Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Day Filled With Surprises!

Today marks the end of 2011, and what a year it was. I can not wait to see what 2012 brings.

Today I was surprised at work. My sister and Lil Man dropped by to do some shopping and also to say hi. Lil Man is very excited about his game night. He picked up a new video game for the WI, his Christmas present from Grandpa Al.

Not only did they surprise me at work but they even surprised me by stopping by the new place and having lunch with me. Lil Man was super excited to see my new place....Traildog. Traildog was so excited to have company. Although he was a bit upset when we left to eat lunch.

After lunch we came back to my place and played a bit. When it was time for him to go he just wanted 5 more minutes. I think next Tuesday when he comes over for a few hours he is going to have a blast. He loved "his playroom" and even thanked me for it. The funny part was I don't have any toys and that is the first thing he asked me. Hey, Meme where are the toys? My answer, You didn't bring any over.

After the great lunch and visit Traildog and I headed out for our last run for 2011. We ended up doing only 6 miles. My legs were feeling a bit off, or maybe it had something to do with the rather large lunch I had an hour before.

Out on our run I was also surprised once again by running into a Trail Turtle Shannon and Ralph. They were both out enjoying a nice bike ride. I visited with Ralph for a bit and learned that we both live near each other and we both frequent The Beer Garden. We will most definitely need to get together for a drink or two.

Today seemed like it was full of surprises. Sometimes that is just what is needed, just like yesterday Coach Nikon and Lily stopped by work and I was given the best hugs by them. Again a pleasant surprise. What a way to end 2011.

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guilted into Running

Have you ever had one of those days when you get home and you just aren't feeling it. You really don't want to go for a run. The couch looks so inviting. Yup, that was me yesterday. Wednesday after work when I came home I really wasn't feeling my run. I was tired, my stomach was growling and I was so hungry that I felt sick. My legs were tired and I really just wanted to put my legs up and relax.

But I didn't. Lil Traildog wouldn't let me. He sat down in front of me and wagged his little tale and than would sit in front of his leash wagging his tale. He really wanted to go for his run. Talk about pressure. So I did what any good parent would do, I ate something, changed my clothes and laced up my shoes grabbed his leash and off we went. We ended up doing 6 miles.

What I really wanted to do was a recovery run. A very nice and easy run, but Traildog being the little spite fire that he is pushed the pace and I did whatever I could to keep up. This run wasn't going to be easy. Traildog pushed me and pushed me. He was having the time of his life. He loves being out and running and enjoys his daily runs with me.

Of course I was happy that Traildog pushed me to get out the door and happy that he pushed the pace. I do believe that he has the running bug and that makes me happy. I always enjoy when we get back how quickly he goes and lays down. He is usually out the rest of the day/evening. Sleeping soundly and I am sure dreaming of next big adventure with his mom.

I was guilted into running, but I am glad we went out. It has been tough on him ever since we moved out as he doesn't have someone home with him all the time and running gives him the exercise he needs and gives us some quality time together. I have to keep him happy and he keeps me happy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Santa Came and Santa Went

Christmas for me is very hectic, well I am sure that it is very busy for everyone. For me this year I was working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Luckily our family get together wasn't until mid day on Christmas day. Since I was working both those days I asked my boss for the day after Christmas off. It only made sense and seemed fair or else I wouldn't have been able to enjoy this Holiday. He said yes, which meant I would be able to see my little nephews open their presents and see their excitement and also see the meltdowns followed by more excitement and more meltdowns. But it was totally worth it.

Christmas day I headed over to my sister house with Traildog so that we could spend a little time together plus I wanted Lil Man to open his present and enjoy it as we wouldn't be able to take it with us. He was very excited when I arrived and immediately asked me if he could open the biggest present. I of course said yes, but first I told him I had a special surprise. His excitement was building and I could feel his anxiousness. I told him that Santa Claus came to my house and dropped off a present for him. He became very excited at this point and ran around the house literally in circles because he was overjoyed. Santa not only came to his house but my house as well!

He looked at me and said "He came through the front door, right?" Yup, that is correct he came through the door as I don't have a chimney and Lil Man had remembered that conversation and my fear that Santa would skip my house. But he didn't. He showed up with presents in hand. Lil Man opened his "gift from Santa" and wanted to watch it right away. Lil Man had received The Smurfs movie. you see when I let Lil Man one time watch t.v. in my room the smurfs were on and ever since than when he asks to watch t.v. in my room he always wants to watch the smurfs. How did Santa know????

After that he opened his biggest present of all.......a little tike's basketball hoop. I immediately went to work putting it together, I only had to take it apart once as I put it together wrong. We took it outside and Lil Man showed me his Michael Jordan moves......I think he liked it!

He couldn't wait to open his present!

His shirt is right for the present!

Look he is dunking it already!

Check out that air!

The best one yet!

Next we all piled into the car and headed up to Vacaville to celebrate with my other sister and my nephew Q. When we arrived I told Q that Santa had come to my house and dropped off a present for him. When Q heard this he was so excited that he jumped up and down clapping his hands and than he ran in a circle he was so excited. Santa thought that since my sister was very neat and organized and doesn't like messes that playdo would be the best thing for Q. He was super excited while my sister may not have been. Santa Loves you! hehehe......

Q gift from Santa

I think he is happy!

Q also received some Cars toys from the movie as he is really into it now. I believe that Cars the movie was his first movie that he actually sat down for the entire show. Both nephews loved their gifts from their Meme and best of all I enjoyed being with them and my family.

just chillaxin!

ahh mom and son!

I ended being up for 22 hours before I went to bed. Would I do it again? You bet, as seeing them so excited over their Santa gifts and running around and screaming because of their excitement was worth it. Christmas was all about the nephews and being with my family and playing pass the phone around! I wouldn't have changed a thing.

I almost forgot about the music we made!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Double Down Wednesday

Double down Wednesday was actually a lot of fun. The first run was a quick 6 miler with Traildog. I love Traildog so much, he keeps me honest as all I really wanted to do was come home from work and sit on the couch with my legs up as my days this week have been stressful. But he knew the right thing for me us was to hit the trails and enjoy the cool mid day sun on our faces and the light breeze on our backs.

That is what we did we headed out and I can't believe how well my legs have been responding. The legs are feeling strong, the tight hamstrings I have been having trouble with are feeling a lot better. I would like to chalk that up to the dedicated foam rolling I have been doing before and after my runs along with some light stretching. It is working as the hamstrings are feeling free once again and my form is coming back.

My legs are feeling good the leg turnover is there and you know what else I was enjoying the run. My mind was free and clear for once. All the chaos and craziness that happens at work this time of year was gone. It was peaceful and just what I needed to recharge to get through the final two days of mad crazy holiday shopping.

After our awesome 6 mile run I called up Coach Nikon and we decided to hit the trails for a nice 5 mile run before the Fleet Feet Ultra Training Group had there workout. Sadly I am not apart of that great group this year as my work schedule really wasn't able to work around it. I really wish I was still apart of that group as I have learned so much and the friendships I have made will always be.

I decided to leave Traildog home for this run, as I didn't want to push his body. But I will say, he really wanted to come and it broke my heart to leave him home in a nice warm cozy house. I ran to Karen's Bakery which was about 1.27 miles and hooked up with Coach Nikon. We caught up on our lives as we hadn't really spent anytime together in awhile. He told me about his "movie drama" at work as he put it. And as I listened to his story it totally was a scene from a gangster movie. I laughed so hard that is until I saw the Pigeons.

We were running across the bridge and I was near the outside and I looked up and literally inches away from face were 2 huge Pigeons. I immediately jumped across the narrow path and almost threw Coach Nikon into the pigeons. I think I almost jumped the barrier, but I didn't. Coach Nikon just started laughing uncontrollable and both of us thought of our good friend Trailmomma. Ohh how I miss running with her. I just had  a Trailmomma moment!

We continued on our run, all the while I was on the lookout for the 2 Pigeons to come and attack me at any moment. At the start of this run my legs felt a bit heavy but they soon loosened up and we hit a nice stride and soon we were turning around. On the return we talked about upcoming races as I haven't really put my 2012 plan together. Or I should say I haven't written it down, I think I know what I want to do but I am not positive.

Back at Karen's Bakery I waited around and said to Hi to some of the runner group and of course everyone asked where Traildog was. Next time I will bring him. As they started their run I headed home as our paths were going the same way. I peeled off at my left hand turn and ended up with 13.5 miles for the day in my first of many Double Down Wednesday's.

With my work schedule I have to find a way to get the miles in when I can and doubling up on work outs one day a week is the plan. Plus I get a chance to run with someone as I don't run much with my friends. Again that darn work schedule. Thanks Coach Nikon for a great run and I hope that we can continue to Double Down on Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lil Man and Traildog Together Again....For a bit at Least

Yesterday I was off. I enjoyed a quick 6 mile run in the chilly morning, than I started and finished my Christmas shopping and I even wrapped the presents. Next it was time for "Meme time!" with Lil Man, my best bud. Of course Traildog was invited to come along as Lil Man has really missed him. This is how the phone conversation went on Monday:

Me: You want me to bring Traildog?
Lil Man: YEAH!!!! Make sure you bring his harness, his collar and his leash!
Me: OK, I wont forget......Only I did forget something and he noticed!

Traildog, minutes before we were leaving. I don't think he was ready!

Being a good boy in the car!

I can't believe he is telling me what I need to pack for Traildog, how cute! Anyways off Toby and I went to enjoy some Lil Man time. I arrived early and let Toby play in the backyard while I unloaded the car with the presents. What a neat surprise I hope.

Ramsie enjoying her bone, Lil Man thought she managed to get into a Christmas present and told her she was suppose to wait for Christmas! He is all about the rules.

Traildog even got in on that bone action.

Lil Man found his present, I wonder what it could be?

It has been awhile since I have watched Lil Man and boy have I forgotten how slow time can go. Now don't get me wrong, I love my nephew, and I even had the entire hour planned out, I just didn't realize how quickly we would blow through the activities.

First up it was time to play with Traildog out side. We threw his ball and Lil Man wanted to play with his ball. So we bounced it back and forth until he thought it would be great idea to get as close as he could and hit me with it.

Look at Traildog go, he even ran 6 miles earlier that day! Full of energy and life.

Then it was time for some more ball with Traildog and he also needed to mow the yard. He grabbed his lawn mower and cruised around the yard. He is a good worker.

Mowing the yard!

He is a good helper

After all that work it was time for hot chocolate mile with marshmallows! He loves this special treat and it is an expectation anytime it is Meme time. I think it is our special thing, even though I don't drink milk. He even received extra marshmallows, but please don't tell mom.

He had been waiting for this all day!

Big smile, I think he got some chocolate milk on his fingers

Next, we headed back out side where he told me he had to get to work. His job he told me is he fixes things. He loaded up his jeep, with this super long PVC pipe and drove around the yard to his work. After successfully parking and avoiding damaging anything with the rather large load he was ready to fix the pipe. Together we fixed the pipe and put it in place. It was a tough job and somebody had to do it. After a tough job it was time for a break and a rest on the lawn chair.

Driving his load to "work"

Very serious when he is driving

While he rested for a bit I played with Traildog. All this activity we did within the first 15 minutes. But never fear, I had a plan. Afterwards we headed back inside to run around the house with Traildog and than we enjoyed a short show. During this time span he looked at Traildog and yelled out "Meme! Traildog doesn't have his collar! I told you to bring it." Yes, Lil Man was right, I left it at home. Sorry Lil Man, you did tell me to bring it.

Hanging with Traildog

 It was great to visit with Lil Man and enjoy some special Meme time. In two weeks we have another day planned, but this time he is coming over to my new place. Guess I need to buy some chocolate milk for him. Thanks Lil Man for a great afternoon, it really made my day!

Traildog had a great visit and I can't wait for Lil Man to come visit us!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Surfin Santa

This past Wednesday was Lil Man Christmas program at his pre-school. He had a very special part and front row seats were reserved for his family. This year, I wasn't going to miss out on his Christmas program like I did last year. This year I sat front row and center to enjoy his program.

He had to show me his Candy House!

The teacher's at his school have been working with the students since before Halloween. It is amazing how many songs the little kids memorized. That is dedication on the teachers part and also on the students part.

Mom (my sister) and Lil Man!

Lil Man spilled the beans and told me what his special part was.....or maybe I should say I asked
 so many questions that he told me. What???? I wanted to know!

The entire School!

This year he was to be the surfin Santa. He was very excited about it. The teachers later told us he was picked because he was so animated and was the least likely to get shy in front of all the parents and family. They were right, he is very animated and talking to him is always exciting because I never know what he is going to say or how vocal he will get about it.

The program consisted of 9 songs: Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
                                                        What a World We'd Have
                                                         Jingle Bells
                                                         The Angel Band
                                                         The Merry Hula
                                                         Must Be Santa
                                                         I'm Gettin Nuttin' For Christmas
                                                         Christmas Time's A Comin
                                                         We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Lil Man the surfin Santa!

Listening to Lil Man and his classmates really got me in the Holiday Spirit, and I thought they did awesome. I am so proud of him. I enjoyed it so much that all the stress from earlier had melted away and I was left with a open heart, a smile on my face, and a laughter throughout.

Me and Lil Man

He was serious about ringing the bells. "Are you ringing your bell?"

Thank you Lil Man for such a special evening and I can't wait to celebrate Christmas with the family!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wildlife Sunday

Within 16 minutes of my trail run this morning the four of us, Captain Kirk, Wonder Woman, and Power Girl had seen a huge buck, than a herd of Turkeys, than on the left maybe 5 feet from the trail a huge mama bear and her rather large cub and than not 10 feet later another mama bear and her 2 cubs. That was 5 bears!

The best phrase I have ever heard, "Quick, everyone grab a rock!"

This was all within 16 minutes of our run. We started our run at the Cool fire station and the plan was to do the Olmsted Loop and hook up with the secret trail than back on the Olmsted Loop. Only we hadn't planned on seeing 5 bears. I was taking up the rear, as the other three are super fast, but I did manage to somewhat keep them in my sights. 

As I was running in my own little world I see two runners coming up the hill, at first I didn't know who they were as my friends didn't need to stop for me at this point as we were on a fire road. Than I realized it was Power Girl and Wonder Woman sprinting up the tiny hill. Then I heard the words "BEAR!!!" Captain Kirk was busy making loud noises as us girls were keeping our distance. Than I saw the cub and the gigantic mama bear not 20 yards off the trail. Wonder Woman told me the bears when they came upon them were maybe 5 feet from the trail.

As we approached Captain Kirk I heard him say "Quick everyone grab a rock!" Wonder Woman and I grab the biggest rocks we could find, but small enough that we could throw them if we needed too. Captain Kirk had picked up three rocks and Power Girl picked up a medium size rock. Wonder Woman and I weren't taking any chances. As we ran by we tossed our rocks thinking we were in the clear and we were nervously laughing and talking about the experience when on our right maybe 10 feet from the first bear sighting we saw another bear. Dang it and we already dropped our rocks.

As we slowed to a walk Captain Kirk yelled a bit, and than I heard him say "Ohh crap there are two cubs, lets get out of here!!!" and off we went, sprinting as fast as we could. This group of bears were not going to back down, a huge black bear and two rather large brown cubs.

As we ran away, we again started laughing and joking around, I made the comment that next time we should all throw our fuel! I  have had beer encounters before, SNER 50 miler but nothing like this. This was way more intense I mean 5 bears within the first 16 minutes. Crazy!!!

I knew that this was going to be a great run. When Captain Kirk is leading the charge we always have great adventures on the trails. I am just glad I was with others.

As our run continued on I slowly started fading, as I couldn't keep up with them. They were kind enough to wait/or yell which direction they went. That is the great thing about the ultra community and running with some great friends. My legs started to ache as the hills became more intense. I thought maybe I was low on salt so I took a salt tab and that seemed to help right away. I still could run the downhills pretty well and I just knew that I needed to slow the pace down and listen to my body because it was telling me it wasn't liking what was going on.

The miles seemed to tick by pretty fast, or it might have just been me. I was really enjoying the single track and the greenness of the bushes and the stillness of being in nature. Ever so often I would here the scuffling of birds and a bird even caused me to yell. I was a bit jittery after the bear encounter.

As we neared the home stretch I was still smiling and was just enjoying being on the trails. I have missed them as I have been staying close to home. I couldn't have asked for better running conditions today and I wouldn't have changed a thing. Being able to run with good friends is price less and better yet being able to experience seeing 5 bears with my friends is extraordinary and I am sure that we will never forget today's run. I know I wont.

Thank you Captain Kirk, Wonder Woman and Power Girl for a solid 14 miles.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Catching Up

I have been without Internet for the past week. It actually wasn't that bad....umm what am I kidding. I totally missed on keeping up with some of my favorite blogs not to mention facebook. But I am back and in full operation plus it is wireless now, so much better, I am a happy little trail runner now.

I have been running, Traildog has been running. In fact this brisk morning we completed 14 miles on the trails and pavement near the lake. When I started this morning I actually had no plan on what I was going to do, no fuel and no water, but there is water fountains through out the run so I wasn't too worried about it.

Traildog started us off on a mad dash and I did everything I could to keep up, I looked down at my Garmin and noticed I was running sub 8:00 minute miles. I guess all this running with Traildog has really increased my pace. The crazy and fast runs I mean the tempo runs Traildog makes me do have really increased my speed. It felt really comfortable and my legs felt great. So great in fact that I just kept going past the 3 mile turn around, so great that I kept going past the 5 mile turn around. But once I hit the 7 mile mark in 1:03 I knew I should head back in. Not for my case but for Traildog as I didn't want him to have a serious bonk, plus this is the furthest he has run since the 12.3 around the lake a few weeks ago.

On the return my legs were still feeling great, but I knew I needed to slow the pace down for Traildogs sake. He was locked on my heel, his gaze was telling me that he needed a little break. After his little break of a slower pace he increased his speed and we took off. We arrived at the 14 mile mark in 2:07. I was pretty excited because I felt like I could have kept going and my legs didn't feel stiff. Traildog looked tired and after I feed him again, he immediately went and layed down and he is still sleeping 4 hours later. Such a good boy. Glad I was able to get the miles which brings my weekly mileage up to 25 miles with three more days to go!!!!

Saturday is the LOTTERY for Western States. I am super excited about heading up to Placerville to be there. I have instructions from Coach Nikon to text him with names of our running friends who get in and especially to text him if he gets in or I get in.

Lots going on, work has been super busy, but I haven't let that slow me down. I am more focused than ever. I am also eating a lot more which I think is a good thing. I eat a bagel for breakfast, a few hours later I have been eating a Turkey sandwich, a few hours after that a snack like goldfish or an apple, than it is dinner time. I am glad that I have finally figured out how to get food in me while being at work. All though sometimes I am eating the sandwich that I find myself walking and eating. But at least it is fuel, to get me through my long days.

Looking forward to the Lottery this weekend and my last weekend off until January. Ohh how I will miss two days off in a row. But I will find a way to get my runs in as Traildog expects me too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


My place is close to this awesome Beer Garden/Pub. It serves some great food and has a pretty awesome beer selection. I think I go there about once a week. What can I say, I like the place and it is close. Last night I headed over there and met my cousin whom I haven't seen in a few years. Ever so often we contact each other and check in and than time goes by and than next thing I know she is calling me to see how things are going. 

Wednesday night at the Beer Garden is Flip for your Dinner. Basically the waitress flips a coin heads you pay, tails it is on the house. Last night we WON!!!! Free FOOD!!!! We only had to pay for our drinks. How awesome is that. The food is fantastic and not expensive. I can drink two beers and enjoy a pulled pork sandwich with fries for under $20. Not bad I think.

It has a huge outdoor seating area, pool tables, I think Foosball and NFL all day on Sunday. It's a neat place and I know I will be back for sure.

My cousin and I caught up for a good 3 hours just talking and enjoy each other company. My cousin is really easy going and full of life and when she walks into a room you (I) can feel her awesome energy. We picked up right where we left off. I hadn't seen her in at least 2 years. The last time I saw her I was training for my first 50 miler. Seems ages ago.

It was awesome to catch up and I really can't wait for the next time we get together. It is nice to get out every now and than for me and with my hectic schedule it makes it even harder to see any of my friends or family.

Today I actually slept in and enjoyed a relaxing morning just lounging around with no particular schedule. After lounging for a few hours I treated Traildog to a quick 10 mile run along the parkway. I think I exhausted him because as soon as we came home he is sound asleep on his bed right next to me.

The run for me was awesome. My leg turnover is getting quicker and I can feel my motivation coming back. I know I haven't logged anything longer then 12 miles but it is down time for me and I am recharging my batteries. I will say this, I can't wait to hit the trails with my friends once all this crazy retail holiday season slows down.

I think it was smart of me to take a few months off and just focus on the basic and run what I wanted. I have had a few high mileage weeks which is great and I can feel that spark coming back and the twinkle in my eye is shinning. Running is great for me and I am very lucky that I found it with the help of my friends.

I am patiently waiting for December 10th to come. The LOTTERY is slowly approaching and I can't wait to find out. I am looking forward to my race schedule next year and I know that there will be a 100 miler on the docket!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Running Once Again

The past two weeks I have been busy, but I also managed to get some solid miles in. I live so close to the American River Parkway that it is now so convenient and easy for me and Traildog to go for a run. He is my inspiration and he wont let me not go for a run. How can I resist those big brown puppy dog eyes. I just can't.

It has been good for both us. I was beginning to get in a bit of funk and was having a hard time pulling myself out of it. But once I started running consistently, slowly things became clearer and my haze lifted and I was once again moving with a purpose.

It has been tough for both of us during these past few weeks, finding new routines and not seeing Lil Man everyday has been even tougher. But we are growing and slowly finding our mark once again.

Traildog has gone out on every run with me and he is quickly getting trim. I mean he wasn't "big" before but I can tell a difference in him. He is so excited when we run and so relaxed when we get back. The longest run he has done is 12.3 which is around the lake. Not bad for Traildog.

Traildog is also finally adjusting to his new place. We are slowly getting things settled in and unpacked, but what ever you do please don't open the spare bedroom! I think the one thing I find the hardest is cooking for one. I find that I am eating the same thing day in and day out, or sometimes I just don't eat dinner. I am bringing my  lunch to work for the most part and I am enjoying the semi quiet time. I didn't realize how sleep deprived I actually was. I remember sleeping but, wow I can't believe how great it is to sleep for a solid chunk of time. This past week though my schedule has been so hectic that it doesn't really count. It's a good thing I know how to work on minimal amount of sleep.

I am looking forward to my new adventures and getting through this Holiday Season. I am also looking forward to the LOTTERY on December 10. That is next weekend. Dec. 10 is when I find out if I get into Western States or if I am waiting another year. What ever happens it was meant to be.....but I really want to run States!

Here is to fighting the funk, to getting some sleep, and to adjustments. Keep on running, I know I will.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Craziness!

I made it through Black Friday and the day after. It wasn't pretty at times but I did it. I was sleep deprived in a span of 32.5 hours I only managed to get 2 hours of short nap and than right before heading in Thursday night a 20 minute power nap.

Thursday I arrived at work at 1am with a team to complete all the 2 day prep. Staging product to ensure a quick and efficient replenishment process. Once we were done with the task list it was close to 9:45am. My family was planning on a evening Thanksgiving dinner so that worked because now I could go home and get some sleep. Only there was a few minor problems. One I so wired from work that I couldn't calm down no matter what I tried. My mind was spinning out of control, with thoughts like....did I prep enough, did I over prep, what if I missed I think remembered everything. It was frustrating. I finally managed to lay down and close my eyes but it wasn't a restful sleep. I was tossing and turning, the kids playing outside were screaming at the top of their lungs and it was hopeless. I finally got up around noon, with only a few hours. I than headed over to family house to have some family time and to play with both of my nephews.

I arrived at my sisters house with Traildog, he is family and I wasn't going to leave him at home. The nephews were super excited to see me. They came running down the hallway and about knocked me over to give me a hug, than they did the same thing to Traildog. It was great to hang out with the family even though I was on such little sleep. I have missed a few family get together in the past years because of work and I was tired of it. We enjoyed a great dinner and even better conversations. In fact my oldest sister wants to do a 5k with me. How great is that?

I headed home to get ready for work and ended taking a 20 minute power nap in the sitting position on my couch. I was so exhausted I didn't even set an alarm. I woke up and headed into work drinking a red bull on the way. Now typically I do not drink energy drinks but this was the exception to the rule. Survival!

The line at work was wrapped around the building. It was going to be crazy. Once the doors opened and the craziness began it was non stop. My team did an awesome job with keeping the floors full and quickly replenishing the end caps and helping out all the guests. It took an hour to get everyone who was standing in line into the building. The checkout line wrapped/snaked it's way up and down the aisles and around the store. It was utter chaos, but controlled chaos. I don't think I sat down that morning at all. I believe that my plans for my Logistics team were executed nicely, the packets I made for them on what they were doing each hour and when to take their breaks and lunches really allowed me to focus on other things. I knew they would do a great job and they completely exceeded my expectations. It was a busy day, but a day that with great plans went really smoothly.

After work I arrived home around 7am ish on Friday morning. I immediately dropped my things at the front door took care of Traildog and made my way to bed. I awoke around 2 that afternoon but was feeling rather funky still. My head was still foggy and I was exhausted. I stayed up until 4pm and went back to bed only to wake up at 11pm that night to head back to work to tackle our doubles. Those trailers brought in more freight than I have ever seen in my 11 years working there. It was literally three trailers in two. It was so much workload that I had pushed my team to their breaking point and they still completed the task. It was a crazy day, and to top it off P-Fresh arrived three hours late and it was huge. The biggest load I have seen since the opening of P-Fresh. I am lucky that I have a experienced team I am lucky that I thrive on challenges and it brings me to a whole new level. I am also lucky that I have a day off and get to rest and recovery before heading back first thing Monday morning.

I am looking forward to my afternoon today with a good friend and of course Traildog. I am looking forward to spending some time with my nephew and I am looking forward to actually making my new place feel like home.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Routines

It's been a bit since my last post. So Traildog is finally settling in nicely. We are both getting on new routines which is what I need. I was a bit off when I first moved in and I could feel my center falling, which is not good. With our new routines in place we are set for now.

Traildog and I head out for a run almost every day. I get home from work and he is very excited to see me. Once our hello's are made he stares at his leach and wags his tail. I immediately change and we both head out for our afternoon run of 6 miles. Last week we both logged 40 miles. That is the highest mileage week I have had since mid September.

At first, when I started running again it was tough. It felt like my body had forgotten how to run. My legs ached, I was stiff and it was tough. But I knew I had to stick with it and I needed to give Traildog some really good exercise. He loved it and would keep pushing the pace. Maybe that was the problem it was too fast. But as the week came to end everything started to click. My leg turnover was getting quicker it was easier to breath and the pace was getting faster. I knew it would be tough to start really running again, but I am glad I stuck with it.

Traildog just chilling at Fleet Feet after his 10 mile run!

This week is going to be tough to get any sort of strong mileage in. I already have 20 miles for week, but that is back to back 10 milers. I know work is going to be crazy busy and my schedule is even crazier. Basically on Thursday which is Thanksgiving I work from around 2 am to 9am and head home sleep some and return to work that night around 11ishpm and work until Friday morning. I am hoping I can make it over to my sisters house for Thanksgiving dinner.

I also put my name in for Western States 100. I really want to complete a 100 mile run this year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tough Adjustment for Traildog

What have been up to this past week? Well, working so everything else like unpacking and getting my new place in order and getting couch over here has taken a back seat. I was lucky enough though to get my bed put together, I have a usable well just as soon as I find and clean my pots and pans. I have also been running the past three days with Traildog.

Since moving out of the other house Traildog has had some serious separation anxiety. When we lived there he was never alone for more than 4 hours. Someone was always home or running in and out and he had that constant human contact he loves so much. He even had another dog Ramsey to hang with in the back yard and play. And let's not forget about Lil Man, his favorite besides me of course. It has been a huge a change for my poor Traildog.
The love he has for Lil Man, taking a year ago

One thing though that hasn't changed is my love for him. Even when I received the call at work that he had been barking since 3:30am I didn't get mad I felt his pain. He is scared with all the new noises he has to get to use to. People walking up the front porch, people getting ready for school and work and talking outside. It isn't really that noisy but it is different for Traildog. I came home early that day and I could hear him not just barking, but he was howling and I have never heard that from him. When I opened the front door I saw him aimlessly wondering around the place howling, he was scared and confused. Of course once he saw me everything changed and he never left my side and became the good quiet boy I know.

I knew that I needed to do something about Traildogs nuisance barking, so while at work I picked up Barkoff. It is a ultrasonic training aid that can allow dog owners to take control over nuisance barking. An ultrasonic signal, inaudible to human ears, can instantly capture a dog's attention and can immediately interrupt the barking pattern. This what the website says about Barkoff. So far so good. When I went to work the next day, I waited nervously all day for the dreaded phone call. But it never came.

Traildog with his best pal Ramsey

I also decided to keep him in a smaller space. As in the bedroom, I didn't give him free range of the house as this may also be causing his stress level to increase, because he may think we are playing hide and seek and he gets very stressed when he can't find me. He is familiar with this routine and understands when I do my good bye routine. Our goodbye routine is I give him a treat for being where he is suppose to be. I also scratch his head and in a very clam voice I say "Be a good boy, I love you. Be back soon." He just sits there wagging his tail and ends up falling back asleep. The last thing I did was turn on some music for him. This way he would possible think someone was home and that might calm him even more. Well, when I came home he was supper excited to see him and he only barked once as I entered the house because I think I might have startled him. I am hoping that with some more time he will adjust even better.

I live really close to the American River Parkway and now when I go for a run I take Traildog with me and he loves it. We have been out three times this week and each time he gets better and better with running next to me and moving over when a bike approaches. He would run forever if I let him. It is great that Traildog loves to run so much because it also is helping motivate me to get back into it. Here is to Traildog adjusting!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Moving Craziness and Other Stuff

The past 4 days have been freaky busy in the Pigeon household. I found a new place to live and stated moving late Thursday night as I waited for the gas man for about 4.5 hours. I couldn't leave for fear of him coming as I didn't have an appointment and the next time they could get out to me would have been November 16. That would have meant to hot water, no oven, no stove, no heat. Not good. But once the gas man came I gave Coach Nikon a call and he helped me move my bed which was awesome of him as it was rather late for both us. Thank You Coach Nikon!!!!

I managed to bring over another load, but after that I was ready for bed and Traildog was having a hard time adjusting. Traildog was stressed out, he had high anxiety and he was barking more than he usually does. He barked at any and all sounds. Luckily he calmed down by the second night and now he is settled in nicely. I think he misses Lil Man and his buddy Ramsey.

As for me, I am still moving stuff. You see everything I owned has been in storage for the past 4 years. It has been about a year since the last time I looked in my storage unit. So I am slowly getting the storage unit emptied and slowly getting things unpacked. The one thing I didn't take my time on was cable and Internet. I really have missed it even if the TV is on only for noise. I had forgotten how lonely it is living by myself as it has been maybe 6 years since I was alone. Good thing I have Traildog because he is keeping me sane.

Lil Man was very excited to have me move out as he gets to help his mom and dad paint my old room for the new addition to their family. Hence the reason I needed to find my own place. Lil Man on Thursday night helped me load up my car and he even helped get Traildog together so that I could take him. It was rather cute but also sad for me. Here is my 4 year old nephew bringing me boxes and than my dog. I know he is going to miss me but I already miss him. I miss seeing him sleep, his bright smile in the afternoon when he gets home from preschool, his special bond with Traildog. In fact I think Lil Man secretly misses Traildog because when I stopped by today he had a imaginary Traildog he was playing with. I can't wait for Lil Man to come over and eventually spend the night.

It hasn't all been about moving though, yesterday I headed out to Last Chance 50k, 50 miler and supported and cheered on my friend Batman. He was running his first ultra and I wanted to be there even if it was only for two aid stations. I actually received a text message early that day and had to run over to his house because he had forgotten his IT band. I grabbed it and rushed to Laguna aid station and waited for him. When he arrived he was looking strong and in great spirits. He ran a fantastic race and I am sure he will be posting about it here.

Once I finished up at Last Chance I headed to Target to pick up some thing I really needed, like trash cans, a shower curtain, laundry detergent, etc...I was amazed at how much I didn't have. Once I finished up with that I waited for the cable guy to show up. He ended up being about 20 minutes late which also meant I received a $20 credit. Score. After all that I headed back to the finish to cheer on the finishers and help support Power Girl where I could.

Overall I am glad that I took a break from the crazy madness of moving and unpacking. I really needed that human contact and what better way than to be at the finish line of a 50 miler. Such inspiration and determination on the faces of those ultra runners. Congratulations to Batman and everyone else who completed the Last Chance! Now to unpack some more and return to work tomorrow morning.

I almost forgot, but I also signed up for Western States 100, here is to keeping my fingers crossed and my name being drawn at the Lottery on December 10.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Catching Up

It has been crazy busy since my last post. I have been running around looking for a new place to live, working, and just trying to keep things together. Work is busy, thanksgiving week planning. I think I spent a good week and half on that schedule to ensure that I had adequate coverage that week. Crazy planning, crazy visits taking place and just plan old busy.

But with all of that going on I did manage to get a few solid runs in this past weekend. Friday night I headed to Hoppy Brewery and met some fellow runners and friends for a nice easy 8. Now I have never been to Hoppies and when I am challenge to venture out of my normal comfort zone things can get a bit crazy. In this case I made it to Brewery just fine, the problem was trying to get in the parking lot as I drove by it the first time. So I decided at the next light to do a u-turn only I couldn't. No U Turn allowed. So I had to turn left and I slowly made my way back. Then on my second attempt I turned to soon and was stuck in the wrong parking lot. Once again I had to find my way back and on the third pass I finally emerged victorious and was able to park.

Yes, you might think I am directionally challenged, but that is only when I have never been somewhere and I start to second guess myself and that is when I mess things up. Luckily my friends waited for me as I arrived a few minutes past the scheduled start time. Sorry.

We started running and I learned that there were various distances in the group, 3 miles to 6 miles to 8 miles. I am not training for anything and I haven't been running too much, and I already had a few miles in my legs for the week, but soon I found myself doing the full 8. On the way out though I managed to roll my ankle and I heard the huge pop. Weird thing was I could run on it just fine, it didn't hurt, there was no swelling so I just continued on the run and didn't say a thing. Once we hit the turn around someone mentioned possible a slight tempo on the return and next thing I knew I had increased the pace and was pushing it more than I probably should have. I mean when is the last time I ran a tempo? It has been forever, but secretly it felt really good and my leg turnover was pretty solid and I was having fun.

As the miles clicked by I slowly started slowing down, but the group helped pull me. The good thing was there was only maybe a mile to go. I think I really just wanted to enjoy some beer at the Brewery. It was a solid 8 on the pavement and a nice tempo on top of it and the best part was the beer after and the great conversations. The bad part was I had to work the next morning and by the time I made it home I only managed to get 3.5 hours of sleep and I had a full day ahead of me.

The following day as I was walking around work I noticed my ankle was really sore and tender and I couldn't figure out why. Then it dawned on me a few hours later, I rolled it on the run Friday night. I wasn't concerned about it but I was a bit nervous about hitting the trails after work with some friends. I didn't need to aggravate it more. The trail run after work was awesome though I was a bit sleep deprived as I didn't get a nap in after work.

I brought Traildog with me and he really enjoyed his run. He is such a sweetheart and such a Mommy's boy. His love for me was seen by all. He wouldn't leave my side and if he did he was constantly looking back for me to make sure I was still with him. What a good boy! I love my Traildog. The run was a easy 6 just out enjoying the beauty that is all around us. What a great weekend of running with friends and enjoying some drinks after running. Here is to finding the time and remembering the beauty that is just outside.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Special Day With Lil Man

I return to work tomorrow after a nice 4 day break. Yes, it wasn't long, but it was long enough to hopefully recharge my batteries and get me ready to power through 4th quarter and the busiest time of the year for us retail workers.

I have enjoyed some great runs on the pavement that have really sparked my drive and enthusiasm. Now if I miss a run I feel like something is missing and just overall not the same.

Today I enjoyed a great morning watching Lil Man. He actually woke up early which meant we could start our day of adventure together, but first I had to get both of us ready and breakfast in our tummies. It didn't take long for that and we were out the door to his favorite store. Target of all places. He enjoyed playing with the toys and helping me fill the hand basket and than he races me to the check out lanes. He always wins....he is that fast.

Today he also enjoyed a very special treat. A kids hot chocolate from Starbucks, which he ordered himself and even started spelling his name for the Barista. Of course it was too hot for him and he once again stepped up and waited in line and asked very nicely and sweetly for some ice to cool his drink down. He noticed that I was waiting for my coffee to cool down so he kindly placed in ice cube in my coffee so that we could get back to looking at the toys.

Lil Man enjoying his special treat!

After our little treat we decided to get some things for lunch. We ended leaving with some broccoli and some hamburger meat for hamburgers. Once home he was eager to help me get lunch ready, but first he needed his chip snack I promised him. After his chip snack he was all business and helped by supervisor the patty making process and the cutting up of the broccoli. He also sang at the top of his lungs.....steaming the broccoli......It was pretty cute. While I prepared the meat he went to his room with Traildog and had a concert for him.

He has been very helpful with keeping his toys picked up and he also had some very good listening skills. I am really going to miss these special moments when I move out. Tucking the covers back on him before I leave for work, his special bond with Traildog and his special bond with me, hearing him call my name as soon as he comes in the house, or even busting up in my room because he is excited to tell me about his day.

I know Lil Man is very excited to move into my room, but I am not 100% sure if he understands what is about to happen. I wont be around all the time, he wont see me every day, I wont see him every day. It is going to be a huge change in both of our lives. I know though that I we will still have special moments and when they do happen they will be that much more special. I promise!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Enjoying Running Again

This week running has been easy and enjoyable. My how I have missed that part of running. Enjoyable! I took a mini vacation from work to recharge myself for 4th quarter and while I have been recharging I have been running. I haven't been on the trails since Saturday when I had that great run to Cool and back, but I have enjoyed the pavement around my neighborhood.

It has been nice not having to stress about when I was going to get a run. It is hard for me when I am working to even think about wanting to run after being on my legs for a good portion of the day about 9 hours. My legs are sore when I get home, I usually have zero energy which makes hitting the road for a even a 3 mile run a huge challenge.

I have noticed that ever since my schedule has moved to an early morning start time of 2:30 am my running has suffered along with family time. Unless that is, I come home take a nap, wake up play with Lil Man and than take another nap before heading back to work. That only works for so long before everything comes crashing down. When it crashes it crashes hard.

Needless to say not working the past few days has been great for me. I have even started looking for a new place to live. But that in itself is stressful trying to find the right location, and also keep Traildog in mind as I don't want his happiness or freedom to suffer. Very difficult to find a place that allows a 40lb dog. But it is a start, just not something I am actually enjoying, and thus far nothing has wowed me per say.

I have really enjoyed running in the mornings. It really gives my day a very positive healthy start and sets the tone for the rest of the day. I find that I have more energy, I am more focused and overall just feel better. I started running a few years ago to help balance my crazy life and it has allowed me to have some attainable goals through out the year. I have developed some great friendships while out on the trail.

Running gives me an outlet, an outlet I didn't have before. It has given me more confidence at work and in my day to day life. I know that I am capable of so much more than what my mind thinks. That is a great feeling, to know that I can do so much more. Running isn't about being first for me, it is about the journey and completing the name it is about enjoying the simple things in life and living each moment to the fullest. My journey isn't done, it is only getting started!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It Clicked on the Trail To Cool

Yesterday it finally clicked! I had a really strong run on the trails to Cool. When I woke up though that morning I almost talked myself out of running, but I am very thankful I didn't. Maybe I had such a good run because my head was finally clear and I managed to get some rest the night before, but what ever it was I was due and I really needed that run.

I headed up to the overlook to meet up with some friends from the Ultra Group. I was a bit pressed for time as I had plans in the mid afternoon so I knew I needed a good three hour run and I also knew I wanted to run at least 14 miles. I also knew that running to Cool has some challenging climbs but was doable as long as I stayed focused.

Jumping Bean and I headed out before the group. Jumping Bean was planning on running with me as this was her easy day, and her easy day is my day of work. So it worked out well. She pushed me without even knowing it. She is a joy to run with, just full of life and excitement. It was great running with her and laughing at some of our stories we told.

On the way to Cool, I pushed myself on both the descents as well as the ascents. My legs were feeling really strong and responding really well to the terrain. We arrived in Cool in a little bit over 1:25 which is a good time especially for me.

On the return we saw the group and everyone was looking really good. I knew that jumping bean was going to take off on me on the 3 mile descent but she agreed to wait for me at No Hands. I was maybe a few minutes behind when we regrouped. I had pushed myself on the descent, but not hard enough where my quads would blow up, but hard enough where it was a bit uncomfortable and a bit uncontrolled. Once at No Hands I knew the real work was going to began as there were some climbs we had to get through.

We were making really good time, in fact I wasn't worried that we wouldn't make. I ran when I wanted to and hiked the steeper sections. I even made Jumping Bean run the huge hill to Robie Point. I hiked it, but I also am not training for anything! We talked and laughed over the next few miles in and ended up finishing our run in 2:55. I had 5 minutes to spare.

It was a great day on the trail, a run that I really needed. This run allowed me to for a few hours forget my troubles and refocus myself on staying in the moment and enjoying that moment for what it is worth. Life will have it's ups and downs, but it is what we do when we are down. Will you get back up? I know I will!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Too Much To Think About

The past few weeks have been very difficult for me to log any real miles. Maybe it is the fact that I do not have a race anytime soon, or maybe I am still recharging, or maybe just maybe work is breaking me down right now. I have been putting in some long hours, hours which at time are physically as well as mentally exhausting. In the retail world we are nearing our 4th quarter. I mean I already have Christmas set. Plans are being made for black Friday, plans for Christmas, where is the excess of toys going to go, what about all the bulk that will be coming in. How many new team members do I need to support the logistics process and much much more.

Then the company makes an announcement that we will be open at midnight on black Friday. You can read about it, it is all over the web.(I checked before writing this post) Really? With about four weeks to go a bomb gets dropped on our lap. This effects my process the most, as I had already planned out that week and what my team was doing and what I days I was working as well, I am off Monday and Tuesday as of now. I also am trying very hard to keep a reasonable schedule for my team members so that they can also enjoy Thanksgiving with their families. But opening at mid night, now that is a challenge for me. I am still obviously digesting this information as I just received Friday mid day right as I was getting ready to leave, and will have to go back and revisit my plans and really change things up all the while being very mindful about everyone family time as well as my own. Will, I kind of think I wont be having any family time that day, which I am not very happy about.

I am sure as I redraw up my plans all will come together, but it is going to take some time. Time though is something I don't really have, you see I took some days off next week, Tuesday through Friday and I am sure my team will have a ton of questions especially since the news is being delivered this weekend, I am off this weekend. So back to the drawing board. Umm maybe a good long run is just what I need to wrap my head around all of this. I know opening up at midnight is the good for the company as it keeps us competitive with our competitors.

So that is what I have been struggling with, schedules, new team members, plans, freight flow, how much room do I have in the back room, p-fresh, and now black Friday. So running has taking a back seat and when I did manage to head out this week, my body was really off. My legs were loaded and really heavy, my breathing was off and I just couldn't find that happy place I usually find while running. Is it too much on my mind, to many mental stressers, or I could just be over thinking everything right now? But I have been feeling off and I am hoping that one of these runs everything will click again. I am sure it will, and I shouldn't worry about it.

On a side note 14 days until the LOTTERY opens up for States! Are you putting in? I know I am.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lil Man's 4th B-day Party

This past weekend was my nephews Lil Man birthday party. He was super excited because this year his birthday party was a Halloween B-day party. All the little kids came dressed up in their Halloween costumes and enjoyed a awesome bounce house that had a slide as well as a basketball hoop.

Lil Man and C.Q., my nephews

The train engineer

Captain America made an appearance

Time sure has flown by and I really hope that this birthday party was special for him. I mean this is all he talked about ever since he and his mom came up with the theme. He even invited some special adults to join in his celebration. Captain Kirk and Wonder Woman! He was really excited when I told him that Wonder Woman was coming, in fact when they showed up he went running to them all excited. Sorry Captain Kirk about the miscommunication, I didn't know. But Lil Man was super stocked to see both of you!

My sister

Having fun in the bounce house

Showing me how to go down the slide

basketball time

Spending some quality time bouncing with the birthday boy

 Also in attendance was his new friend Landon and Power Girl and Bat Man. These two had a ton of fun together running up and down, in and out, jumping off of the slide. I think Landon brought out Lil Man's daredevil. That is a good thing, as Lil Man only a few days before the party actually created mud and jumped in it. That was a huge step. Lil Man does not like to be dirty or get wet if he can help it and he doesn't pick up bugs, but we are working on that, or I should say his dad is working on that. I don't know where he got that fear from. It wasn't me....honest!!!!

Time for some cake

See the dare devil came out

Thanks for coming Trailmomma

My sister

All the kids had a great time enjoying the bounce house and the other Halloween related activities while the adults enjoyed good conversation, some good food, and of course adult beverages. Thank you to everyone who came, Lil Man had an awesome time and still can't stop talking about it. Sadly the bounce house is gone, but the memories will stay forever!

Traildog even enjoyed the bounce house!

Happy Birthday Lil Man!!!!