Monday, June 29, 2015

Hot (and humid) As Sin

Seriously, it's way too wet here.

Even when it's not raining it's *moist*. Damp. Sticky. Gross. My garden loves it:


We have broccoli!!!!!!!!

Look hard enough and you can see an itty-bitty tomato!

...but I could really do without.

And on top of that, today is Monday. Monday. I think, of all my run days (okay, I know, there are only 3-4 of them a week), Monday will be the worst.

First of all, it's Monday. First day back at work after a busy weekend (because all of my weekends are busy), and I feel like I'm always just a little extra sleepy on Mondays because I never manage to get as much sleep as I want Sunday night. Next, it's my first run after my long run. I remember when we were training for Cinco that Tuesday runs were always the hardest, and now my Monday runs are the same. My legs tire out quickly and I just feel a bit more fatigued. And finally, I'm not used to giving up part of my Monday evening for a run. I spent all day waffling about this run...doing the back and forth, 'will I-won't I' in my head, strongly convinced either way at different points during the day.

But when I got home I walked in, looked at Nigel and Stewart and said, "FINE. I'm going to do it. And I will like myself for it afterwards, but I will not like this run. And I will extra not like not taking puppies with me."

(Really, it was just too humid to take them with.)

Speaking of...it didn't feel quite so hot when I got home from work. I actually think it got warmer as I ran. I was even thinking about wearing shorts all day at work and then didn't because it felt cool out so I threw on leggings and a thin, loose fitting tank before heading out.

This, my friends, was a very silly mistake. I swear I almost died. I was very hot, very sweaty, and very drippy when I got home. I was actually having trouble trying to mop the sweat off my nose and chin and ears before it dripped on the floors and sinks (gross, I know).

My route was another thing. Every part of this run tempted me to quit. I've already mentioned that it was hot and humid (but did I? Did I mention the oven like compression of moist air I had to swim-jog through? Oh...I did? Yes well, it was so awful it bears repeating). The skies looked so ominous - really dark to the south, and I couldn't tell which was the storm was going - that I decided to just loop around my neighborhood three times because it's slightly over a mile a pass and I had to do three miles.

Well, that didn't pan out.

I made one loop and started bartering. You know, "Oh, it's so hot, you only have to do two miles..." and I decided I need to make sure I stayed out for three by turning my route into an out-and-back. So after a one mile loop, I ran a mile away from my house before turning around and heading home.

For how hot and dreadful it was, my splits weren't too bad...I stuck with the 5:1 that I've been doing lately:

Like I said before, I was drenched when I got home. It was like all the condensation in the air was materializing on my skin, combined with my own sweat:


I filled my water bottle, peeled off my sweaty running clothes, and jumped in the shower to wash the run off. I was so tired afterwards I probably could have just laid down and fallen asleep, but I got up and made dinner instead (Mexican Lasagna aka Enchilada Casserole, if anyone is interested).

And then I made cookie dough. We have a party coming up this weekend and I will not be doing everything on Friday, darn it! (Cam and I have a pool party to go to instead!)

It's shaping up to be yet another busy week, and now that my evening has wound down and I'm oh so tired, I'm gonna call it quits. Bed early tonight, woohoo!

Have a great evening (or a great Tuesday, if it's Tuesday for you!). Peace out!


x

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Weekly Run (and workout) Recap

Happy Sunday, world!

This will be one whollop of a post since I want to get "caught up" so I can try to start blogging more regularly during the week about what goes on day to day - but I want to back up to a conversation I had a little over a week ago.

Last Friday at work I was talking to the woman who sits behind me (her name is Karen) and mentioned that Cam's brother Brennan called me the day before but I couldn't answer, and then I started telling Karen that Hen always calls at the worst times because I'm always in the middle of something and can't talk. And she just looked at me and said, "Be honest - are you ever not busy?"

Well...the woman has a point. I've now meandered my way through two weeks of training, studying, and persisting in my goal to not work OT. My brain doesn't stop spinning unless I'm asleep (and even then, sometimes not), and I'm seriously wondering how the next few months are going to end up.

I will say, however, that I'm very focused on training. Pretty much everything else (apart from my workload at work) is flexible, but I can't run the half if I haven't trained for it, so that's taking the top spot at the moment.

I got three runs in this week, and my mileage is getting closer to the actual training plan. Last week felt like such a bust (for example, my "long" run was supposed to be 4 miles, but I decided to settle for 5k since that's how long Color in Motion was...and it ended up being only 2.7...#failwhale), so I was determined to do better this week.

Then Monday came around. Monday was a bad weather day...they were predicting terrible storms in the afternoon (when I run) and it was 85 degrees and about 98% humidity. And I was tired and had to cook dinner for 4 people. So when I got home I decided to forgo my 3 mile outdoor run in favor of the elliptical, but with one caveat - I had to exert the same amount of effort I felt I would on a run, for just as long as it would take me to run 3 miles.

So I got on my elliptical, put on an episode of EastEnders, and went to it. After 5 minutes I couldn't believe I had 30 left. after 10 there were still 25...and so on. But I finished all 35 minutes. I'm still not sure how or why, because I just wanted to stop and play with my dogs instead. But I did it.

If you follow me on Instagram you might know that Tuesdays are leg days, which means I don't run on Tuesdays. To me, there is no point running 3 miles and then trying to effectively squat or deadlift - it does nothing but hurt your form or prevent real gains by making you go light on weight (in order to achieve good form). So Tuesday Cam and I did the stationary bike for 10 minutes, then went and turned our legs into jello.

And for this reason (and because I need a day to be able to make appointments after work), Wednesday is also not a run day, so no news there!

Thursday, however, is arm/upper body day, which means it's perfectly suited for a run. I felt pretty good on Thursday, and managed to pump out 3 miles in 34 minutes (and then decided I should just finish our 5k since I was supposed to on Sunday...):



It was a good run. Perhaps because it was drizzling almost the entire time which kept me nice and cool...or perhaps because I finally had the confidence to wear shorts during a run!

Aside: This is a really, really huge thing for me. For a very long time (since I was about 12-13) I just haven't worn shorts. We can talk about body image and confidence and the evils of the media and whatever until the cows come home, but everyone has that one thing they really don't like about their body...and mine is my legs.

But on Sunday during the color run, I was hot. And I thought, 'I'm not sure I can spend all summer running in leggings...' So on Wednesday I stopped at Target and found a pair I felt that maybe I could wear. And on Thursday I put them on and thought I actually looked kinda decent...and decided this was such a momentous occasion that I should take some pictures for the blog before I left for my run:

Sorry it's blurry and the lighting is terrible!

I look half possessed in this one...

annnd post-run, very sweaty selfie:



I feel like that outfit was very well coordinated. So matchy-matchy.

Anyways...it was a big deal for me. I purposely brought only those shorts with to Cam's so that I'd have to wear them and couldn't chicken out and wear leggings. And I actually think they looked pretty good! They certainly kept me cooler...which is good news for the rest of the running I have to do in the middle of the afternoon this summer!

Anyways...arm day went well, Fridays I haven't been running, and that just left Saturday's 5 miles to get through.

Ahhh, five miles. Haven't done five since the Cinco de Miler. And I'll admit...I was nervous. Especially because I decided that, as part of my training, I need to try and do my Saturday runs in the morning. On race day, the half starts at 7:00 am. Since this is my first half, I want to aim for race-day conditions as often as possible. Which meant I was up yesterday at 6:30 and started getting ready to go.

I had a glass of water and a protein smoothie (1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 cup mixed soy/coconut milk, 1 small banana, 1 tsp cocoa powder, about 2 tsp peanut butter) and read some blogs, then put shoes on my feet, Nigel on a leash, and headed out the door.

I decided on a path that I could loop back home to around 3 miles if Nigel needed it - it's his first run since surgery, and though it wasn't hot out, I wasn't wearing a fur coat. This ended up being a good plan because right around the 2 mile mark he was slowing down, and by 3 miles he looked ready to be done (as did I...). So I dropped him off at home (3.25 miles) and squeezed the remainder of my run in, finishing in just under an hour:

I really, really expected to hate this run. I expected it to be long and hard and want to quit and question why I'd signed up for the half in the first place. But it was a good run. I mean, yes, I was tired at the end, but I didn't feel like I needed to lay in bed all day to recover. That said, I'm still terrified by next Saturday's 6 miles (right before a family party too...eep!), but I think I can do them!

Because it doesn't end there. After my run I quickly showered, had 2nd breakfast, and then headed out for some errands before going to Cam's. And then he and I went to the gym and did a fatigue workout...basically where you do an exercise until you can't do it anymore, rest, and then try again. We started with bench (I benched just the bar while he added some weight) and managed to get 23 reps before I couldn't lift the bar anymore. Then I did 10 push ups (on my knees) and then Cam did his set. Then I went back at it and did 14 bench press reps and 5 push ups. My final set was 11 reps Bench, 3 push ups. We followed it up with higher reps of some other exercises (bicep curls, rear fly, lat pulldowns and tricep pulldowns) and then hit the hot tub.

And boy was I beat. Totally exhausted. We went home, had lunch, and showered, and right when that was finished his parents called to say they were bringing home 66 20-lb bags of rock and needed help unloading.

So we did that too. I hopped in the truck and handed bag after bag to everyone else to pile in front of the house, determined to do nothing else when we finished.

It was a lie.

I studied, then Cam and I went for a walk before dinner (and a movie)

And then I did nothing else.

Because whyyyyyyyy would I want to do anything else after that kind of day?!

And now, I'm enjoying my Sunday, and I'm off to relax for the rest of it. I hope your weekend was just as enjoyable as I found mine!


x


Saturday, June 27, 2015

For real...the Color in Motion 5k!

Let's travel a week back in time, friends! Back to last Saturday, after the pageant, on the eve of the Color In Motion 5k.

...when the two friends who were supposed to go to the race with us decided not to because they hadn't trained. It would have been the first race either of them had done, so I totally get it - I would have been scared into oblivion. But it turns out most people walk color runs! I had no idea because I'd never done one before, but if I had known beforehand I definitely would have tried harder to convince them to come. Like 85% of the people there walked the race, and it would have been totally fine with Cam and I to do the same.

But anyways...Cam and I woke up bright and early on Sunday to leave by 6:45...which ended up being almost 7:00 and got to Wilson Beach in Chicago at about 7:45. We were one beach down the road from where we needed to be (Montrose) but the turn in for the parking lot was hella long for Montrose Beach, so I think we actually saved time by walking over. We went and paid for parking then started following the spattering of people in white "Color In Motion 5k" shirts over to the race start.

Unlike the Cinco De Miler, I had not put in the effort to pick up our race packets ahead of time. The pick up location wasn't convenient, and I didn't think it would take too long once we got to the race site.

Boy was I wrong.

The line for the registration tent was - I kid you not - over 1/4 of a mile long. I haven't done many races so I don't know if this is normal, but it definitely was not like that for the CDM (but perhaps that's because they had multiple days and locations for packet pick up...or it was a smaller race? No idea).

So at 8:05 we got in line and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And used the port-a-potties.

And then waited more.

Here we are, waiting.
We finally got up to the registration and had to pick up 4 packets because I wasn't going to leave our friends' packets behind even though they weren't there - and I'd also paid for 4 extra color pouches. There was a separate (albeit wayyyyy shorter) line for the extra color, but we managed to get a guy handing out shirts to grab us the color packs by saying we didn't care if they were all the same color. So we walked away with our shirts and bibs and 4 blue and 4 green packs of color by 9:15.

We changed into our white shirts:

(Extra terrible picture of me)
...and headed for the corrals. (PS...cotton shirts are HOT! Not doing that again!) We waited in the corral line for about 10 minutes before our wave finally started. We actually ended up at the very, very start of our wave because they ran across with the tape to separate waves right when we were about to cross. So we just stood there like sheep for a few more minutes until they let us go. (Not joking, Cam and I actually 'baa'd' like sheep a few times...:P)

The race started with a blast of orange, and off we went, agreeing to 5 min run/1 min walk intervals.

Not that it matters, but because so many people walked, I don't think we were ever actually passed. There were a few people we leap frogged with throughout the run, but for the most part the crowd was continuously changing because we were running.

I can't even remember the order of the color stations, but by the time we got to the yellow station one of the guys throwing powder said to Cam, "You have too much pink in your beard...I think you need some YELLOW!" And threw a TON of powder over Cam. It was really funny...everywhere we go, someone comments on his beard. I won't lie, I'm very excited for him to trim it because it's starting to suffocate me every time we make kissy-faces, but I will admit it's amusing in its own right.

Anyways, Cam was having asthma problems with all the dust and powder, and I told him we could walk the last mile because of it. I also spent the past week getting back into the swing of things, and by 2 miles a brisk walk sounded way better than running another mile in the sun. So we slowed it down right as my Garmin hit 2 miles, which happened to be just after we ran past the lot that we'd parked in.

Cam asked if I was sure we'd gone two miles, because there was no way we walked a mile from the car to the starting line. He was right (as I suspected) because the course ended up only being 2.7 miles! Cam wanted to pick up the pace for the last quarter mile, so we ran that through to the finish and then grabbed water before heading out.

I have to say, I was really surprised that the course ran short, because both the CDM and Corporate Challenge ran long, so I expected this course to be slightly longer too. Instead, it was almost half a mile short! But anyways...here were our splits...nothing exciting:

And let's not forget our after pictures ;)

Jeez my hair looks stupid.

I never take kissy-face pictures, but being covered in colored powder just made one seem right :P

Crazy (mad) eyes!
And now a super cute face one.

So overall the run and color throwing parts were fun. The benefactor was the Special Olympics so I'm happy with the cause. I wasn't super impressed with how the run was organized, but you can't win 'em all!

Before the race I was thinking about trying to set the powder color in the shirt so we can wear them over again, but the sweat stains we both had kind of ruined the look I thought we'd get. Instead I'm going to tie-dye them the various colors that the race had...that way we both still have a nice momento from the run and can re-wear our shirts (since not all of the powder washed out). Perhaps there's another "after" photo in the future! (if I remember...I'm so bad about those things!)

And before I go...I'm really excited because last night I discovered a really fun sounding virtual run club that I'm going to give a try... so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Otherwise, I'm out! I'm going to try and do a weekly run-recap tomorrow if I have time...but let's be honest, 4 posts in one week might kill me ;P




x








Friday, June 26, 2015

The Color In Motion 5k...or not.

I'm really proud of making it to the three-posts-in-a-week mark! I promised to update about the Color In Motion 5k that Cam and I just did, but you'll have to wait another day because this is way more important:



Thank you, SCOTUS. Today is a day I am proud of our nation and of those appointed to defend our rights. I sent Cam an absurdly sappy text where I quoted Justice Kennedy (something everyone should read if you haven't yet):

It is no secret to people in my personal life - and there is no point keeping it a secret here either - that I fully believe I will marry Cam. He is like no one I have ever known or loved - my life and my heart have not been the same since we met. And my heart is fit to burst knowing that no one will be denied the same right Cam and I have - to marry the person they love.

Today, my heart swelled with love. It makes me feel as though we are all truly free. Free, finally, to love who and how we want, and that we can add "liberty to love" to our inalienable rights.

Just one last anecdote before I go...

When I found out about the decision this morning I messaged a dear friend at work (who is gay). We had our little happy party via the intranet, and after lunch he stopped by my desk. I jumped up and gave him a hug and, with tears in his eyes, he said, "When I was little - growing up - I thought I'd always be in the closet. I never thought a time would come when I could be and express who I am. There is still a ways to go, but it's so much better than I ever thought it would be. And I got to live to see it."

Just typing that brought tears to my eyes. Love always wins.


x

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pageantry

I cannot tell you how determined I am to get more than one measly post up this week.

Yes I can. I am so determined that started typing this last night on a slow and defunct laptop. I have not yet shared this about myself, but I cannot stand slow computers. I blame my ex who introduced me to the wonderful world of gaming PCs. Fast does not come close to describing them. My current desktop PC cost me $1250, and that wasn't including the monitor. But it is speedy and reliable, doubley insured by the sweet solid-state hard drive that has memory for years.

And right now Cam's playing Starcraft on it. I finished studying for the evening and am treating myself to blogging while I wait for him to finish up.

Lately, every day has felt like a sprint, and when strung together it's like one huge marathon. I'm still well beyond busy at work, I've started training for the half, and I'm studying for my first CPCU exam. And the weekends are flying by as well!

I left off with my trip to the zoo - and on Friday night we drove back to Cam's. My mom took my car home because Cam's parents were getting the carpet cleaned and he and I had a bunch of furniture to move on Saturday morning before the cleaner came. So we got up at a decent hour (about 9) and moved the necessary articles to the garage before breakfast. I rustled up some eggs and toast for breakfast, and then we made our way to my house for a quick run before going our separate ways.

My runs lately have been nothing special - I'm down to low mileage since it's the beginning of training, and since I took a few weeks off I've actually been doing less than the plan says on my weekday runs. That will change this week, and there's more to it all, but I'll include all that in my next post about the Color In Motion 5k which should (very hopefully) be up later this week.

Anyways, Saturday. We did our running, showered, and then I sat down to knit while Cam played Starcraft (yes...more of that :P - I honestly don't mind because it allows me to do other things such as...blog or knit or study). He left at about 4 and I got ready to go to the Miss McHenry pageant.

You read that right. I've never ever been to a beauty pageant - I've never even watched one on TV - and I had no idea what to expect, except that my cousin would be one of the girls competing. I thought it would only be an hour or so long, but it ended up lasting over two and a half hours (I think...the end bit blurs together a bit).

It was actually kind of interesting. The girls obviously had to go through some kind of coaching and "Charms" lessons (and not the Harry Potter kind of Charms), which was evident in that they all sat, stood, and walked similarly.

And now's the part where I brag, because though all of the girls looked great and seemed polite and friendly, my cousin totally stole the show, and I'm not just humblebraggin about it. She was incredibly poised and professional, and when she walked out in her evening gown, she exuded elegance.

I was proud of her because she was able to stand (sit, walk, and pose) up there and her demeanor said, "I will represent myself well, but winning this is not what defines me." It was clear that she was happy to be there and had worked hard, and that those things would not change if she lost...which I don't think I can say for every girl there. (But perhaps I'm just being biased...)

It was no surprise - and yet still incredible - when she won. I was excited and nervous for her, it felt like my heart was beating out of my chest, and the time between "First Runner Up" and "Your Miss McHenry Queen for 2015 is..." seemed like almost an eternity. Seriously...they couldn't have read things slower.

But she won. And we celebrated by going to my aunt's for dessert and coffee and watching our little Gracie Goose open an entire kitchen table's worth of gift bags and gift cards and swag.

And before you start wondering too hard - I do, of course, have pictures!

All the girls in their evening gowns - Grace is towards the center in the royal blue dress.
The new Queen! 

And my favorite picture <3 td="">
She totally deserved to win, and she was so gracious about it (see what I did there?). She's going to be busy as a bee for the next year, but I'm sure she'll do it with all the poise and elegance we saw here. It's nuts to think back..she's ten years younger than me and I remember holding her as a baby, being at Disney with her when she was three, being annoyed all through the annoying 7-12 year old phase... and then seeing her now, all growed up.

So that's the first pageant down, and if she decides to do any more I'll probably go to those as well (but we'll see...can't make a habit of this :P).

And now I'm off the girly-girl train. It's time to hit the gym.

But before I go...anyone out there ever been to a pageant or supported someone who was in one? What did you think? I'm not sure it's my cup of tea, but I have no problem being supportive of my family!

x


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Zoo (lots of pictures!)

Hello, Blogosphere!

Sorry for not posting during the week! I really wanted to but have not had a computer available to me nearly all week. Cam's laptop stopped working a few weeks ago, and his burgeoning obsession with Starcraft III has meant that I'm left without a computer most nights while he taps away on his keyboard defending whatever in that game...and he came over on Saturday so I resorted to knitting to fill a gap in time when I normally would have blogged. I know, I know, I probably should have studied, but there you go.

It was such a busy week and there is so much to update on...zoos, pageants, and runs, oh my! I'll stick to just a few things here, and save the rest for during the week. Perhaps one post for each day! Yes...that sounds good!

So...Friday!

By some great miracle, we managed to have good weather the two days we needed it this weekend (Friday and Sunday). After work on Friday, Cam and I headed to Lincoln Park Zoo to meet my mom and a family friend for the annual Super Zoo Picnic.

Just a quick blurb incase you didn't know: Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo is a free zoo (no admission whatsoever!) and subsists solely on donations from various partners and members. I actually just found out they do a run every year - 2015's has passed, but I think I may just have to participate next year (they even have their own team for the Chicago Marathon!)! LPZ is one of my favorite local causes - my mom took us to LPZ when we were kids because it was so close to our house, and though I have seen and been "WOWed" by other zoos (such as the San Diego Zoo and Colchester Zoo), Lincoln Park Zoo will always be my favorite, and most near and dear to my heart. It occurred to me that it's high time I became a member, so that will also happen before my next visit! And in case you'd like to donate, you can do so here!

Anyways...a lot has changed in the last year! The male lion, Sahar, is now full grown and definitely king of his kingdom:




And last month the zoo acquired two new lionesses (siblings Zalika and Kamali) for the pride and are slowing introducing the two to Sahar:


They were separated for the picnic (the girls outdoors and Sahar inside) but at one point he really, really wanted to go out and join them and you could hear him beating his paw against the metal door of his indoor enclosure.

The snow leopard was also incredibly handsome and entertaining:



He was chasing a bird around his enclosure, and before we knew it he'd climbed to the top of the branch and was staring the bird down as it sat in a tree just outside his enclosure:



Though I always enjoy going to the LPZ, I was really bummed that some of the exhibits weren't open for the picnic. The African adventure was closed during the picnic again this year - there's construction as they redo some of the exhibits on the north end of the park, and normally the African animal house is open during the day, but they've blocked it off for the picnic two years in a row. And this year - for the first time - they closed the Small Mammal and Reptile House and the Children's Zoo during the picnic. I was pretty upset about the Small Mammal house being closed because it's my favorite part of the zoo so I missed seeing some of my favorite animals and exhibits :(

Oh well...guess it just means I'll have to make a day trip in to wander around and see the things I missed!

We did get to see most of the new animals - they've had a lot of additions this year, the new lionesses, a new tiger, the snow leopard, and red pandas) and all of the babies born during the year with the exception of the piglets. There's something very fun and touching about seeing animals mother their young, and Friday's experience was no exception!

I'll leave you with a few more pictures before I go:

I love their grumpy little faces!

Can you spot the baby lemur?!

And finally, regality with stripes:

I didn't realize before this that tigers are solitary! This lovely lady was inside, while the other tiger enjoyed the outdoor exhibit.

I hope you have a great week, and I hope even more that I'll be back soon with another post about the weekend!

x

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fridays

The number one best thing about Fridays in the summer are shortened hours. My company has what they refer to as "Summer Hours" and every Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day we're allowed (and encourage!) to leave 2 hours earlier than normal.

So I've been free since 1, and I have greatly enjoyed it.

But...I have something to admit. I actually wrote a majority of this post last week (it was even titled "June Goals" in the draft because I started it on the 3rd and it was my intention to post such goals), but then I never got around to finishing and posting it. It started off by saying how busy things have been and hopefully they'd slow down this week, yada yada.

Well, they were busy, but they did also slow down a bit. Although, it happened that along with all the busy-ness last week I was sick, and that just added to the need for a weekend, which was then consumed by everything that happened with Nigel.

But anyways...work is busy. Busier, even, because of the aforementioned shortened Fridays. I'm training on some new stuff this month, will be training others on some stuff this month, and have been working some OT (though I'm greatly trying to avoid that)...all to get ready for the horrific onslaught that will be July. There's a lot of PTO being taken by our department next month (which is huge when you only have 5 people, and one of them is retiring), and hopefully all this hard work will prevent us from seriously floundering during the next few months.

On top of that, my company does a global week of good-deeds and fundraising - and of course I participated in that too. I helped coordinate food drive efforts for my floor:

We decided on a "fill the bag" theme, and handed out brown paper grocery bags for people to take home and fill. Every day this week my cubicle has looked like a hazard zone of non-perishables in paper bags as people drop stuff off.

I decided to raid Costco and buy in bulk.
Great news too! Our floor finished in 4th place out of the 31 floors that participated! We brought in 1,221 items, and I'm really proud of that! It was effort well expended!

All set and ready to go down to the truck!
I also participated in my second bake auction! My company does this bake auction to benefit certain charities, and you can enter whatever you want for it. Last year I made a cake, a giant cookie, and a batch of teddy bear cookies. This year, however, I only had time (and energy, because of being sick) to make the teddy cookies. I decided on a Teddy Bear Picnic theme, and I think it turned out really cute!


All nestled in their cute little basket!
With a little sign too..."Enjoy a Teddy Bear Picnic basket"
The result?

This basket of cookies sold for $725.

Seven hundred twenty-five dollars.


Our CEO was the auctioneer and started getting really into it as the bids went higher!
I was so happy to see the bid go that high. Last year they went for $500 and I thought it was a total fluke (because one of the execs just shouted "$500!" and went unchallenged), so it was NOT something I was expecting this year. Needless to say, I will be making these cookies every year from here on out. They are clearly a good seller, and the woman who organizes it told me I have to keep making them. This year I was able to walk away and say my item had won the highest bid, and that's pretty cool!

That said, I haven't signed up for any other volunteer things that run through the summer or fall, and it will be nice to have a break. I feel bad saying that, but one can only do so much before deciding they need a week-long nap to recover, and I'm at that point!

Other things are not quite slowing down. It's pretty much summer now, which means there are ALL THE THINGS to do before it gets cold again. This entails a trip to the zoo, some fun runs with friends, and lots of outdoor training, combined with gym training as well.

I've actually been fiddling with my training schedule and trying to decide on something for the summer. What I've been doing is running on the days I stay at Cam's, but there's no way that can continue if I want to get into a good weight lifting regimen. I'm honestly having a hard time with this. Perhaps it's because I was sick last week and didn't have the energy, and then everything with Nigel, but things keep getting in the way!

I actually haven't run at all in two weeks. Now, I'm not nervous or bothered by this. I made the conscious decision not to run last week because I felt so awful, but I was still being active before that. Honestly, I felt I needed some time off before I started training for the Half. So I'm back at it tomorrow (I only have like 2 miles on the schedule) and then I'll be adjusting to a 3-4 times a week running schedule, and keeping weight lifting at 2-3 times a week.

I won't lie, right now, this is not how I want things. I'd rather be lifting a bit more, but there's no way I can do that and train for the half. As it looks now, I have 2 weeks of wiggle room worked into the schedule...so I'll finish training two weeks before the race. And I've decided to combine the mileage on the Higdon plan with some walk/run interval advice from the Galloway plan. I think, given past races, it will be best for me to utilize the walk/run method for the half.

I want to keep weight training though because it was definitely giving me an edge in my running in February. I've also noticed some weakness in my back and posture, as well as some muscular imbalance, and I'd like to even that all out in tandem with running, rather than letting it continue to wreck my stride.

Alas, now I feel I'm getting boring. So moving on!

Because there's still more! I finally had the chance to talk to my new manager (who is amazing!) about beginning my foray into the wonderful world of CPCU testing. That's Chartered Property Casualty Underwriting, for all you non-industry folk. And even I had to look that up. It's a long, 8 test process to certification, and I'm planning on spreading it over the next 4 years (since the certification ceremony for 2019 is in HAWAII!). I ordered the materials for my first exam (Intro to Risk Management), and I've already started studying because I'm hoping to take the exam in early September. Same month as the half! Know what that means?

It means I'm glad we get out early on Fridays and that's the real reason I haven't signed up for any extra things to do at work or home. Because realistically, all of my free time will be going towards training and studying this summer.

And fun. There will be fun, and I know it. But it will certainly be busy as well.

Like tomorrow...Jurassic World (I hope!). I do love me some Chris Pratt ;)

For now, I'm off! I'll get back to you all about that run I'm doing tomorrow...two miles might kill me, but hopefully not. Hopefully we have some nice weather in the morning and I have the best run of my life and just decide to run 13.1 miles to prove that I can.

It's okay if you're laughing at me...so am I!


x


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Update on Nigel (Sir Semicolon)

Well, the weekend came and went, and as I indicated with my last post, it had its share of emotions mixed into it.

Apologies for my mildly hysterical post on Friday, by the way.

Honestly, I spent all week really looking forward to the weekend because I'd been so busy with work stuff (both my regular work and my volunteer stuff...post about that coming later) and Friday promised some respite from all that...until it didn't!

So here's the basic rundown of what happened: Nigel ate dinner on Tuesday night and then threw it up. He didn't eat on Wednesday, and on Thursday my mom took him in to the vet because he still wasn't eating, and he was very lethargic. At that point (Thursday evening) he was pretty dehydrated, so they gave him some fluids under his skin and told my mom he'd need to come back the next day to be monitored by the clinic staff. So Nigel spent all of Friday at the vet on an IV drip, and I stopped by after work to check on him and talk to the vet.

At that point (around 2pm on Friday) he still wasn't eating, drinking, or going to the bathroom. It was pretty obvious that there was a problem, but nothing was showing up on normal x-rays so the vet suggested doing a barium study to check Nigel's intestinal function. To do this, they feed the animal barium dye and then take x-rays at various time intervals afterwards (immediately, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, etc) to watch the progression of the dye through the GI tract.

At 6pm we got a call that it didn't appear the dye was progressing, and hadn't been since about an hour and a half into the study - and also that he'd thrown up twice since the study started. They told us we should pick him up and discuss our options, including transferring Nigel to the emergency vet for further care.

When we picked him up the vet showed us the x-rays (Nigel threw up on the way to view those) and she gave us a variety of prognoses:

1) The obstruction could still move, but he would need to be monitored anyways and given fluids to prevent dehydration.

2) Surgery would be necessary to remove the blockage.

3) It appeared that his intestines were distended, which was not a great sign - removal of the blockage could include removal of a portion of his intestines. This was the worst case scenario because it increases both the recovery time, and the chance of infection.

(I really wanted to post some of his xray photos but I can't get them to load correctly on my computer. I will keep trying and update if I can make it work!)

Armed with this knowledge (and a copy of his x-rays) we left for the emergency vet.

Nigel proceeded to throw up in the car. It smelled delightful. I hope you can sense the sarcasm. (Fast forward: My mom got her car super-detailed the next day, which did actually smell pretty nice.)

Everyone at the emergency vet was fantastic. When the vet came in and talked to us she said they wouldn't jump straight to surgery - they were going to monitor Nigel a bit more to see if maybe his intestines had stopped functioning properly (due to something he'd eaten) and decide if medical stimulation of his intestines (using a medication) could get things going. If not, they would proceed to surgery, and she would call and confirm everything beforehand.

Cue my Friday night panic post.

We got the estimates and went and said goodnight...and I started crying. I felt so terrible leaving him alone with that IV drip in his arm. Then he tried to walk out with us and I felt even worse! I felt like he thought we were abandoning him and couldn't convince him otherwise :(

But we went home and waited. By 11:00 we hadn't gotten a call, decided, 'No news is good news,' and got ready for bed (with a panicked, dejected, and on-edge Stewart pacing through the house). And as if on cue, the phone rang. It was the vet, calling to say that they'd continued the barium study and not only was the dye not progressing, but it was clearly outlining something rather large blocking Nigel's intestine and she wanted to proceed with surgery. We okay'd the procedure (which included the extra step of suturing Nigel's stomach in place to prevent bloat, or stomach-flipping, since large breed dogs are susceptible to it) and laid down in bed.

I was pretty tired, so after 20 minutes of EastEnders I managed to fall asleep until my mom came in at almost 3:00am to tell me that the vet had called, and Nigel was doing very well. The surgery took two hours (twice as long as expected), and they removed this wonderful stuffed animal head in the process:



But the reason the surgery was so lengthy was because, in addition to that piece of fluff, they also had to remove 42 inches of intestine that appeared necrotic.

That really surprised us. I thought maybe they might have to take some intestines out (I was really hoping they wouldn't) but not three and a half feet! We've figured that's roughly a third of his small intestine.

All of this information presented, we went back to bed, still a bit worried. I called at 8:30 on Saturday to check on him and the attending doctor sounded very optimistic about everything, but said that it's an hour-by-hour kind of post-op, and they wouldn't know if we could take him home until late Saturday night. After lunch, our regular vet's office called and Dr Dan said he was very happy with what the other vet had said, and that Nigel had everything (youth, vigor, and good health) on his side, and he expects a full recovery as long as we're careful post op.

So at 5:30 I called the emergency vet again, and they said Nigel was doing well but wouldn't eat, and left it up to us if we wanted to go in and see if we could get him to eat something. My mom and I had been debating this because we didn't want to cause some other GI distress by going and seeing him and then leaving again, but we decided he might perk up a bit if he saw us.

Well...he was out of it. Totally loopy and hopped up on pain killers - but we did get him to eat a slice of bread and a few bites of chicken, and we took him outside for a little roam (which he was thrilled about) before leaving for the night. I called again at 9:00pm to make sure he was settled for the night and they told me he'd eaten a little more after we left. The nurse seemed confident we'd be able to take him home Sunday.

And she was right. I called yesterday morning and the vet gave me the run down, then said we were welcome to pick him up when we were ready. So at 1:00 we went over and picked him up, then got him settled at home:

All shaved! And there's a nice long incision in there...12 inches and 30 staples!

Chilling out and watching Outlander with me. Okay, he's not really watching it.
So he's home and safe. He's not enjoying not being able to play with Stewart...honestly he seems a bit bored. But he's supposed to be bored and healing, not jumping around and getting his incision and intestines infected, so there you go.




Friday, June 5, 2015

So many emotions

I'm actually doing a mobile post (rare) because I'm just looking for something to do to kill time.

We (whole family...mom, brother, and I) are sitting at the emergency vet, waiting for an estimate on what may or may not be wrong with my beloved Nigel.

He hasn't eaten since Tuesday night, and he threw that up. Then he spent all of today at our regular vet getting IV fluids, and he's lost about 5lbs since all this started (which is worrying). They also tested for Lyme's and parasites (both negative) and finally did a barium test today to determine if there's a blockage, and it seems like that's the case. To be specific, it looks like there's something in his cecum (the joint between the small and large intestine) preventing anything from passing into his large intestine.

Since the barium he's thrown up 4 times (not fun and very smelly).

So now we're sitting and waiting. The vet here just told us that she wants to continue to watch him to determine if perhaps his large intestine is a bit stagnant and could be medically stimulated to progress, or if there is a partial blockage that needs some more time to move.

If it looks like things aren't going anywhere, then Nigel will need to have surgery. And we'll just add that to the list of things I can't think about without my blood pressure and anxiety levels skyrocketing. Intestinal surgery doesn't sound like anything good.

I'm just so worried. It's definitely one of those times when I have felt so strongly that this dog is my child. He is part of my heart and I hate knowing that I will walk out of this room without him.

Annnd a tech just asked if they should do CPR if he goes into cardiac arrest.

Time for me to stop writing.

All my xx's are for Nigel tonight.

x