Come Sit By Me

As things were pretty non-existent for a while around these parts, I figured it would be a good time to catch up on life.  So pull up a pool chair, order a margarita, and let’s chat a bit.

Salut!

I WANNA DO-OVER

Let’s just say 2018 has been a total poop show.  It’s always tricky deciding how much we want to reveal of our personal details in the blogosphere, and it’s no exception here.  Let’s just say, the Black Dog staff had some MAJOR medical issues come up, but thankfully, all pulled through and the recovery process is moving along nicely.  Word to the wise: when you have a bellyache for a week, don’t give your significant other grief when the doc says to get your dupa to the hospital.  And once you’re there, thank your lucky stars said significant other is too stubborn to let you leave.  2018 could have ended a whole lot worse than it started, so we are happy to leave it in the dust.

THE WONDER MUTT STILL REIGNS SUPREME

This girl.

Beware the snoot……

Still just as silly, still a splash queen, still the BESTEST WONDER MUTT EVER, even if she has gotten a little more “sun exposure”.  She is the love of my life, my confidant, my fashion consultant, my workout buddy, bestie and running partner.  And yes, her Daddy gets it and makes sure to occasionally give me grief about it.  Maybe if he met me at the door at night wiggling his butt with a hedgehog in his muzzle, he’d rate right up there beside her too. 🙂

Do you like my hedgehog?

AGING SHOULD ONLY APPLY TO FINE WINE 

Have I ever told you I’m the youngest of five kids?  Yup, FIVE.  How the heck my parents did it is completely beyond my comprehension, especially since I have enough trouble with a husband a dog.  I hit another decade last year and fighting Mother Nature with everything I’ve got.  As much as I despise admitting it, all those articles about your metabolism slowing down each decade are absolutely true.  Mine however, has decided to just plain check out.  I swear I just LOOK at a mini peanut butter cup – LOOK – and POOF!  That’ll cost you another five pounds lady.  I know I did not do well when I was recovering from my two knee surgeries, but dammit Mother Nature, can you cut me a bit of a break here??  I turned half my garage into a gym, tuned up the bike, and kick my own dupa six days a week.  And still.

Nothing.

Nada.

I’m coming for your hips lady….

Hello Jabba the Black Dog.

There is nothing more frustrating than forcing your muscles to lift more, run faster (well try to anyway), pedal away the miles, eat enough veggies that you swear you’re turning green, and still nothing.  The hubs tells me I look great and there’s only so much I can do.  But this is ME.  Stubborn, concrete-headed, determined, refusing to give up, and just plain pissed off.

Ladies?  Ya see what I’m sayin’??

I understand everything is a balancing act.  I cannot obsess about calories in/out, but I do pay some attention to what I shove in my yap.  If only there weren’t so many amazing tastes out there!  Drink half my weight in water most days, but then…..WINE.  Sweat my dupa off in the Island Time Sweat Box then find that creating cocktails is kind of fun.  What’s a girl to do?  If any ladies out there suffering from a slowing metabolism and uncooperative genetics have any ideas, by all means – feel free to share.

Then we can down those margaritas. 😉

PRIORITIES MOVE LIKE THE TIDES

There’s nothing like a good old life scare to make you step back and re-evaluate what’s important.  For all my metabolism bitching, in the big picture it means nothing.  The love and health of family and friends, the health and happiness of your critters, slowing down life for a minute and enjoying a sunset with a special someone and a good glass of cabernet, traveling outside your comfort zone and embracing adventure, that’s what life should be all about.  Not making enough money?  Live within your means and be happy you have a job when so many others don’t.  Angry the man of the house keeps forgetting to put the toilet seat down?  At least he’s there to forget to do it.  Living with what seems to be a case of a permanent bad attitude?  Make the effort to do something nice for someone else and then try to fight that smile that’s tugging at the corners of your mouth.  Without question what was important to me 20 years ago is nowhere near what it is now.  We all have personal trials we go through and times in our lives when it seems like everything is a big pile of dog poop.  Then something happens to make you realize your poop amounts to nothing.  NOTHING.

LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT

Races. Travel. Laughter.  Great friends and great times.  Funny how the simplest things have the biggest impact on your life.  Some of the best times I’ve ever had included a glass of wine, music, friends, dogs, and a simple backyard fire at this great little tiki bar I know.  It’s easy to find things to be grateful for each and every day, if you just take the time to stop and notice.  A helpful coworker, a smile from a stranger, a funny joke made by a passing runner at a race – all good things.  So my advice to you as I bring this recap of sorts to a close, is to appreciate the life you’ve been given and everything that makes it awesome.  You only get out of life what you put into it, so make that little extra effort, especially this time of year, when so many feel so lonely.  It costs nothing to thank a veteran or first responder for their service (dispatchers too!), or to help a senior citizen load groceries in their car.  Little things go a long way and people always remember the little things.

My challenge to you this day is to do some little thing for someone else.  Pay for their coffee, hold a door open, give their dog a biscuit (after making sure it’s ok of course!), then come back here and share what you did.  I guarantee you will feel a bit better about yourself and life in general.  Perhaps if we all do a little something for someone else, this tide of animosity that seems to be overtaking our lives will turn back just a little bit.

And little bits can change the world.

 

Enjoy the ride.

What little thing makes you smile?

Friday Funny

As the hubby and I get ready for our first competitive run tomorrow, I leave you with this thought….

FF suck run

 

Enjoy the ride.

Do you have a race this weekend?  Will it include avoiding melting into the pavement and shenanigans?

The South Florida Edition of Run Where I Live!

Because where I live is AWESOME….

#heavysigh

#heavysigh

Okay, well not EXACTLY here, but you get the general idea.

When Danielle asked me to be a part of the cool kid’s club, I played it, well, cool.  “Yeah, well, let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.”  N-O-T.  It was actually more like this.

Whooooo hooooo!

Whooooo hooooo!

Along with a bunch of other equally cool kids, Danielle came up with the great idea of taking you on a virtual running tour where each of us live.  Cool, right?  Right? RIGHT???  Soooooo, I bet you’ll never guess where I’ll be taking you.  Go ahead.  Guess.  Guess again.  Nah really, guess.  No idea?  Heeeheeeheee, silly wabbits. Twicks are for the twopics.

Try saying THAT five times fast.

Uhhhh....

Uhhhh….

Once you untwist your tongue from your left ear, follow along with me as I take you on a short little journey NOT to the beach.  Sorry kids, I’m just keeping it real.  Real close.  Like across the street from my crib close.  Because the powers that be in my little corner of the universe were kind enough to provide us lowly residents with a dog-friendly, duck-friendly, dingo-friendly, well-marked running path.  (Actually I’m just guessing on the dingos.)

The dingos ARE the babies!

The dingos ARE the babies! HA!

So come along with me to a little cozy place called Coconut Creek, Florida.  More specifically, a lovely little spot known to the natives – well, everybody actually – as….cue drum roll here…..Sabal Pines Park.

See?  Sabal Pines Park.  The dingos are chillin' in the bushes.

See? Sabal Pines Park. The dingos are chillin’ in the bushes.

Coconut Creek – aka the Butterfly Capital the World – is doing it’s best to be a green city.  We get to reap the benefits by having numerous parks and walkways throughout our pretty little ‘burb, and Sabal Pines is no exception.  Located about five minutes from the north end of Fort Lauderdale, Sabal Pines has three baseball fields, one softball field, a couple of smaller ball fields for the smaller human units, and a couple of combination football/soccer fields.  ‘Cause, you know, us Americans are a little confused when it comes to what sport actually requires the use of feet.

Surrounding all this confusion, is a paved and concrete 1.15 mile path, marked approximately every 20-30 feet with…..wait for it…..PAW PRINTS.  Because we are JUST THAT AWESOME.

parkpath

Thought I was kidding about the paw prints, didn’tcha?

If you start at the conveniently marked start/finish line, and go toward the north end of the park and follow the path to the southwest, you’ll come out by the soccer fields.  Head south towards the water and guess what?  The locals will be only to happy to greet you with a flurry of feathers and quacking.  They often even get so excited, they just poop right on the spot!  So watch your step.  I like to consider it a stretch of a Spartan race.

Watch out for land mines.  They're not deadly, but tend to be bit slippery.  This is a public service announcement courtesy of Black Dog Productions.

Watch out for land mines. They’re not deadly, but tend to be a bit slippery. This is a public service announcement courtesy of Black Dog Productions.

As you run the path, you can always zoom your way into the main park building for pit stops and water.  There’s also bathrooms and a water fountain on the east side of the park near the tennis courts.  Two paws up for this one as the water is always nice and COLD.  That’s a BIG score when you’re running in 95+ degree heat.  The park rangers are also usually buzzing around in golf carts in case you need any help.  There’s also ample parking next to the tennis courts and by the main building near the big playground.  Remember not to leave anything of value in your car.  There have been a few burglaries over the years, even with all the traffic in and out of the park, so just be smart about it and leave your bling back at the home base.  You look fabulous in just sweat dahling.

I’ve found this little slice of park paradise to be perfect for timing Mr. Galloway’s Magic Mile, as you don’t necessarily have to have a GPS with you to confirm the exact distance.  It’s also great if you want to do so some quarter-mile repeats, as the pavement is marked at each – you guessed it – quarter mile!  Nice stuff, ain’t it?!

Overall, even though there’s not a lot of shady spots on this path, it’s clearly marked, flat, and not usually too crowded if there’s not a sporting event taking place.  The bathrooms are clean, the water is cold, and the natives are friendly.  What else could one possibly want?  You can even motor across the road and meet me in the pool for a nice post-workout cool down!  Just have your people call my people and they’ll see if I’m available.

Come on in, the water's fine!

Come on in, the water’s fine!

So that’s about it for a quick little running journey through the tropics.  If you ever happen to hyperspace to the northern end of Broward County and you’re looking for an easily accessible, well-hydratable, slightly poopy decorated running path, check out the ‘burbs and Sabal Pines Park.  I’ll be waiting for you at the end with a margarita and bowl of Moose Tracks in hand.  Because that is HOW WE ROLL here in the Creek.

Make sure you follow along on Danielle’s virtual tour of running HERE!  Her blog will have links to all kinds of cool places to run written by those peeps who know them best.  We even get to blast over to Aussie Land for a bit o’mate time!

Ready for some more running in the Sunshine State?  Your next stop on the Run Where I Live party train will be near our favoritest place ever.  Yes, we are headed to Orlando!  Yes, THAT Orlando!  The one with MICKEY!! So jump on board ’cause the train is departing.  Next stop, See Jess Run!  ALL ABOARD!!

 

Enjoy the ride.

If you’d like to make your hometown another stop on the Run Where You Live Road Trip, submit your link to Danielle at Live, Run, Grow, and she’ll gladly add you to the list!

Getting It Done – Wherever You May Be

Who ever said you can’t get as good a workout at home as you can at the gym must have been overdosed on endorphins.

funny-puppy-gym-weights

Due to my schedule lately, it’s just been easier to work out at home.  Legs of course, are a bit of a challenge because – OH YEAH – I can’t BEND my knees.  (Ever notice how much of your day is spent with bent knees when you’re NOT supposed to?)  But I muddle through with the therapy exercises The Man gave me, and the hubby even went and picked me up a set of dumbbells.  Combined with this great little tiki bar I know, I’ve got all the makings of a great at-home gym.  Heck, I even have a little local college inspiration!

Don't you have ducks and dog dishes at your gym too?

Don’t you have ducks and dog dishes at your gym too?

2015 is my year of NO EXCUSES and I think I’m off to a pretty good start with this lovely, little, sweat-inducing brain child.  Have I mentioned the other gym members are pretty good at providing any required assistance at any given moment?  Or at least when not terrorizing the neighborhood feather gang or chasing tennis balls.

I got ya Mom.  I got ya.

I got ya Mom. I got ya.

Of course, as helpful as Wonder Mutt may be, it often leads to extended workout time as her idea of fitness is plopping all 53 pounds of her on top of me – as added ab resistance, I’m sure – and using as much force as possible to shove that cold, wet nose under my arms as I’m trying to plank.  I do have to give her credit though, as maintaining balance while being Labrattacked can become quite an adventure.  If I don’t come out of this in a few months with washboard abs and superior balancing ability, it certainly won’t be because of the Wonder Mutt Workout.

Let's go lady!  Squeeze those abs!

Let’s go lady! Squeeze those abs!

So if you’re having a bit of a hard time getting to the sweat store, and feel those pants starting to tighten up a bit, let me make a recommendation.  Grab yourself a mat, a couple sets of dumbbells and resistance bands, dust off that pain-in-the-ass (literally) foam roller, and just start MOVING.  If it takes a little bit longer than you’d like due to (ahem) furry interference (ahem), then just accept the kind offer and move on.  You have my permission to fib a little to your significant other that the additional doggy drool on your face actually IS sweat.  I won’t tell anyone.  Promise.

Not Wonder Mutt, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time....

Not Wonder Mutt, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before this ends up on my face….

 

Enjoy the ride.

Do you work out at home or a gym?  Do you feel like you get a better workout at one versus the other?  Does your mutt like to actively participate in your exercise regimen?  Do you think perhaps doggy drool may acutally be good for your complexion?

New Year’s Resolutions? Who Me?

Yeah…..not so much.

2015-logo

How many of you get sucked into the annual whirling vortex of all things New Year’s promises, just to find yourself back on the couch stuffing your yap with leftover Christmas cookies and Moose Tracks? You?  You?  You too?  You there, the one with the hideous Christmas sweater?  No, the one next to you.  Yup.  I feel ya.  Why do we insist on this annual rite of passage just to find ourselves back at square one a few months later?

fat cat

It’s just a little holiday weight.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for starting over and hopefully getting things right.  Unlike retail stores who make their profits starting on Black Friday, I think fitness centers absolutely LOVE January as their sales go up exponentially.  And each month after that, the numbers slowly but surely start to decrease, but the money has already been deposited.  Kudos to strategically timed membership sales.

I’m no different.  From November until now, my visits to gymworld have been, well, less than stellar – noticeable in both my pants and the scale.  Hello Black Dog Blob, how you doin’?

blob-cartoon

Every year I tell myself I will resolve to NOT make any resolutions, and I usually do a pretty good job at sticking at it. HA! Who am I kidding?  I may not necessarily SAY I’m making any resolutions, but you can damn well bet your dupa I still do, at least in my own game-show-dollar-machine-whirling brain.  Resolutions that usually include me swearing I’m going to end the year looking something like this.

Oh Abby, how do you do it?

Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Inevitably though, reality eventually sets in, (somewhere around the 4th gallon of Moose Tracks), the F5 tornado of my brain calms down, and I get back into normal operating mode: eat as healthy as I can, (Moose Tracks and cheese aside of course), chase the elusive sleep elf most nights, hit up the gym, (but only to the point where I don’t feel the need to choke the ever-living crap out of someone), and pray that the running gods look favorably on my knees.  And swear that THIS will be the year I bust out of Introvertland and PR in SOMETHING.  Even if it is in new-found patience.

patience-3

I invite you to come along with me on my journey to Challenge and Acceptance Land.  It should be a roller coaster ride of epic proportions, with momentary pit stops for occasional food and wine indulgences, backed up with chocolate and margarita side trips.  Sound good to you?  Well then, let’s not waste another moment of valuable time.  Please secure all personal items below your seat.  Make sure your mutt’s seat belt is securely fastened, and hang on the hell on.  Because I’m sure the ride is going to get very bumpy at times.  But the adrenaline rush will make it OH SO WORTH IT.

Whooooohooooooo!!!!

Whooooohooooooo!!!!

 

Enjoy the ride.

Do you fall into the New Year’s resolution pit every year?  Ever stick with them?  Is wine or ice cream an integral part of them?

Reasons to Move – Why You Should Enjoy the Ride

I am lucky enough to have friends who conveniently live about 20 minutes away from this place,

How you doin'?

Lucky me!

and right across the street from this place.

WOT

I can tell you, there is nothing like this within running distance of my humble abode, so you can bet I take advantage of this beau-tee-ous spot every chance I travel to the northern regions.  (At least north for this Black Dog).  And each time I hit this particular spot of pavement, typically inhabited by nothing more than a handful of other runners, walkers, cyclists, and mutts with their owners, I find the brain cells wandering back to why I continue to plop one foot in front of the other.

E=mc2?

Why, Black Dog? Why?

Do I run for the health benefits?  Perhaps – even though my IT bands like to think otherwise.  Do I run for the blessed solitude that I so often never seem to find?  Maybe so.  Do I run because at times I can be a sentimental schmuck and love that it’s one of the main reasons the hubby and I found each other?  I’m sure.  Whatever the reason(s) may be, I know most of them are different – with some similarities I’m sure – for each and every one of us.  One thing is a guarantee though.  Once we start, it’s pretty rare that we can just stop.  Either because we can’t, we don’t want to, or a combination of both.  Those miles become our crack and all we can do is find a way to get our next fix.

I don't know why Mommy runs, I'm just happy that she does!

I don’t know why Mommy runs, I’m just happy that she does.  Especially when she takes me too!

Whatever our reasons may be, it’s a personal journey for all of us.  Some of us may choose to view it as a battle with ourselves and our will to fight through the pain, seeming lack of available oxygen, or our own brains, (who here has psyched themselves out of running one last sprint because we just didn’t think we had it in us?).  I’ve read about runners who have actually sat down on the curb in the middle of a race and thrown a hissy, never making it to the finish line for any number of unknown reasons.  Is our own brain the single largest obstacle to our running success – whatever our definition of success may be?  Probably so.  But I also like to think it can be our greatest ally when it feels like everything that can go wrong, does.

You are stronger than you think!

You are stronger than you think!

Whatever your reason may be for getting off your dupa and getting it moving, whether it be to the gym, in the pool, on the road, or wherever your fitness path may take you, one thing is for certain – it’s ALL GOOD.  Movement, of any kind, is always better than none at all.  That corny saying of you’re lapping everybody on the couch?  Darn tootin’!

lap couch

As I continue my daily battle with my own greatest enemy – myself – I invite you to join along with me in keeping our eye on the prize.  That “finish line” is the best version of ourselves, both mentally and physically.  Will our bad habits always be banging on the door, begging us to scarf down just one more scoop of Moose Tracks?  Of course they will.  What we do when we open that door is what will either make or break us.  We will give up and/or give in – that’s just human nature, but hopefully it’s only occasionally.  How we handle our own personal demons is what will determine our success.

keep going

I hope if you’re having one of those “I’m just not feeling it today” kind of days, this little rambling of mine helps you find some motivation, and reminds you why you started your fitness journey in the first place.  That finish line is always a fluid one and like it, we need to be fluid too.  Be flexible, be open-minded, but most of all, be accountable to yourself.  You may find you’re just a little bit easier to live with if you are.

Enjoy the ride.

How do you get or keep yourself motivated when you’re just not feeling it?

Biting the Bullet

If you read my post about my hesitancy about returning to the gym world, then you know how I wasn’t all that thrilled about going back to a texting-loud-cell-phone-talking-refuse-to-share-weights-the-world-revolves-around-me kind of setting again.

With all that in mind, the hubby and I decided to take the plunge and try out this place on Saturday.

Please let this place not be crowded.

Please let this place not be crowded.
(courtesy of You Fit)

Here’s the pros and cons: at 9 o’clock on a Saturday morning the crowd wasn’t bad at all.  By the time we left about and hour or so later, it was starting to fill up with kids. (Note to self: get there early if you don’t want to be overrun by the previous mentioned texting drama-mamas).

The facility itself is huge!  I didn’t count, but there were plenty of arc trainers, dreadmills, and recumbent bikes.  I didn’t see any ellipticals, but the place is so spread out I could have easily missed them.  (Think it was due more to the fact that I was up and actually moving that early on a Saturday morning).

Plenty of paper towels and cleaner were available and joy!  People were actually wiping down the machines after using them! (happy dance, happy dance)

I did a leg workout after warming up on the arc trainer (that is a weird machine but did provide a decent warm up).  I stuck to the machines as I wanted to be able to get the lay of the land while I was lifting.  I noticed at least two of every machine I used, so getting a thorough workout was definitely not a problem.

ufit2

“Do these pants make my butt look awesome?”
(courtesy of You Fit)

We found a spot in the back of the gym where we could stretch, do some ab work, and plank without feeling like everyone was staring at the dupa.  (In case you haven’t noticed, I’m crazy-obsessed with covering all areas south of the waistline.)  While sweating my way through a plank, I looked around and noticed this:

(Source)

Hallelujah!

(source)

Do you hear the angels singing??  Are beams of sunshine breaking through the clouds??  Has Publix just put Moose Tracks froyo on sale??  For those of you who may not recognize this contraption, let me just impart some of my happiness on you.  This, my friends, is a gift from the gods.  A gift for those of us who spend thousands on chiropractors and massage therapists every year.  A gift that makes up for beat-up mattresses, sitting at a desk all day, and overdoing deadlifts.  This simple looking apparatus is a back stretching machine aka my personal slice of heaven.  Grab onto the handles, park your hammies on the seat, lean back, and stretch away!  Almost as good as winning a year’s free supply of Oreo Cheesequake Blizzards.  Almost.

Heaven, I'm in heaven...

Heaven, I’m in heaven…

(source)

This is where things got weird.  Gyms exist on their sales, mainly by getting members in the door.  How is it then, that we walked in, signed in, showed the girl at the desk our ID, told her we wanted to try the place out, did just that, and were able to just walk out the door, without ever having been approached by anyone about joining?  Maybe it’s just me, but I thought that was completely weird.  The hubby loved it.  He despises salespeople.

So, after much discussion of the pros and cons, (well, not really), we’ve decided to give it a try.  The best thing is you can join for next to nothing and never have to sign a contract.  Month-to-month is how we roll.  There are those times when a girl just doesn’t want a commitment.  This however, does not apply to Dairy Queen and the aforementioned Blizzards.

Stay tuned for my updates on our escapades back into gym world.  You might find yourself laughing as I describe my adventures in the mecca of people-watching.  Who knows?  You just may recognize yourself one of these days!

Great advice!

Great advice!

(source)

Have a great week!

Enjoy the ride.

Do you find yourself people watching while you’re working out?  What do you see that makes you laugh the most?