Thursday, June 23, 2016

Adora Deer

Adora came to us 10 years ago as a tiny puppy.  She was about 7 weeks old, a little imp of a thing, with ears that didn't quite have enough cartilage to stick up all the way.  She was freaking adorable.  I mean, look at her.  So stinking cute.  She was our new foster puppy and I had delusions of letting another family adopt her once she was spayed and vaccinated.

Adora got her middle name, Deer, because A, her ears, when held in a certain position, resembled a deer's ears and B, I sang the "doe a deer" song from the sound of music (you know the one, "Doe, a deer, a female deer.  Ray, a drop of golden suuuuuuuun...") except I sang, "Adora Deer, a female deer..."  It drove Randy crazy, but Adora liked my singing....

Anyway, all of our dogs have middle names and it should have been a sign back then that Adora would become a foster-fail.

On her first night with us, Adora decided that Jackson was her buddy.  Jackson didn't share her feelings.  Adora didn't care.  She wanted to snuggle with Jack and she moseyed her cute puppy butt into his crate...he growled at her, how dare she encroach on his personal space.  Adora wasn't deterred.  She plopped down right against him as he heaved a big sigh of disgust.

From then on, Adora was his puppy.

As time went on, we came to the realization that Adora was the perfect addition to our family, if an unexpected one.  Odie, Jackson and Adora quickly became a pack.

They pack-hunted, pack-napped...

...and pack-begged for treats.

Adora Deer was the sweetest and gentlest of the pack.  Even as a tiny puppy, I never had to teach her to be gentle like I did with the boys.  She never accidentally bit my finger when taking treats, she was never one to jump up on people, she practically potty trained herself by copying the boys...she was just....chill.  Very low-maintenance.  Like I said, the unexpected, perfect addition to our pack.

We lost Jackson less than three months ago.  Odie and Adora took it well.  There didn't seem to be any mourning period for them (I, however, didn't want to get out of bed for three days).  They ate, slept, played...all pretty normal.  I was a little jealous of their ability to cope so well.

Two months after Jackson's death, Adora didn't want to eat much.  She'd eat a few bites, then walk away from her bowl.  Not totally unusual for her, but after a week of this, I took her to our vet thinking that she broke a tooth or had some other dental issue.


Her teeth looked fine.  The vet suggested that we look at her belly.  Maybe she has something intestinal going on, her blood work was wonky, it might be a gut issue.  We got meds, I made her bland meals of boiled chicken and rice, which she ate, but when we switched back to dog food, she stopped eating again. 

Back to the vet for more blood work and we were instructed to give Adora whatever she wanted to eat as she'd lost more weight.  This time the blood test results were even more wonky and over the next couple of weeks the vet went in search of cancer and found it in multiple areas of her body.  By this time Adora had lost ten pounds and, though she was taking prednisone, she would only eat a few bites of chicken several times a day and select dog treats: the stinkier, the better.  Her feet would slide out from under her when standing on the tile floor, she was losing her balance frequently and her walk was slow and deliberate.

Randy and I knew that we didn't have much time with her.  On Monday morning, she was barking out the front window and wagging her tail while begging for treats.  By Monday night, she could barely lift her head.  She wasn't eating and she wasn't drinking.  Tuesday morning, she had no tail wag and she didn't get up to go outside with Odie.  We knew it was time.  

Adora Deer, my sweet, sweet foster-fail passed away surrounded by love and tears on Tuesday morning.  Just before her heart stopped, I asked her to give Jackson our love.  I'm sure moments later, there was a lot of tail wagging going on in Doggie Heaven.

Cancer has claimed two of our dogs within three months.  My emotions swing like a pendulum between heartbroken and really fucking pissed.  Most of the time, I can keep myself together, but every once in a while, a tantrum sneaks up on me.  I'm sure, with time, that will lessen.  I hope it will, anyway.

Happy tails to you, Adora.
4/26/2006 - 6/21/2016

Friday, June 3, 2016

Bayshore Marathon Weekend Recap

In the week leading up to race day, I tried hard to not stalk the weather like I usually do.  The weather is out of my control and will be what it will be.  Still....watching the weather change from high percentage of storms--undesirable-- to warm temps with high humidity--also undesirable--was a little stressful.

I packed several clothing options ranging from capris and long sleeves to shorts and a tank and decided to make an outfit decision Friday night.

The trip to Traverse City would be a 6.5 hour drive from Columbus and since Sarah, Megan and I were well-hydrated, we anticipated many stops making our drive a little bit longer.  We left Columbus at 7am on Friday and headed north.  I don't even remember what time we actually arrived with all the potty breaks and construction traffic.  We rented a house for the weekend.  This worked out so much better than having a hotel room.  We had space to roam, stretch our legs and we weren't stuck on two double beds in a studio hotel room all weekend.

Our home away from home.
Packet pick up started at 5pm so after we settled all of our stuff in the house we headed out to get our bibs.  Bayshore is a small event, only about 7000 participants running the marathon, half marathon and 10K, so you can imagine that packet pick up is a small event as well.  There were a few vendors, but certainly nothing like the huge expo at the convention center for the Columbus Marathon every year.  It was nice to get in and out.  Bigger is not always better, y'all.

After we got our bibs, we went to dinner at Poppycocks; the food was delicious.  There was a wide variety of options on the menu.  All three of us got different pastas and all of it disappeared.

When we got back to the house, we all picked out our race outfits and went to bed early-ish.

Temps were going to be in the mid-60s at the start and it was going to get hotter by the minute so I went with shorts rather than capris.  I wanted to minimize the sunburn so I opted for short sleeves instead of a tank to spare my shoulders.

Peek-A-Boo Skirt and Circuit Tee
I slept on Friday night.  Like, all night.  Maybe it was a fluke.  Or maybe it was because the bed was so comfortable.  Or maybe I'm getting better at the mental game of the marathon.

Megan and  Sarah were both up before me on Saturday and I heard them, but didn't actually wake up until my alarm went off at 4:45am.  We'd planned to leave the house at 5:30am and I left exactly enough time to get myself ready.  No extra time to second guess my outfit or my race plan.

Speaking of my race hasn't been a secret that I'm chasing down a 4:20 finish this year.  If it doesn't happen at Bayshore, that's cool, I'll keep trying, I will chip away my time until I get there, then I'll chase after another time.  I knew when we started, the temps were going to climb quickly so 4:20 might not happen.  Plan B was sub 4:33, my current PR.  Plan C is always survival.

My plan for this particular day: start off at 10 min pace then pick up the pace a little in the second half.  I had my music turned up a little louder than I normally listen to it.  I thought if it were louder than the voices in my head, that would be helpful.  Ah, the mind games we play....

At mile 12, my average pace was 9:59.  Then the wheels started to fall off.  At mile 12.5, I thought I might need to pull over to vomit.  I think I gulped a little too much Gatorade at the previous water station.  Rookie.  I walked a little, started to feel a little better and went on my way.

Miles 13 and 14 (10:42, 10:52) were a little rough then I got myself back together for 15-18 (10:04, 10:30, 10:31, 9:54).  I knew at mile 13 that it was too hot to speed up so 4:20 finish would have to wait for another day and by mile 23, Plan B went out the window as well.

Mile 19 was rough.  It was the slowest mile at 12:36.  The sun was out, it was hot, I couldn't get enough water.  I refilled the water bottles in my belt at every water station and was drinking Gatorade and water constantly.  And I could see Grand Traverse Bay.  It looked nice and cool.  I wanted to lay in it.  Face down.  Then I wouldn't have to finish this damn marathon.  Why do I do this, anyway?  Idiot.

Miles 20-25: 10:34, 11:52, 11:21, 11:27, 11:07, 10:36.  I was struggling, but by the looks of a lot of people around me, my struggles weren't as bad as some others.

Mile 25 was at the top of a hill.  Of course it was.  It was also a residential area and there were a lot of spectators out.  That was helpful.  Keep going, Jamie.  One foot in front of the other.

Mile 26, 10:35, I could hear the finish line...then I could SEE it!

The last .29 was an 8 minute pace.  Get. This. Shit. Done.

We finished on a high school track.  There were people in the bleachers cheering and a man (the race director?) with a microphone announcing all of the finisher's names.

I crossed the finish line 4:34:42, just a minute slower than my PR time, was handed a medal, it's heavy.  I like it.  Then a medic grabbed me by the shoulders, got down in my face and asked if I was ok.  I was fine.  Hot, thirsty, tired, a little delirious, but fine.

A volunteer handed me a bottle of water.  I sucked that water down and got another bottle.  I hung out in the finish area, drinking water, until Megan and Sarah crossed the finish line.

We all need showers but first, let me take a selfie.
Once we were all accounted for, we hobbled off to find the car.

The next 30 or so hours were filled with grunting, wincing, gingerly walking and a whole lot of laughing.  I'm sure y'all won't find our shenanigans near as hysterical as we did so I'll spare you most of it.

We ordered pizza Saturday night.  When the pizza delivery guy arrived, Megan and I hobbled to the door to greet him.  We were so tired, we considered asking him to come on in and feed us.

Sunday morning, I was awake, laying in bed and I heard Sarah yelling from the other bedroom, "Someone call the fire department!"  Megan and I rushed (I use this word loosely) in to see what was wrong and Sarah said, "I need to get off this top bunk!"

And we started our day in a fit of giggles.

We all had leftover pizza for breakfast and it was decided that the pizza had to come in the car with us so we could eat it on the way home.

I got to share the backseat with the pizza.
 ...and we laughed all the way back to Columbus.

This weekend could have been a huge disappointment.

It wasn't.

I had a ridiculous amount of fun with my people, the course was gorgeous and, with the exception of miles 19-25 being too hot to keep my goal pace, I had a great run.

The muscle soreness has worn off but I won't be running for a bit.  With every marathon, I promise my legs 10 days of no running.  Usually days 1-3 I swear I'm never running again, but by day 5, I'm ready and when day 10 rolls around, I can't wait to get out there.  My 10 days of rest not only allows my body time to heal, it keeps the love alive.  I'm looking forward to Tuesday.

Have you ever run any of the Bayshore events?
If you travel for races, do you go with friends?  Or would you prefer to have your family with you?  I'd love to have my kids at races, but they don't sleep well in hotels.  It's best for all of us if they stay home.