Happy Birthday Little Dictator

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole” ~ Roger Caras

Caesar, the little dictator, turns 4 today.  Or 28 in dog years, which is disconcerting because this now makes him the wisest oldest one in the house.  I’m assuming he’s known this for a long time and has just been waiting for this day when us humans would be forced to resign to the fact that Caesar knows best.

As he grows older, I often wonder if C$ is a little too smart for his own good.  I swear that every time I ask him to sit, stay, or lay down, the wheels in his little canine head start turning as he ponders, “if I do, what will I get out of this.”  However, if cheese, onion, peanut butter or salami is involved, his little butt is glued to the ground just waiting for a piece to come over his way. I’m not sure whether I’m more concerned about what this says about my eating habits or about his listening skills.  So if Caes was asked to impart some of his wisdom, now that he’s the eldest of the pack, I’m convinced he’d have this to say:

1.  Help out with homework, specifically, when your human is highlighting for law school.  The best thing to do is try to take the highlighter out of their hands and run with them.

2.  Fetch is much more fun if you have the humans throw it and then you just look at them so they go get the ball.  So much less work when they bring it back for you.

3.  The Dog Whisperer is the best show ever.  When its on, drop everything else to watch and listen.  It’s like dog yoga…calm submissive state.

4.  When running your human, keep them on their toes. And above all, if you see a squirrel, chase it.

5.  Take over the couch, humans like that.

6.  Take over the bed, they like that even more.

7.  Eat the same thing everyday.  No surprises.

8.  Don’t wear clothes, and don’t ever wear halloween costumes. A simple yet stylish collar will do just fine.

9.  Only listen enough to let the humans believe they call the shots.

10.  Eat more peanut butter, it’s good for your health.

Happy Birthday Monkey.

So Good

“He is good, so good.  And he treats your little girl like a real man should.” ~Carrie Underwood  

I know, I just quoted Carrie Underwood.  No, I’m not sure what wrong but I just couldn’t get enough of that song when I was driving home from Nashville this weekend.   

Maybe it was driving through the rolling hills of Tennessee…  

Maybe it was because I just had a great weekend with my boys in Nashville…  

Or maybe it’s because for the first time, I stopped worrying about it and just let it be…  

But as I was driving back from Nashville, thinking about the weekend, what’s ahead, new jobs, dreams, struggles, time together and time apart, family, friends and home, I came to the conclusion that everything is going to be good.  So good.   

I know it sounds simple, and it is, but sometimes that’s the hardest stuff for me to figure out.  Sometimes I overcomplicate and over analyze things.  I sometimes ask the wrong people for advice or psych myself out.  

The second question people ask when they hear I’m going to law school is about the Boy.  What is he going to do?   (Here’s the most asked question)

Ziplining this weekend in Nashville. I know, the hats are hot. Safety first kids.

It’s been just over a month since I packed up my life and headed south for the summer before making the trek up north for school in the fall.  So many new things were happening.  I was moving, going back to school in a new city and the Boy was graduating, and starting a new job.  I was torn between excitement for both of us and wishing we would be there together going through it all.  Some people had horror stories of long distance relationships going array and this did nothing to calm that nagging fear in the back of my head.  Again, sometimes I over think things.   

The Boy and I have definitely been a part.  He’s spent summers back home, or in Spain.  I had to travel for work a lot and holidays have been spent with respective families, he’d travel for running etc. And it’s always been good.  Not “good” like fine/so so or any other watered down version of this word that people toss around but good.  So good like the Carrie Underwood song.  Really really good.  It’s always been a time where we learn about ourselves and each other going through new things.  It’s when I get back from the day and can’t wait to hear from him, talk with him and hear what he’s up to.  It’s always tough not having my best friend around all the time to hang out with but it always makes me realize what I have and so excited to be there again.   

I know, I know.  I don’t normally share this type of stuff on my blog…nor do I normally quote Carrie Underwood.  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s the heat.  

The boy when we went to the GA Aquarium

Or…maybe it’s because I haven’t heard very many encouraging words about all this so for anybody else who has ever or will ever go through this…it will be something for you to think about and hold on to.   

I also write this to say thanks to those who have been amazing and so supportive through all this.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you.  

One of these people is the Law School Wife.  I read this post a couple of weeks ago and I think it hit the nail on the head.  The circumstances are different but the point remains the same.  She talks about how people would say they’d never stay together through law school cause it’s so hard blah blah blah, but after a year, she’s found that’s not the case.  She says law school didn’t break those people up.  Deeper issues or an incapadability did, not law school.  I think the same applies to long distance. She says,  

“Either you tackle the issues together, or you don’t. It’s not about law school. It’s just life. The couples who can’t handle the speed bumps, the curve balls, the stress of being an adult–those are the couples who will break up. The couples who know how to work through problems together, to work through stress together, to speak to each other with kindness even when the going gets tough, those who realize law school is just a phase and that work is just a job, those who know how to play together will stay together–”  

I love it. It’s not law school, or the distance or anything else that’s hard, life is hard.  She says some people/couples sink and some swim.  Law school, and I’d say anything tough like long distance etc., weeds out the sinkers.  And makes the swimmers stronger.    

 
 

Enjoying some of Sweetwater's Brew and watching the World Cup

 This coupled with talking with the boy and another dear friend’s comments I saw this weekend about long distance relationships being a great experience to learn about each other and grow has made me…dare I say it…excited.  

I have loved our weekends together, out having fun, exploring, laughing, seeing friends and doing things we’ve never done before. I love our talks during the week and how he can make me smile miles away.  I look forward to growing together as we learn about each other as he is starts a new job, I’m at law school and so much more.  

So…on the windy road home from Nashville, with Carrie Underwood playing as the backdrop after a perfect weekend behind me and infinite possibilities ahead of me, I decided no more overthinking, overcomplicating or worrying.  I came to the conclusion that I knew was the right one all along.  

So, to the people who doubt and ask about me and the Boy and how we’ll make it though, I can say with conviction and confidence that no matter where we are, these challenges and weekends and long nights are going to be so good.  

I can’t wait!  

Thanks Carrie ;)  

Stories of the Sweaty Runner

“Out of the silver heat mirage he ran.  The sky burned, and under him the paving was a black mirror reflecting sun-fire.  Sweat sprayed his skin with each foot strike so that he ran in a hot mist of his own creation.  With each slap on the softened asphalt, his soles absorbed heat that rose through his arches and ankles and the stems of his shins.” ~James Tabor, from “The Runner,” a short story 

Tabor makes it sound so epic, so heroic.  All I know is that I went on a run at 5:30 am this morning during the “cool” part of the day and still came back a sweaty mess.  

Because of this, and because it is the first day of summer, I thought it fitting to write about running in the heat.  By now, whether you live in Maryland, Atlanta, Texas or Oregon, you’re feeling it…amd if you’re like me, it doesn’t feel too good. 

I had big plans this summer.  I would be in the best shape of my life after my first marathon and ready to work on my kick in summer speed sessions but apparently, my body had other plans, as did my piriformis. So instead of running like a glistening gazelle, I’m sluggishly sweating it out in this sauna otherwise known as Atlanta, as I claw my way back into getting in shape.  

Let’s face it, running in the heat is no walk in the park.  It sucks.  There’s just no way around that.  BUT, I have learned some things to make it easier on yourself.  

1. Stay hydrated: This is the most important and easiest thing you can do to beta the heat while running.  It’s critical not just for performance sake but for your health. Heat related illnesses such as dehydration leads to muscle fatigue, cramping, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke.    

I don’t know about you but I hate drinking water.  I know this is going to sound strange, but I just don’t like the taste.  Although I was noticing that during the day I would get these nasty headaches and I would feel light headed after my run.  I thought it was just because I was out of shape.  Wrong.  I wasn’t hydrating.  It’s so important for us as runners to watch how much we drink before, during and after exercise.   It’s also important in the summer to watch what you drink that dehydrates your body such as coffee, alcohol etc.  

I have gotten into the habit of always having a water bottle at my desk and making sure I drink at least three throughout the day.  And as for not liking water, slice up some lemons, grab some crystal light OR, try cucumber water. Yes. Cucumber water.  Beth Eats got me hooked on it.  It’s so refreshing!  Check it out.  

As for during the run, I need to get better at that.  The rule of thumb I go by is…if my body tells me I’m thirsty, drink water.  I hate drinking too much and then feeling it slosh around so I wait till my body tells me I need it.  

2. Replenish: During longer workouts, especially in the summer, you not only need to replenish water after a workout but the electrolytes and salt that you lose.  After a run, some of your fluid intake should be something like Gatorade or Powerade.   This will give your body back the electrolytes and salt you lost on your run.   

Some people also use salt tablets or even salt packets (like from McDonald’s) during a run.  I have a good friend who fell over and fainted after her half marathon in record heat  because her body was so depleted of salt.  We don’t want that happening kids so lets keep that salt and those electrolytes flowing! 

3. Wear only what you need: Time to talk clothes.  It’s summer which means absolutely no cotton.  I know, running clothes and tech gear can be expensive but splurge on some nice running tees or check out your local running stores sale rack because you will need a moisture wicking fabric to run in.  

4. Sunscreen: Wear it.  I love to be tan just like the next person but keep it safe kids.  I used to run without sunscreen and just let it burn because eventually it would turn to tan but I’m trying to be better.  It might sound harsh but I came to the conclusion that I’m running to stay healthy so I don’t want to die of skin cancer just because I didn’t take time to put on sunscreen.  

I use Aveeno or Neutrogena 15 on my face and put it on about a half hour before I run to make sure the sweat doesn’t make it run.  Stinging sunscreen in your eyes isn’t fun for anyone. 

5. Run Early or Late: I know, running at the crack of dawn isn’t the most alluring thing on a Monday morning but when you are driving home and watching the steam rise off the pavement, you’ll be glad you did it.  Make the extra time in your day to run when it’s cooler out, either in the morning or late at night.  

Run routes that have shade during the dog days of summer

 

6. Go Slow: This is the lesson we all as runners try to learn but can’t seem to master.  This will help you start out slow in a race too so you don’t go out too fast.  It is so important during the summer to start out slow.  Starting out too fast will make your core temperature skyrocket and then it’s hard to bring it back down in the 90 degree heat and humidity.   ALWAYS remember to stop running immediately if you feel faint, find some shade, take a breather and drink lots of water. 

My running buddy...I miss him so much :)

 

Also, for those of you who have a four-legged running buddy like me…these rules apply to them too.  Make sure your friend gets plenty of water before and after running and pay close attention during the run to make sure they aren’t getting fatigued.  

Hopefully that will help take the edge off the heat!  I’d love to hear your tips on how you make running in the heat bearable.

Great Job All You Flying Pigs

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating. There’s really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”

Here's what I wish I was doing today...

I hated not being able to pound the pavement with the rest of the pigs today in Cincinnati for the 12th annual Flying Pig Marathon but that didn’t mean I wasn’t reloading facebook constantly this morning to see how the runners did.

Marathon winners:

Men: Brian List 2:31:56, Tilahun Abebe 2:34:39, Rob Morwood 2:36:05.  All three are members of Earth Drummers Running Club in Cincy.  Who do they think they are? East Nasty? ;)
Women: Cynthia (Lauren) Arnold 2:55:02, Marnie Staehly 2:58:26, Rachel Bea (Cincy native) 3:02:27

Here's what I was doing :) Thanks a lot Piriformis...I'll be back next year ya pigs

Half marathon winners:

Men: Ben Foley (Cincy native) 1:12:34
Women: Leslie Kraus (Cincy native) 1:24:20

I love how many Cincy natives ran today! Great job runners, and especially since you were running in the rain! I’ll be with you next year.

Speaking of rain…if you haven’t heard, Nashville is experiencing severe flooding.  Davidson county is in a state of emergency and roads in and around the city are shut down because of flooding.  The Boy and I decided to stay in Cincy for the night to be safe and make the wet trek home tomorrow morning…or at least try.  Schools are closed and even T Nels decided to close.  It’s odd being away from home while all this happens to your city.

After talking to my roommate, thankfully, our place is ok now.  I just hope my pup is doing ok.  That sucker doesn’t even like to go to the bathroom in the rain so I just hope he’s behaving himself at the kennel and not giving them too hard of a time!

To all of those in Nashville, stay safe and dry.  Keep me updated about this crazy weather!

Here’s a great link from a fantastic organization, Hands on Nashville, where you can sign up to get involved and help out in the flood relief effort.  Help here.

With a Name Like Caesar, He Was Destined for Greatness

The best way to get a puppy is to beg for a baby brother — and they’ll settle for a puppy every time.” ~Winston Pendleton

The picture that got me in trouble

I have a bone to pick with Pendleton. I begged for a puppy and got a baby brother. I got two actually and a sister thrown in as a bonus. Four kids, no puppy. Mom didn’t want something else to feed or clean up after. But honestly, can you blame her?

I can only fault my parents for three things in my childhood development:
1. Not taking us to Disney
2. Taking us to a Cracker Barrel which I am convinced is what stunted my growth
3. Not letting us have a dog- it’s ok, I had hermit crabs. Better than fish at least.

Luckily I’ve been able to make right on at least one of them. I now have a dog. His name is Caesar. No, I did not give him that name, he had it when I got him and I just couldn’t bring myself to change it. I mean how many dogs do you know with that name. Beats the hell out of Spot. Caesar’s brothers consisted of Marc Antony, Julius and Napoleon. Truth be told, I originally inquired about Napoleon, but he was taken. Don’t tell Caesar. I think I got the best dictator anyway.

He could hardly hold his head up when he was a pup

I’m not sure quite how I ended up with the little monster. I always wanted a dog and had thought about it for awhile but never mentioned it to anyone. One day I told the Boy I was going to get a dog, looked on Petfinder and the next day we were off to the shelter in Anna, Illinois. I was pumped and so was the Boy, who unlike me was raised by parents who loved him and therefore bought him and his brother a dog ;)

I was excited until about 10 minutes away from the shelter. We pulled up and I was going over an escape plan in my head. Thank goodness the Boy was there or I may have turned right back, around tail between my legs, and headed to Nashville. I sat in the chair filling out the paperwork and the woman said, “Would you like me to go get him?” Could I still say no? Within seconds, Caesar was on the scene. With a head too big for his body and ears that made him look like Dumbo, he ran out to us. You mean from here on out I’m responsible for keeping this thing alive? The only thing I kept alive up till then was a Christmas tree and orchids. Again, thank God the Boy was there because he was the proper kind of excited. You know, the, “It’s Christmas morning and I’m getting a puppy” kind of excited. I was terrified, probably more like the parents feel of said child and puppy on Christmas morning. But after four hours in the car with the little guy sleeping on my lap, I was hooked.

Caesar or C$ (one of his many nicknames) just turned two and my little rat terrier who was supposed to be max of 30 pounds is now 50.  Every time the vet looks at his records he shakes his head and says, “That’s the biggest rat terrier I’ve ever seen.” As far as he can guess, my little monster must have some pit in him. He just has the best demeanor. Sure he eats running socks, takes over the bed when you let him up and occasionally makes you run a little faster on your runs when he sees a squirrel but he always brings a smile to

Batdog. He still sleeps like this.

my face with his crazy dinner circle dance, the Simmie shake, his unmatched love of peanut butter, his fear of tiny dogs and the way he curls up and tucks his nose in the crook of your arm when you’re reading. He’s also a fantastic running partner even though it is slightly annoying that I always seem to be the one panting like a dog.He’s the best little monkey I could ask for and he has taught me a lot about being selfless and patient. The boy (or as the instructor from our dog obedience class called him…the dog whisperer) was right, you just can’t be in a bad mood when you have a dog.

Now to work on getting to Disney…

See more pictures of C$