Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel!

Good news!! After a couple of months of anticipation (...and some heavy puppy rehab!) we found out on Friday that as of right now, Charley will in fact not need the second surgery we had planned for his hips! As it turns out, the hydrotherapy has done much more for his hips (and general well-being) than we originally thought. We knew it would help speed up the rehabilitation process, but the idea of it completely eliminating the next surgery never even entered my mind. Let me tell you... the little guy could not be happier! I'm starting to think that our next real estate purchase will have to have a pool, in fear of the dog going on strike if it doesn't. Okay, so I'm not completely opposed to the idea of being poolside every day myself... ;) All in all, he's a happy camper right now, and I'm right there with him!

Since we were in Jacksonville for the weekend for Charley's appointment, I joined up with some girls up there for Saturday's short group run of 3 miles. The group is training for the Chicago Marathon on October 10th, and is starting to get into the longer distances. This was the same group of women that originally got me into running in the first place and I was so happy to be able to catch up with them after my 5-month hiatus. I hadn't really thought about it until then, but I really saw how far behind I had gotten after running with my old group. They had all continued with the weekly training since our last half marathon, and you could definitely tell. With my shin splits wreaking havoc on my legs wonderfully mixed with the fact that I'm still essentially in the "starting over" stages of running, my self-esteem plummeted faster than a 14 year old boy being shot down by his life-long Kindergarten crush. It was 7am (two and a half hours later than I normally run), and it was hot. The delusional, body completely soaked, "I'm totally moving to Alaska" kind of hot. The run I was so excited about just didn't add up to all I had hoped. Looking back on it, I should have been more realistic and prepared for it... both physically and mentally. However, there's a small part of me that's glad that little mental "breakdown" happened when it did. It was only 3 miles, it wasn't raining, and it could have definitely been worse. Running isn't about out-running other runners; it's about out-running that little voice in the back of your mind that tells you to that you can't... that you can't make it that last mile, and you don't have to push yourself to become better. It tells you to settle, and accept things that are just "okay." I think this is one of the most important things to realize in running (and life), and I'm glad I figured it out now and not after I had accepted settling. So (...big sigh of relief...), I'm ready. I know that it's going to take time for me to get back to where I was, and I know that this is not the end of the world...

On a different note, RK and I are planning on going up to Vino (our neighborhood wine shop) tomorrow for our first "Wine Down Wednesday" tasting. The week has already been crazy busy (...yes, it's only Tuesday...) and I'm looking forward to this more than you know! I just found out that this cute little shop that holds tastings every Wednesday and Sunday for just $5. I'm not quite sure which rock I've been under for the past year we've been living here, but this definitely calls for making up for lost time!

Okay, enough babbling for one night! ;) I'll update more tomorrow! Goodnight ya'll!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Life lessons

For anyone looking for a good summer read (or really any time of year!) I highly recommend "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein. This book has officially topped my list of favorites! The book tells the story of a dog named Enzo, as he sees life through his eyes. His owner, Denny, is a race car driver and the bond these two share is simply amazing. I think the reason I enjoyed this so much was that I identified with it so well. Okay, this may sound a little weird, but I've always felt that dogs really understand us... on a much deeper level than we can imagine. I feel that there's so much we can learn from our dogs. Think about it... I don't think I've ever seen Charley upset that I'm walking in the door, or that he has to eat essentially the same thing every day, or that he has to live in our apartment with no yard of his own (...even though there's plenty of grass and parks in our neighborhood, they aren't just "his"). Simplicity. He's so happy with so little. The true riches of life (family, friends, love), he has more of than he could ever ask for. And he knows it. Gratuity. If I could be half as grateful for the unnecessary fluff that I don't need as he is for a simple ear scratch or tennis ball, my days would be much more fulfilling. In fact, I'll even branch out and say that if we all let ourselves learn a thing or two from our dogs, the world would be a much happier, healthier, safer place. Just something to think about...

On a different note... as happy as I am to get back into running, apparently my shins have disagreed. Scratch that. My shins have decided to rage against the rest of my body in shear pain and utter misery. It's bad. That being said, I've always maintained a minimalist perspective when it comes to hitting the road. I'm not one to carry a water bottle, 3 packets of gel, my phone, towel, etc. 95% of the time it's myself, my shoes, watch, and maybe half a packet of energy beans (or something of the sort) if it's a long run. With that in mind, I was not keen on the idea of using/wearing anything serving to remedy my new found shin splints. However it seems to have gotten to "that point." Yesterday I went to my local running shop and bought a pair of Zensah compression leg sleeves for $40. I know this is probably all in my head, but I've just always felt like if I were to wear something like this it would just come across as if I was trying to say "Yeah... I'm so fast I need these 'cool' leg things to make me even better." I don't know. I just don't like the idea of being "that runner." I have to say though, at this point I'm moving very close to the "I don't care, it hurts that bad" train of thought. I bought them on a Wednesday with the idea that I'd get in at least one shorter run on Thursday before using them on a long Saturday run (even though this Saturday is only 3 miles... which was the same mileage as today. But oh well). I had heard miraculous things about Zensah's and was anxious to see how they'd work for me. I don't know if I had the wrong size or just wasn't used to them, but absolutely nothing changed... In fact, I think the pain was a little worse. Although the fact that I only rested a day in between probably didn't help, I figured there would be at least some improvement. Not so much. So, I'll give them one or two more shots then I'm moving on... I've been reading a lot about kinesiology tape and how so many people have fallen in love with it. Apparently it really became "big" during the 2008 women's volleyball olympics, when some of the women used it on their shoulders. If any of you have ever used this, or know anyone that has, I'd love to hear your feedback... good or bad. Although it's only $15-$20 a roll, I'm more concerned with finding something that works right now. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Whew! I don't even realize how much I ramble here... I'll get better, promise! ;) Thanks for reading, I really do appreciate it!

Tomorrow we head up to Jacksonville for Charley's orthopedic appointment. I'll update as soon as I find something out. Wish us luck! Goodnight ya'll!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And it begins...

After taking about 5 months off from doing sort of "organized" running, I've finally gotten back to the grind... When I really think about it, I'm not quite sure why I ever stopped in the first place. I had finished my last of 4 half-marathons and just let that be "it." Maybe it was more of a burnt out feeling, or maybe it was more of me just being lazy. Probably a mix of both. I joined up with a local running group for some early morning Tuesday/Thursday shorter, 2-4 mile runs, and a good long one on Saturday. I had definitely forgotten how great it made me feel. The 4am alarm? Not so much. But the feeling of getting the day started with a good flow of endorphins is wonderful. I finally broke down and bought a new pair of running shoes, too. It's pretty easy to forget how shoes are actually supposed to feel when they 1) fit right, and 2) aren't completely broken down (being in one, complete piece helps too!). A couple of new outfits, new tennie's, and a pair of sunglasses later, my retail therapy left me with no excuses to not get out and hit the road. Having new gear always makes me a little more excited to start back up though. Maybe it's the "fresh start" vibe that it all gives off. I'm all for starting fresh!

This Friday, Charley goes back for his second post-FHO checkup. On May 4, he had his first surgery (FHO, femoral head and neck ostectomy) of two to correct his hip dysplasia and first (of 3) steroid injections in his elbows to help with the elbow dysplasia. For those who aren't familiar with it (as I sure wasn't before this!) an FHO is a procedure where the hip joint is salvaged by removing the "ball" (of the "ball and socket") of the hip and letting cartilage form a new one. The upside to doing this in comparison to a total hip replacement is 1) no activity restrictions post surgery, 2) some dogs who go through a total hip replacement still end up needing an FHO down the road, and 3) it is a bit less expensive, especially since we were going to have to do it twice. The little guy had just had his first birthday on April 21. This condition usually doesn't present problems until much later in life, but his case was so severe (due to genetics) that he began to show pain at only 8 weeks old. :( Let me tell you... nothing breaks your heart more than watching an 8 week old puppy suffer like a dog who has lived a long, plentiful 10-15 year life. On a lighter note, he has been going to "puppy rehab" at a local hydrotherapy center and is doing great! This is his absolute favorite thing in the world. For 30 minutes, he becomes king of the pool. He swims for a bit, stops for some physical therapy (still in the pool), and swims some more. Every Wednesday and Friday he wakes up knowing that once 11am rolls around, he gets to go swimming. For anyone who has a lab, I'm convinced they're at least half fish! ;) Anyway, we find out Friday when the next surgery (and steroid injections) will be and after that he should be good to go! Please keep him in your prayers!!

Hmm... what else? The week has been absolutely crazy busy and it's only Tuesday! Whew! Luckily from here it's all down hill. I should be posting a bit more once things settle down. Just a side note... I love reading all your blogs out there! I'm adding a couple new ones each day to the list of those I follow and it's just great! Thanks to all of you who have invited me into your day to day lives, even if it's just in the slightest way. Goodnight ya'll!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

First things first...

Hmm... where to start?! Well, as you can tell, this is my very first post! I'm very new to the whole process and more than welcome any comments/hints/tips, etc.!

I can't lie... I started this blog as a result of clicking on a friend's blog linked on Facebook for what I thought would be a quick read, then as my daily routine commanded, I would check my email, add a couple more pictures to FB, then clean the kitchen (exciting, right?! I know...). About 4 hours later I had literally 27 different tabs opened in my browser of different blogs I just couldn't stop reading. I don't know how I went so long without this...

A little more about me: I grew up in Florida and have been here my entire life. I'm a huge animal lover and have a special place in my heart for labs (...okay, and anything pink too!). I think CCI (Canine Companions for Independence) is an amazing organization, and if you're unfamiliar with them you should most definitely Google it. I love the beach, decorating anything, running (even though, as I mentioned in my 'about me' it's sort of a love/hate thing), teaching, and generally enjoying life. I guess you could say I'm in a transition phase of my life and I'm constantly trying to figure everything out (but who isn't?!). I like to say that I live life with no regrets, only lessons learned. If I could have a second "me", I'd be a wedding planner and/or interior designer. I could honestly sit in a pile of wedding and decorating magazines all day and be completely happy. I believe there's no problem in the world that can't be solved with a great group of friends, a glass of wine, and maybe even a good run. I try very hard to maintain a "glass is half full" perspective on life, and some days I'm more successful than others. Life is good... and I'm very excited for the journey it holds.

For future reference, here's a list of people who will most likely frequent this blog... just so you're familiar!

RK- My other half of 7 years. We've been through it all... ups, downs, and all the in-between. More often than not he knows me better than I know myself. He is truly my best friend in life and I honestly don't know what I'd do without him.

Charley- My 1-year-old yellow lab. He's the best four legged friend a girl could ever ask for. He has a personality 10 times bigger than himself and is the biggest "gentle giant" you'll ever meet. He was diagnosed with severe elbow and hip dysplasia (CHD) at only 8 weeks old. He has gone through the first of two necessary surgeries to help with the pain (and hopefully eliminate any future problems) and is doing great with his rehab!

LA- My best girlfriend since we were 10! Unfortunately, we had to leave each other during college but make it a point to stay close no matter what. No matter how long we go without talking, we always seem to pick right back up where we left off.

Okay, well I think that's good for now... I've got to get some sleep! I'll update more tomorrow. Goodnight ya'll! :)