Tuesday, April 11, 2017

National Pet Day

Yeah, we're way behind on all of our posts, but the weather hasn't exactly been cooperative for the last month or so. Less running means less posting. It's a little frustrating that the Spring weather has been a lot more difficult that the winter weather.

But today is National Pet Day and after some windy rainy days, we got a partly sunny day, which is fine because if it had been sunny, it would have been warmer and we're just not ready for that! Henri waited by my side as I got ready, waiting for the moment that I would grab the harness and hold it out for him. He put his head out for me to put it on and headed for the door. Yeah, he was ready.

We enjoyed four and half miles with no incident. There are some houses going up in the neighborhood and the sound of the nail gun was freaking Henri out, but he kept running. He kept looking back to make sure nothing was coming after him, but he kept going. Brave boy. Of course, every moment spent running with Henri, even the hard moments and the scary moments and the painful moments are still some of the best moments of each day. Happy National Pet Day, Henri!

I'll calculate miles later. They are altogether disappointing.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Just A Little Catching Up To Do

We've had a few runs since our last post. It was a bit of an off week. I'm not really sure why. I just felt a little wonky and out of sorts for a few days. I don't know how to explain it. We still got several runs. Tuesday, I didn't feel the greatest, but I wanted five miles. We got four and a half before the throbbing of my head with each step was just about too much to bear. We were both slowing down anyway. We were almost home. It was sixty plus degrees. Maybe that was it. 

We went out again on Friday. This time we got the five miles. I wore my "fast" shoes. I was sure I was going to regret it because they don't support my feet the same and I didn't think I should wear them running longer distances. (I know. Five miles isn't really a "long" distance, but I was still hesitant.) I keep forgetting why I call them my "fast" shoes. I could feel the difference in my ability to move my feet. My speed wasn't actually faster than in my other shoes, but it just felt different.

Fast forward to today, where rain and storms threatened our chances of getting out. It was windy, but not raining. It was still sixty degrees, but without the sun blasting down, it was comfortable. Five and a half miles today. Henri needed it. He was pretty focused. Less stops and sniffs, more 'Come on, let's go!' 

It will take us a bit to get used to the warmth and by the time we figure it out, it will be cold again. Luckily, that's our sweet spot. Who am I? What am I saying? 

Runs this year: 21

Miles run this year: 91

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sweetheart Run

On Valentine's Day, of course, Henri and I participated in FitFam's Virtual Run, The Sweetheart Run. Yes, I ran with Henri. Who else would I run it with, really? This year though, being as that we had a goal of running 10k by my birthday, I signed us up for the 10k. I kinda planned on doing them both together, but then I decided by Birthday 10k and The Sweetheart Run should have their own days, so we ran another 10k, because we can do that now.

The weather was much better for The Sweetheart Run. It was a beautiful day, the sun was out, there was no wind, so we pushed to get it done in under an hour. Guess what? We did it! I knew we could! Time 57:15. Pretty good for a second time running one! The best part? Running it with Henri. Can't you just feel the love?

There was also a scavenger hunt to go along with the run, which we completed. Here are our findings:

[X] A rose(s) - On my running tights (That I got for my birthday! So Pretty!)
[X] A kiss - From the boy

[X] Flag or signage with a heart(s) - Hearts and roses!
[X] The number '14' - It's really weird to try to take a picture of someone elses house
[X] A lovely couple of things - Aw! Flamingos in love. Henri, leave them alone!

Check and Check. Another FitFam Virtual Run, done! Thanks for challenging us, giving us a fun run and sweet medals don't hurt either :) Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Runs this year: 19

Miles run this year: 81

Monday, February 13, 2017

Redefining "Little"

We took a few days off to recover and celebrate our 10k. Henri was ready to get out again today. I mean, I was, too. I want to try to do another six tomorrow, so I thought we'd just do a little four, four and a half (Funny how that is "little" now). We are having some unseasonably warm weather here in Central Illinois, so it's pretty easy to spend the time outdoors.

This run had it's moments, both good and not so good. Hopefully, we stretched our muscles out a little bit to be able to push tomorrow, but we'll see. I hit my goal, so I can be a little more lax if my body just doesn't feel like it can do it that day. For today, I made my body do it anyway. We'll see if I regret it tomorrow.

Runs this year: 16

Miles run this year: 72

Friday, February 10, 2017

Birthday 10k

No matter what, I was getting this run in today. I was not going to come up even one day short. Yes, there was snow and ice on the sidewalks. Yes, it was really windy. It was also 50 degrees. Also, my birthday. The goal was 10k by my birthday and that's what was going to happen. 

Honestly, I felt sick right before running. The 'I'm about to do something big and important', nervous, excited, sick. Six miles isn't really that big of a deal, but it was a goal for this year and we were about to do it. It felt pretty good. I counted down the miles as they ticked by on my watch. "Down to five." "Only four." "We do three all the time." "Halfway there." "Two left." "One more." "Half a mile. Don't stop now." "Quarter of a mile. Push!" I tried to get it done in under an hour. I pushed as hard as I can the last two minutes, but we came up 26 seconds long. Considering the small bits of slush we slowed down for and the wind we ran into for two of the back half, I'm okay with it. We'll beat it next time.

Now, to get comfortable in this distance and start working on ten miles. Ten might not happen until the fall, but it's a goal, so it will happen.

Also, Henri was so tired by the time we took this picture. Then he got a little boost because he knew we were going home. Now he's sleeping it off next to me. Mission accomplished.

Runs this year: 15

Miles run this year: 67.5

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How YOU Doin?

I wasn't sure we were going to make it on that one, but five more miles down!

Our run started off a little rough. I couldn't get my legs moving, or at least it felt that way. Garmin watch to the rescue! I wasn't going fast, but I wasn't going as slow as I felt. It really helped knowing that. I was feeling a little better once we got to the park (almost two miles in), so I pushed for an extra lap around. We hit three coming out, so I was pretty confident we could make it closer to five. I'm not going to say it was easy, but it had some good moments. I'm really just proud that we did it after almost six yesterday. We're going to get comfortable in this distance.

I have to share this picture from yesterday's run. Look at that ham, looking right at the camera as we run by! I was wondering what he was doing behind me.

Runs this year: 14

Miles run this year: 61.25

Monday, February 6, 2017

This Looks Like October

We've been wanting to go on this run since Friday, but we just weren't able to make it happen. I was determined to make it happen today. I charged our lights. I woke up early to do my other workout before work. I planned the shopping around getting out of work as quickly as possible, to make the most of the last light of day. Then, the birds chirping, sunny day turned grey and wet and foggy. That was not what the forecast had said the last time I had looked at it. I knew the fog and the dark was not going to be a good combination for getting our run in. It looked like I had been defeated, yet again.

What's that? You want me to leave work early today? Yes, I can definitely do that. The good thing about running in dreary weather is that no one else is out. While we would have enjoyed the sunshine from this weekend, we would have had to go by a lot of people, and probably a lot of dogs, making our progression towards our 10k a little slower and a little more challenging. Today though, we were able to run the full 5.75 without another soul. At least, I didn't see anyone out there. With the fog today, who knows.

Just a few more days till we run our first 10k! Just a few more days until my birthday! We're going to make it and I'm going to be able to keep it under an hour...unless my legs don't want to work.

Runs this year: 13

Miles run this year: 56.25

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Bright Side

It wasn't the run that I wanted it to be. I planned on four and a half to five today, but I got cramped up around two and a half, so we walked it off and started again, finishing with four. I didn't have to sit down or call for a ride home (The ride home has only happened once - occasionally I have to sit down), so I'll take it. There was a dog running off leash in the park, so I was watching him pretty closely to make sure he didn't come over to say 'hi'. My back has been pretty stiff lately, in turn making my knees hurt, but I'm stubborn, so, I run anyway. So, all in all, it turned out to be a pretty good run considering how badly it could have gone.

And, hey, there was a setting sun! Which means the sun had to be out in the first place. So, there's that!

Runs this year: 12

Miles run this year: 50.5

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Unexpected Greatness

At first, we weren't going to run today because of the wind. Then, I saw that the wind was going to die down right as I was getting off work! Score! Then, I wasn't feeling the greatest, but I really wanted to run. I decided to push, even though I was sure I was going to regret it. I was just going to listen to my body and what it was telling me. We wouldn't go farther then we needed to. Keep it short. Keep it simple.

Well, what do you know, I felt fine. Great, really. Henri wasn't stopping as much to sniff and pee, so we just kept going. I didn't pay attention to what my Garmin was telling me. I kept it hidden in my sleeve and didn't look at it till the end when I thought, why only go 4.25? We can just go one more little loop. Why only go 4.5? We're already around the corner. We have to go back anyway. We can't stop before 4.75. We're so close now! So, we ended with 4.75, which I'm happy with. I wasn't expecting to feel that good or to go that far. Henri did great. I felt pretty good. Thumbs up!

Then I felt a little artsy fartsy, so here ya go!

Runs this year: 11

Miles run this year: 46.5

Monday, January 30, 2017

Give Me Some Sunshine

Today's run was not expected, but the sun came out! I kept walking by the window at work, disappointed that I was stuck inside and not able to run in the sunshine. The sun would already be going down when I got off work and I had to go to the post office before I went home. 

The thing about sunny days is that even when the sun is going down, it's brighter, longer, because the sun is actually out! I rushed home and got ready as quickly as I could, put on our safety lights, knowing it would be dark before we finished, and headed out the door. Henri was pretty excited about it. He must have been looking out the window all day thinking the same thing as I.

We made it! We got to run in the setting sun! The sky was pink and purple and even though the wind was picking up (It's supposed to be really windy tomorrow), it was so refreshing to be out in something other than grey skies. We only ran three miles, but it was worth just getting out. 

Runs this year: 10

Miles run this year: 41.75

Thursday, January 26, 2017

FitFam Challenge 2017

Today, we took a break from our 10k training to run our FitFam Challenge 2017 5k. Henri and I are committed to be fit in 2017! We are already pushing our limits as we prepare for the next FitFam Virtual Race, The Sweetheart Run, which we will run as our first 10k! Either way, we will make being our best a habit. Whether we run one mile or ten, as long as we do our best, we win (and we usually get some bling).

Seriously though, you know what makes you do your best? A workout buddy. Human, canine, feline, amphibious, you should get someone to hold your accountable and to get you out there. Look at how much fun we are having! Henri and I are available as virtual workout buddies. It's two for the price of one and at least one of us is freakin' adorable!

We made pretty good time. I wanted it to feel better than it did, with all of our training. I wanted to feel faster. I wanted it to feel easier. Really, every day with our longer distances has felt different, I don't know why I would expect this to be any different. We will keep chipping away at our progress. This run is done. Bring on the next one.

Be your best. Give it your all. You will not fail.

Runs this year: 9
Miles run this year: 38.75

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Take Two

Okay. Today felt much better. In fact, I only planned on us running 4.25 or 4.5 miles. It was feeling pretty good and ended up being 5.25 instead. I'll definitely take it. Since it felt so much better than Sunday, I'm encouraged.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still struggling, but I bounced back better today. Maybe it went so well because I didn't mean to run that much. It wasn't in my head that that's how far we were going to run. It was more of a "let's do these two laps and maybe one more twist and just see how far that gets us." So thankful for Henri when I start to hit a wall. I don't exactly know how we added distance to this one, but we didn't have to lap the house. That's always a good thing for poor, confused Henri.

We're in that January gloom, where the sun just doesn't come out. It is rather depressing. It's about to get cold again. Well, I say cold, but really 30 degrees is not cold. It's probably our favorite temperature to run in. We'll see if that continues now that we are running a longer amount of time in it.

Runs this year: 8
Miles run this year: 35.75

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Struggle Is Real

Today we pushed for a little more distance. It was difficult (for me), but we got it done. The goal was just to add a quarter mile, which is what we did (almost a half mile, but I was struggling enough). It's getting a little messy in way of our course. I gotta figure that out. I don't want to run by the same things over and over. I don't want to lap the park four times. I don't want to confuse Henri by running by home more than once. This will be the challenge...as if adding the distance isn't enough of a challenge.

It had been going really well until the runs Friday and today. I chalked Friday up to leg day on Thursday. I took a rest day because I just thought my body might need it, but today didn't go much better. I think it's partly depending on where we are in the run. I struggle more in the park than anywhere else, and then when we have to run into the neighborhood where there are more turns. All the rest feels pretty good. I've always struggled more in the park, that's why we're working on our distance around home and not in the more difficult areas. It's still easier than those. I want some success before the struggle bus really hits me!

We'll see what this week brings. Maybe we just need some more time to get comfortable in the four to five mile range. That's fine, but we're getting to six in just a few weeks. It just might be a slow and painful six.

Unless Henri gets startled by something. That happened today and we ran at a seven and half minute pace for a chunk until he calmed down. He probably would have run faster, but I had stopped him when he tried to take off without me. You can't buddy. We're attached.

Runs this year: 7
Miles run this year: 30.5

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Question

Someone asked me yesterday, what keeps me motivated? Do I have some goal that I'm striving for or am I just exercising my dog. While I posted my 2017 running goals a few posts back, this is my primary motivation:

That is the face of a dog that is enjoying himself, despite the fact that he is running through a puddle (I will remind you that Henri hates water). How can I see this and not take him out for run after run? Yeah, now I have goals, but my love for running comes from my love for this boy. I don't need the goals. I don't need to run farther or faster. I don't need to go exotic places or even anywhere outside of my own neighborhood. I don't need the gear or the gadgets. All I need is him.

We ran five miles today. It was a more challenging five that last week. It was more challenging than the four from Tuesday. I'm going to chalk it up to yesterday being leg day. It was still a good run. I'm not going to beat myself up. We still ran five miles. Seriously, look at that face! This was not a bad run.

Runs this year: 6

Miles run this year: 25.25

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Break in the Rain

Another 4.25 today! It was a little longer, but Henri was doing the poopie dance, but I could tell her really wanted to do it at home (Because he's considerate and doesn't want me to have to run with it...and he's weird.), so I did not make us lap the cul-de-sac once more to get to the 4.5, even though we could have.

The slightly longer distance is feeling pretty good. I think it just felt good to run, period. Henri was happy, despite the light misting at the beginning. We started off strong and pushed through the whole way. I don't like the long breaks between runs that the weather is forcing us to take, but it always feels really good when we can get back out there!

I took a picture before because I knew it was going to get dark before we finished. Henri was not interested in this.

Runs this year: 5
Miles run this year: 20.25

Friday, January 13, 2017

Five Miles...done!

When we started running today, I didn't think we'd get the full five in. Maybe four, maybe four and a half, but I didn't think my legs could do five. I should've planned it better. Running again in less than twenty-four hours has proven difficult in the past. I decided we could cut it short if we needed to. We'll just see how it goes.

I took an extra loop around the park to add some distance. That was tough. The first loop was tough today, then to do it twice...but we were already approaching three miles coming out of that. While I felt like I was on the struggle bus, my pace said different. (One of the reasons I wanted a GPS watch - doing it's job!) Then we had a nice stretch of straight path. No turns. No twists or loops. While it's got it's hills and valley's, it's a good place to get yourself together (when you're not running into the wind, which thankfully, today, we were not) and that's what I did. So, we were just at four and we were almost home. We could turn and go for five or finish with a little less than four and a half. 'Turn' sounded like a good idea.

I'm not going to say that that last half mile wasn't hard to push through, but the point is that we did. Well, I did. It's all a piece of cake for Henri. 4.98 as we approached the house so we did a lap around the end of the cul de sac and finished at 5.1! Again, Henri being such a sport when we pass home and he's like, 'You know we missed another turn, right?'

So, now we have just a little less than a month to add just one more mile to meet our 10k by February 10th goal! That gives us time to get comfortable in the four to five mile zone and a little wiggle room with the January weather (because this next week is not looking good).

Runs this year: 4

Miles run this year: 16

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fuzzy Faced Motivation

I almost talked myself out of running today. I don't know why. I was looking forward to it all day. We finally had a break in the weather. There is more bad stuff coming. Why wouldn't we take this opportunity? My stomach was cramping up. Yesterday was leg day, my legs hurt. It was windy. Excuses! It was time to run! So, I decided to do an easy three today and hopefully we can get four plus tomorrow or Saturday, depending on the weather. Then, to make things more interesting, I put on my fast shoes. If we were just doing three, we should do them fast.

I am so glad we went on this run. I don't wear these shoes often because they have less stability. They felt so light, I felt like we were flying. Henri was so excited! He was galloping along, looking up at me like, 'Is this for real?' He had me laughing and smiling the whole time. He is so motivational, with his quick glances back. 'Are you keeping up? Let's go faster!' 

This is why I run with him. His joy, his spirit is contagious and makes me a better runner. I will probably never be able to run that fast or that far without him. I don't have to run that fast or that far with him. He loves running. If we can go fast, great! It's not necessary though. He always comes back with a smile on his face and so do I.

Runs this year: 3
Miles run this year: 11 (Yeah, that's right. We went an extra half a mile because it was so awesome!)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Going the Distance

Well, it took some pushing on my part...and some pulling on Henri's part, but we got our 4.5 miles in today! Henri is such a good sport. We ran by the house twice because we were only at 4.4-something and I refused to stop without my 4.5. He was so confused, but he kept with me. I thought he would just stop at the house and I'd have to leave him on the front porch while I ran up the street and back. I think our bond will really grow as he has to follow my direction more and we loop around to get our distance, rather than relying on routine.

There was still quite a bit of snow. I'm pretty sure nothing had melted. You could still see all the spots we ran yesterday. They were pretty much untouched aside from a few bird tracks. Nobody is going outside and yet, we were running. Both days.

I am exhausted. Between the snow yesterday and the snow AND distance today, I need a nap. Good thing it's Saturday!

Runs this year: 2
Miles run this year: 7.5

Friday, January 6, 2017

Dashing Through The Snow

It's almost a week into the new year and we finally got our first run in! Boy, did we need that! I was getting tired and grumpy. Henri was really starting to itch for some extra exercise.

First we had two days of rain, then we had snow. There was still snow on the ground and I don't want either one of us injured, so we just took it slow. It wasn't the 4+ miles I was wanting to do, but it's more important that we can do 4+ miles next week, once the snow is melted. We gotta stay on track for our goals! We still managed a decent pace and I'm sure I'm going to be sore tomorrow. Different muscles are used to propel yourself forward than to just stay upright as you glide over snow. We're safe and in two pieces, respectively, and ready to venture out again tomorrow in warmer temperatures (Come on double digits!) and possibly less snow.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


It's a new year. The tree has come down, it's time to review the previous year and set goals for the next. I'd really like to be out on a run with Henri. It's a beautiful day. The sun is shining. Unfortunately, I'm not feeling well and sitting on the couch is what feels the best. So, I will spend the time reflecting on last years accomplishments and get new goals written out.

Ran 175 times

Ran 515 miles

5K P.R. 27:01

Min/Mile P.R. 8:17

While we've been running for a few years, I never really had any real running goals for us. While I've worked on my speed a little, for Henri's sake, the goal was just to be faster. As we've progressed this past year, I feel like we can set some real running goals (or at least I can on our behalf). While I've had some of these generally in my head, I'm going to set some specific goals because I know that's the best way to achieve them.

2017 Running Goals

1. Run 10K by February 10th. 

2. 5K P.R. 25:00

3. Min/Mile P.R. 7:00

4. Run 15K by June 1st

5. Run 10 Miles

6. Run organized race with Henri?

Ultimately, Henri having fun and getting some exercise is what's most important, so none of these goals really matter without him. I'm going to have to adjust based on his level of comfort and activity. If that means we never run more than 5 miles together, than that's what we do. We're a team. We're better together.

Also, this year, Henri and I have been selected to be FitFam Ambassadors (Well, mostly me, but I'm making Henri an honorary ambassador). My goal with the blog has always been to encourage others to run with their dogs, so this ambassadorship fits perfectly with keeping healthy and running together more in 2017. Hope to see you out there! Cheers!