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How Could I Forget this Feeling?!

This weekend was supposed to be a great weekend away.  I was excited about the getaway but there was a lot that needed to be done before I headed out of town to meet Brandon in Gunnison.  I had to work in the morning and host a big meeting, pack, get the house ready for the pet sitter, track down our new iPhones that were being shipped separately and by different carriers, and get out of the house so I could make the 3 ½ hour drive in time for dinner.  This was all after a super stressful work week with lots of events whose success laid on my shoulder and a 12 hour day.  There was a lot on my to do list and suddenly I notice a huge lump on our dogs ear.  Paterno had a hematoma on his ear in August that the vet drained and said either it would come back or not – it chose to come back twice as large as the first one.  So, along with everything else that needed done I also needed to run Paterno to the emergency vet to make sure it was okay to leave him with the pet sitter for the weekend.  We get to the emergency vet and were told our wait would be several hours.  I could feel the minutes ticking away and myself getting later and later.  One of the vet techs took mercy on me and told me she would look at Paterno and let me know if he needed to be seen that day or if we could schedule something for later in the week.  She checked him over and told me the hematoma was relatively small (I would hate to see a large one because this one seemed pretty crazy) and scheduled Paterno for an appointment and potential surgery on Tuesday.  I ran Paterno back home, finally tracked down our phones, and headed out the door with exactly 3 ½ hours until our scheduled dinner.  While I finally made it out the door and on my way to our mini-vacation I just felt stressed and anxious.

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Fast forward a couple of hours…I made is safely to Gunnison, enjoyed a nice dinner, and headed to an observatory to check out the stars.  As we are getting ready to leave the observatory all sorts of warning lights lit up my dashboard and stated with quite urgency that I needed to have my car serviced.  But, it was almost 10pm in a town that doesn’t have a Chevy dealership that is open on the weekends.  I tried to put the car trouble out of my mind and decided that now is a good time to activate my new iPhone 7.  To match the rest of my day the phone would not transfer my old data and just kept giving me all sorts of error messages.  Finally, I surrendered to the day and tried to sleep but spent the night tossing and turning stressing out about Paterno, the car, and the thought that I’m wasn’t going to be to have any phone access.

When the alarm went off I get out of bed and still feeling overwhelmed and anxious.  I realized I was on a mini-vacation and I am too stressed to enjoy it.  I was being snappy and mean and felt like I was seconds from a full-fledged panic attack.

img_4481Now that I have set the stage of my fragile mental state I will fill in the details about my running.  Last Friday I decided, on a whim, I was going to get a tattoo on my foot (the tattoo wasn’t a whim I had been planning that for months, waking up one day and deciding today was the day I was going to get it was the whim).  The tattoo artist said I shouldn’t run for three days but after that it should be okay.  After three days I was still nervous and decided to take a whole week off to let the tattoo heal.  For some reason I irrationally thought that running would cause the tattoo to wear off (I do realize that is not realistic, but that is what my weird mind kept telling me).  So, Saturday morning it had been eight days since my last run with the plan to go for a run Saturday morning in Gunnison while Brandon was at his conference.

So, in the midst of my mental breakdown, I decided there was nothing I could really do about any of my issues at the moment and I would go for a quick run and deal with everything when I got back.  I put on my running clothes, carefully slathered my tattoo with tattoo goo, put on some super soft socks, my shoes and headed out the door.   In Gunnison at 8am in September the temperature is 32 degrees.  I was completely unprepared for this and was just wearing my running shorts and a long sleeve t-shirt.  The upside of this was I was ready to run from the very beginning just to warm up.  Because it had been awhile since my last run I just told myself if I could make it three miles I would call it good.  I set out running around the neighborhoods and downtown of Gunnison and then headed east of town to the Western State University campus.  The longer I ran the better I felt.  The beautiful sunshine, the fresh crisp air, and the new scenery was exactly what I needed.  One mile quickly turned in to two and before I knew it I was rounding out six miles.    As soon as I get in to the groove of running I love being out there but I have to play mind tricks with myself to get started so I can get in that groove.  At an even 10k I ended my run and headed back to our hotel.

The run was exactly what I needed.  When I got back from my run I felt at peace, focused, calm, and ready to tackle my to do list.  I contacted Onstar to figure out what to do with my car and they said that it wasn’t really urgent and I should be able to make it home and I should set-up an appointment for next week (the should was a little concerning but in my new mental state I could deal with it).  While I was away I had connected my new iPhone to my MacBook and when I got back it had worked out its issues and downloaded all my data and music and was ready to be activated.   I was still stressed about work stuff and dog stuff but it all suddenly felt so small and manageable when just an hour before it felt like the end of the world.

This summer has sucked and when I should have been running the most to deal with the stress, I did just the opposite and used my running time in the morning to sleep in and try to escape reality and it just ended up compounding the problems.  This weekend was a huge wake-up call that no matter what I need to make running a priority.   Running is my natural stress, anxiety, and depression buster and I need to never forget that.  I don’t want to end up back on the verge of a panic attack because that is a horrible feeling!  I am excited about the new week, the healed tattoo, and the reminder about how important it is to take the time for yourself.  Find the activity that centers you and don’t make excuses for not taking the time for yourself.  I am so excited that I found this feeling again and I am going to work my butt off not to lose it again.img_4501

 

 

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My Best Friend

Lazy LabWhen I moved to Colorado my husband promised me we would get a dog.  Less than two months into our Colorado adventure we were picking up Nittany and taking her home.  Nittany has been with me through everything Colorado has thrown at me…home sickness from moving half way across the country, a husband who was a full time PhD candidate (it’s kind of like being a widow), getting married, moving a bunch of times, changing jobs too many times, and finally settling in to a great life in Denver with a job I absolutely love.  She licked up my tears when I was sad and happily participated in puppy dance party when I was excited and happy.  But, in August we will have lived in Colorado 13 years which means Nittany is 12 and closer to 13 then I would like to admit.

 

I had never had a “real” pet growing up and Nittany was my first “real” pet (although the verdict is still out if I even consider thumb_DSC_7275_1024her a pet – she is a member of the family).  Everything I’ve gone through with Nittany has been a first for me.  Having a dog spayed, rushing a dog to the emergency vet because she had eaten a stuffed animal and got really sick, rushing to the emergency vet because she got stung by a bee and her face grew four times its original size, finding out that swans chase dogs when Nittany decided to take a quick dip in City Park Lake, having to put a dog under anesthesia because she somehow chipped her front tooth and it had to be pulled out, getting a call from a stranger who had found your dog downtown Fort Collins because she ran away and was mooching food off strangers at a sidewalk café….and this was probably just the first two years of her life.

 

That brings us to today and another first…finding out your dog has cancer and having to thumb_IMG_6041_1024make the most difficult decision of your entire life so that she doesn’t have to suffer anymore.  Nittany started getting sick shortly after the New Year and after several rounds of antibiotics and steroids and nothing really helping her get better it was discussed that that most likely cause of her illness was a nasal tumor.  Before that time, I never even thought that there was an end to Nittany’s life.  I was naïve and liked to think that she would be with me forever.  But, the reality was here and Nittany wouldn’t be in our lives forever.

 

 

 

 

 

We struggled with asking ourselves when was the right time to let Nittany go from our IMG_1847lives and we even came up with a plan for Nittany’s last week with us, but the pain of knowing our time was limited was breaking our hearts and making us question our decision every minute.  I think we were both looking for a sign to know that our decision was the right one but we both agreed that Nittany had always been there for us and we needed to be there for her and make sure she isn’t in any more pain than absolutely necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

As you can tell from this rave review Nittany has already won The Best Dog in thumb_DSC_7248_1024the Entire Universe Award and today she gave us one last gift for which we will be forever grateful and will seal her title for eternity.  As we struggled with knowing if what we were doing was right or not Nittany gave us a sign and we knew it was her time to go…to go and not be in pain anymore and to finally be able to sleep a restful sleep.   Nittany went peacefully to sleep on the morning on Monday, July 18, 2016 after over 12 happy years with our family.

 

 

 

 

 

I have her paw print etched on my skin and my love for her will be etched on my heart forever.  Nittany was the best dog in the entire world and gave us more than we could ever thank her for.   IMG_3578

 

 

 

 

Happy Knitter to Jolly Runner

11745352_10205682082023823_4659982871437127151_nHello from the Jolly Runner, formerly the Happy Knitter.  I blogged on and off (more off than on) as the Happy Knitter for a couple of years.  I shared my growing knitting skills and over time I realized I am never going to be as talented a knitter as my amazing family members who can knit a pair of socks in a day and sweater over a long weekend and my trusty readers can only take so many pictures of hats and scarves (my specialty).  When I was blogging before I often get sidetracked with other projects and just life in general so I wanted to redirect my blogging energy towards my entire life instead of just my knitting life.  Over the past years I having been getting further and further from knitting topics so I am taking the leap in a new direction.

This is from my new “About” page and hopefully will give you an idea about who the Jolly Runner is.

According to Merraim-Webster the definition of jolly is:  adjective jol·ly \ˈjä-lē\ : full of happiness and joy : happy and cheerful : very pleasant or enjoyable.  When I run I am jolly.  When I don’t run I am the opposite of jolly…and it isn’t pretty – I believe the opposite of jolly is gloomy.   So while I may not always be The Jolly Runner it is my goal to get to a place when I am more jolly than not.  Running keeps me balanced and makes me feel more confident about myself so I am going to stick with it.

I realize the word jolly often goes hand in hand with visions of plump Santa Claus and happy go lucky elves and sadly I also fall in to that category as well.  I am not your typical runner.  I have never been called skinny and while I am never last in a race I am also never first – I slide in to the middle of the pack and contently run my own race working on beating my own records instead of completing against everyone else.  I remember always struggling with my weight and wishing I was thinner so I consider myself a work in progress.  In the past couple of months I have recommitted to running after some time off because of an injury and several bouts of bronchitis and am actually watching what I eat instead of just shoveling food in to my mouth like a backhoe.  It was a sad break up with Ben and Jerry but it had to be done.  I have lost some weight, built so muscle and continue building my confidence.

So, while I want to keep my jolly attitude it would be okay with me to shed the jolly physique.

But, this blog is about more than running.  It’s about my life, my family, my love of the outdoors, my insane love for my dogs and everything else that comes up.  I will also have some “things to do” in Colorado as well as trail reviews and other fun hiking stuff…I live in Colorado and love it so you’re going to hear all about it!  I am opinionated person who doesn’t always have the favored opinion.  To many I may seem quiet and reserved but I don’t really believe that is who I really am.  In the past I have been afraid to share my thoughts and ideas but I am trying to be more open.  I know that not everyone will agree with me but I have just as much of right to share my ideas as everyone else.

What do you want to see on this blog?