Saturday, August 29, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 35: Sleepy

It's a lazy Saturday morning. There is a light rain falling outside and we're curled up with a good book. Suddenly, there is a tug on the blankets and a paw on my arm.

"Excuse me. I'm being extremely adorable over here and there's no one looking at me, being impressed. What is the point of having you?"

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

National Dog Day

Today is National Dog Day and disappointingly enough we found ourselves sitting on the couch. While the weather was perfect for an afternoon run, I was sitting with an ice pack on my back, Henri at the opposite end of the couch, moping. Poor Henri! If it makes you feel any better, the ice is very cold!

We did get another run in yesterday, waiting again until 6pm. That was three days in a row, so it's not horrible to be taking a day off, except that we really didn't want to. The forecast calls for more summer to return. I'm not sure what we will do. I could eat dinner really early and run around 8pm. There's still some light left. It's more light than 5am. I don't know. Maybe it will be fine. First, I have to be able to run so my back muscles need to calm down!

While there was not much in the way of celebration on National Dog Day, we celebrate pretty much every day, so...I love you, my puppy boy!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Making The Switch

We're going to try it. It seems too early, and I'm sure this will not work, but we're going to make the switch back to the afternoon runs.

It has been uncharacteristically cooler this past week. They even said that temps are below average for this time of year, which is still in the low 80's, so it's not really that cool for a heat sensitive pup. It does make for perfect temps for running in the morning, but I wasn't feeling 100% safe in the dark. I just can't see! I feel like I'm going to trip on something that I can't see and get injured and who really wants to deal with that at 5am? Then we couldn't run at all! So, we will try the 6pm/7pm running slot. This messes up my dinner time, but I just might find myself eating less for dinner, which is never a bad thing, right?

There are lots of people out enjoying the weather, of course, just as we are. He's gotten a little better running past the skate park. He's running past children on scooters and bikes. He still doesn't like the dogs barking at him from the other side of their fences, but he keeps moving, with a little whine. Soon, it will be cold enough that it will just be us again. Yes, I said "soon". I know it's in the 80's right now, but give it a month and it will be the 50's, if not cooler.

It was still a little warm today, but not really that much warmer than when we run in the mornings in the dead of summer. It's just that darn sun, heating things up! Well, it's looking good for this week anyway. We'll see.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 34: School

School. This is a hard one. I'm not a student anymore, haven't been for awhile. While I live in a college town, I didn't go to this University. I did go to the community college here, but that's just community college, and it's not like it was ever a question for me if I would go to college, so it doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I got my degree from my college of choice, but I was offsite, still here in town, so I wasn't there except for when I graduated. I don't feel especially connected, which is disappointing. I could run by multiple schools in the area, including all of those that I went to, but not early in the morning, when we run, and I couldn't get a picture of it, and I probably shouldn't run in some of those areas in the dark. So, what do I write about? What do I take a picture of? 

Back-to-School in a college town means stress in the world of retail. I'm sure this is all across the board, but I'm going to go ahead and say it, especially in HR land. Intervewing, hiring, training, scheduling, plus keeping up with all the normal every day my army of one (and a half as my boss is new). It can get a little overwhelming. These are the days that I am especially thankful for my runs with Henri, to aid in the de-stressing. 

This is why, though we have run a few times this week (weather permitting - curse you rain!), there have been no blogs about it. This blog is even late because I laid in bed all day yesterday, just reading. (Yeah, I'm a book nerd - a book and a half in eight hours - Oops! Now I have to go to the library and get more books!)

And so, while it appears to be just another picture of Henri and I running, it is actually a picture of Henri, helping me take my mind off the day behind and the day ahead, if only for a half an hour and just enjoy being with him, being outside, and being happy.

And if that's not good enough, I wore my orange and blue socks! I-L-L...


Saturday, August 15, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 33: Black

As I've mentioned, this week has been much darker during our morning runs. There is little reprieve aside from the moon, which hasn't been bright this week, the cars that go by, shining their headlights in our eyes and the street lamps. We are wearing our LED lights again for safety, but this week has seemed pitch "black".

Also "black", is our shadows. We only see them for a few seconds and they fade back into darkness as we get further away from the street lamps.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Darkness Returns

It had been a few days since we ran. It was raining Sunday morning, but the afternoon brought a breeze and a cloudy sky, so I thought Henri and I would get out. Of course, post rain is always pretty humid and somehow I forgot that. It felt really good to run after so many days off and Henri was pretty excited. It was well worth it. We got back right before the sun came out, perfectly timed.

Monday it stormed again, making us all the more thankful for that Sunday afternoon run. It was extremely humid that morning. I'm glad we didn't have to run in that. Cooler air brought on more storms, but the humidity broke Monday evening. If the storms could hold off, we would be running again Tuesday morning, and we were.

It was a fairly uneventful run, but what a difference a week made in the darkness! We were going to have to break out the LED lights again.

Wednesday was more of the same, but because I go to work later on Wednesdays, we were able to avoid the full on darkness of morning. The moon was really pretty, the little sliver, sitting above the hazy morning colors. I learned later that there had been a meteor shower, not that I could have seen it, going to bed early so I could get up before the sun rises for our runs. I was hopeful that we would be able to catch some of it in the early hours on Thursday, since it is so dark.

And dark it was! I had my LED armbands and Henri his color, but it was either cloudy or the stars were just not out because it was DARK. A car would go by and my eyes would have trouble adjusting to the dark again. We did get to see a meteor or two, thanks to the darkness, and that was pretty cool. Running during a meteor shower. That's just cool. I'm glad we got to do that.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 32: Favorite

This week has been a miss in the world of running. Between rainy weather and back pain, we haven't been on a run since Tuesday, so I will have to use a picture from last weeks excursion.

This week is easy. Henri is my favorite running partner, and I'd like to think I'm his. It's true that neither one of us has had much experience with other running partners, but maybe that's why we're so good together. Henri is cute and adorable. He's also very motivating. He can also be very sensitive to my needs and slow down for me when necessary, which, lets face it, is always.

What are some of the characteristics of a good running partner?

Dependability - Check! Henri is always there. Yes, I have to be mindful of the weather for Henri, but he has to work around my work schedule so, it seems only fair. I never have to worry about him being late or cancelling on me. He doesn't seem to mind if I'm running late, but I try not to take advantage of that.

Encouraging - Check! I am always telling Henri he is a good boy during our runs. He is always looking up at me, checking on me and quietly motivating me to push on. We don't have to compete with each other. We both know Henri is faster and can run farther. That out of the way, we can support each other.

Pacing - Check! I probably drag Henri down, but he knows me pace and knows how to push it. I don't tend to run without him, because why would I want to, but I would guess that if I did, I would be much slower. I don't like to slow him down, so I push myself a little harder. He doesn't really seem to mind either way, but he does perk up quite a bit when we get going.

Commitment - Check! I'm committed to Henri and he's committed to me. We know I'm committed to him because I get up at disgustingly early hours of the morning to run with him, multiple times a week. I assume he's pretty committed to me because he hasn't snubbed me and he hasn't dragged me down the street, screaming. 

Friendship - Check, Check and Double Check! Henri and I have synced up. We totally get each other, that why we can drive each other crazy if we wanted to. It's nice to have a friend to run with, one that you can laugh with and share your experiences. Henri cracks me up sometimes, which can be difficult while running, but, seriously, exercise should always be this fun.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Done With This Week Already

It's already been a stressful week, one of those "If one more thing happens, I will break down in tears" weeks. I was so frustrated with yesterday that I couldn't even write a blog. I just went to bed. I just couldn't take it any more. I almost crumbled when the trash can got stuck in a crack taking it out to the street and then I stepped on a rock in my bare feet. That's just where I was. I was so happy to go out on a run this morning, despite the fact that I didn't sleep very well. I kept dreaming of all the things I had to do the next day.

The air was cool this morning, less humid than yesterday. I was still feeling the miles from Saturday, but my legs were cooperating a little bit better. I had to push a little bit yesterday. Even though I really didn't care about speed today, I think we were going pretty good because Henri wasn't pulling. I think he knew I needed to just run. He came down the stairs with me this morning and cuddled on the couch while I woke up and drank my water. He probably knew that he was about to make me crumble last night as well. Lucky for him, he's adorable and I just couldn't be mad at him.

My iPod understands me. It played all the right songs, carrying me through the run and into the day ahead. One lyric stuck with me, "Surfing on a concrete tidal wave." The word picture just reminded me of running, maybe because I was feeling pretty good at that moment and felt like I was floating, each step propelling me gently forward, which was exactly what I needed to get me through today. 

I didn't even care that I needed to take a shower and get ready for work. I took extra time to cuddle with Henri after the run. We played with ice cubes and sat outside to cool down. Henri kissed me every once awhile. He stayed close by as I finally showered and dried my hair. He sat by my feet as I put on my makeup and prepared for the day. He jumped up next to me on the couch and put his current favorite toy down next to me, then curled up with us both before I had to get up and get going. At least my morning started out right.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

{52 Snapshots of Life} Week 31: Nature

Saturdays have started to be known as "Adventure Saturday." 

Last Saturday, Henri was getting some portraits taken to benefit a local pet fostering organization.Knowing Henri as I do, I took him early so he could get used to the new environment and so we could walk off some nervous energy, in hopes that he would be able to relax for pictures.Well, I am a genius and this worked like a charm! The pictures turned out great and we found a new place to run!

This Saturday, since we'd had a few days off during the week, we went back to run.This is a forest preserve, so there's lots of grasslands, prairie and wooded areas. It's very scenic and perfect for an adventure. Today might have gotten a little too adventurous for my taste.

We started simple enough with our usual three mile run. I planned to start at the 1.5 mile marker, which was close to where we had parked the week before, and run down to the 0.0 mile marker and back. I didn't know how to get to the 0.0 mile marker parking lot and we hadn't had time to walk all the way down there the previous week. I was told there were several spots for water along the path, so I didn't carry water with me, just a collapsible bowl for Henri for once we got to the water. I could also tell from our walk the previous week that this was going to be a more hilly experience than we were used to, so I made sure we conserved our energy. It was a challenging run, but we made it through. That's when I decided we were going to explore some more. It was still early. We had sat in the shade, cooled down and had some water. We had time and energy to keep going.

I had lots of photo ideas for Henri, so we started to explore the prairie trails, stopping to take some pictures. We would go off the path, into the trails, take our picture and head back to the path again. On our final trek back, there was a couple walking their dog behind us. Henri was concerned, even though this little rat terrier was nothing to be concerned about, but Henri just wanted to keep his eye on him. I took Henri off the path onto another trail so he could relax again. This time, instead of turning back, I figured we would just continue on the trail and come back out further on down the path, avoiding the increasing dogs and people and getting plenty of scenery. Yeah, I got us lost. 

We weren't really lost because we were on a trail, but I didn't know where the trail went and it kept meeting up with other trails and I must have a horrible sense of direction because we ended up on the outside of the forest preserve. I kept seeing signs for 5 mile trails, but I certainly didn't want us out there for another 5 miles. I could walk 5 miles. I didn't want to, but I could do it. Henri could, too, but I didn't really know where these 5 mile trails would take us, if they would be in the shade or in the sun.  We also didn't have water with us and I did not want Henri getting dehydrated. I started to panic a little, mostly out of concern for Henri. I would try a different path, a different direction in hopes that it was heading in the direction back to the path, but it never seemed to. Who could I call? It's not like I could tell someone where I was and I didn't want to just stop moving and wait for someone. 

I just needed to stop and think for a minute. I technically knew where we were. I just needed to go back the way we came and get going in the right direction. I had used my phone GPS to get us to the park, so I pulled it out and used it again. I used the map that came up to follow the direction back towards the place we had parked, knowing it would lead us through the trails we had just taken and back to the path.

I had just needed a moment to breathe. Soon, we were back on the path and on our way to water. Crisis averted. We were never really in any danger. Henri was fine. He had never wilted. He wasn't even that thirsty when we got to the water. He was just ready to go home and so was I. We ended up walking 5 miles after all was said and done. I'm sure if we had stayed on the trails, it would have been more.

Anyway, I did get some great pictures. And it is going to be a great place to run, maybe once it cools down a little more. It's always nice to have more places to run, but I am seriously considering getting a backpack for Henri so he can carry some water :)