Happy 2018!

So 2018 is about 18 or so hours old for me.  Hopefully you all celebrated well and woke feeling ready to take on a new year!

I slept very well.  My Garmin thinks I slept 10 hours, but in reality, some of that was just me hanging out on the couch.  I must have been really really still!

The strangest thing that happened today is that I did not get my training email from my coach.  That is totally totally strange.  I’m not really sure why.  I’m going to assume he’s caught in that time warp thing and isn’t really aware of the days. He has been traveling with his family and well, who knows. Plus, Monday is usually a rest day.

So…I went out mostly to take a walk and look around.  I ended up running one mile, it went well, and then I indulged in a walk around this tiny little lake.  I always like to go around it but usually have to run by it. IMG_9352 2.JPG

It was a gray day which is actually great for seeing birds (not photographing them though). I saw a great egret, a great blue heron,  the little blue heron, and a cardinal. No alligators, though I looked for them.

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So yes, there are orange trees and they grow all over the place in Central Florida because groves…have turned into housing. I do not recommend eating these oranges they are usually “juice oranges” and pretty sour.

For the rest of the day, given it was a “free” day off work… I worked on some of my New Year Goals.

I saw my Doctor about the executive function. He actually gave me a book to read (which I didn’t do yet…oops) and some suggestions, like possibly I was trying to do too much at one time.  He recommended breaking up tasks into even smaller parts.  Surprisingly, I was able to get everything done on my to do list for this weekend.  The list seemed very tiny, but I feel some great relief that I was able to complete the tasks.  I actually was able to compete some more than what was actually on the list, but…I still feel like I wasted time with disorganization etc. Still, progress is progress.

I signed up for the Swim around Key West. I signed up as part of a team of women.  I *think* it’s going to be ok, one lady I’ve been pals with for a long time, the other one could be a challenge.  We got on a three way call and I realized that neither one of them really has done too much OWS in the same way I have.   They were discussing use of zinc based sunscreen and I was like yes, Desitin is the stuff. She then was going on and on about training, and I wisely did not say that this would be a “side event” for me.  Anyway, it should be a nice weekend in the Keys!!!  So that was kind of fun to do on New Year’s Day.

I also made an actual healthy recipe from another blog.  I really hate cooking and recipes and fussing in the kitchen, but I think it will help me with my health eating goal.  This one was really easy.  To be honest, I cooked the quinoa in the morning, set it aside in the fridge, and then “got around” to the chopping and kale this afternoon.  Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 4.59.48 PM.png

I put it to chill and am looking forward to this option for the week!  Yay me!  Now.. If I can do that in a regular week.

So progress is being made on the goals on day one.  Let’s check in on Day 5 and see how I feel.   How are you feeling on New Year’s Day?  Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 11.55.29 AM.png

Mavis Staples the cat would like to wish everyone the best new year ever!  Her goal is to relax for one more year!




Space Coast Half Marathon

This weekend I had a totally new experience.  I ran the Space Coast Half Marathon with sub optimal training.

As you might imagine, it was a painful experience.

So I went to visit my family in PA for Thanksgiving. I flew home on Friday and arrived at my house early Saturday morning. After a quick sleep,  we made the quick drive over to the coast for the Space Coast Half Marathon.  This rapid turnaround was part of my less successful run.

Space Coast is a wildly popular race, with a fantastic medal series. Given my recent injury I’ve missed out on several years of the series, and this year was the last year, so in February 2017,  I sat eagerly at the computer for the moment that registration opened. I was sure that in 9 months I’d be up to that distance, with no problem.

That did not happen.

Over those nine months, all sorts of things happened.  I did not get very serious about running and training until June.  Even then, I had weeks where I skipped things, and with no coaching, I just kind of did what I wanted.  Going into this weekend I had a long run of 8 miles a few weeks ago.  I was petrified. I had long imagined my return to the half marathon and I had NEVER imagined it to be like this! In my imagination, I was always returning, looking very fit, and running well…perhaps setting a new PR.


Ideally that is really when I should have returned to any sort of races.  But I was registered for the social running event of the season, and I’ve known so many people who run undertrained and seem to do ok.

The night before I shared a hotel room with my friend Penny, her friend Karen and Karen’s husband. I could not sleep. All three of them were noisy sleepers- so I listened to lots of snores, muttered phrases etc.  Eventually I did fall asleep for a few hours, but when I awoke, my legs still felt like lead.

The half marathon starts at 6 am, in the dark.  One of the coolest things about this race, is running along the road and watching the sun rise over the water.  I definitely got to do that.  The race is so crowded at the start that I just kind of jogged along at a very slow pace. My legs didn’t feel very good, so I hoped they would flush themselves out.

At about mile 2 I remembered one of my pet peeves about this race… Huge Galloway Pace Groups.  So imagine jogging along and then suddenly the mass of runners in front of you all start to walk in unison, forming an impenetrable wall of walkers.  The first year I ran this race, I got entangled in one of these groups, and I almost did this year.  Luckily I was able to get out of that mess and stay in front of them.

From mile 2-11 things went fairly well. I saw some pals and waved as I ran, I used some nutrition, and drank tons of water.

At mile 10, I thought that I would have no problem completing this race.  it wasn’t going to be a PR, but I felt pretty good.  At mile 11, I discovered very suddenly that I did not feel pretty good. I didn’t want to run, but when I tried walking, that also hurt like crazy. I hobbled to the finish and boy was I glad to be done. Several hours later, I found a way to snap an incredibly happy picture of me.



I will never again do another race undertrained! I never want to fake a happy picture! Well… lots of lessons!




The Long road back

Well, I’m back!  I’ve been toying with writing several different blog posts, but since I’d been gone for so long, they all seemed really silly. Suffice it to say, there was not a lot to blog about with my injured back and surgery and lack of running.  Fast forward to now. I’m running.

In June I went and did Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back in Utah.  It was AMAZING. 18951443_252494848565987_505100380419412117_n.jpg

We seriously had the most fun I’ve ever had doing a Ragnar.  This bunch of people were so fun and inspiring I started a run streak a few days later and ran 147 days in a row.


All good things must come to an end, however, but one always hopes for new things as well.  As of today, I am back with coach Skeletor and we have agreed to gradually see if I can get my fitness up to the level of Comrades.  First goal is to get through the Space Coast Half Marathon that I’m not ready for, and then actually race a Ten K in Tampa in January.  (Couple of 5K’s thrown in there as well)..

Running’s my favorite!

Life otherwise is pretty good.  My job is going along like crazy busy, the cats are fine…. Let’s see if I can start to update this regularly since I’m now running and training regularly!

Cats and things.

I guess I was not meant to be a pet-less household.

A week after Teulu’s demise, I found myself at the local Animal shelter. I admit, I really really wanted another dog. I came very close to taking a dog home, but after walking through the kennels (Oh so sad, those doggies know how to look totally hopeful)… I forced a sharp turn to the “Kitty Condos”

Luckily there was a great volunteer who helped me to “interact” with the cats.  Back in the day I worked at an Emergency Veterinary Clinic, and honestly those cat experiences have stayed with me.  I was surprised at how none of the cats actively attempted to bite me.

I have low standards…

I met my first little lady a gray and white 2 yr old in the first cage.  I had had my heart set on an all gray cat, but there were none to be found, and really, that seemed a bit trivial.  I do like the gray fur because I think it’s a little tiny bit softer and different.  That settled, I went on to look for my second feline friend.  I was all for another gray and white one, but was told the one that I had seen on the web site was actually feral.  I sort of thought, oh maybe she’s just shy… but after some discussion with the animal control officer, I realized that they really know cats, and I’m totally not a “Cat Whisperer”. I strolled about the back area and none of the cats really appealed.  I then went back to the “Condos” and on impulse decided to look at all the cats…the second cat started to purr as I opened the cage door…. I was sold… I mean, that was definitely “the cat”

So I took them home, I had 2 cardboard carriers and felt indeed like I had just gotten a “Crazy cat lady starter kit”the_crazy_cat_lady_starter_kit_by_kennerz27-d5wjl3i.jpg

Our shelter has a great situation right now.  For 15.00 I was able to take home 2 adult spayed cats with some food and medication (respiratory infection now gone) and vaccinations.  So I guess it was kind of a starter kit.

I was terrified that they would not get along…

SO here’s a photo of their first 10 minutes in the home…


They are not glued together, but… they are ok with each other.


This is Mavis Staples…

I will save a photo of Violeta del Rio for later…

My main observations from our first week together… Cats are not Dogs…




Teulu The Wonder Dog

Teulu the wonder dog took his last breaths last evening.  It was actually the difficult end I was trying to avoid 2 weeks ago, but I guess it’s ok.

He didn’t seem too much worse than usual when I got home.  I was mostly annoyed as my dog sitter/friend had seen fit to spray the entire house with some sort of heavily scented air freshener.  My typical pattern to freshen the air in the house is to open the doors and windows.  So all day friday and saturday I was coughing up a storm.

Saturday night we settled in to watch the Duke vs Carolina game… which apparently did not turn out too well for Duke.  In the second half, Teulu started to have what turned out to be one gigantic seizure.  Even for someone who has seen lots of people and animals have seizures, this was disturbing to me.  Especially because it went on and on and on.  He would seem to recover, and then it would start again.  I think it may have actually lasted 10 minutes, which is hugely long for a seizure.  After, he had a prolonged post-ictal phase where he stumbled all around the house, running into walls and in general not doing well.

I made the decision that this was horrible for him, and took him over to the bizarre 24 hour vet office in the next town.  The vet there has a very questionable reputation, but since we were there for a non -diagnostic visit, I didn’t care. In fact, he was very kind and gentle to my dog.  He did give some medicine that was not totally needed etc, and it may have jacked up the price, but in the end I think it was ok.  Teulu did not suffer at all, and in fact oddly wagged his tail all through this visit, until all the medications worked.

Given the horrendous seizure I witnessed, I am not really in a big depressed grieving state that people seem to imagine I might be in.  This was absolutely awful and not at all comfortable for the dog.  I know it was the right time and the right thing was done.  Mostly I feel relief that I don’t have to worry about that at all, and I no longer have to worry about him.  I will miss him, but I do not miss wondering if he was feeling good, etc…

He was a pretty good companion for so much of my life that it does feel a little bit quiet around here….



So quick update here:

Teulu the Wonder dog… is a Wonder dog.  I took him back to the Vet on Monday and he suddenly perked up..ate all the snacks in the jar (crunch crunch crunch), and made the new vet look at me and tell me, “Just take him for a nice walk” So I did.  He is a lot less active than he was in the recent past, but he is eating well, and walking fairly well and seems much happier.  What a crazy adventure that was.

Second strange thing of the week. A blast of sorts from the past.. a colleague of mine who I met and worked with in Africa, who is up north at a university contacted me to see if I wanted to take part in a survey project he had envisioned in W. Africa.  Did I?  Well yes- yes I did.  He was in town for a conference and we met up and did some work and pushed the project back to June- hoping we can find a source for some small funding.  I hate looking for funding, and this project looks to be pretty great, so I hope some turns up. First time we have ever met up when we weren’t in Africa.  Odd.

Off to the National Health Safety Network conference tomorrow.  As I am there, I will also meet up hopefully with another colleague from Nigeria to discuss funding (and since he’s a blast… have some fun too!)

Thankfully, a friend of mine has offered to look after the Wonder Dog, as I still don’t want him at the vet.  I hope she gives him a load of attention, I mean.. some days I’m barely home, but I do sleep here at night… I don’t want him to feel lonesome…

My spine situation  has improved and worsened, and improved and worsened.  The Neuropathy has been quite challenging.  I started PT and we discovered not surprisingly, I am weak and overweight!  I was able to start a new medication for neuropathy this week and so far, it seems to actually be pretty much controlling the pain- which is such a GREAT RELIEF that I no longer care if I am damaging anything.  I’ll have to see what the Doctor thinks however.

So, things humming along.  I’m worried about work- I have a lot of meetings of course in the next two to three weeks that involve a lot of presentations.

SO those are the updates.. Very brief.  But I am so happy about my wonder dog…

The other shoe

Well it dropped… kind of hard.

Teulu the Wonder dog has become ill.

Despite a lot of well meaning reassurance from my friends who are not veterinarians, I know that he is in the process of dying.

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It has been a decade of interesting experiences for him, he has always been cared for, and really never had a want for anything.  He knew he was loved.

I agonized over the entire situation, and spent some time in denial of what the Vet was telling me.  The change seemed to come suddenly, when I was expecting to see gradual changes. On work days this week, when I came home he seemed somewhat improved…but watching him all day Saturday made me see how he really is not improving, and honestly, is not feeling that great either.  He is very quiet, very still, eating and drinking only a little here and there, and not able to chew well (the chewing muscles are affected by his condition). He will still walk a bit with me, but only if I want to walk.  Otherwise, no interest..this from a dog who 2 weeks ago woke me insisting on a walk at 2 in the morning…

I could go all out, get an MRI, put him through Chemotherapy…but that seems actually quite cruel.  Part of the responsibility of owning an animal is seeing that they are not suffering even at the end, when we are suffering the loss.  I’d much rather lose him than think I let him live without Joy…so that I could stay in a comfortable place.