Thursday, November 28, 2013

giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone enjoys their day with family, friends, and everyone else you may be sharing this day with.  I just wanted to quickly post a few things I am thankful for this year.

I am thankful for the incredible running family I have found.  Even though I have not met the majority of them in person, the daily support and encouragement is incredible.

I am thankful for my running coach Stephanie Bruce.  She has helped me become a stronger and faster runner.  I have loved every day of training, even when the workouts were hard and pushed me to dig deeper than I ever have before.

I am thankful for my family.  This year hasn't been easy, especially lately, and my family was there for me through it all.

I am thankful for Ryan.  They say distance makes the heart grow stronger.  Recently I experienced what it would be like to have distance between us, and it's not something I ever want to experience again.  We have grown stronger because of it though, and for that I am truly thankful.

Time to Turkey Trot!

What are you thankful for?      

Thursday, November 21, 2013

10 things

I've been struggling to find things to write about lately.  I've still been feeling a little down about the loss of my best little bud.  I've been busy with work, school, and life in general.  Writing doesn't come naturally to me, and until I started this blog, wasn't something I particularly enjoyed.  I've been thinking for a while it would be fun to share some things about myself that most people would not know.  Part of the reason I started this blog was to feel more comfortable talking about myself and who I am.  A lot of who I am now is a runner, but that wasn't always the case.  In fact, I used to hate running!

So, with that being said, here are 10 random things about myself, that unless you grew up with me, or know me very well, probable do not know.

1.  Before I moved to NH in 6th grade, I lived in the tiny little town of Plympton, MA.  Not many people have heard of it.  It's on the South Shore.  It used to be a part of Plymouth, MA, where the Pilgrims landed.  I lived in a house with a lake out back.  I spent many summer days swimming in that lake, and ice skating in the winter.  There was this great hill that lead down to the (very small) beach that was great for sledding.  I loved that house and was VERY sad when we left it.

forcing my pug to join me in the water…
he wasn't a fan I don't think

2.  I love pugs.  Ok, that's probably pretty obvious, but what you may not know is that I have had 4 of them.  When I was in elementary school, my friend brought in her pug for show and tell.  It was love at first site of that curly tail and smushy face.  From that day on I begged and begged my mom to let us get a pug.  Finally, one day we went in to a pet store and there was one there…on sale.  That pug came home with us that day and we named him Willie (pictured above).  Not long after we got a second one (pugs seem to always need a pair), named Elmo.  Most recently I had Manny and my mom had Mack…

Manny (in the back) and Mack <3 miss these dudes

3.  I was the state champion on beam in level 6.  Gymnastics was my first love.

4.  I played softball from 7th grade through my senior year in high school.  I stopped doing gymnastics year round in 7th grade, and wanted another sport to do.  I thought I could play softball, although I never had on a team before.  I was told by my friends that the softball team was hard to make, and not many 7th graders (the first year you could try out) were usually picked.  I decided to try out anyways and made the team.  We were undefeated that year and won the championship.  I played 3rd base in high school, was on the varsity team for 3 years, and captain my senior year.  I miss playing softball.


Pretty sure I was called out on this one…
but I like the picture.

5.  I cheered for a year in college.  This is not something I am particularly proud to admit, but it's true.  I had a couple of friends on the team, one of which who also used to do gymnastics.  She told me they went to a gym and tumbled once a week, and I should sign up.  So, I did and actually had a lot of fun, until I hurt my knee and had to sit on the sidelines and cheer…for the cheerleaders.

That's me on the left

6.  I am still in school working towards my Bachelor Degree in nursing.  For the longest time I had NO idea what I wanted to do.  I went to college right out of High School, like I thought I had to.  To make a long story short, I wasn't happy and left after 2 1/2 years.  I worked for a while and then started taking classes online for a business/human resource degree.  I didn't love it.  I finally decided I wanted to go back to school full time to be a nurse.  I loved it.  I completed two years at Rivier College and graduated with an Associate Degree in May, 2012.  I took a semester off after that to work and try to save money. After that I enrolled in the online RN to BSN program at Plymouth State University, and that is where I am now.  I am beginning to think I will be in school forever.

my mom and I on graduation day

7.  I have been to probably 25-30 Dave Matthews Band concerts.  I stopped counting after a while.  I love them (obviously).  I go to mostly local shows (NH, MA, CT), but I have gone to see them in Montreal, PA, and NY as well.  I'm pretty sure as long as they keep playing, I'll be going to see them play.  I want to plan a trip to the Gorge to see them asap.

8.  I am afraid of geese.  When I was little my mom and I would often go to this duck pond to feed the ducks.  It was one of my favorite things to do.  One day, I was down feeding the ducks, when all of a sudden I felt a hard pinch on my bum.  It was a goose.  I guess he wasn't happy to see me.  Since then, I avoid geese at all costs.

This was in the local paper, I was 3, almost 4. 

9.  I learned to ski when I was 3.  My dad has always been a big skier, and was a ski instructor as well. So, when I was three he took me to this place called Blue Hills, walked me up the hill, placed me down, told me to wait, he skied down a bit, and gave me the ok to ski to him.  I've been skiing ever since.

Sharing in school…1989

10.  I refuse to have a fake Christmas tree.  When I was living at home, I made sure we always had a real tree in the house.  Recently my boyfriend, Ryan, and I were talking about getting a tree for our apartment.  He mentioned a fake tree…I refused.  We'll be getting a real tree.   

I made my mom buy this tree because it was my size.
We had a big tree and my tree.
I think this began my love for real Christmas Trees.  

So, there you have it.  10 things about me you may not have known before.  Tell me, what's one thing I probably don't know about you?? 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

all dogs go to heaven

I was planning to write a recap the Seacoast Half Marathon.  I was flying high after that race because I finally was able to negative split and once again finished under 1:50 (1:49:38 to be exact).

might be my first decent race photo

Unfortunately, my mind is elsewhere right now.  My mind is thinking about my best little bud, Manny, who I had to say goodbye to yesterday very unexpectedly.  This year I have been challenged mentally many times, three of those times were because of the now 3 dogs who have gone up to heaven, and are waiting for me at the rainbow bridge.

Manny was a very special little guy.  I got him during the summer of 2004.  I was not in a good place, I had decided college wasn't right for me at the time, and I was struggling with depression and an eating disorder.  I felt like I really wanted to get a dog, a pug specifically, because I believed it would give me something to care for and help me heal.  I was living at home at the time, and my mom graciously agreed to let me get a puppy, and offered to buy one for me.  I found a breeder, and waited anxiously for the dog to have puppies.  When Manny was ready to be picked up we drove a couple hours to northern NH to pick him up.  It was love at first site.  He was the cutest little man I had ever seen.  I was so excited to take him home and love him unconditionally.

1st day I brought him home.  Such a peanut.

Side note: yes, he was named after Manny Ramirez.  He was born May, 19 and I spent the next 8 weeks trying to decide on a name.  I loved the Red Sox, and Boston, and was trying to think of the perfect name.  Manny seemed to fit.  That summer the Red Sox went on to FINALLY win the World Series…and Manny Ramirez was named the MVP.  I will never forget watching those games with Manny on my lap, cheering for Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox.  I think Manny and I played a role in their victory, clearly.

Go Red Sox!

Over the next 9 years, Manny gave me everything I needed and more.  He was there for me in ways that no one else could be.  He made the move with me in and out of apartments, down to Boston, and back to my mom's house when I ran out of money.  He comforted me when I was sad.  He was the best cuddler and such a little goofball.  He never strayed far from my side.  When I got up, he got up.  When I went in to the other room, he went in to the other room.  When I was cooking or making food, he was standing by my feet waiting for bits to fall on the floor.  When I went in to the bathroom, he went in to the bathroom.  When I took a shower, he would stick his head in and try to join.  When I did homework on the couch, he would crawl on to my lap and try to help (it didn't help).  He was the greatest gift I could have ever received.  He made my life much better for 9 years, and for that I am truly grateful.

always on my lap

I look ridiculous, but this is a certificate for "best wrinkles"
from a pug social…yes, I went there.

running around at my mom's house

Cheering us on at #BostonStongMilford

pug vs horse
Manny has been living with my mom for the past year because I moved in to a couple apartments that didn't allow pets.  My mom also had a pug, Mack, and they were great friends.  Earlier this year we had to say good bye to Mack.  He was blind, deaf, had doggie-demetia, and slowly started to lose control of his back legs.  It was very hard to say good bye to Mack, but thankfully we had Manny to once again help us through a sad time.  

Mack and Manny 

catching some rays

Shortly after Mackie went, Manny started to have problems of his own.  Most recently he started to have lesions appear all over his skin.  The vet was unsure for a while what it was.  They did test after test, misdiagnosed him, and gave him medicine that he wouldn't take.  He slowly stopped eating much of anything, and refused to take any pills.  He went back to vet because it seemed like he was also starting to retain fluid in his stomach.  He had a biopsy done of his skin, and the results came back saying it was an autoimmune disease.  He was put on prednisone and we were told he would start to feel better almost instantly.  He didn't.  The next day he was worse, wouldn't eat, wouldn't take the prednisone, and his stomach looked bigger.  Back to the vet he went to spend the night, which would hopefully allow them to give him his medicine and get some nutrition in to him.  They also did more blood work to try to determine why he was gaining fluid.  Yesterday we got a phone call that the blood work showed he was in acute liver failure.  There was nothing we could do.  

best buds
my wrinkly little man 

I left work to meet my mom, and my boyfriend, and together we went to the vet to say goodbye to my best little bud.  After all the times he allowed me to lean on him and help me through difficult times, yesterday I needed to allow him to lean on me, help him get through this and know everything would be ok.  That is what he did.  I wrapped my arms around him as I always did and slowly he let go of control, and put all his weight on to my arms.  He went to sleep as we told him how much we loved him and how good of a boy he was.  He was my best boy.  

I think of him now once again playing with Mack, and Kaylee  at the rainbow bridge, waiting for the day when we meet again.  I love you, Manny and will think of you every day.    

Friday, November 8, 2013

race return

On Sunday I will be making my return to racing following the marathon that did not go as planned.  Well, I guess that's kind of a lie.  A couple of weeks ago I ran a 5k for fun in the middle of a 12 mile training run.  So, I don't really count that one.  Sunday I will be running my 9th half marathon and 4th of the year.  I am running the Seacoast Half Marathon in Portsmouth, NH and am very excited for it!

We'll be heading over to Portsmouth Saturday afternoon and spending the night in a hotel before the race.  I think this is actually the first time I will have stayed in a hotel the night before a race.  Any other time I have traveled to one I've stayed with friends or family.  I'm looking forward to a fun little adventure.

This week training has gone really well so far.  Tuesday I ran an easy 45 min w/ 4x 100m strides.  Wednesday I had to run after work.  It was dark, but unseasonably warm.  I had a reflective vest to wear, but I wish I had had some sort of light to carry with me.  After reading this running in the dark PSA post by Danielle, I am definitely planning to invest in some knuckle lights.  Anyways, I had wanted to go to the track to get my workout in, but the track was not lit up, and I can be a bit of a wimp in the dark by myself, so I decided against it.  Instead, I just ran easy for a half hour, and planned to do my workout the following day.  Thursday I had to work the night shift (NOT FUN), but at least it gave me most of the day to make my way up to the track. The workout scheduled was 4-5 x 1000 @ MP w/ one minute rest, 15 min warm up and cool down.  Everything about this workout just felt right.  My pace was much faster than my marathon pace, but I felt great and was able to stay consistent through all 5 k's, my last one actually being the fastest.  I started at 8:06 pace and worked my way down to 8:02.  I'm hoping this means good things to come for the race on Sunday!

As for my goals on Sunday…I really just want to run a consistent pace.  I STILL struggle with going out too fast and crashing at the end most of the time.  This was a big part of what caused my marathon disappointment.  I need to learn to hold back a little at the beginning.  The only way I think I'll learn how to do that is to practice.  So, with that being said, on Sunday I am really going to try to stay calm and start out slower than my goal pace.  I'd like to have the first half feel almost easy and then push it for the second half.  It's going to take some serious self control, but I have to figure out how to do that.  After the race we're heading down to MA for a wedding.  It's going to be a busy, but fun weekend. 

Is anyone else running the Seacoast Half, or have you ran it before?  Who else is racing this weekend?!