoided.

Today felt much better. It might have been a little cooler, which always helps, but I was able to push again and we had some good miles. Henri even slowed down for a few steps. Of course, as soon as I asked him if he was getting tired, he sped back up. I guess that's a 'no'.

We ran through a swarm of gnats and I swear I got one in my eye! Luckily, this was the end of the run. I checked the mirror when I got home, cleaning off all the other gnats that were stuck to my sweaty face (Ew!), but didn't see it. I go to wash my hands after dinner and I have an eye booger at the corner of my eye. I checked it out and it was the gnat, dead of course. I had an eye bugger rather than an eye booger! Okay, I really can't decide if that's gross or funny.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 37: Labor

The Lazy Pit Pull totally stole my idea for spinning this theme from Labor to Labor of Love, but it was for a good reason, so I'll forgive her! My story is going to pale in comparison to hers, but I'm going with it.

My back and hip have been bothering me for quite awhile. If it hadn't been for the addition of heat, I probably would have pushed it, but it really is for the best that I didn't. Finally, after 16 days off, I felt so much better. We were finally able to run again! Unfortunately, the heat was sticking around longer than expected and it was raining. Depressing. Thursday night, I let Henri outside and cool air washed over us. I looked at the clock: a quarter till 7pm. We had time before the sun went down. I hadn't eaten dinner, which was good because I wasn't going to run on a full stomach, but it was bad because I kinda wanted to eat. I went back and forth for ten minutes and I just thought, 'Why am I wasting my time? Let's go for a run and I'll eat when we get back. It's a half an hour! It feels great outside and I want to run!' Henri was very happy with this decision and cuddled with me on the couch long after my dinner was eaten (meaning no chance of getting any food, so no point in sticking around except for the fact that he loves me!).

Friday was rainy as well, ruining our previously made plans for a destination run. The weather report at lunch was that the rain had moved out of the area, but there was still some pop up showers for the rest of the day and it was making it muggy. Those pop up showers turned out to be random downpours, but it seemed clear when I got off work. The forecast and radar looked good, so we loaded up to go to the park for a run. Of course, just as we're approaching the park, dark clouds are rolling in, but they kept on rolling and not a drop fell on us as we ran.

So, 16 days off was a lot and our impromptu run on Thursday night had killed my legs and the park is a little bit hilly. It was still a little warm once the darker clouds rolled out and the sun was shining brightly. I was sore and my pace was steady. It was a challenging run, for me. Of course, Henri was fine, aside from the bit of heat. He didn't droop though. He was having a great time! So, I pushed as much as I could and we walked some extra miles at the end, to make up for my lack of speed.

When we stopped in the grass and he lay down and stretched out, I knew it was worth it. It's always worth it. It's good to be back, isn't it, Buddy?