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?

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Yes, it’s really a race recap! Sort of…

I know this probably doesn’t sound like any big thing, but keep in mind I haven’t been much of a race girl while getting #brokeknees 1 and 2 fixed.

ice knee1

Don’t miss this nonsense!

Even though I’m not completely pain-free – and knew going into surgery that I may never be again – I have been able to accommodate my somewhat finicky joints.  In other words, keep the pain level to a minimum.  I can run.  Like the whole turtle though peanut butter kind of runs at the moment, but I’m okay with that.  I just keep telling myself the speed will come.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  It’s okay if it doesn’t because I really love peanut butter.

peanut butter turtles

After the fiasco that was the announcement of the new – and big steaming pile of dogpoop of a decision regarding Wine and Dine 2016 – I knew I had to get myself a proof of time to submit by August.  I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to properly train for a half after surgery #2, my old times were just that – too old – so a 10k it would have to be.  And if you live in south Florida, you’re basically screwed.

“Welcome to the Land of All Things 5k.  Because our attention span won’t last long enough for anything longer.”

serious grumpy cat

You suck south Florida…

Thanks to the utter lack of 10k opportunities, I bit the bullet and went with the Down2Earth cross-country series that goes all summer long, with this particular race being held at John U. Lloyd State Park.  Added benefit: they also run a 5k at the same time, so the hubby agreed to suffer right along with me.  What concerned me?  The whole CROSS COUNTRY part.  I haven’t run cross-country since high school.  The hubs has NEVER done cross country jaunts.  This should prove to be interesting, if not entirely life-threatening.

scaredy cat

Not you again…..

If you’re supremely bored and happen to go to the race website, you’ll see our race was held at a lovely sounding location known to locals as Dania Beach.  BEACH.  As in SAND.  LOTS OF FRIGGIN’ SAND.

sand1

Bobcat paw prints included at no additional cost.

Being the wise old runner that I am, (you can stop choking now), I figured it would probably be a good move to at least go down to the park before race day and figure out what the course would be.  You see, there’s only beach, access road, and parking lot.  That’s it.  Intracoastal waterway on one side, and the Atlantic on the other.  So on a balmy Sunday morning, the hubs and I drag our dupas out of bed, loaded up the cooler, and headed on down the road.  We managed to stop one of the park rangers to see if he knew where the course would be.  After all, he IS the park ranger.  If anyone would know, he would.  Right?  Yeahhhhhhh, not so much.  He gave us his best guess and we just flew with it.  Right onto the paw print marked sand as you see here.  I can honestly say I have never cursed so much at one race location in my entire life.  I think the bobcats have permanently vacated the area after hearing what was coming out of this girl’s yap.

It was a good thing we took the morning to do this though, as a couple of weeks later, we were as ready as we could be for more than a few miles in the sand.  The race field was very small, no more than 30-40 runners for both distances combined.  Race directions were simple:  run along the beach access road until you see the yellow tape, run around the tape, then run back to the start.  5k runners go once, 10k runners go twice.  All right, we can handle that.  It’s hot as hell, no breeze, typical south Florida summer humidity, nothing we’re not used to.  We all line up at the start, laugh about how many of us are going to die, gun goes off, and off we go. Into the wild sandy yonder.

The hubs knew I was running for time so he wished me luck and off I went.  Knowing that pacing was going to be a big factor, I did my best to keep the jitters under control and not go out too fast which I excel at doing.  Mistake #1, thinking there would be a water station at the turnaround 1.5 miles out.  Let me just stay this:  every race I have EVER done had a water station around the 1-2 mile mark.  EVERY ONE.  This one?  Not so much.  I got up to the turnaround, saw nothing but stupid yellow tape, and proceeded to say things that made the local snakes drop dead in mid slither.

WHO THE HELL DOESN’T GIVE YOU A WATER STATION AT THE TURNAROUND POINT ON A BEACH RUN???  Oh, wait…..

stooge

This stooge, that’s who.

Now, I put this one all on me.  I should’ve known better when my previous contact with the race director asking if there was going to be a water stop was met with complete silence. Definitely on me.  Lesson learned.  Moving on.

I passed the hubs on the way back and told him of the unfortunate circumstance and warned him that I think I had inadvertently killed a snake with my vocal venom.

“There’s no water at the turnaround.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“I’m a monkey’s friggin’ uncle.”

(We have a special relationship.)

Thankfully, after the final half mile back to the start in the softest sand you could imagine – and mind you this was just at the end of the first loop – they at least had water set up at the start line.  After stopping long enough to gulp down a couple of cups and throw a couple more over my head, off I went for Hell in the Sand part 2.  Which was pretty uneventful and much like Hell in the Sand part 1.  Pretty views of the ocean, lizards looking at us humans like we were nuts – guess they call it like they see it – and for the most part, completely by myself.  Race support?  Non-existent.  (Good thing no one dropped of heatstroke out there, they’d have been screwed).  So I just kept my head down, stopped freaking out over the ugly times I kept seeing on the trusty watch, and thanked the runner gods that the hubs had enough functioning brain cells to fill a bottle he had with water and toss it to me as I passed him for the second time on my way back out.

flashdance-9201.large

Yes, it felt THAT good.  Don’t judge me.

I managed to trudge back out to the turnaround, back through what beautiful little shade there actually was on the access road, out the to hellacious sugar sand along the beach, and finally made the final turn for the promised land.  About 300 yards from the finish, the hubs was standing on the side so I tossed him my iPod, turned on the after burners and hit the line still in an upright position.  I was hoping for a 60 minute finish time, but considering the terrain, I would have been happy to finish in 75.

Imagine my surprise, and somewhat sweaty delight, when I was told I had actually finished in 64 minutes, and good enough for 2nd place female! (Which sadly, once the results were posted on the website I was bumped down to 3rd place, but hell, I’LL TAKE IT!)

June 18 race1.jpg

(Smiling thinking about the post-race margarita.)

So here’s my takeaway from the Down2Earth 5 and 10k Cross-Country Run:

  1.   Ability to see the course online prior to race day – zip
  2.   Questioned answered by race director prior to race day – dog poop
  3.   On course race support – nada
  4.   Would I do it again? – perhaps

Here’s why that last one isn’t a flat out no.  I found out afterwards this was the first time this race was held at this location.  Normally they’re put on at Oleta State Park in Miami.  I’ve taken my bike there a few times and the park trails are CONSIDERABLY more runner friendly than at John U. Lloyd.  I got the impression when the race director was telling us about the races at Oleta, and proceeded to wave his hand at the sand and say “there’s no running in this kind of crap at Oleta”, that he wasn’t happy about the conditions either.  The only hangup for us?  Lloyd Park is only about a half hour away from our humble abode.  Oleta is a little more than an hour.  And in Miami.  MIAMI.  Trust me, not NEARLY as glamorous and these guys made it look.

The ending of the story?  I got my proof of time for Disney.  I got to run a race again, with the hubs.  I haven’t been able to do that in years.  Neither of us died.  I got a medal.  I know now that I have the verbal ability to scare away bobcats and shock snakes to death with my vocal venom.  ALL GOOD THINGS.

June 18 medal1

The aches and pains we felt over the next few days in places that neither of us knew we could be achy and painy from running in the sand?  Well.  That’s a story for another day.

Enjoy the ride.

 

Have you ever been disappointed with support at a race?  Have you ever done an entire race in the sand?  What are the worst conditions you’ve ever tun in?

Friday Funny

GIFSec.com

 

Enjoy the ride.

Admit it.  You’ve got MC Hammer stuck in your head now, don’t you?  It’s Friday!  Let’s all put on funny pants and party our dupas off!  What big plans do you have planned for these couple days of freedom?  Runs?  Margaritas? Races?  Post race recovery margaritas?  Let’s hear it!

Friday Funny

In honor of everyone running this weekend in Disney!

FF Drink marathon

 

Enjoy the ride.

Is the pressure of completing the Goofy or Dopey Challenge starting to weigh on you?  How are you handling the stress?  Are margaritas involved?  Will you be making a quick stop at La Cava del Tequila on Sunday morning?

Friday Funny

From all of us here at Black Dog Productions to those of you running the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend – especially Team Can Am girls Nicole and Kellie, and sidekick Jenn – may your race be an awesome one!

FF running ritas

 

Enjoy the ride.

Who’s taking part in one of the best marathons on the planet?  Are you ready or just trying to convince yourself you are?  May all those cuties in uniform be your inspiration!

I’m SO Excited!!!!!

surpirsed-baby

YYYYYEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

That’s it.

Really.

Thought there was more coming, didn’t ya?

Nope.

HA HA HA, GOT YA!!!!!!

That ain't right Black Dog.

That ain’t right Black Dog.

Hee hee hee…..

For realz though, I AM awesomely excited for my return to the pavement.  I’m still currently limited to about a mile and quarter, but I’m okay with that.  For the moment.  PT Pam and I are breaking up – albeit temporarily – next week, but I shall continue to take it easy and ease myself back into the mileage.  As I still have that pesky other knee to keep happy, I still can’t go all stir crazy and go signing up for any marathons or anything, (no worries ladies, 2018 WDW is still a long way off).  In the meantime, I have to keep #KneeGate 2015 Part II happy until after Wine and Dine.  Then a quick bing-bang-boom and then BOTH knees should FINALLY be content to let me once again, beat the crap out of them.  This time though, training will involve alot more cross-training, therapy exercises, and a little less running.  Yep, two days a week this time around, plus I want to try and get a few runs of higher mileage – 15 to 17 miles – prior to Wine and Dine.  Let there be no mistake, Wine and Dine will be about nothing other than Team Can-Am Shenanigans, I just want to know that I can do the miles before I go under the happy juice again.

Oooooooooh, pwetty cowors.......

Oooooooooh, pwetty colors…….

So from here on out, it’s about slowly building mileage, cross-training, and not pushing it.  Well, not exactly pushing it.  Girlfriend just may have accidentally hit an 8:25 pace on her Independence Day run on Saturday, (never mind it was only for as long as it takes the signal to get to the satellite and back.  Still counts. So THERE.)

bbbbblllllhhhhhh

bbbbblllllhhhhhh

The next few weeks should be a good mix of sweat, pain, blood, and probably a few tears.  Just a typical training cycle right?  All good things.  All good things.

Olaf (1)

I like ice wraps!

Here’s my plan. With help from you dear faithful followers, I’m going to come up with a pretty conservative training plan that will start in two weeks, starting with a slow buildup of mileage and a little dab of speed work come September.  You know, just to see what the knees can handle.  I’d love it if you’d all throw out some suggestions as to how I should build this plan, including some weight work, therapy exercises, hopefully some spinning, and of course, moderate amounts of Moose Tracks and margaritas.

Did you really think I wouldn’t find some way to work those in there?  You know me so well…..

Hydration.  Black Dog style.

Hydration. Black Dog style.  With salt.  Of course.

Enjoy the ride.

Tell me a story.  You know, the one about the time you made a triumphant return to the pavement, kicked everyone’s dupa, and drank all the margaritas on the way to a PR.  Or, if the memory is a little fuzzy on the details, (damn tequila), then tell me the one about the talking snowman and the reindeer with an addiction to carrots.  I’m good either way. Thanks.

A New Day

Yup.  Totally going there…

feel fat

Love the plan.  In theory.  Realistically, probably won’t quite cut the mustard.

With my new Man-imposed running hiatus, I have to pay attention now more than ever to what I’m shoveling down my yap.  I tend to start pushing maximum capacity when I’m not running.  So together with my partners in crime: Rae – who, coincidentally, joined the ranks of the married peoples this weekend (yippee!!!!), Princess Lisa, Nicole, and Kellie – we are TAKING CHARGE of our fat cells.  Or at least that’s what we’re telling them.  Stubborn little buggers.

fat_cells

What? You want us to go away? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

So it’s a new day in the Black Dog House.  The days of chowing down on everything in sight because I would just run it off anyway are long gone.  No more double scoops of Moose Tracks, one more mini peanut butter cup, overindulging in cupcakes, or second glasses of wine.  Did I mention these are on the no-fly list too?

Evil little sugar and calorie laden bastard....

Evil little sugar and calorie laden bastard….

Kill. Me. Now.

BUT, this is a necessary step in the evolutionary process that is my fitness journey.  Don’t get me wrong, I can work up a pretty good sweatfest on a bike or power walk with the best of them.  Maybe not quite Leo style, but I can wear out the Wonder Mutt after about a mile or so.  However, let’s not kid ourselves – nothing works quite as magically in the battle of the bulge as running does.  At least not for these stubborn, fat-loving genes.

So back to the Weight Watchers way of life and Monday morning weigh-ins.  I figure that’s the best way to keep you on the straight and narrow during the weekend.  Except when the hubby says, “let’s make pizza on the Big Green Egg this weekend.”  Who can say no to beautiful creations like this?

BGE pizza1

We. Are All. That Is Pizza.

(Heavy sigh)

So as I sit here daydreaming about the amazing grilled wonder of delight we had for lunch today, and scarf down a bowl of Moose Tracks laced with birthday/wedding/Half Marathon PR/Decorated Christmas Tree cupcakes – because what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t virtually celebrate these momentous occasions – I have to formulate a game plan.  So here it is:

1. Eat less crap.

Yeah.  That’s pretty much it.  I can probably stand to get the dupa to the gym more as well.  I just don’t want to go there too much.  I go too often, I inevitably end up getting annoyed with someone, and my little hour of sweaty, heart-pumping bliss becomes a hellacious nightmare of barely controlled insanity.  Due to the likes of the guy who insists on doing arm circles on the recumbent bike next to me and barely missing taking out the left side of my skull, or the woman who REALLY needs to try a stronger deodorant.  REALLY.

So if there’s any magical weight-loss/smaller-jean-size pixie dust out there in the great void, please feel free to float this way.  Or north.  Way, way, WAY north.  Anywhere between the east coast and the frozen Canadian Tundra will work.  Thanks.  Appreciate it.

pixie dust

 

Enjoy the ride.

Anyone taking on a new eating challenge?  Do you find the irony in the timing of me trying not to eat all the crap at this particular time of year?  How do you keep your weight under control if you can’t run?  Do you think the fact that Moose Tracks is the world’s most perfect ice cream is a conspiracy?