Monthly Archives: September 2010

Becoming a Cat Lady

I got my first kitten, Mr. Chips, in 2008 at the ripe old age of 23. I was finally living in an apartment that was “pet friendly” and my roommate and I were itching to get pets.  She splurged for a pure bread black pug (Oti) and I went the more traditional route and hit up the local shelter. Pure bread dogs are one thing, but cat genealogy just doesn’t seem legit.

Mr. Chips and Bill Bryson hanging out like old pals.

Mr. Chips got his name from a menu item at the local diner…some type of chocolate chip pancake concoction for the kiddos. I loved him from the moment I saw his squeaky little face. Originally they told me his was deaf – apparently many white cats with blue eyes have that disability. He certainly acted oddly as a kitten, but from what I can tell now, he isn’t really deaf. He tends to stare at walls, make birdlike chirping sounds, and is completely incapable of covering his own poop in the litter box, but other than that he is 100% cat. Bored by humans, annoyed when you pick him up, and content with sitting in the window all day.

Being the inexperienced indoor cat owner that I was (I grew up with 2 outdoor cats), I decided that Mr. Chips’s oddities were the result of a lack of a playmate. What else was he supposed to do all day besides stare at walls?! Clearly he needed a kitty friend. I thought, “Perhaps this new friend could teach him how to use the litter box properly!” (I kid you not, he does his poo thing and then just scrapes at the air or an adjoining wall for a good 10 minutes, perplexed by the fact that the air still reeks of his shit). Not 1 month after Mr. Chips joined my little family, Lil Deuce came along.

I chose Deuce for two reasons. One: he was black and white just like my two cats from home and Two: he was isolated in his own little cage MEOWING AND CRYING up a storm. Oh and he was completely covered in dirt and was the size of a baby bunny. Truly a face only a surrogate mother could love.

Pleeze luv me. I haz no Mommy.

At first Mr. Chips seemed to hate Lil’ Deuce. This is a feeling I completely understand; I, too, hated my brother when my parents brought him home and dropped him in MY play area. Over time the two have come to tolerate each other (sometimes they even lick each other’s butts!!), but my “lets have happy kitty playtime while Mommy is at work” plan didn’t quite work out how I expected. Deuce clearly had some “mommy issues” from the beginning and almost instantly developed a creepy need to be by my side at all times. Mr. Chips just wasn’t doing it for him either.  Deuce has since grown into a fat, verbal, extremely dog-like cat who would rather spend his time licking my skin, rummaging through the trash for scraps, or chasing his bff “Doug” (a stuffed fish) around the house than anything. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent ignoring this cat’s cries to be fed, enter my bedroom, or go outside. In fact, I think I’m pretty well prepped for motherhood someday if I do say so myself.

So now here I am, well on my way to becoming a bona fide cat lady. I’ve got two highly dysfunctional animals and a burning desire to keep adding to the brood. Thankfully I’ve learned my lesson however; Deuce recently ended up with some magical crystals in his pee-pee place that had to be surgically removed (an interesting post for a rainy day). Needless to say, that cost a pretty penny and there is no way in hell I can afford another pee-crystal-cat (because you just never know). Although there’s always the purebreads…

Friendz 4eva.

 

Setbacks and Successes

I’ve been diligently tracking my half marathon training on DailyMile.com. It is definitely a motivating tool for me. I love looking at the little graphs and stats – it’s all so simple and pretty.

So when something comes up that throws off my planned runs, the first thing I think about is how ugly that big gap in my DailyMile graph is going to look. Last week I encountered my first major training setback and it absolutely killed me to see that void in my DailyMile stats. What kind of setback you ask? The dreaded INJURY.

It all began on a routine 3 mile run on a not so routine course – a local park. I found out about this 6pm group run on one of the message boards for my training team and since the pace seemed right I decided to give it a whirl. Part of the actual 1/2 course goes through this park so I wanted to get to know the area. And even better, this park is about a mile from my house so if it was nice and safe I planned to go back alone. What better way to test the waters than with a group run?!

My friend Sarah and I joined one other lady for the run (everyone else was out of town last week apparently) and we began the easy 1.5 mile loop with the guidance of our new friend. Everything seemed to be awesome at first – the trail was paved and wide, there was plenty of shade from the 93 degree heat, and it was relatively flat. However not 5 minutes into the ride we were startled to hear the abrupt yells of a massive pack of cyclists. As they made their presence known we darted to the side of the road to let them pass. They came within what felt like inches of hitting us and flew by at a ridiculous speed. We were all taken aback by this sudden onslaught of 50 or so cyclists but we went about our merry way. Around mile 1 we passed a lady who seemed to be waiting for the cyclists – she was stationed at a sharp turn and was looking up the road. We asked her if she knew who the cyclists were and she said it was just a weekly training race – no biggie.

We continued around our loop without a care in the world and felt great. The pack passed us another time and we were easily able to move out of the way. Around mile 2.5 we heard them come around again and moved to the side. They passed us again without incident, but as we were about to run back onto the road two straggler bikes came zooming up, yelling to make themselves known. We were on a very wide straight-away and yet these two idiots decided it would be a good idea to come as close to us as possible and nearly ran us off the road. They were going fast and we were not expecting them – I quickly looked over my shoulder out of pure instinct as they rushed passed and I managed to stumble into a ditch and roll my ankle. Pain shot up my leg and I knew instantly that there was no way I’d be able to continue my run. I was super pissed, not only at the bikers but also because my training had been going SO WELL up until that point. We ended up cutting our run a half a mile short and I had to hobble back to the car. IT SUCKED.

We were all pretty mad. There was no reason those two cyclists had to come so close to us. We were on a very straight and wide part of the trail and they had plenty of space. I ended up going home and using my amazing Google skills to track down the person in charge of the weekly ride. I found his name and sent him a nice yet forward email. My bottom line was that we are all athletes and everyone deserves a safe place to train! He emailed me back later that night and was very nice about the whole incident. He apologized and asked if I could remember what the two cyclists were wearing. He mentioned that they had some “hot heads” in the group. He also went on to say that they had actually rented out the back paved loop of the park and that it was closed to all traffic – cars, runners, everyone – but that it was hard for them to enforce.

Ummmm if you are going to close off the loop because it is DANGEROUS for others to be back there, you should be responsible for enforcing your own rules!!! Duh. I told him that in a nice way. Thankfully this coming week is their last ride for the season. Bah-humbug.

My angry face (sort of).

But in happier news, my ankle is feeling SO MUCH BETTER and I only ended up missing 2 scheduled runs. I did a short but fast 1.33 miles on Friday as a test run for my scheduled 6-miler on Saturday. I strapped on a mega awesome ankle brace and felt great during the run. When Saturday rolled around I knew I’d be up for the 6 mile challenge and it turns out I was right! I ended up finishing in 1hr 43 seconds!! Since Saturday runs are with the training team I was able to complete the course with no problem and I felt great. I am extremely grateful that my ankle wasn’t any worse and that it healed as fast as it did. The injury occurred on Tuesday and I was up and running again on Friday. I equate this quick turnaround to several factors: As soon as it happened I kept my shoe on to reduce swelling, I had taken an Advil before the run (anti-inflammatory for my IT troubles), I iced it regularly, stayed off it, and kept it elevated, and overall I don’t think it was a very bad sprain to begin with. I was lucky!!

Happy runner again (me and my bro- Monument 10k 2010. I puked at the end of this race hehehe. And why the heck is this photo so small?!)

So according to my DailyMile stats this week has been full of setbacks and successes. There is a big ole gap from Tuesday-Friday and then a nice little 6 mile spike at the end. All is right with the world again…

Motivation

This November I am running my very first half marathon. That’s right, 13.1 awesomely craptastic miles. I’ve finished three 10ks and a 5k but never actually trained for any of it. I always wanted to do the 10k in under 1 hour but always ran into some sort of issue – most notably my IT band. So now that I am upping the ante on my adult-ness, I decided a half marathon would be some good motivation to stay focused on a happier and healthier me. I NEED structure and a schedule, so setting a massive goal is the perfect plan.

My very first 10k! (Look at that heel strike…YIKES)

In early August I began training for the McDonald’s (ha – irony???) Half Marathon in Richmond, VA. I forked over the money to join the “official training team” through a local sports organization and it has been one of the best decisions I ever made. The actual race isn’t until November 13th but I’ve already got a solid month of training under my belt. It is unreal how wonderful the training team is for me. Every Saturday we do our long group runs and then follow a scheduled training manual for the rest of the week. There is also a nifty website to help keep track of runs, chat with other runners and view photos from each long run (www.halfmarathontrainingteam.com).

I plan to dedicate a whole post to the awesomeness of the training team, so for now I want to share some blogivations (blog + motivation…work with me here people) that have really helped me form a new appreciation for health, running and fitness. These blogs gave me the confidence to buckle up and register for the half marathon and attempt to document everything along the way!

  • First up, the mothership of healthy living blogs: Healthy Tipping Point. I can’t tell you how awesome I think Caitlin is. She runs, eats healthy (and super appetizing!!) foods, and even published her own book: Operation Beautiful. I definitely look up to her and check her blog daily. She’s EPIC.
  • SkinnyRunner. Hilarious and a ridiculously great runner (and celebrity gossip guru). I wish I had the patience to do a 13 mile treadmill run. And that’s just how she trains. Love it. Oh and she is a commercial fisherwoman. How badass is that?!?!!?
  • Katie from the New Good Ole Days is one of my favorites. She is super inspiring, fashionable and positive. I love her outlook on life and how she keeps such a fresh and positive perspective on everything. She’s one of the main reason’s I’ve been focusing on healthy eating lately – the greatest wealth is health!!
  • The Front Burner. Emily is just so wonderfully NORMAL. She is an inspiring athlete and she keeps things real on her blog, which I really appreciate! And she makes healthy living seem so easy and achievable for a newbie like me.
  • And a new personal fav…The Hungry Runner Girl. Hilarious, quirky and ridiculously good at running (and being weird…in a good way duh).
  • Other blogs I love to frequent are: Peanut Butter Fingers, Graduate Meghann, and The Fitnessista. Such awesome inspiration!

Happy healthy living!!