In the spirit of timeliness

I’m about to break allllll the content and communications rules here but at the same time, its totally within my brand to be late on posts and absent for a period of time, right? RIGHT. That being said, the week of Thanksgiving, I decided to do daily Instagram posts on why I’m thankful for running. My intentions were to take those posts and elaborate them into a blog at the end of the week, but then I was stuck in a turkey coma for quite some time. Yeah, we’ll just say that. So with that being said… here are said reasons:

  1. The obvious; the before. Before I chose a healthy lifestyle, I lead a heavy one. Both in weight and within my head. Thoughts like “Oh, I’ll never get that job because I’m too fat,” or “I’ll never fall in love because I’m a size 22” would conquer my head. I tried to appear as though I were a confident, plus size woman who embraced every pound but realistically I was dying to have a better body and dying to feel good. Up until I graduated college, I ate everything I wanted to – everything from a pint of Ben & Jerry’s one to two times a week, fried foods daily, spaghetti to meet my budget and more all-you-can-eat sushi than any of my male friends. Now, I haven’t given up some of these things completely but over time I learned the beauty and satisfaction of moderation completely.
  2. The strive; the challenge. Running opened the door to so many other doors. It was the main gate to my Buckingham Palace. From 100 burpee challenges, to push-ups on my toes, to obstacle courses, tire pushes and even sharing my journey to complete strangers. I became a better, STRONGER person because of running.
  3. The companionship; the commitment: One of the things that pushed me to go further in my running was the bonding time it created for my dog. Full of energy when we first saved each other, but with no backyard of our own – we’d set out on two, then three, then six mile jaunts together. He kept (and still keeps) me going all for the sake of his well-being. Though his age prevents him from going as far and as often as we used to, few things make me happier than seeing the happy exhaustion on his face when we run together.
  4. The others; the inspiration. I’ve always wanted to inspire but never did I think it’d be through what I’ve done with my life rather than through words of encouragement. The biggest hug to my heart, though, is hearing that my journey has inspired my dad’s – who has spent the better part of the last two years working on his fitness and eating habits to live a longer life for his wife, children, grandchildren, dogs and granddogs. I am thankful to have made the decision to share the journey with him, the rest of my family and my friends so that we may live in longevity.

I’m sure I could come up with at least ten more reasons, but those were ones I found important enough to share on the ‘Gram.

My passion has slowly returned over the latter half of this year – with medals earned and miles logged, I feel I’ve finally shaken the marathon funk from 18 months ago. So what better thing to do than to run another?!

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Yep. I’ve been thinking a lot about doing another marathon the last month or so and have kept it as my little secret that I am searching for the right one in 2018. Last week, I was selected as a contributor to the 2018 #RockNBlog team via the Run Rock n Roll Series. I certainly took that as a sign to get my feet back in high gear. I’ve spent the last few days researching and budgeting and looking for couches to crash – and I believe I’ve settled on the San Diego Marathon on June 3. Training starts Monday and without any further adieu: here we go again.

My Sweet Pawko Boy

Earlier this month, I celebrated my sixth “Pawkoversary,” as I call it – the annual mark of when I saved my dog, or he saved me, however you look at it. And while I missed the first six years of his life, I have made it my daily mission to ensure he enjoys the love and comfort he missed out on as a puppy. Runs, dog park visits, car rides, food, cuddles, toys, walks and just about anything he asks for. I am that sappy dog mom obsessed with having a photo of everything he does. I have a doggy cam that feeds him treats on my command (though this was only a recent addition to our lives). He is my baby boy. My Pawko Tawko. My “Mr. Sweet Face” a la “Jane the Virgin.” I’ve moved houses to make him more comfortable. I’ve ditched nights out to stay home with him. He has two beds (a downsize from three). He takes a good chunk of my income on the daily. And all I ask for in return is the “thump, thump, thump” sound of his tail against the garage door as he waits for me to come home from work.

I like to bring him with me on runs so he gets the exercise and I get the pleasure of seeing his tail wag and smiling face (yes, dogs smile… look closely!). He is a bit of a wild one on the leash, despite attempts at training, harnesses and the gentle leader and unfortunately was a contributor to my initial hip problems so I don’t bring him out as often as I would like. Plus, his age is really getting to him and a pup who could once power through and pace me for six miles, gets pooped before we hit three. When I was marathon training, I’d plan my longer runs so that I’d get home before the last mile and could pick him up for a quick jaunt that was newly-Pawko-sized.

A few months ago, he would not stop licking his front right paw. After investigation, I saw that it was swollen and red, and I could feel a lump under the skin which in return put an even bigger lump in my stomach. We had a vet appointment scheduled the next morning. I couldn’t even process what our fantastic vet at Animal Medical Center was saying before the water works began. Surgery. Just to be safe, surgery.

I didn’t sleep for the two weeks in between our first appointment and the surgery. I cried almost any moment I was alone. We were put on antibiotics which helped with the swelling and redness, but ultimately and to be safe, we had to get that thing out of his paw. The night before his appointment, with all the worst thoughts in my head, I said, “one more run,” and off we went. My champion, just hours before surgery, powered through three miles with his Ma.

Thankfully, surgery could not have gone better. He had a honey-comb looking lump in his paw that came back benign. His blood work could not have been better. My boy is once again, a healthy boy. If you’ve never picked up an animal after anesthesia, let me tell you – it’s an entertaining experience at the least. He didn’t know where he was. He had tear stains a mile long and his eyes were as wide as the sun. On our way to the car, he stopped in the middle of the road (literally) to take a nice, big, post-surgery poop. I had to lift his 70-pound body into the car and could tell he was nervous and confused. He stood in a crouched position the whole drive home and didn’t bark at the sights that would normally send him in a frenzy of excitement. But my boy was headed to the comfort of his own home and that’s all we could ask for.

To no surprise, Pawko gobbled up his dinner and rested comfortably on his pillow on the couch for the rest of the night. He was back to normal in the morning, aside from a bandaged foot. He was on a strict no-walks schedule for the first few days, and even after that, I made him wear a bootie on his paw when we left the house, despite it being completely healed. Dog mom things.

13086716_10100936944482778_6212359544455338679_oOn Tuesday, six weeks post surgery, we went for our first 5K. He was off like his champion self with his tongue in the air and ears flapping in the breeze, but after the first mile, he started limping. My whole body went numb as I watched him struggle to walk. Thankfully, that was all over in an instant. My hope is that he just stepped on something as he regained his pace naturally. Even before surgery, I could certainly see the age in his stride. And it saddens me every mile we complete together. But as long as he can do it, we will do it together. Nothing can replace that end-of-run happiness for either of us. Nothing can replace the look on his face as he tries to catch his breath and recover. His eyes say “thank you, I’m going to bed now,” and his pant has a pattern of “water, water, water, water, water.” I love my Pawko Boy.