Giuseppe’s First 5-K

Boy, what a weekend in the world of running.  First, New York was cancelled (I admit I was brought to tears when pictures of runners volunteering on Staten Island started getting posted) and then Toyko was added to the World Marathon Majors (joining Chicago, New York, Boston, London, and Berlin).

Meanwhile, in our neck of the woods, Giuseppe ran his first 5-K!

Our local Animal Humane Center organizes an annual race called the Doggie Dash and Dawdle 5-K that allows puppies to partake in the racing fun.

I mean, did we have any other option?

We put off signing up because I wasn’t sure I would be able to run much less keep up with a hyper puppy, but we registered on Thursday, picked up our packets, and I made Giuseppe his own little race bib.

We showed up on Sunday morning and got ourselves orientated.  Giuseppe was overwhelmed and excited with all of the dogs everywhere, but he was very well behaved.

The other dogs are about ready to fight.  Giuseppe is focused on getting to the start line on time. 

My parents and sister came to give Giuseppe moral support, and we ran into a few friends (including one of Aaron’s lifelong friends who does every race dressed as Batman) who were also dashing.  The race got off to a delayed start, but we eventually got lined up.  The runners without dogs got to start first, and it was a bit of a free for all for everyone else.

As anticipated, the first half mile was a major disaster.  I’m really good at weaving through people, but add in a puppy on a leash (and a bunch of other leashes just waiting to trip you), and it wasn’t quite as easy.

We were a little worried about Giuseppe because we haven’t been training him as much as we should since we’ve both been trying to recover from Chicago.  We got a pretty solid 2 mile run in with him on Friday just to make sure he wouldn’t collapse, but we didn’t know how it was going to turn out.

Turns out I’m the one we needed to worry about.

After a 2 week taper, the marathon, 3 weeks off of running, and a week of cautious attempts, I was in no condition to run a fast 5-K.

Meanwhile, Giuseppe was speeding along, completely focused.  I know he’s a smart puppy, but I’m positive he knew his goal was to run until he crossed the finish line.  Even as we passed my cheering family, he looked over, gave them a smile, and kept going (typically, he runs over and showers them with love and excitement).  We got to a steep hill and Aaron yelled out, “POWER UP IT SEPPE!” and he did.  I did not.

Meanwhile, we were averaging somewhere between 7:00 and 8:10 minute mile paces, passing the big dogs and doing just fine.  Giuseppe took a quick water stop (they had water stations for dogs and for humans), and then kept going.

I was DYING.  It took me one mile for my legs to warm up, but I just didn’t feel very good at all.  I  never do feel very good for 5-K’s, but I’m typically running faster than marathon pace.  OUT OF SHAPE.

But we kept running.  Giuseppe powered out a little bit, but he was determined to keep up.

We crossed the finish line together, giving us a finish time of 23:01!  Both my and Aaron’s Garmin showed the course was significantly short though.

We came in #31 and #32 out of people running with dogs, and I got a 3rd place age group medal!

I would like to point out for the record, that I finished faster than Aaron! 

After the race, Giuseppe was tired, but he seemed really happy, and overall not too bad off!

I LOVE 5-K’s! 

He got lots of treats and lots of hugs to celebrate his amazing accomplishment!

In other news, I joined athlinks this weekend on the encouragement of another friend we ran into at the race (he doesn’t have facebook, twitter, or instagram, so that was the only way he could keep track of our races).  I don’t really get it, but if you are on athlinks, you can be my friend and see my race times!

I hope you have a wonderful week! Happy 1 Day Until Political Ads are Over Day!

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Giuseppe, 007, Halloween…and I Still Haven’t Run!

Good morning!

So, this is your official update that, almost three weeks out, I haven’t run yet.

I think my biggest argument against the marathon lifestyle right now is the recovery time.  I know I’m taking longer than most, but my goodness is this getting old.

Since I’ve turned this primarily into a running blog, I don’t know what to talk about when I’m not running. My puppy? (check! See below).  Halloween? (check! See below).  My intense crush on the new James Bond Theme Song? (also check! See below).  But sadly I still unable to contribute to the training recaps or race recaps or even the “I’m so sad I’m not running” recaps because that’s already been covered.

Although, a couple of sprints across the living room yesterday indicate that I might be ready for a pain free run this weekend!

And of course, this happens when we have our first freeze of the season.  Wednesday was 80 degrees.  Today I have Giuseppe bundled up in a sweater because it is so cold! (and how many times is he going to want to come in and out of the house this morning???).

So it looks like our perfect running temperatures were wasted on me this year.  Bring on the winter running gear!

I have at least been keeping active this week, but no matter what, I can’t make the elliptical feel like a good workout.

So….Basically, I just wanted to say “HI!” and share a Giuseppe picture.

And a song!

I’m pretty sure Adele was put on this earth to make a James Bond theme song.  This is just so perfect.

I rarely take interest in new movies that aren’t Harry Potter or Disney, but James Bond movies create a world so glamorous and exciting that I can’t help but want to live it in and drink martinis and save the world everyday.  And if Adele is there, sign me up!

In other news, Happy Halloween weekend! I haven’t dressed up in 4 years, but I’m kind of wanting to this year.  (We usually don’t go out on Halloween so, I would likely be dressed up watching Hocus Pocus or Monster House and eating candy since there are no children in our neighborhood, but I always buy a bag “just in case”).  I do plan on carving some super awesome pumpkins this weekend and possibly making a spooky cocktail that I find on Pinterest.

Are you dressing up this year? I need inspiration! 

Good luck to everyone racing!  I know a lot of people are doing fun costume runs! I’m so jealous because we have like 2 happening here this weekend.  And I hope Sandy doesn’t kill the Marine Corps Marathon!

Have a great Halloween weekend!

A Run Sabotaged by a Little Chiuaua

Its kind of funny.  On Monday, I remarked how proud I was that we hadn’t missed a workout.

Sometimes life has a funny way of saying, “HA, Sucka Foo.”

Among other little (hopefully temporary) glitches in the system to be discussed soon…

We were 2.7 miles into our 3 mile recovery run on Monday when I noticed a creature running after Aaron.  I laughed and said, “Aaron you have a friend!”  The friend turned toward me, I bent down, and he ran in my direction, happy to have the attention.

The friend was actually a chubby (and by chubby I mean FAT) black and white chihuahua with a friendly and calm demeanor.  He also didn’t have a collar, and nobody seemed to be running after him.

The thought of a puppy/child/ferret/any living creature wandering the streets when they are at risk for getting hit by a car KILLS me.  No way in hell would I let this Fat Chi wander along on his merry way.

We went to a nearby house with the garage open to see if maybe the dog belonged to them.  The man who lived there (who had an impressive number of nipple rings I might add) said it wasn’t his, and he actually knew all of the dogs from the surrounding houses, and couldn’t tell us where this dog came from.

We rang a few door bells, but realized it was a fruitless act.  Fat Chi could have come from anywhere.

We headed home (about 3 blocks away) after having to cut our run short, and kept Fat Chi in the backyard.  Giuseppe was not a fan of having his territory invaded by a furry football.

Fat Chi wandered around, marking EVERYTHING (well, he marked one plant, everything else was a dry effort).  Giuseppe ran to the plant, ripped off the marked leaf, and then followed Fat Chi around to keep him in line.

One of the reasons we got a Westie is because they don’t shed and they are hypoallergenic.  Aaron has horrible allergies, as does Giuseppe.  I have mild allergies.  All of us were puffy and sneezy with this dog and his pet dander around. We really weren’t able to keep him.

It was about 8:45, so all of the shelters were closed.  I called a 24 hour emergency pet hospital, found out they read microchips, and we headed on over.

{Aaron and Fat Chi outside the emergency pet hospital}

Since it was an emergency hospital, our little non-emergency didn’t take high priority.  The man behind the desk, who initially told us that he’d have to call in a tech to do a microchip reading suddenly found his magical abilities to do so, and got us a chip reading within a few minutes. I think there is some sort of common bond between dog people and if you go out of your way to keep a puppy safe, you’re an alright person and worthy of being helped.

Unfortunately 2 out of the 3 numbers associated with the chip were disconnected, and there was no address.  The third alternate number was a generic recording in Spanish (and since none of us knew Spanish, we didn’t think leaving a message would help).  We did however learn that the dog was named Chico.

We concluded that the best decision was to surrender the dog to the hospital who would then surrender him to the city.  I can honestly tell you that I have never been more heartbroken to hand something over.  Albuquerque is a “no-kill” city, so regardless, he will be taken care of until adopted.  Also, if the owners did freak out, they could call the city (the first call on any concerned pet owners list) and know that he was safe instead of out on the street or in some neighbor’s yard.  The city also has Spanish translators.

We headed home, and I took a copy of the information from the chip and did some reverse google searches (I am a MASTER stalker, and if you are anywhere on any website, I can find you if I need to…I seriously scare myself sometimes, but I know my boss appreciates it), but couldn’t find any information on the owner or his disconnected phone numbers aside from that the phones were purchased in Albuquerque.

Because my puppy is essentially treated like my child, I can  honestly say that I would be DEVASTATED if he got lost and we couldn’t find him.  We truthfully did everything within our power to figure out where this poor dog came from, including making circles around the blocks where we found him hoping to come across a search party at 10:00 at night.  I suppose we could have kept him in the backyard, circulated fliers, and hoped for someone to call, but truthfully we don’t have the time or resources to handle a 2nd strange puppy.  And who knows if he had some sort of disease or rabies or something.

We were also reminded of a few things through this situation:

1) Albuquerque has a law that requires you to microchip your dog.  I don’t know if this is common in other cities, but oh my goodness please do this even it’s not.

2) Microchipping does no good if the information isn’t complete or outdated.  If you’ve moved or switched phone numbers, make sure that your microchip reflects that.

3) Your dog should have a collar on.  Methinks based on Chico’s weight, he didn’t get out much, so he was likely an indoor dog.  Even so, everyone’s night would have been a lot less dramatic had we been simply able to call the number on the collar.

So, I hope Chico got reclaimed by his owners.  And as a firm believer in Everything Happens for a Reason, if he didn’t, I believe that he will get adopted into a better family.

Happy Birthday, Giuseppe!

(This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I got sleepy before I finished.  So just pretend that all the “todays” actually say “yesterday”).

Today is a very special day at Casa de Lavender:

Today is Giuseppe’s First Birthday!

I can’t believe that this tiny furball has developed into our little affectionate, playful, intelligent, mischievous puppy. 

Giuseppe at 1 week old

{Giuseppe at 3 weeks.  Look at that tongue}

We brought him home when he was 9 weeks old.  Like any household change up, the first month was extremely trying.  There were sleepless nights and a lot of pee on the carpet.  But once we got him trained, and once we earned his trust, everything went very smoothly.  And I’ve only lost 1 pair of shoes to his chewing needs.

This being a momentous occasion and all, we obviously want to throw him a birthday party….but we wonder if that would be too silly?  I mean, we want to, but is it really too much to host a first birthday party for a puppy, even if he is the most amazing puppy on the planet and deserves parties in his honor everyday? Are people rolling their eyes at us for even considering this?

We’re still debating. 

He’ll get special treatment today regardless. We are excited to celebrate this very special day with him….even if he doesn’t really understand why, or that we are even celebrating. I know he’ll at least appreciate all of the extra treats and the nice chicken breast he’s getting for dinner!  He may even get to sleep on the bed with us tonight.

We didn’t even get mad when he dug his birthday hole right where Aaron had just landscaped.  Well, we did, but then we took pictures because Mustache Giuseppe is pretty funny.

{What? Is there something on my face?}

In other news, this April I am participating in two different blog challenges. 

The first is the FUN Challenge with Amanda from Run to the Finish.  Basically, all I have to do is make an effort to do something fun everyday for April.  Sounds easy, right? Especially considering her last challenge was to eat vegan for the month of March.

WRONG! I’m already having a hard time squeezing fun in.  Monday sucked in general.   I had a work emergency that didn’t surface until 4:50 p.m, and I brought Aaron along to chauffer me around town while I handled it (have I mentioned how much I love my husband?).  At 7:30 when we got home in the pouring rain, we were both angry (not at each other, at the situation…at least I hope!). I wanted nothing to do with fun.  In fact I wanted a drink in the most unfun way possible.  But I decided to go out and swirl around in the rain anyway to fulfill my fun quota for the day and it actually helped my disposition.  We’ll see how the rest of the month goes!

The second is the April Challenge with Jon from 2 Fat Nerds Running.  A couple of months ago I invited myself to take part in their monthly challenges (there is a good chance that I’m the only person not in the family/friends participating, but as long as they don’t kick me out, I’m having fun with their challenges!). 

This month we are divided into two teams, and we are competing against each other both for most miles run and most hours logged running (with some other little twists).  I have two half-marathons coming up in the next 4.5 weeks, so my mileage will be higher until well into May.  Hopefully I will be able to help my teammates with my contribution!

So between challenges, all over the place weather, and a birthday puppy, April has gotten off to an interesting start!

Runner Identity Crisis and National Margarita Day

In recent months, I’ve started referring to myself as a “runner.”  I don’t know at what point I decided I was cool enough to identify with the likes of Flo Jo and Kara Goucher.  But I’m not completely convinced that they would welcome me into the club.

I do run.  I’ve spent lots of money on running shoes and running gear. I’ve competed in races, and I’ve finished faster than 90% of people at these races.  Most of my blog/twitter friends are runners and I usually understand what they’re talking about.

But I have yet to run a marathon.  My race times still aren’t quite up to par with the times of “real” runners. I also had no clue what Balega socks were until a couple of days ago. 

And running does not seem to be a priority in my life.

Examples:

I, along with a bunch of other people recently commented on a forum that we love running at sunset.  Who knows why I said that.  Those sunset runs really are lovely.  But I truthfully would rather be lounging on the beach watching that sunset than running through it. Really, I’d rather be doing anything else at sunset than running.

And running is considered to be a stress reliever. Most “runners” clear their minds by going for hard long runs after work.

Yesterday, I had a long, stressful day.  I came home and found a spectacular margarita waiting for me (my husband is seriously amazing).  I have never been more excited to see a margarita in my life.  Running was THE FARTHEST thing from my mind.  In fact, I didn’t run at all yesterday and I had no good reason not to except for wanting to enjoy my margarita while watching Jeopardy. This isn’t what runner people do.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love running.  I love racing and getting faster. I love talking ad nauseam about running. I love reading running related articles.  And I dream about all the races I want to do. And I hate myself the day after not working out.

But at the end of the day, running isn’t what motivates me. 

Apparently, margaritas motivate me more. 

On that note…TODAY IS NATIONAL MARGARITA DAY! So, if you missed National Drink Wine Day on Saturday, now is your chance to celebrate a worthy holiday.

Tomorrow is National Chili Day, in case you are wondering.

***************************************************************

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to one of my favorite pairs of shoes.  My puppy has destroyed exactly two things in his lifetime.  A book about surviving in the wilderness (maybe he was trying to learn something?) and this one shoe.  Both were destroyed out of revenge for not including him in our weekend adventures.   

{Me? But I’m so cute!}

The shoes were starting to show their age (6 years of pretty consistent wear), so maybe this was his way of telling me that wearing ratty shoes isn’t so cute. But still, I felt like I was saying goodbye to friends as I placed them in the trashcan… at the last possible second before the garbage man pulled up.

{What they are SUPPOSED to look like}

I think I see another margarita in my future. Annnnddd…I may not run again…. (watching Rio!).

But at least I’ll feel guilty about it tomorrow…

Giuseppe in Training

Giuseppe is 10 months old, so we figure now is a good time to start him on a training program. A running training program.

{Did someone say RUN!?}

We want to make sure that he stays healthy and gets adequate cardio.  Plus, the little bugger has SO MUCH energy now that he’s a big boy.  We have to exercise him for an hour just to get him to sleep through the night. I figure the more he runs, the less time we’ll have to spend trying to tire him out.

And…we want to raise a competitive runner dog who can support us with his talent.

We have our sights set on our local November race, the Doggie Dash and Dawdle.  As suggested by the name, this race is for dogs and their people.  It’s a 5-k, and apparently people choose to run it without dogs (probably much better odds of placing).  But we are planning to run it with Giuseppe and include him in our racing lifestyle.

Westies aren’t necessarily a running breed, but they can be made into runners with some work.

Lots of work. And patience.

Currently, I would describe his running/walking style as distracted.

He likes to sniff everything, especially if another dog has marked it. He really likes to sniff cat poo which GROSSES ME OUT so much.  He likes to look at birds (and contemplate how he can eat them).  He wants to play with every person, dog, cat, child we pass by. He likes to run for a bit, and then he doesn’t.  And when he’s done, he’s done.  The only way we can get him moving again is to pick him up.

We have a long way to go.

But he is a fast sprinter. 

Eventually, our goal is to get him to the point where he is physically able to run 3 miles with us without having to stop every few seconds.

{Good work-out, Coach!}

7th Month Anniversary of Giuseppe Coming Home From the Farm

I realized that today marks the 7 month anniversary of us driving out to the middle of nowhere and coming home with a Giuseppe! I cannot believe how fast our time with him has flown by!

Last week was Giuseppe’s 9 month birthday, which makes him just about equivalent to a 5 year old child.  He is afraid of the dark, and it comforts him to sleep next to us, yet he still stubbornly declares his “big boy” status by wanting to do everything his way and by himself.  It doesn’t do us any good to spell out T-R-E-A-T because he’s big enough to know exactly what that means. And bathtime? Forget about it.  He’d much rather be digging around in the dirt.

He enjoys the luxury of being treated like an only child and by child I mean human child. It hasn’t occured to any of us that he isn’t a little human.  Sometimes I wonder if real moms hate me because I always realate their real baby stories with things Giuseppe has done. “How funny that your baby falls asleep in his food! Giuseppe does the exact same thing! Wanna see a picture? I have one right here!”

As puppy parents, I think we’ve managed to raise a socialized, curious, intelligent, independent, affectionate puppy. 

Westies are a wonderful breed. Like most Westies, Giuseppe is very smart and he enjoys being challenged and learning new things.  He has a TON of energy and he needs to get lots of exercise, otherwise he gets restless.  He digs (Westies are vermin hunters).  He isn’t very destructive (I thankfully haven’t sacrificed any shoes or furniture to his chewing needs) and he is too small to jump up on the counter and commandeer our dinner, so we have little to complain about.   

We couldn’t be happier with our decision to adopt a Westie into our home. I can’t imagine life without this little furry white bundle of energy even when he needs to get let out at 2 a.m.). Aaron is already wanting to get a second one, but I keep reminding him of the early days of fresh pee on the carpet every half hour.  Plus I don’t know if he could handle not having all of our attention.

(Thanks to photographer Aaron (and our new camera) for these amazing puppy pictures)! And of course, thank you Giuseppe for being so gosh darn adorable and amazing!

And Then it Snowed

Sometimes (but not very often), it snows and sticks in Albuquerque.  This weekend it actually snowed twice which is a Christmas miracle! While I’ve made no attempt to hide my discontent over cold weather, I am amazed how even just small amounts of snow can make an ugly, dirty world look magical.

For a few days, the weatherman had been warning us about massive amounts of snowfall…I would say we got less than a quarter inch at our house and it melted before 10 on both mornings, but on our Saturday and Sunday runs we were able to run through a sparkly, frosty wonderland.  And all reports point to another snowstorm tonight into tomorrow.

We’ve also spent hours taking pictures of it.

What?

I was outside in my robe and flip flops on Friday night experimenting with the camera.  Saturday morning we tried to get Giuseppe to pose cutely.  He was more interested in snow digging.  We repeated the whole thing last night and this morning.  These are some of the 100 pictures we took.  (Really, we are pretty snow deprived).   My favorite are the long exposure pictures like the one above taken at about 10 p.m.

 

A Very Pumpkin Weekend

In case you missed it, this weekend was Halloween weekend!

We celebrated with a complete pumpkin overload and watching by our favorite Halloween movies (aka movies that are not scary like Hocus Pocus, Casper, and Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin).

Saturday morning we had pumpkin waffles with homemade pumpkin spice lattes.

Sunday afternoon we took a break from all the orange and went to see The Blue Man Group perform.  For the most part, it was a pretty impressive show that included a rock concert, a nightclub, a variety show, and some good old fashioned paint splashing percussion.  Works of art were created.

Sunday evening we carved our pumpkins while watching Monster House (another Halloween classic).  Aaron pulled out the jigsaw (somewhere in this house exists actual pumpkin carving tools, but power tools are more fun).  I printed off a template and spent too many hours carving multiple tiny holes into a pirate.

Aaron's Masterpiece

My Finished product

 

Giuseppe sadly did not win the Pet-a-Palooza contest (thanks for voting!), but he still enjoyed himself today as a moo cow.  And by enjoyed I mean he tried to get that costume off anyway he could. I thought I would take him to the office to show him off and he proceeded to pee on my office carpet in front of the CEO.  I don’t think he will be going back to work with me for a while. At least it was in my office and not in the middle of the hallway or something…

Now we are sitting here with a bowl full of candy and underappreciated jack-o-lanterns because we live in a make-shift retirement community where kids don’t exist.  At least I have an excuse to eat lots of chocolate for the next few days (or next 1 day…). 

Tomorrow I feel that it will be socially acceptable to sing Christmas songs and watch Christmas movies. Tonight, I will watch Hocus Pocus on the Family Channel for the 2nd time this year while I eat another Reese’s.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!