To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Portland Rock'n'Roll 10K

I feel like it should go without saying that I actually registered to run the Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon. A while ago when starting different medicine I pretty much had to plead with my doctor to let me at least do the 10K if I promised to take it easy, have walk breaks and not "race". So that's what I did. I hated not running the new course for 2015, but I am so happy I got to at least participate in my favorite race series.

The expo was NOT what I have come to expect from Rock'n'Roll. I had told my mom how much fun it is and that it would be better than any others. I feel like I lied. I was very disappointed. Happily the race itself didn't disappoint. 

I was staying at a hotel a short walking distance from the race so it was nice to actually get to sleep in on a race morning. When I say "sleep in" for a race, that means I didn't get out of bed until 6am. Woo!! Just like for the Run Track Town 5K last weekend, I was way too calm. I spent pre-race time nibbling on a muffin and watching the Mad Men marathon. It was a little hard to tear my mom away from the marathon actually -- that Don Draper, he's addicting! But around 7:30 we finally left the room and went to the Portland waterfront.  It was cool seeing the PDX carpet everywhere, with this race obviously being a huge tribute to the removal of the carpet. I couldn't resist taking the required feet on the carpet photo!

Lining up in the 10K start with a half marathon bib on was hard. I'm glad I couldn't see or hear the half marathon start because the temptation may have won and I may have broken doctor's orders! Our start line was the finish for the half, and we got to begin the course by running on the infamous airport carpet! My mom was at the sideline cheering me on at the start line and didn't get a photo of me with my arms up waving at her -- that's pretty much all you see, but it was a great way to start a race seeing my mommy there!

I was shocked at how awesome I felt. The weather was perfect for a race, nice and cool but not at all cold. It really allowed me to get into my zone. The course did a minor loop through downtown before we crossed the first of 3 bridges on our first visit to the east side of the river.  We had walked so much the prior two days with visits to the Oregon Zoo and shopping downtown that I thought maybe I'd be tired. Heck no, my legs felt awesome!!

During one of my self-mandated walk breaks I sent a text to my mom with my status. She replied she was at mile 3 waiting for me. Cool! That helped me perk up a bit as I went over my 2nd bridge to return downtown. As I was rounding the corner and hitting a straight stretch I was able to find her. So cool having my own cheer squad! It should be said that my mom is notorious for taking blurry photos. Aside from 3 of the photos in that top collage, she took everything in this post. How she took photos of me actually running and not slowing down and they aren't blurry is a miracle!! Thank you, Mommy!

I loved the photo she got where I was waving at her with the woman and her flag behind me. I ran the entire race with her. We never spoke, but I just sort of used her as my pacer. She was so easy to keep an eye on with that grand flag after all! It was so impressive. She was just as steady as can be and the flag never once started to lower. The arms on that woman - impressive!!

Really this was a nice run. Only some minor vertigo bothered me here and there, so I used that as a sign to give myself the walking breaks I had promised. My bladder also decided it was going to be full so I contemplated stopping at every single bathroom I saw, yet never did. Probably should have just so I could have actually run without fear! ;)

When I came down the finishers shoot my mom was again there cheering me on. The miracle with this shot is her camera was off. She turned it on at the last second and tried to just click, not even sure if she got a picture. Well, she did! And frankly it was better than any pro race photo I've had at a finish line. Watch out Marathon Photo, she's taking over!!

The vertigo really kicked in at the finish line. Thank goodness for that sturdy water table I ended up grabbing as I was about to fall over. Grabbing the flimsy recycle bin wasn't the best plan - but I caught myself as volunteers were telling me the medical tent was just ahead. Oh and then I almost fell trying to get my official finisher photo taken as well. Eh, I survived!  

The official post-race concert was just not my thing. They seemed way too Portland for me. I stayed long enough to watch the awards and see the start of Portugal The Man before calling it a day and closing the door on this year's Rock'n'Roll race. Speaking of music, I have zero recollection of any bands on the 10K course, only a couple of DJs playing music under a tent. That's the sad thing with these races with multiple distances; they sure cater to the longest distance and the rest of us are like the over-looked step-children. Rock'n'Roll is always fun, but having done nine of their races now I can say this one wasn't up to the standards I have set for them.  Will I return next year? But of course!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Run Track Town 5K

On Black Friday I gave myself the awesome gift of races for 2015.  One of those was my 4th running of the Eugene Half Marathon. I was ready to conquer that last 5K where my mind always turns on me because, let's face it, the last 5K of that race is pretty dull with no crowd support and not much to look at. Well, I didn't expect medical things to happen. I'm on a cocktail of medication and having issues with vertigo and Meniere's Disease. My doctors said I can do an easy run/brisk walk. Having had a 2 month absence from running altogether when my Grandpa passed away, I just had NO motivation to break doctor's orders and be a superhero. So when I went to the expo to get my bib I had to make the hard, but smart decision and drop to the 5K distance. I HATED doing it. Ugh, absolutely hated it.

Not being happy about dropping 10 miles from my distance, I just lost any big desire. Before bed I pretty much grabbed whatever was on top of the stacks in my running drawers and called it good. I DID grab a Sharpie and wrote my name on my bib though. My original half marathon bib did have my name on it, but since they took that and traded I had a blank pallet to work with! That was the extent of my preparation. Heck I didn't even braid my hair for this one, and that's something I always HAVE to do for any long distance run! Good thing this was a shorty!

A strange thing happened. I woke up completely calm. Perhaps not caring about a finish time, having no goals and just wanting to participate caused me to not worry. I almost fell asleep on the way to Eugene, and for breakfast had some water and peanut butter cookies. Go me! Frankly, I might start fueling with cookies from now on!! Man Friend drove me to the race and was my official cheer squad, getting me there in plenty of time to use the potty and get in a ton of people watching. I guess I am used to bigger races because I was in the start area, my Garmin ready and music paused waiting for the start line --- and a gun went off. I looked at Man Friend and said "really?" and handed him my jacket. Apparently they started a few minutes early with little fanfare. I was still waiting to hear our National Anthem, but alas it never happened.

So off I went. No goals but to run easy and not fall on my face. I was dizzy before it started, so I had no idea what to expect during the race.  I just stayed to the right, knowing almost every turn we would make was to the right. I am all about running the tangents. I see so many races where everybody is running super wide turns and following the pack. I am not about that at all. Sticking to the side worked and I was able to steadily pass people without zigging and zagging. I obviously started out way too far in the back because I spent most of the race slowly picking people off -- which felt pretty nice!

I have nothing race wise to report really. The roads in Eugene are awful and I had to watch where I was stepping way too closely at times. I did enjoy running in neighborhoods I haven't been through before. Crowd support was non-existent. I'm sure the residents are all waiting for the big races tomorrow. The first mile flew by and soon I was rounding a corner to Agate Street, which I am very familiar with from the Half Marathon course. As I was making my one left turn I saw Man Friend cheering me on. Yay!! 

As per usual, my walking up hill skills are on point. Seeing as I am instructed to take it easy, my plan was to run easy and then when there were bigger inclines I would walk. Each time I did I was passing people that were trying to run. Never fails, I'm an awesome hill walker! I did find some amusement for the last couple of miles. (Ha, last couple - it's a freaking 3 mile race!) There was this male and female couple. We were all pretty much going the same pace overall -- because they never walked. They'd pass me occasionally during my forced walks, but then I'd go by on my run. I did pass them walking up hill also. I was NOT competing with anybody at all. I wasn't evening competing with myself. This was purely just a nice morning run in a new place. I think for that last mile they started competing with me, whether it be on purpose or not.

Any time I would gradually near them I noticed they would surge forward. I just stayed steady at my pace and even added in a final walk break at one moment to take in some new sights. Never failed, I would get by them and they'd be gone. It humored me, as I had absolutely no intention of trying to race them. It was during this that my Garmin's distance froze at 2.51 miles. I was confused at how it felt like I had .6 to go for soooo long. That then made me disoriented because I felt the end had to be just around the corner.  Well, it was just around the corner. We dropped down onto Hayward Field and that competitive couple made their fatal race mistake! Who runs on the outside wide lanes?? As I always do, I spotted the shortest distance line and followed it. Psh, never saw them again. It worked out awesome. I had the whole area in front of and behind me open. I rounded the last corner and saw Man Friend at the sides cheering me on. The finish was ahead and for the first time in the race I let my legs go and did a very fun, strong finishing sprint to the end. 

No need to throw up. Sweating but not miserable. It actually felt like a nice little jaunt through a race course! I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I followed doctor's orders knowing that being smart to my body right now is smarter than adding 10 more miles and risking something bad happening. The finisher's bag I felt was even better than last year's, so go Eugene for that! I passed on the pancakes, as I have done every single year I've participated. Instead just took in the atmosphere, socialized and left feeling happy and proud!

And now I leave you with this.... my shoes. I love them. I am very frugal when it comes to shoes. I find Adidas that look appealing and feel nice and pretty much don't pay over $60 for them. These bad boys were $120, but thanks to the 50% off Adidas employee store coupon, these stayed in my $60 range. Woo!!! They are Adidas Boost, by the way, and you feel like you're running on marshmallows. Pure Heaven!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Just A Little Lovin' Will Go A Long Way

My entire life I was aware of the inevitable. Due to age differences, the odds were that my Grandpa would pass away before I would. My entire life I have had complete dread over what is about to happen. I've never known how I could even handle the day. How could I sit there and not just be a sobbing mess? And now it's upon me. I have to sit at the church with my family while we all remember my hero, my Grandpa.

It's been over a month and I still cry every single day. I have many photos up of my grandpa back when he was a teenager in high school, and a newlywed Army Sergeant. When I see photos of MY Grandpa as I knew him, then it gets way too real. He wasn't supposed to leave me yet. He still seemed so young and healthy. Man Friend and I talk about things a lot while I keep trying to process different things. Today I had to tell myself that I was lucky that I never had to see my Grandpa "become a burden" that he was so determined to not become. Until the end he always had his dignity. So now I have wonderful memories and can even look back on our last days and smile over special moments even in the hospital.

On November 3rd back in the late 1970s, Grandpa sat in his chair pretending to read his newspaper, while sneaking glances over the top at my mom while she was in the early stages of labor. At 4am on the 4th of November I made my grand appearance into this world. For the next 36 years and 4 months, that man and I had a very special relationship that can't be replicated. Around maybe 6 years old (??) Grandpa gave me my first taste of alcohol. We were in his boat in the driveway and he was preparing things for a trip to the cabin. He had a beer and I asked if I could have a sip. He laughed and said sure ---- you can all thank Grandpa for why I still hate beer to this day! So gross! But then when I was in college Grandpa gave me one of my first drinks of alcohol again ... his blackberry brandy! For Christmas this year what did Grandpa give me? A bottle of blackberry brandy .... some of which we passed around and had sips of at the cemetery after his first service! Grandpa took me to my first OSU football game. He helped me move into my dorm freshman year. He was even my dad one year for Dad's Weekend, and a chilly fall weekend that was! The first time I ever hosted Christmas was last year, and Grandpa was here for yummy breakfast, the parade and presents. I loved being able to have everyone in my home for a holiday for the first time!

There are so many 'firsts' that I have with Grandpa next to me. But sadly there are some 'lasts' as well. I get sad remembering, but then they are also memories and I am happy to have them. The last run I've had started and ended at his house. He knew I was going to have a great run before I left, and when I came home he still gave me big hugs even though I was all sweaty and stinky. Probably the last visit I will make to our local Red Robin was with Grandpa. The last phone calls before the hospital - I was the last to call him, I was the last person he called. His last steps outside in the fresh air were with me as I helped him into the car. But there are two lasts that make me cry every time I think of them, and summarize the bond between us Rons. Monday evening I stood at his side, still optimistic that he would be coming home. I would be getting to continue my Pinterest cooking experiments, and he would continue to be my guinea pig. I was looking forward to college football games and having Grandpa over to watch with me next to the fire. The future, I thought, was going to be just as it always was. Before I left to follow mom out of his hospital room, I bent over to give him a hug. It was then that I got his last kiss he was able to give. The next day my world flipped upside down when I entered his dark room and knew that I only had a short time left. Three of us sat at his side. I practically shooed the nurse out of my way so I could be right at his side as close as possible. It was silent, only noises of his last breaths and our tears. I couldn't take my eyes off of his face, nor my hand off of his shoulder. One at a time we talked to Grandpa. It was that day that I leaned over and gave Grandpa his very last living kiss. People always remember first kisses, but not me. Those two last kisses mean more than any others.

In this last month and a half I have been trying to figure out how to live without my favorite person. I've spent a lot of time in his chair and on his bed. I only use his bathroom, versus the main bathroom. I use his kitchen chair when we have lunch there. I listen to his music. I wear his slippers and sweatshirt. And while doing all of that I've been working really hard on his memorial service.  It's the last official event for Grandpa and I want it to be as nice as it can be. Pictures, music, memories .... I've been surrounded by it. I cry a lot, but I always smile a lot, too... and it helps!

I hear my favorite Eddy Arnold song and I always immediately see my Grandpa's smiling face. I always have. It wasn't until he was gone that I realized I still don't hear Eddy Arnold singing, I hear my grandpa singing. He had such a lovely voice, if I do say so myself! So when I decided to do a photo tribute to Grandpa and set it to music, without hesitation I knew Eddy Arnold had to be included. For some reason that music never gets old to me. Even my last time I was at the cemetery two days ago I sat down in the grass with my grandparents and played Eddy Arnold and sang along for them. It just makes me happy. Strange as it may seem, good ol' Eddy Arnold has been a huge help in my grieving process. So without further ado, here's my video tribute to my favorite person!

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Love Like None Other

1930's handsomeness, Gpa on the right
One man in my life has always been my number one. Nobody could ever top him. An unkind word has never been uttered about him. He has always been my number one role model, although I fully admit I am nowhere close to being such a kind soul. He is Grandpa, and Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 1:05pm I held his shoulder and cried at his side while he left me to go be reunited with my grandma, two of his children and all the family pets. My heart is absolutely broken. The only time I have been able to really smile and feel calm is when I'm in his house. There's something about his house. When my pets have died, it was the first place I would go to cry in his arms. When my aunt committed suicide it was the first place we went. As a girl in my 30s, there I was almost on Grandpa's lap with my arms around him, crying. I guess it only felt natural that before I could go home after he passed away, I had to go to his house and cry on his bed. Such a great man.

In the last two days my mom and I have been at his house going through old photos and memorabilia. This person that has always been perfect in my eyes has reached a whole new level of wonderful to me. I did learn that I am a merge of my grandparents -- I take tons of pictures like Grandma did, and I organize and label them like Grandpa! It was going through these organized, labeled photos that I could feel his love for my grandma. Just thinking about it makes me cry. This man loved this woman so much. I found a letter today that my grandpa wrote to his grandparents on my grandma's birthday when he was away in the Army. He wrote how the phone calls were delayed and he really hoped his would go through because Eunice would be so sad if he couldn't call. He also talked about a photo he had sent his grandparents, and commented on how beautiful she was in it. In his Army scrapbook that HE made (and labeled!), you could even see by the captions how he was head over heels for "Blackie". Such a romantic side that I didn't know about! And let me tell you, he was quite the looker, as was she. Good looking kids, they even made headlines in town when they got married!

But his love wasn't just for Grandma.  We found report cards for his children. Newspaper clippings of everything. He even had newspaper clippings of his parents' wedding announcement! Graduation announcements, programs from student plays, a chopped off ponytail from one of his girls.  Sentimental and sweet. 

Any person that knew him could see how kind he was. In these short days since he left us we've received so many comments and stories, some intimately private, of how he was such a help to them. He seemed to have impacted so many outside of our family just by being himself. He was so giving. He donated time, money, clothing. He would deliberately go buy things just so he could donate them to a good cause. As a pharmacist he went above and beyond. He was not like any pharmacist that exists today. I describe him as being a real life Norman Rockwell painting.  And you know what he did not do? He didn't brag about it. Things we are learning are things none of us ever knew. He was so humble. He didn't need to tell people that he saved a woman's life. He just did it because it was the right thing to do. 

This is rambling and I don't care. Did you know Grandpa was my roommate? Or maybe I should say I was his housemate. When I moved home from Florida I lived with him for a few months while I worked on the house that I rented from him. He was the best housemate. Every day he made me lunch without me even asking. I one time mentioned how I was craving a maple bar. The next morning I woke up and he had gotten me two! Each morning I'd go walking through his bedroom to the bathroom to shower. This is something he was so familiar with as he had 3 daughters that all grew up doing the same thing. And did he mind? Heck no! I think Grandpa loved having us all around! Even up until the day of his accident he was always saying "Ronnie Rae, don't you go buying such and such. You come check with me first, I probably have it!" I'm completely capable of cooking for myself or buying my own crock pots, but he loved any opportunity to give and do anything for any of his family.  Last month I locked my keys in my car, and thus was locked out of my house. He didn't hesitate to get in his truck and come rescue me. He was always rescuing me in his own way!

The point I was intending to make was that he loved unconditionally. He had five children. His memorabilia stashes show how important each one of them was to him. And grandchildren too. I have to laugh when my mom whines because compared to her oldest siblings, she is hardly in any photos. And I'm sure my cousins would groan over how many photos there are of me. But my mom is STILL camera shy. And apparently I've just always been a ham in front of a camera. I had no idea! And come on, I'm named after the man. He HAS to have tons of my photos. All the way until junior high I was probably at his house more than my own. So many nights I slept between him and Grandma. We'd all have ice cream in bed and watch Murder She Wrote and the Discovery Channel before I would roll over to sleep. I'm the only one in the family that was lulled to sleep by Grandpa's snore.  Even earlier this week I smiled and was excited when I sat in the hospital room listening to my grandpa snore. To say I'm a Grandpa's Girl is the biggest understatement ever. He even gave me away at my first wedding, and was so handsome while doing so! 

But now my sweet, perfect grandpa is gone. He's never going to be fully gone and certainly never forgotten. I can only hope that those of us that knew him would try to be more like him. Let's all try to be nicer. Let's all accept each other. If Grandpa disliked something, he'd just be quiet and shake his head. I'm going to try just shaking my head more. Let's all try to be generous. Let's all help each other and strangers. Let's all love more. I'm sure we all love people and just don't say it as much as we should. So let's try that, too! If I've learned anything from this week it is that you have no idea when your life could completely change.  Days ago my grandpa was independent, walking, driving, living on his own. He left his home to meet us for our standard Wednesday lunch date. After lunch, being the kind man he is, he went to the store to get a birthday cake and ice cream for a dear friend with Alzheimers who didn't even know who he was anymore. Doing something so sweet, and then one slight error caused everything to change. He never got to go home or share that birthday cake. This could happen to any of us at any day and any time. So I think while we are all still here and able, let's just try to be better and love better! I feel pretty damn lucky that I had the greatest relationship with him and continue to learn even more about how caring he was. Every moment in my life, he's been there for it. I don't know how to be without my Grandpa, but I will certainly try to be more like him!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekly Run-Cap: My Nemesis

Run 31.15: 63 degrees, rain   I had so many things to do. But what I wanted to be sure to squeeze in was a run. I had new bluetooth headphones arrive that I was eager to test, so I had extra motivation. The rain didn't even make me hesitate for a second. Garmin? Check. Hat? Check. Headphones? Check. Shoes? Check. Time to run!!  I was thinking so much about the headphones and trying to form an opinion that before I knew it I was over a mile in and just cruising along. As I neared the house of the asshole dog I saw the old dog wandering around. It was walking toward the house and I figured if I crossed the street just right I'd avoid it. That worked! I continued down the hill and up the next and made the turn around to head home. Or so I thought. Sure enough the little 6 pound asshole dog came flying down its driveway in full attack mode. Dammit!! I could have tried to avoid its attack, or turn around and attack my running nemesis ... THE Hill. It's a monster. I've been slowly building up to sometime tackling it. Here I was, already with sore legs and feeling exhausted, and now scaling the side of a mountain. Baby steps. One object to focus on at a time. Holy cow this thing was No Joke. When I got home I saw I had over 200 feet of elevation climb ... pretty sure the majority of that was just in that one hill.  Damn asshole dog!

I have no photo. I had no other run. It was a very strange week.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Weekly Run-Cap: It Was a GREAT Week!

Huh. I guess I sucked! I thought I had another run in this strange week of mine, but I don't see one. It's Super Bowl time, maybe while the game is on this will be a good time to check Garmin Connect and see if maybe I DID run another day? Seeing as I'm falling asleep during this game, why not! Phew, I DID run another day! Um.... I don't remember anything fancy about it. Oops..... 

Run 31.12: I remember it!!!  My training plan called for distance at a 5-10K race pace. So it was a fast one. I am kind of freaked out about how I am regaining some speed and how it's not killing me! And on the end of this run I again saw the man with the big white beard that is always riding his bike. We keep crossing paths at the same point every time we see each other. It's nice having a friendly neighborhood - as few houses as we have out here!

Run 31.13:  48 degrees, cloudy I wanted a "new" route, so I went to my mom's house to run my old loop out there. She took her puppy for his walk, so of course I had to be sure to run faster than he was going to try to walk. I heard him talk to me as I flew by at the start and I only looked back once. And then it just got crazy .... I kept going and going and feeling awesome .... I turned around to head back and eventually met back up with my mom and little fur brother for a quick hello. I became Forrest Gump again and kept going .... when I finished that, I was not far off of my 5K race pace ... and I even walked with my mom and dog during my last mile when we met up one last time! WHAT???!!!!? I was on quite a high after that run!

Run 31.14a: 48 degrees, rain/mist Being a Sunday and no plans on our schedule I sweet talked Man Friend into joining me for one loop of my long run. He has "retired" from running, except for any relay races that may present themselves to us, so he hasn't run at all since the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in November. We went out to the farm land loop I did last week, and I loved it. It was my favorite weather, nice company, quiet and peaceful. Having him run with me was a great benefit because I was able to talk a lot .... and force myself to slow my pace down so that I could run longer today. He never complained once and I finished that first loop feeling great and energized, ready for more!

Run 31.14b: 48 degrees, rain/mist We went back home so MF could do whatever he wanted (and recover) and I set out on the second half of my long run in my own neighborhood. It was a nice change of pace to start my run and already be warmed up and starting in the zone. Sure, my mind told me it would be okay if I turned around early -- my ego thought it would feel better to do what I had told myself I would do today. So that's what I did! I must admit since it was my first "long" run in a long time (thank you, stupid Meniere's Disease), I had to do a lot of mental work during my last loop. I kept repeating something I saw on Pinterest. It said to Run the Mile You're In. By the end of this I laughed when I realized I was running the tenth of a mile I was in ... but it got me to the end, and helped me make my last mile of the day my fastest of the day!

All in all, this was a very successful week. I'm feeling more and more confident in my ability to tackle March's half marathon! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekly Run-Cap: Skirts, Tanks and Sunshine?

Run 31.9: 55 degrees, sun, clear skies. This was supposed to be a normal run on my regular route. I didn't have work that day so it was nice to just feel free to do whatever. You know what I wasn't free to do?? Run my regular route! That asshole dog was back!!!!! I got in my desired distance but had to zig zag through what are essentially long driveways. It made for a not fun ending when you have half a mile and are looking at your house wondering where to make up the distance. But I got it in!

I missed a couple days of running due to again, more annoying Meniere's issues and being too dizzy to even sit upright on my own. I keep making progress and then dang it, knocked back down again.

Run 31.10: 61 degrees, short sleeves, skirt. I had no goal. I took off running and suddenly it was like "oh hey, we are going to do some speed work!" ... so I just went with it. Nothing spectacular to report. I cut it a bit shorter since I knew the next day was going to be long. It felt rather nice to just go out there and give it my all and survive!

Run 31.11: 63 degrees, a tank top, skirt and wonderful views! This was supposed to be a long run in honor of Steve Prefontaine's birthday. Supposed to being the key part of that sentence. I was enjoying myself so much. The views were so nice, perfect weather... it was just me, some cows and sheep, and very few humans. But I was only 1.7 in when my trusty Meniere's had other plans.  I had to start walking more than I care to... but when I saw my final pace at the car I was shocked! So I guess my running is getting faster and I didn't even know it. Woo!

On this run I learned how to get 20 sheep to run together ... and then is, just breathe and run by. Then I learned how to get them to freeze and stare .... just pause your Garmin so it makes that little beep! Simple things amuse me on a run!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Weekly Run-Cap: That Damn Dog

Run 31.6: 55 degrees, sunny, absolutely gorgeous! If all runs were like this one I would be running multiple times a day, every single day! I don't know what it was, but I just got in the zone and this was the single best run I've had in my new neighborhood. Each mile was faster than they normally are on the neighborhood route. I wasn't deliberately going faster, but it just seemed to happen. At the time I didn't even realize it, but when I hit the end and checked my Garmin - well let's just say some of my neighbors are fully aware now that I was happy with what I saw! It concerns me that the hills that used to bug me are hardly even a blip on my radar now. I guess it's time to graduate and move on to the next mountain on the path!

*My next scheduled run didn't happen. Instead I found myself on a brisk 2+ mile walk with some dogs in the park. I may not have run, but boy did I work up a sweat nonetheless!

Run 31.7:  50 degrees. With the warm, misty air, I found myself happy to be out running. The "rain" stopped before I even had a chance to work up a sweat (which kind of disappointed me). As far as running, I did good, tried to push my pace a bit to help get back to my old normal. The hiccup with this run was the damn dog near the turnaround. I had already passed its house, continued along to where I like to turn and was heading back ... and then it spotted me. This dog is the very definition of ankle biter. That little bastard came flying down the hill from its house and made a beeline for me. And again, as per usual, went right for my feet. Last time it almost tripped me, so this time I was prepared. I LOVE all animals. This dog is an asshole! The one good thing about that little brat is it makes me pick up my pace even more just so I can get away from its bark and dive bombs at my feet!

Run 31.8:  57 degrees, cloudy. I was so tired. I wanted to run longer and leave my neighborhood, but I always really wanted to vacuum and test out my new Swiffer Wet Jet. (Housewife hours after all, sometimes I have to earn my keep around here!) So I stuck to what I know and hit the 'hood. I heard the neighborhood turkeys today but never could find them. Dang it. The squirrel carcass was finally gone, but the banana peel I've been watching for a couple weeks is still there and taking forever to decompose. This time I thought I might make it to my turn around without that dog .... and I was wrong. That pipsqueak came flying down and I decided to immediately turn around. It still chased me, even though I told it to go away. Ugh. To make up the distance difference I turned on the road I keep only looking at. I am happy to say I made it a good way up this hill that I dread. My goal is to actually get up and down the full loop, but this thing is a bitch and I'm gonna ease on into it! I felt pretty awesome when I hit my goal point before I turned ... and after that the rest of the run was a piece of cake. This picture is very deceiving. This is the hill that I even had a hard time walking just past the view of the photo. ... and I am awesome at walking up hills passing people trying to run them!

And now I'm writing about my last run feeling disappointed and annoyed -- because it didn't happen. I was dressed to run, had my plan set for a nice, long run in absolutely perfect weather .... and then a Meniere's attack hit me out of the blue and pretty much ruined all of those plans.  Here I sit, typing in full running clothes and just longingly looking outside. I had such a good week going, too. I can only hope tomorrow I will be steady on my feet and able to take advantage of my day off with the long run I missed!