6 Months

I’m notorious for going for long stretches without posting anything. 6 months isn’t my longest break.. but it is pretty long. So I’m going to jump into my first post in 2016 (Yes I know it’s May) by doing a little recap of my life since November.

Zeus

My puppy (or not so puppy) turned 9 in February. He is officially an “old man” dog, but I’ll always call him my puppy. Unfortunately, he has developed a health issue which has been ongoing for more than a year really, but it’s starting to get worse a lot faster these days. Mike and I have self-diagnosed him as having DM (degenerative myelopathy.) It’s a degenerative spinal cord disease similar in that to ALS in humans. He hasn’t been to the vet for it, so the diagnosis is unofficial. DM is not a disease that can really be tested for, rather it’s diagnosed after other problems are ruled out. It’s also something that can’t be treated, and there is no cure. I really didn’t feel like spending hundreds (thousands?) of dollars at the vet trying to rule out anything else.. and plenty of online sources I’ve read show dogs- including pugs- with DM, and they all look the way Zeus does. He is still himself really… he is not in any pain, still wants to play, still follows us around and greets us eagerly when we come home… but his hind legs have really been hindered. He stumbles when he walks, falls down a lot, and drags his back feet. At least, he did when it started to become apparent he had a problem beyond what I thought was just arthritis and aging.

The fact is.. we have noticed that his degeneration is moving rather quickly, at least in his hind quarters. Around Christmas time, we started to notice him stumbling more, dragging his feet, and walking stiffly. After the New Year, he was falling a lot more and seemed to have a harder time walking out in the grass. Last month we noticed he would fall and get stuck, especially on the tile in our kitchen. He just couldn’t get his legs up under him to push himself up. He was also having a really hard time not falling on uneven and slippery surfaces, like the grass outside and the tile. We decided at this point to look into getting him a wheelchair.

I did some research and found a great cart for Zeus on HandicappedPets.com. They sell doggie wheelchairs that are fully adjustable and customizable- and while they still were a little expensive- it was less expensive than having someone make a custom chair. We settled on a used/refurbished model and saved about $100. It came within a week and was pretty easy to put together. The hardest part was making all the right adjustments to make sure Zeus fit properly and comfortably in the chair.

Once we got him in and outside.. it was amazing the difference! He moved so fast! He no longer stumbled, and what was taking 15+ minutes to walk to the corner and back now took about 7. At first he walked in spurts- it does take a dog a little while to get used to the cart- and his front legs needed to adjust/build strength enough to support the work of walking by themselves. But honestly, he took to it very well. The cart is very light weight, and manuvers very easy. After some practice, he’s walking pretty good in it and sometimes walks ahead of me a little.

I do have to say, he looks a little ridiculous in the cart. BUT, he gets so much attention when we’re out. A lot people feel sorry for him and ask if he’s ok or what happened to his legs. Other people laugh, because it is quite funny looking. Overall though, I know it’s improving his quality of life and letting him stay with us a little bit longer.

Helping Mike change his oil... this is how he sits now.

Helping Mike change his oil… this is how he sits now.

As for me, Zeus is my baby. Seeing him struggle to walk breaks my heart, but being able to give him the wheelchair makes me feel so much better, even as he continues to decline. As of now (actually, we’ve noticed even more degeneration even over the past two weeks) he struggles to walk on the carpet, cannot walk on the tile anymore at all, and gets stuck a lot. He falls flat on his bum with his legs sticking out from under him, and can’t get back up. I’ve been trying to get him in the chair more inside so he can be mobile, but he can’t rest (sit or lay) while in the chair. My strategy right now is to take him for walks in the cart and then let him be in it while we are fixing meals/eating- that way he can come over and walk about the kitchen as he usually does- and then take him out when he goes in his pen, or hangs out with us on the sofa. I know it’s only a matter of time before the disease spreads and starts to affect his front and other body functions, but my goal as his mommy is just to make him as comfortable as possible and let him have a good quality of life as long as he wants it… ok now I’m getting teary-eyed… *snif*

Zeus in his wheels

Zeus in his wheels

 

Still sooo snuggly!

Still sooo snuggly!

Fitness

I think in my last post I mentioned doing the Supreme 90 day workouts. Well, I would like to report that I completed 60 days of the program, but then got distracted. Mike and I planned to stay home in MD for Christmas this past December, but planned a trip to NY to visit with his family for New Years. I had pretty good success completing workouts in my father-in-law’s garage when we visited in October, and I wanted to do something similar in January. I did a little searching for programs and I really got pulled in by Beachbody’s Insanity Max 30 workout program. First- I loved the idea that the workouts were only 30 minutes long. Second- I loved that it was intense, which would make me feel like I got a great work out in the short amount of time. Third- I loved that the program involved no equipment. Which means I didn’t have to worry about bringing anything with me (other than my yoga mat… but even this wasn’t “needed”) when we traveled.

So I bought the program and did my workout s the whole week we were there. I continued the program when I got home and finished all 60 days. IM30 is really tough and at times made me feel like I’ve never worked out a day in my life. I ended up needing to modify a bunch of moves due to my bum knee, but the program had a modifier person in every workout, and I quickly learned which moves I needed to avoid/change to reduce my knee pain. All in all, I got through it pretty good and was proud of myself for seeing the program through.

That said, I did not have very good results from the program, at least from a body composition perspective. I don’t fault the program at all, as I did see a great improvement in my Max-out times and thus improvement in my fitness. I just have a hard time with my nutrition. I love to eat. I’m addicted to sugar… and my body does not do a very good job of metabolizing it. I’m convinced that my nutrition is the #1 thing holding me back from progress.

In an effort to help boost my metabolism, I wanted to incorporate more weight lifting. I backed off a bit after S90D in order to make sure focus on finishing IM30.I decided to go with another Beachbody product, Body Beast. It’s a 90 day gradual weight lifting program. It’s really marketed for men. but plenty of women have done it too. I’d managed to complete the first 3 weeks.. and then life got in the way. The plan at this point is to re-start.. so hoping I can keep up with it.

Weight Loss

Lately, I feel like I’ve lost my mojo and haven’t been going to the gym. I still get my morning workouts done, and have been eating 21DF style, most of the time.. but I’m getting minimal results. I know it’s totally on me and I need to suck it up and pull myself together- but it’s so easy to get into the mind set of “well it’s not going to work, so why try so hard.” Sigh.. I need to get over myself and just do what I need to do. I need to start doing my weight training again, consistently. I also need to be more careful with my nutrition. See, I know the answers… Ok.. whine over.

 

Mental Health

For just about a whole year I’ve been seeking treatment for generalized anxiety and panic disorders. I’d been having pretty bad anxiety attacks since 2012, some of which would last for hours. By the time it would finally fade (usually when I went to sleep and woke up the next morning) I would be so worried about having them again, it would trigger anxiety and the cycle would continue. I also had a lot on intrusive thoughts I could not control… usually involving my untimely death by one means or another. It was exhausting, uncomfortable, scary, and cyclic. Finally, Mike and my doctor got me to seek treatment. I started seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed me medication. It helped a great deal- I was no longer having the intrusive thoughts, and my panic attacks had stopped,  but I was still having breakthrough symptoms of random dizziness and shortness of breath, which didn’t alarm me so much, bu was really annoying to feel that way.

My job requires employees to participate in a special reliability program in order to work with some of the compounds we have. It’s a safety issue, but mostly a security issue- they need to make sure they have the most stable and trustworthy people working with some of their most secure and toxic compounds. As a participant in this program, we are required to self report medical records, changes in health or life status, prescription medications.. etc. I reported my anxiety issues and my medication and was required to seek a formal behavioral health evaluation. Long story short- it was recommended that I be suspended from the program- and thus working with certain classes of compounds- until I underwent 90 days of therapy treatment to address my symptoms. It was a little annoying to have to comply.. but I knew it would be good for me.

So I’ve been seeing a therapist and been working using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to de-sensitize myself from my anxiety triggers. The methods are quite simple actually, but do require a lot of practice. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve actually been able to taper off my medication and am ready to move onto the maintenance phase of CBT.. which will help keep my anxiety in check, as well as be able to bring it down if I do have a spike. I even have an appointment for a re-evaluation to be re-instated in the reliability program at work.. so happy about that.

Anyways, I wanted to share this because anxiety is a very common mental disorder. Sometimes your brain just gets stuck and chemical imbalances can occur to make you more susceptible to it. Medication really helps, but it’s a band-aid. Plus, a lot of people have a hard time going on or coming off the medications. (Coming off has been, and still slightly is a struggle for me.) But CBT has done wonders for me.. and I wanted to let anyone who is reading this and dealing with these issues know that it CAN be treated! I know how it feels to feel absolutely crippled from anxiety and it’s symptoms. People who have never experienced it do not (and really can not) know how it can affect you physically and emotionally. At my worst- I even felt a little detached and depressed- “why can everyone else live perfectly normal lives while I feel like I’m dying.” But there IS relief, you just have to know where to go. I would start with your general practitioner- see if they have a list of recommended counseling centers you can seek out. You want someone experienced in dealing with generalized anxiety disorders and can help you through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It may seem like new-age hooey when you first look into it (how can just breathing and imagery possible stop my very real and tangible physical symptoms!?!?)  but trust me.. you will start to feel normal again with enough practice! Feel free to message me if you have any questions.. I’ll be glad to help!

Vacations

In April my mom, her boyfriend, Mike and I went down to Orlando to visit my sister’s family. My niece’s birthday was on the 10th, my nephew’s the 18th, and my sister’s on the 20th. We rented a house nearby through AirBnB and it actually worked out really well for us. (Despite some drama in the beginning regarding the air conditioning, which was legit,  and my mom’s over-the-top expectations, which were completely unfounded.) The house had a pool, so the kids could come over and swim, and we enjoyed cooking out on the grill and taking advantage of the mild weather. Over the weekend, my sister held a combo birthday party for the kids at her community pool- which turned out great. Later that week Mike and I joined her, my brother-in-law, and a family friend for a wine tasting and tour at a local vineyard. Overall, it was a great relaxing and low key trip.. which is exactly what we wanted!

My sister's table of goodies.. she made everything..so talented

My sister’s table of goodies.. she made everything.. so talented

 

Happy 7 year old!

Happy 7 year old!

 

Happy 4 year old!

Happy 4 year old!

 

A couple weeks ago, Mike and I booked our fall trip to Europe! We finally pulled the trigger after talking about it for almost a year. It’s been on our “things we want to do before we have kids” list and I’m so excited to finally be able to go!

We designed our independent itinerary through Europeandestinations.com. I was a little nervous about using an online booking company like this, but so far everything seems to be going smoothly. We are able to pay in installments, the last being in August, so we’ll be all set for departure in late September. We are visiting 7 cities in 4 countries over the course of our 17 day trip. Italy was the country he really wanted to visit.. being that he’s half Italian.. and a Catholic.. so we will be visiting several cities there- including Rome and the Vatican, Florence, Pisa and the Cinque Terre. We’re also visiting Dublin to get a taste or Ireland (his other genetic heritage), London, and of course Paris. The booking company also lets us book activities and tours, so we are doing a select few tours through them, and the rest will be done/seen via our city passes ( Dublin, London and Paris.)

This will be my second time abroad, my first being when I was 19 with a group of students from my former high school. On that trip, we toured Paris, Provence, the French riviera, and Venice. For this trip, Paris will be the only city I’ve been to (Paris is my most favorite city ever!) and I’m so excited to explore and share the experience with my husband! I’ve already made a list of things we may need for the trip, watched tons of travel videos on YouTube, and even bought our city passes and guidebooks. Can’t wait!

Behold, the countdown!

Behold, the countdown!

Whew.. that covers a lot… I hope I can blog a little more here and there and not wait another 6 months to update. Anywho.. keep on keeping on people!

Oh yeah.. my birthday was on Mother's day.. we had Mexican.. the margaritas were fantastic ;)

Oh yeah.. my birthday was on Mother’s day.. we had Mexican.. the margaritas were fantastic 😉

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September Highlights

I’m so glad it’s October. The weather is getting cooler.. the leaves are changing.. we have a trip planned to the mountains for our 1st anniversary.. it’s a great time of year.

September was a pretty busy month. Here’s some things that went down:

Training

Training ramped up a bit and my husband started training for his 10K at Disney Marathon Weekend. I was really worried about it for a while, because my husband has never been very consistent in running. He has a love sort-of-like/hate relationship with it and refuses to label himself as a runner. He enjoys finishing 5K’s, but hates running in general.. and has a severe lack of confidence in his ability to go much further. That being said.. he has never really trained consistently, and every time I presented him with a training schedule he scoffed and said he would do his own thing. This year, Disney has a Galloway training plan for the 10K at Disney Marathon Weekend. I printed it for him and have pushed encouraged him to follow it. So far, he has done really well and has even agreed to stick with intervals. (In the past we would start with intervals and end with him deciding he would just run as he felt like it.) It’s been a while since he has trained for anything.. and definitely feels the effects of running 30 mins/2ish miles 3 days a week. BUT, in the few weeks he’s been at it, he has noticed his speed increasing a bit and is pretty proud of himself (as I am of him!) He still struggles with the idea of running 6.2 miles, but I remind him that as long as he does the work, he will do just fine. He maintains that he will quit running when this is over… as he has said before every race he runs.. so we’ll see 😉

action shots

Running the 2014 Shamrock 5K together in Baltimore

Zeus

I took Zeus to the vet in the beginning of the month for his annual check up. The vet recommended a teeth cleaning (which I did not have done last year due to expense.. our wedding took a big chunk out of our bank accounts last year, so I put the procedure off.) and I wanted to have a cyst under his paw, as well as a skin tag he’s had for a while on his back leg that kept getting bigger removed. So I scheduled him for surgery and took him in mid September. He came out a groggy but happy pup.. and was back to himself the next day. One thing I noticed was his breath was no longer stinky.. they pulled 6 rotting teeth (all tiny ones) and cleaned/polished the remaining. He smells so good now! He had to go on a soft diet and take pain and antibiotic pills (coated in peanut butter, of course) of which he thoroughly enjoyed. He’s back to eating his normal food.. despite giving me an “I’ve been cheated” look the first day off the wet diet. This past weekend I noticed his front paw swelling and he was limping on it a bit. We took him for a walk and his toe started bleeding too. I took him back to the vet on Monday and they thought his bandage was too tight, so they gave him a new one and want me to come back on thursday to look at it. I believe they may also want to take his stitches out too. It got much better after they changed the bandage, so that’s good. Course, he doesn’t seem to notice any of it as he tears through the house like a bat out of hell. Love that pug.

Getting dropped off at the vet for surgery... terrified

Getting dropped off at the vet for surgery… terrified

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Home after surgery.. don’t know why he wanted to sit there lol

Fitness Test

In August I had my metabolism test, and this month, I had a body composition follow up and a fitness test done. I won’t go into too much detail here, because I do want to write a full post about it.. but I will say that I’m in great shape and doing well on my progress. Quite encouraged by the results. More on that later.

Birthday/Dating Anniversary

My husband’s birthday was on the 21st. We celebrated with a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant we’ve never been to and some cake on Saturday (the 20th).  The restaurant was called Enotria. My husband had heard of it in passing from a few different people and decided he wanted to try it out for his birthday. The decor was very nice, and the food was great. He had lasagna and I had a Mediterranean salad topped with lump crab meat. we also tried the stuffed mushroom appetizer.. and it too was pretty awesome. Later we went home and watched a move he had wanted to see from the library, and had some cake for dessert. In the past, my husband had requested mint chocolate chip ice cream cake. This year however, he insisted on cannoli cake. I drove down to a local bakery, which was a little out of the way, but they have a great reputation, and our wedding cake came from there. They had two different kinds of cannoli cake, and I naturally chose on the fancier one. He loved it. It was huge though, so we had cake all week long. Every time he dug into a piece, he exclaimed “I love this cake!” So I think it was a winner! For his gift, he had mentioned that he wanted golf lessons. My husband’s a pretty good golfer (though he thinks he’s just ok.) He has been golfing since high school, and has recently getting back into it more this year. So I agreed to get him lessons, he just needs to go set it up. Sunday (his actual birthday,) we made a home cooked meal of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and my mom and her boyfriend came over for some more cake later that evening. My husband’s birthday is also the anniversary of our first date. Now that we’re married, we’ll really only celebrate the wedding anniversary, but we do recognize that we’ve been together for 6 years now.. which is pretty cool!

lasagna

lasagna

my fab salad

my fab salad

stuffed mushrooms.. that's crab imperial on top

stuffed mushrooms.. that’s crab imperial on top

GONE!

GONE!

dining room

dining room

CANNOLI CAKE

CANNOLI CAKE

Work

Work has been kinda crazy.. not so much the whole month, but pretty much the past few weeks. I’ve been working on a project since April that I’m getting towards the end of. We were notified two weeks ago that the Garrison is closing a building that my supervisor has custody of. He has 7 labs in that building full of OLD, dusty, dirty, lab junk. Old instruments, glassware, tools, parts, random lab equipment, computers, manuals, books, chemicals, compounds, supplies, gas cylinders, apparatus, glove boxes etc. They gave him two weeks to clear out. It was a massive undertaking. Everyone on my Branch who had spare time needed to be over there working. There was so much trash to throw out.. and 30+ years of junk to sort through. Then we had to move it all over here to my building. I participated where I could, but I also have our student that I’m mentoring twice a week, and I was trying to finish up my project because THIS week a new high profile project was starting that would basically take up all my time for the next couple of months. The new project involves vendors from outside companies bringing their technologies in for testing, and coordinates several different organizations on post. It’s pretty big and important, and involves being in a lab pretty much all day. It would be impossible to run my current project concurrently. So to say I was stressed is putting it lightly. BUT we managed to work out a schedule such that I can work on that project in the mornings and come back to work on my project in the afternoons. My student comes in the afternoon when she’s scheduled, so it won’t interfere with her either. SO, that’s a relief. Vacation can’t come soon enough!

October

October too presents itself with being a busy exciting month.. here’s some things I’m looking forward to!

  • Our anniversary trip to the Pocono Mountains this weekend!
  • Running the 5K (with my husband!) and the half at the Baltimore Running Festival
  • Running the 10K at the Marie Corp Marathon, and cheering on Dawn, Randi and Aaron in the marathon!
  • My next metabolism screening (follow up)
  • Possible Pug meet up with Halloween costume contest
  • Halloween (Cause who doesn’t love candy and a good costume!?)

September Is Here!

Anyone else think this year is going way to fast? I mean.. Christmas stuff will be out soon (The horror!)

Anyways, time to wrap up August and keep trudging forward!

In August, I logged a total of 54.4 running miles.. which equates to about 10 hours 14 minutes of running!

August running stats

August running stats

This brings my Dopey training miles total to just over 100! The numbers only go up from there folks! I can’t believe I’m a little  over 3 months away from Disney Marathon Weekend already.

So what else happened in August…

I made some tasty meals…

spinach/sun dried tomato/goat cheese stuffed chicken rolls

spinach/sun dried tomato/goat cheese stuffed chicken rolls

zucchini pizza

zucchini pizza

crustless summer squash quiche, Tastefully Simple Chai cake, and double chocolate zucchini muffins

crustless summer squash quiche, Tastefully Simple chai cake, and double chocolate zucchini muffins

chicken parm meatball "muffins"

chicken parm meatball “muffins”

I got some new toys..

New water bottle for work

New water bottle for work

my Workplay bag!

my Workplay bag!

I did some re-decorating with some wedding photos…

New shelving and frames for the living room wall

New shelving and frames for the living room wall

finally got around to putting one of our christmas presents from last year together with wedding photos

Finally got around to putting one of our Christmas presents from last year together with wedding photos

bought and hung a canvas of our favorite wedding photo, and had four smaller photos mounted for our bedroom wall

Bought and hung a canvas of our favorite wedding photo, and had four smaller photos mounted for our bedroom wall

Also got to donate to a couple of good charities.. including purchasing an orange bow tie from Underdog Supplies in honor of Andrea, a triathlete and pug mommy struggling to pay her bills as she battles leukemia. Their goal is to sell 1000 bow ties and they’ve sold almost 800!

Zeus really likes his!

Zeus really likes his!

Did the ALS challenge too… but we don’t need to see that 😉

I also had the opportunity to participate in some metabolism and body composition testing, as I mentioned in a blog post last month (HERE). I do have some updates on that which I will share in a future post, so look for that coming soon.

In September I plan to keep up my training for Dopey. I don’t have any races planned this month.. so it’s pretty much all training. My husband’s birthday is coming up at the end of the month, so that should be fun. I would also like to go to the MD renaissance festival (always a ye olde goode time.) Zeus gets to go to the vet later this week.. THAT should be fun. I also have a fitness test and re-evaluation for my metabolism screening scheduled for the end of the month, and I continue working towards my goal weight. So nothing too exciting.. but a few things here and there to keep moving right along.

Happy September!

Zeus enjoying his Labor Day

Zeus enjoying his Labor Day

Virtual Pug Run!?

Wait.. what!? Pugs? And running? And a sparkly new medal? Sign me up!

I was reading one of my frequently visited running blogs, Through Heather’s Looking Glass, when I saw her post about a virtual fun run her blog friend was hosting. The run is a 5k/10K/1 mile virtual race that can be run anywhere/anytime between now and October 12th. The race benefits the Northern Illinois Pug Rescue. All registered participants receive this gorgeous, hilarious, and adorable pug medal:

How awesome is that!?

In addition to the race for charity, the blogger’s fiance has agreed to wear this during his first marathon in Chicago, IF they can meet their goal of raising- $7,860- the equivalent of rescuing 26.2 pugs.

now THIS I would like to see!

now THIS I would like to see!

The couple needs over 375 participants to cover costs and to meet their fundraising goal. The entry fee for the virtual race is $27.. a sturdy yet do-able fee for a new piece of shiny bling and piece of mind that puggies in Northern Illinois might have a happy healthy future!

To read the original post and/or to register, visit Frugal Beautiful.

Marching Out

March came in like a Lion.. but definitely not out like a lamb. We started the month with cold temperatures and ended with howling winds and even some snow! After this winter, I definitely was glad to see March.. as it brings the promise of Spring and warmer temperatures. While my front garden had some emerging growth.. we were pretty disappointed at the weather in general.

BUT.. life besides that goes on.. and last month I ran my first half marathon since April 2013 (and PR’d! Recap HERE), a 5K I’ve never done before (recap HERE), saw a friend get married, talked with a celebrity, and hung out with these guys:

 

snuggle pug

snuggle pug

In March, Fitfluential was holding a 100 mile challenge. I knew that typically I don’t hit that, so I didn’t really sign up for the challenge. Running RnR USA last month took a lot out of me… and I really didn’t run too much more after that. I was having some pain in various places in my right leg, and I didn’t want to push myself knowing that I had my next race coming up the first weekend in April. So I backed off, and my mileage for the month suffered a little. I did manage to rack up a total of 68.33 miles in March, bringing my YTD total to 203.45 🙂

March running stats

March running stats

 

Due to my carb loading for RnR and the wonderful food and drink I had at the wedding.. I’ve only managed to net a 1 lb weight loss this month.. This kind of sucks, but does bring me to a total of 4 lbs. lost. Hoping to regain my momentum and focus in April.

Coming up in April, I have a couple races. I did the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler last weekend, it was fabulous and I have a recap in the works. I’m also running the Sole of the City 10K in Baltimore City this coming weekend- believe it or not, this will be my first 10K race. I plan on keeping it slow, because I would like to run 12 miles the next day, in preparation for my next half- which is Nike Women’s DC at the end of the month. I’m in the midst of racing season… and after my experience with RnR.. I’m just trying to finish without taking myself out! So, not expecting an PR’s out of these.. except I get my instant PR with Sole of the City.. considering it’s my first.

Let’s see.. my lovely niece Gemma turns 2 today! My darling nephew turns 5 later in the month. My sister and mother in law also have birthdays at the end of April.. but I won’t share their ages 😉 I realized that as of tuesday.. I have exactly 1 month left in my 20’s (YIKES!) 30 doesn’t sound as scary as it used to.. but I still kind of cringe when I think about it. Though it IS really fun to tell people who don’t know me my age.. hee hee.

cuties!

Cuties! Can’t believe how much they’ve grown since Jan 2013!

I’m also looking forward to something at the end of April.. something BIG. But I won’t share that just yet.. you’ll have to wait it out.

So far April has brought with it beautiful weather and spring has finally sprung! Hopefully this will last and we are done with snow and ice. (You would think right?)

Spring pug

Spring pug

Throwback Thursday Firsts.. and What Happened Last Thursday..

In honor of my first half marathon of the season.. my Throwback Thursday photo this week is from my very first half marathon and the 2012 Disney Marathon Weekend.

2012 Disney Half Marathon finisher!

2012 Disney Half Marathon finisher!

It was the furthest I’d ever run at the time.. and I remember all the new aches and pains I had to deal with to get me there. I remember hitting 8 miles in training and my knees just ached. I remember thinking “well 8 is my injury threshold” because prior to that mileage, I had no pain or fatigue in my legs after my long runs. I remember the 9 miler I did the week after that.. where I was so glad I had one of the more experienced girls on my team running ahead of me.. because if she wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have made it. I remember my first 12 miler.. on the hills of Annapolis.. and finishing the first 6 miles (an out and back leg) and thinking “really? I have to do another 6 right now?”

Dawn and I, 12 miler in Annapolis

Dawn and I, 12 miler in Annapolis

I remember the magic of running in Disney World.. all the cool entertainment along the highway.. running through the parking lot booths before Magic Kingdom.. seeing my husband (then boyfriend) at the Transportation Ticket Center and being so excited to give him a hug! I remember running through Cinderella’s Castle (the best part!).

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

I remember running back down the highway and pausing on the overpass to stretch and seeing all the runners way ahead of me on their way to Epcot… all the runners way behind me coming down the highway below.. and all the purple shirts like the one I was wearing, representing the fight against blood cancer. I remember running passed Spaceship Earth in Epcot and the choir at mile 12. I remember asking my friend “can you believe we’re really doing this!?” as we approached the finish line. What an experience. What a life changing, emotional, painful, and extremely satisfying experience. I’ve been hooked ever since.

finishing!

finishing!

Last week, I got to do something really exciting. I was talking to my husband a few weeks ago about our trip to Disney next January for the 2015 Marathon Weekend. My husband was saying he was interested in doing the 10k.. which really surprised me, because he’s never done one.. and has never had any desire to run more than 3 miles ever. My sights are set on the Dopey Challenge (because I’m very stupid.. and submit to peer pressure.. and because my eyes are bigger than my legs and feet.) We were discussing what this would cost us.. as we would not be going with Team in Training this time. The races are expensive.. as is Disney in general.. and it sounds so over the top to pay almost $600 in race fees alone. I was on Facebook at the time and saw a post by the Suze Orman Show (which we watch on Saturday nights because my husband and I are really 80 and have no lives.) The post was a solicitation for people to participate on the Can I Afford It Segment- where people call in and describe what they want to buy, give Suze their finances, and she tells them if they can afford it or not. I jokingly told my husband.. I wonder what Suze would say to us if we called in and wanted to spend $600 to run. My husband then told me how we would probably get on because our request was so unusual. I clicked on the link from Facebook and saw that the application was a simple forum to fill out and submit. I asked my husband “should I do it?” and he said “go for it.. couldn’t hurt to try.” So I did.. and got an email a few hours later from one of the show’s producers asking if we would be interested on being on the show. (!)

I was so excited! I was going to talk to Suze Orman! I was sent a finance worksheet to fill out and return back so Suze could look over our financial standing. I was scheduled for the call between 11:45 and 12:15 last Thursday. The producer called and put me on hold. Then she came back and told me they were getting ready to start and I was in the middle of the callers. So I sat tight on the line and waited until I heard a voice “Stephanie! What do you want to buy!?” It was crazy that I was talking to THE  Suze Orman. I told her about the trip and she couldn’t believe I wanted to run that many races back to back (I really can’t believe it either LOL). I think our file really impressed her because she instantly approved us! I was expecting to do a little discussion about how we were paying for the trip.. but she didn’t even want to ask. I was so excited I exclaimed “Thank You!” ( Which seems like a dumb thing to say in retrospect lol) and the call was dropped immediately. I was kind of shocked about how abrupt the end of the call was.. but it’s fine.. I talked to Suze Orman! And I’m going to Disney World! A few days later I found this gem in my mailbox..

APPROVED!

APPROVED!

So yeah.. that was an exciting experience. Now I just can’t wait for registration to open!

One thing to note.. RunDisney has updated their website to include the 2015 Disney Marathon Weekend.. and the race fees have gone up! It will now be $35 more for Dopey, and $10 more for the 10K. (I’d like to give Disney the benefit of the doubt and suspect that the higher race fees are absorbing the cost of improvements/changes they are making to the races.. based on the feedback from the 2014 races.. but it’s Disney so.. cha-ching!)  We also spoke to a travel agent this weekend, who said that Disney may be re-pricing their resorts, which is why you can’t book anything past Dec 2014 right now.. and they’ve increased park ticket prices. Sigh. I still think we would be approved though.. but it means we are going to settle for an All Star resort instead of a moderate. Oh well.. it will still be a fabulous time!

I’ll leave you with a TbT pic of Zeus.. Happy Thursday!

July 2007.. only 5 months old!

July 2007.. only 5 months old!

Snow Day!

Today we got a lovely visit from Mother Nature… between 12- 13″ of the white stuff. Needless to say.. we got to stay home from work today.. yay! While I didn’t get in any burpees today for the challenge.. I did spend about an hour and a half shoveling snow.. and this was the heavy wet kind.. burned almost 300 cals, so that’s a decent workout. Zeus even found himself outside enjoying the weather a bit…

and here’s a little sampling of our day..

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Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.. our first MARRIED Valentine’s Day. But we plan on doing the same thing we always do.. fondue dinner! Our first V-Day, I bought Mike a fondue pot and we used it for dinner and dessert. Since fondue pots don’t generally get used a whole lot.. we decided t make it a V-Day tradition. We also don’t think one should fight crowds, endure crazy wait times, and spend the evening with 1000 other couples… so we choose to keep V-Day to ourselves, cozy at home.. with maybe a little champagne involved. I’ll make sure to stick to my eating plan.. which has been going fairly well so far. And I’ll also be sure to squeeze in some more burpees to keep the challenge going! In the meantime.. here’s my progress so far…

Zeus says "you crazy"

Zeus says “you crazy”