Friday, February 28, 2014

Spring is Coming! ...eventually


Earlier this week, I saw my first sign of spring!

File:Striped Skunk.jpg
Source

Skunks in the 'hood!

While I haven't missed the little buggers, I have missed the mild temps and with warmer weather, come skunks.  Since skunks are nocturnal and, I suppose, my running time can be considered night time, the skunks and I are often out in the hood at the same time. 

Monday morning, I saw two skunks. The first one was in my front yard.  Yikes.

When he waddled toward the back yard, I sent Randy a text message telling him to beware when he lets the pooches out after breakfast.  The last thing we need is a stinky dog first thing in the morning.

We 5at5ers--Marcie, Jenny and I--were at mile 3ish when I saw the second one.

I told my running buddies to walk and we crossed the street (as opposed to running in the middle of the street where I prefer) so we wouldn't startle Little Skunky.  Jenny and Marcie crossed the street and went onto the sidewalk, just to be safe.

It would appear that one of us is a little more used to skunk encounters than the others. :)

After we passed the skunk safely, my buddies exclaimed that they didn't even see the skunk!  How in the world did I see him from so far away?!

Practice.

I've been running in the pre-dawn hours for so long, I can spot a skunk from several houses away.

Skunks are just as afraid of us as we are of them, the difference is, they have a super stinky weapon.  We don't.  Here are a few tips on how to keep yourself from smelling like a skunk:

If you see something small, dark in color and it moves, assume it's a skunk.  (I've mentioned in one of my random thoughts posts 2 summers ago that skunks' eyes glow blue in headlights.  Good to know.)
  • slow down.  You don't want to startle them.  If the skunk is close to the road, I walk.
  • give wide berth.  Skunks' spray can travel up to 15 feet, but they have poor vision and can only see up to 10 feet.  I like to stay just a little farther than that.  Just in case.
  • If you see multiple skunks together, assume it's a mother and her babies and run like hell in the opposite direction.  Momma skunks are more likely to spray if she thinks her babies are in danger.
Generally speaking, skunks aren't "spray happy" and will not just spray anything that moves near them....with the exception of the Mommas.  Fear the Mommas.

Skunks only have enough stinky chemical in their glands to spray 5 or 6 times and it can take up to 10 days for their bodies to replenish their stash, so they are reluctant to waste the spray.

As you can see, we 5at5ers survived our skunk encounter and with a little sense, you will too.


Run on, my friends.

Are you spooked by skunks? I used to be, but I've found that if I leave them alone, they do the same for me.
Have you ever been sprayed?  Luckily, no.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Solitude

Last Monday, I ran alone for the first time since early December.

These days, I usually have several running buddies who I meet up with in the early mornings, but all of my buddies were either out of town, or ran a big race the day before, so I was on my own that morning.

Going to bed Sunday night, I was a little worried that I'd be scared out in the dark 'hood alone.

A year ago, all of my runs were alone and in the dark--and I wasn't scared, but it's been so long since I've been out there by myself....

I happy to report that once I got out there, it all came back to me.

It was the glorious solitude that I remember.

I love that there are people crazy enough to meet me before dawn cracks.  Running with friends makes me happy.

I also love that running with friends for every run hasn't ruined me for running alone.  I smiled for most of this run....except for when I came to a snow covered road.  Then I was all,

squish, squish... Man, this sucks. ...squish, squish

Then I got back to bare pavement and I was all,

This is totally awesome!

Six blissful miles, all by myself....and a frigid selfie.

What?  I couldn't let those Lady Gaga lashes and frosty hair go unseen.


Oh, I love running.

Do you usually run alone?  With a group?  Do you ditch your runs if your group bails?  It's rare that I ditch my runs...once, my partner bailed and since I was exhausted and fighting a cold, I went back to bed.  Completely guilt-free.  But that's only happened once.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The one about the dogs

I think it's about time for you to meet my fur-babies.

You got to know Jackson a little bit last summer when we were going through his ACL surgery and rehab (and more rehab).  You'll be happy to know that he's fully recovered and back to being very active...protecting our family from the evil squirrels that invade our oak tree...and the mail lady.  That poor, poor mail lady.

I spent quite a bit of time in the crate with Jackson.
As you may know, we have three dogs.  Yes, it's a lot, but it wasn't intentional...it just kind of...happened.  Let me start from the beginning.....

Back in 2004, Randy and I bought a house.  Part of the reason we wanted to buy was that dogs weren't allowed in any of the rentals we checked out.  We wanted a dog.

In February of 2005, we adopted Odie from Columbus Dog Connection, a local rescue organization.  We fell in love with his picture online.  That sweet face....that white heart on his head...


He was even cuter in person.  We were goners.

Odie was 4 months old when he came to live with us.  It was pretty clear to us early on that Odie needed another dog.  He had more energy than we could keep up with.  It's really unfortunate that I wasn't a runner back then.  He's a great running buddy and would have been very happy running long distances with me.


At that time, we weren't ready to be a two-dog family so we brought Odie to dog parks and arranged play dates with our friends' dogs.  A lot.

A little over a year later, we started looking for a dog for Odie.  We didn't want a puppy, we wanted a dog who could play and wrestle with Odie, who was 70ish pounds.

Jackson was 10 months old when he came to us in March 2006 (also from Columbus Dog Connection).  At the time, he was exactly Odie's size.  Jackson wasn't done growing yet, he's now around 85 pounds and taller than the kitchen table.


The boys were fast friends.

Ferocious Beasts
I believe it was June 2006 when Mirna from Columbus Dog Connection contacted me to ask if we could foster a puppy.

I can totally foster a puppy!


Randy said, "You can't foster a puppy."

My mom said, "You can't foster a puppy."

I can totally foster a puppy!


Well, it turns out that they were right: I suck at fostering.  But I'm really good at adopting.

In November 2006, we made it official.  Adora was ours.  She is the snuggle puppy...a 55 pound lap-dog, and we just adore her stick-up ears.


Four months later, Ellie was born.


22 months after that, Aleena joined the fun.


When the girls were babies, Jackson used to steal their socks...right off of their feet!  He'd wrap his lips around their toes, so gently and slip the socks right off.  It used to drive me crazy that my babies never had socks on, but now I look back and smile.

These days, the house, that seemed so roomy when we bought it, is busting at the seams with dog hair and love.


If you're in the Columbus area and looking for a furry friend, Columbus Dog Connection has dogs and cats available for adoption.

Even if you're not in the Columbus area, there are lots of fur balls looking for their forever homes.  Check out these sites for a shelter near you:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Happy New Year! ...plus a month (and a week)

Hell-O February!

One month into 2014...how is everyone doing?

I know I'm a little tardy with this post.  We had a busy weekend, spent at my parents' house in Michigan.  My grandparents were visiting my parents from Massachusetts so I took the Little Ladies up for a visit. 

Four generations of ladies.

Little Ladies with Great-Grandparents
Ellie came down with croup on Saturday night.  I'm no stranger to croup, we've had it at our house many times but Saturday night was the worst I've had to deal with.  Usually, a little snuggle, rubbing of the back and calming breaths settle the wheeze and barking cough.

Not this time.  We ended up sitting in the bathroom with the hot shower running (if that didn't work, I'd have taken her outside for some cold air).  After about 20 minutes of steam and yoga breathing, Ellie was no longer wheezing.  My mom poked her head in the bathroom and all of the heat and steam rushed out and set off the smoke detector.  At 2am.  It was magical.  I took her to the doc for steroids as soon as we got home on Sunday.  No more barking or wheezing.

THEN (yes, there's more) we found out that I purchased $500 worth of merchandise from Lands End and had it shipped to Texas.

Except I didn't.

My Land's End profile was hacked.  I saved my credit card number "for fast and easy checkouts" so the hacker thought they could make a purchase on my dime.  FOOLED YOU.  I haven't purchased anything from Land's End since last July and the credit card information was outdated.

Still, it was a hassle.  We cancelled the credit card (just in case) and therefore I had to notify all of the auto-pay services that use that credit card and switch to a different credit card...except we didn't have a different credit card.  Sigh.

It's all taken care of now and no fraudulent purchases were actually made.  I got lucky.  I will no longer be storing credit card information for "fast and easy checkouts".  Fast and easy was not worth the mess I've had to deal with this week.

Now for the 2014 changes.

Fitness changes:
  • Have FUN!  This one is easy and I'm all over it.  I've decided that I won't have a finish time goal for the ORRRC half marathon in April.  My current half marathon personal record (PR) is 2:9:57 and I'm pretty sure I can beat that, so I am hoping to PR, but I have no specific time in mind.  Last year, I was hoping for 2 hours, but last year, I was training for speed.  This year, I'm running with friends for every.single.run.  No speed training.  It's not fun.  Hills.  Hills are fun.  Hill repeats are replacing speed training, so we'll just see what happens in April.
Hill Repeaters 2/4/14
  • Ditch the belly.  I've lost 8 pounds and 3 inches since New Year's Day.  I'm doing well with keeping the candy out of my mouth and I'm also doing well with eating more protein so I stay full longer and don't feel the need to grab a handful of Hershey Kisses.  That handful of Hershey Kisses will lead to another handful of Hershey Kisses....  Here is what Brad has to say about upping the protein in your diet:
(You can't see this video if you're viewing this post in an email)

  • Strength and core training twice a week.  Every Tuesday and Thursday.  I haven't missed one until yesterday.  My body was sore and tired.  It was telling me I needed a break.  I gave it one.
  • At least 1000 running miles.  In 2014, I've wracked up 110 miles so far.  I missed a lot of mileage because of ice and sub-zero temps.  I just can't seem to stay on the treadmill as long as I'd stay outside.  
Non-fitness changes:
  • Continue making an effort with my appearance. So....this one went downhill fast.  I haven't worn makeup since Aleena's birthday party at the beginning of January, but I have shaped my eyebrows.
  • Say "yes" to Randy more often.  I fell off the wagon here for a bit, but I'm getting back on.
  • Keep the kitchen counters clear.  I'm finding that it's not as much work as I expected it to be as long as I make the effort to notice the crap on the counter.  I've always had the habit of sorting mail immediately; putting bills where they belong and recycling or shredding the junk, mail isn't the problem.  My problem has always been the stuff that needs to go into another room.  "Oh, I'll put it away next time I go upstairs."  And then I forget about it.  I'm getting into the habit of scanning the counters before I head upstairs or downstairs so I don't forget the crap.
Slowly, I'm breaking the dumping habit.  Not all flat surfaces have to hold crap.  Were you already aware of this? I'm just learning.

How are you doing with your 2014 goals/changes/resolutions?
Do you store credit card information for fast and easy check outs?