Sunday, August 31, 2014

To My Dearest Fudge...

As the days unfold and we come to what is probably your end of watch, I wanted to document the love I have for you and how you made my life a better place to be.  I'm not sure why, but helps my heart a little to put it all in words.  If anyone ever reads this, fine.  If they don't, that's fine too.  I don't want anyone to think I am a crazy dog lady.  Even if I am.  It's just my way of dealing with it.  Here is your story.

Way back when my dear husband, Rick, decided to change jobs and become a police officer, I told him ok, under one condition.  I wanted a watch dog.  A protector, a friend, a guardian to watch over me and our three children when he had to work over nights.  I wanted a dog that was good with children, yet willing to bark loud enough to scare anyone away.  I wanted a dog that I could talk to, confide in, and be my best friend.  We had two dogs, a lovable black lab, Dixie,  who didn't have a mean bone in her body, and an elderly basset hound, Boomer,  that could hardly walk.  I needed a dog that was a little more protective.

In the summer of 2004, we went on a family trip and dropped Dixie and Boomer off at the kennel, and that was when I first laid eyes on you.  You were the runt of the litter.  The unclaimed puppy.  The one no one wanted.  In my eyes, you were perfect, and I instantly fell in love.  Your name was Bear.  I knew then in my heart that you would be a part of our family.  I just had to talk my husband into it.  I spent all week trying to convince him that you needed to come live with our family.  He was adamant that he didn't want "three dog drama" or a dog named Bear.  I said fine, then rename him.  I begged, I pleaded, I cajoled.  When the family trip was done, and it was time to pick up the dogs from the kennel, I eagerly offered to go, but I told Rick, "If that puppy is still there, I am bringing it home."  He grabbed his keys and left in a huff, grumbling under his breath.

Imagine my surprise an hour later when he lifted you out of the truck and set you in the grass and said, "His name is Fudge".  Rick tries blaming the whole thing on the fact that the kennel guy gave him a fabulous deal he couldn't refuse and wiped out our kennel bill for buying you.  I know better.  I know that my husband just has a heart of gold, and he knew that you belonged with us.  As much as he doesn't like to admit it, he wanted a protector for me when he wasn't home too, and you fit the bill perfectly, my dear clearance puppy.

You fit into our little family perfectly.  Claimed your place on the bed and in my heart immediately.  Dixie had always been Rick's dog, and a few months after you came to live with us, Boomer went to the Rainbow Bridge.  You filled the hole that left in our hearts.  Our children adored you and played with you all the time.  Life was good.  Then "the bad thing happened" just a year later.   It was a rough month for all of us.  A lot happened in a short period of time.  You'd been at the kennel and injured your paw, your boys, who you adored, had been at camp all week, then your girl, who you also adored, was at camp all week, and we moved.  All at once.

We brought you back to your new house and when Cassidy got home, she was SO excited to see you, and it happened all so fast.  You were tired, and upset, and hurt, and she accidentally stepped on your foot when she came to say hello, and before we knew what happened, she was screaming, and you looked guilty.  One quick bite and it was done.

None of it was your fault really, but at that moment, I didn't want you to be part of our family anymore.  I love my dogs, but in the pack hierarchy, my precious children rank WAY above any dog.  Rick threw you in a kennel and we rushed Cass to get 9 stitches around her elbow.  When we got home.  I told Rick to "take you to the vet".  Lucky for you, and eventually for me, Rick and the kids prevailed.

They convinced me you didn't mean to do it, that it was an accident, and that we should just see how things went for a few days.  It was a family vote and I was outvoted 4-1.  Even Cassidy voted to keep you.  I was not happy.  I didn't want you around my precious daughter.  I didn't trust you.  Time softened my anger at you.  You became the sweetest, gentlest dog, who was always wary around her.  You always eyed me like you knew you'd done wrong and wished you could undo it.  Little by little, you worked your way back into my heart and became trusted again.

In 2006, Roscoe made his debut into our family as we missed having a hound.  You instantly became besties.  He's never been able to tolerate you being out of the room.  He's a great sidekick, isn't he?

In 2007, Dixie left for the Rainbow Bridge.  F***ing cancer.  She was only 7.  She was more Rick's dog, and it was very hard on him.

As the last few years have gone by, you've barked at strangers, growled at the wind, and made me feel safe more times than you know.  You've snuggled up to sick children, as though you knew they needed you.  

You've sat outside on cold nights, protecting me as I sit in the hot tub, never letting me go out alone.  You've cleaned up every mess I've ever made on the floor without once complaining.  And thanks to you, I've never had to eat my own pizza crust.  Every night, you jump on the bed, spin around and face the door at my feet.  Always ready to jump in if I needed protecting.  I sleep soundly knowing you are there to protect me.  I've always felt safer.  If I'm sad, you know, and you stick close, nudge me with that cold wet nose, and snuggle in closer.

As the years have gone by, your face has gotten whiter, your walk a little slower, but ever still, you protect me every second of the day.  Now, here were are again, faced with the dreaded cancer verdict, and just trying to enjoy our last few days with you.  I've already cried a river of tears this week, but they just won't stop.  And even though they are for you, you still come up and lick them off my face.  We're trying to make the rest of your time here as happy as we can.  There's been swimming, and belly rubs, and ice cream shared.  Yes, off my spoon.  I don't care.  And so many kisses.  I just want to sit forever and pet your ears and scratch your head.

Rest assured, my dearest best friend, when the time comes that I think you are in pain or suffering, I will do the right thing.  I will hold your faithful paw and stroke your angel soft ears as you cross the Rainbow Bridge.  I will cry more tears for you then I thought possible, and I will miss you forever.  You've been such a good dog and I am so glad you were part of my pack even if it only was for a short 10 years.

I love you forever, Fudge.  I've loved all my dogs over the years, but you are my absolute favorite.

Update :(  On September 3, 2014, while holding his sweet face, my doggie passed over the Rainbow Bridge.  You will be forever missed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I Hate Running, I Love Running, I Hate Running.....

I have never done anything in my life that I have had such a love hate relationship with.  I hate running.  I really, truly do.  But, the more I do it, the more I love to hate it and love it all at once.  Confused yet?  Good, because I am too.

I will be honest, if my husband wasn't doing this with me, I definitely wouldn't still be running, so thank you, God, for him!  I was running today with him, and he always pushes me to my best.  I ran with him today, and felt like I really struggled and went so slow!  But then thanks to my trusty RunKeeper software, I got done and realized I blew my last 5k time out of the water.

And then I felt on top of the moon and was happy as can be.  In the middle of running, I am not a happy camper, but the second I am done - woohoo!  I can't be the only one that feels like this, right?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A New Venture!

Ok, so yeah, I know, I don't post nearly as often as I should.  LOL!  Do I start every post like that, or what?  I am still running, I am still working on being a better me.  I am working full time as an ad rep for the local newspaper/magazine and I am in the process of training for a my first half marathon.  Since we (my husband, friends and I) completed that first 5K at the Mankato Marathon last fall, we''ve completed 3 more 5ks, a 7k and are now just 2 weeks away from our first half marathon.  

On June 1st, we will be running our very first half marathon at the Minneapolis Marathon.  I never could have accomplished something like this without the support of my friends and my family, and especially my husband. I cannot begin to tell you how impossible this all would have been without him.  He's my rock, my inspiration, my everything!  He runs faster than I do, and I don't care.  He's always there to catch me at the end, and that's all that matters.

24 Day Challenge Kit
My kids have been amazingly supportive too, but that's nothing new, they always have been.  They are such awesome people!  My newest inspiration comes from middle child, Conor.  He introduced me to Advocare products over the last couple of years, and I have fallen in love and finally decided to take the plunge and become a distributor!  I am very excited about it.  They make amazing sports nutrition products and I am so excited to have joined the company.  

My daughter, Cassidy, and I are going to be doing the 24 day challenge starting on June 2nd.  I am VERY excited to get another jumpstart on this healthy lifestyle and cleanse my body!  Want to know more?  Or join us?  Contact me for more info!  Here's some basic info on what the 24 day challenge is all about!  Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have too.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Polar Dash 2014

Love the duct tape shoes?
Well as usual, here I am saying "Oh it's been a long time since I've posted anything…."  Today I did the 5k at the Team Ortho Polar Dash in Minneapolis, MN.  I went so far out of my own comfort zone, I don't think I can ever go back to the person I was yesterday.  She is forever gone and a part of my past. And that is a good thing.

I was no nervous last night, and learned so much today, that I wanted to write it all down right away so that I don't forget and that I learn from my mistakes and triumphs.  The first thing I need to remember is to settle down the night before.  I got myself so worked up worrying about the weather, not being with Rico (he had to work), the parking, what to wear, catching the bus and everything that was so unknown, that I made myself sick.  I was literally SICK this morning and for awhile thought that I might not even be able to leave the house.  But, now that I know vaguely how this works, it will be better next time.  

The drive was good, the roads were good, but I arrived too early.  I arrived at the parking lots about 1 hour and 15 minutes before the race because I thought there was a "warming house". Warming house implies that something is warm.  Nope.  It was an underground garage, and while there were a few patio heaters around, there was nothing warm about it.  I learned that I hate winter.  Oh wait, I already knew that.  When I did my first 5k back in October of 2013, I thought it was cold that day.  I really truly did.  Man, was I dumb.  It was about 40 degrees that day.  Today?  Actual temps were around -5 with the wind making it feel about -10.  And I was miserable.  

I had a hard time deciding what to wear since this was my first actual cold weather race, so I scoured the Polar Dash Facebook page looking for veteran advice and found lots.  (Runners really are the nicest most helpful people in the world I think!   Honestly, out of 5,000 some odd people today, I cannot recall one rude one!)  What I decided on:

Top: sports bra, wicking tank, Under Armour cold gear turtleneck, stride long sleeve long shirt, and Polar Dash fleece jacket.  This was a PERFECT combination.  Not too hot, not too cold.  I wore a big old parka until right before the race too and then left it at bag check.  Bag check is AWESOME.  It was very well organized with extremely nice volunteers.

My amazing friends!!
Bottom:  wind gear tights and another pair of running tights.  This was NOT enough.  I should have worn another pair of pants.  I had worn just the wind gear tights at the Gobble Wobble in November, and was too cool, so thought that one extra pair would work well without being too much.  I was wrong.  During the race, my muscles in my thighs were cold and cramping and by the end, waiting for the buses, I was outright miserable because my thighs were so cold.  Lesson learned!

Feet:  compression socks and smart wool socks.  I also wore plastic BAGGIES over my socks, and then wore my older running shoes, and put duct tape over the outside of the toes.  Before the race, I was pretty miserable, and my feet were too cold.  I had wanted to wear another pair of thick wool socks, but there just was not enough room in my shoes.  If I did this race again in these temps, (which I will) I think I will get a larger pair of shoes and go with the three pairs of socks.  The first mile or the race, my feet started to warm up and it was ok, but before and after the race, it was pretty awful and I would have been happier with warmer feet.  But, the duct tape was a nice tip that I think helped keep things warmer.  

Frozen Finger!  
Hands:  epic fail.  I wore a pair of thin rubber gloves under my regular workout gloves, and a pair of wool mittens over that.  And I had disposable hand warmers.  Again, I arrived too soon, and there was no where to stay warm and I have problems with my right index finger getting number and cold when it's below 60 anyway.  So it went from bad to awful pretty quick.  I need better warmer mittens!  When the race started, I was already feeling pain in my right hand.  As the race went on, it got better, and I warmed up fine.  However after, I got cold VERY quickly, and then waiting in line for the buses, and this is what my hand looked like by the time I got to the car.  My entire index finger was yellow, I could not move it at all, and I honestly thought about going to a hospital, but I didn't know how to find one, and I just wanted to go home.  I ended up body heat warming it under my arm.  Fun driving, let me tell you.  LOL!  It took about an hour, but my fingers finally went back to normal.  It was really scary for a bit though.  They didn't just feel cold, it was like dead.  I felt NOTHING.  Hurt like a bitch as it warmed up too.  Yikes.  I think I may have a little problem called Renaud's, but that's for another day.

Head:  baclava and Polar Dash hat.  Perfect combination.  The baclava I just adjusted as I ran and uncovered my face or not, and it was just right.  I did end up having to take off my sunglasses though because they fogged up.  It was cloudy out though, so it was ok.  

All in all, not too bad for my first Polar Dash on the clothing choices.  A few minor adjustments, and I'm good.  

Overall, the race was WONDERFUL!  Being cold sucked, being there in a strange place with so many strangers (not my cup of tea) was very rough, BUT, I did it.  I did have to walk for a little tiny bit, but I think it was because I had my face mask off for too long, and the air was just too tricking cold that it gave me a horrible stitch in my side.  There were the usual wonderful people along the sides ringing cowbells and cheering.  I wish I could communicate to those lovely people how very wonderful and helpful that is for me.  They have NO idea!  My eyelashes and face did frost up, which was very odd - I've honestly never had that happen before.  I wasn't able to get a picture of it because it was so cold that my phone kept shutting off.  LOL!

Best hot chocolate ever!
This wasn't an official timed race, and I started my Runkeeper too soon and forgot to turn it off, but I think I had a similar time to what I had at the Mankato Marathon 5k.  The only problem, per se, was I wish walkers would have stayed to one side.  They all just sort of plopped right down the middle with no awareness of people around them, and I felt like I did a lot of "Frogger" style moves trying to get around people.  I am not fast by any stretch of the imagination, but I did want to run, and it was difficult just due to the sheer number of people there.  Had the walkers stayed off to one side, it would have been easier I think.  

At the end, when the very sweet volunteer handed me my medal, I started to cry.  She was cold and standing there and could have looked miserable but she smiled at me and said, "first one?"  I couldn't even answer her.  I know it's just a little piece of metal, but to me, it symbolizes everything I've worked for the last six months and everywhere I want to go with the rest of my life.  2014 started out with me healthier than ever.  I've lost almost 70 pounds, and feel amazing.  My depression I used to battle with is no longer an issue.  Turns out losing 70 pounds, getting closer with your husband via a shared hobby, and the awesomeness of running just trump the shit out of depression.  ;)

So, next stop, The Get Lucky 7k in March.  Rico will be running that race with me, so already it's a better situation from the get go.  My wonderful girlfriends will be there with me too.  It's going to be warmer too.  I just know it.  :)

That white stuff on my scarf
and arms is FROST from my breath,
and it's hard to tell in the pic,
but my eyelashes were all icy. SO WEIRD!