Archive for August 2011

my trainer

speaking of running... did you know that i now have a personal trainer to help me with running? ha!

let me back up - i am not a runner. never have been, probably never will be. but, i've found that i actually do enjoy running as a form of exercise, especially when i can run outside. when i first started running about 2 years ago i could barely make it down the block. i started going out in the mornings with the dogs, and slowly the 3 of us built up our endurance and distance.

after a few months, mike decided that he wanted to run too and so we started running at night, each taking a dog with us. by then the dogs had already developed very different approaches to running. cooper (our pretty dog) ran like he does everything else - very gracefully and elegantly. he knows he looks good running. and reese... well, reese tried. we often compared reese's movements to eeyore, he was just kind of slow, never in a big hurry. and since i also run like eeyore not so fast, it was kind of obvious that i would run with reese, and mike would run with cooper.

reese was my running buddy - when i thought that i needed to take a break, he was right there with me. i always felt that he thought that we were in it together, pushing ourselves to go further and go faster. we both kind of struggled, but in was ok. meanwhile, mike and cooper where off running miles upon miles at their super fast pace. (and looking good while doing it!)

after reese passed away earlier this year, the first couple of times out running this spring were weird. who got the dog? mike, being the nice husband that he is, seemed to understand that i needed a dog, and i started running with cooper while mike when off on his own.

and this is how i got a personal trainer. after running with me a few times, cooper quickly decided that he didn't like running with me. i am apparently too slow and am cramping his style. how is he supposed to look graceful and pretty when he can only manage to do this awkward run/walk while at my jogging pace? unacceptable. so he has taken it upon himself to "encourage" me to run faster. what does this mean exactly? this is what a typical outing is like:

- i do not get to warm up by walking a block, i do not get to stretch. we must start running the second i hit the bottom step of the porch. if i try to walk, cooper will start to freak out and run around me.

- once we start running, cooper will run out in front of me and yank on the leash, trying to get me to go faster. he's not really constantly pulling as much as he makes these very deliberate movements clearly telling me to go faster.

- if i still will not run at the pace that he would like, he will start to frantically bark at me.

- if he can see mike at any time, he will start whinning and barking at mike to come rescue him.

- if around other people, i tend to get embarrassed because it now appears that i am torturing this poor beautiful dog, because why else would he be all loud and freaking out??

- sometimes, we run in the park. the problem with running in the park is that cooper will try to find other (faster) people to run with instead of me. doesn't matter that he doesn't know them, if they run faster than me (and most people do), he will try to leave me to join them. he will actually turn around and run the other direction if these faster people run past me. he also tries to get their attention by barking at them. and if they are running faster with another dog?? game over. he becomes even more frantic.

- at this point i should note that if he runs with mike none of these things happen. or, if we are going for a walk, he does great! he knows how walk on a leash, he doesn't bark, he is so well behaved the rest of the time.

so what do i do? i start running faster. if i run faster, he doesn't bark at me as much and he doesn't try to leave me for other runners. of course, if i run faster that usually means i need to stop and walk every so often. this seems to be acceptable to cooper, but i only get about 30 seconds before he has decides that i've had enough of a break, and the barking starts all over again. it is really like he's my trainer. he yells at me and makes me feel bad about myself all in effort to keep me moving.
on the plus side, i've managed to cut about 2 minutes off my mile pace.


running thoughts

yesterday something good happened. something that seemed so minor at first, but it just kept building and building, and left me smiling at the end of the day.

we live in the city, and with that, we get all of the challenges that come with living in a more urban area. when we first moved here, i was so excited about the idea of the city. i was so excited about the people we'd meet. i was looking forward to walking down the street to the local restaurants. i so badly wanted to renovate a house and be part of something. and our house was old! with so much original character! and pink! and it needed me!

lately, the reality of living in the city has started to get to me. in fact one (of many) recent incidents has left me with a hole in the door of my car where the lock was previously located. and, it's been hot. so very very hot. and humid. so very very humid. maybe it has just been the combination of the recent surge in unwanted activity and the heat, but for some reason, the last few weeks i've just felt kind of trapped in the house. but last night.... last night it was only 80*, with a slight breeze, and the humidity was low. so i decided to get out of the house and go for a run outside.
as cooper and i ran up and down our street, i passed people out walking their dogs, and neighbors sitting on their front porches. everyone smiled and waved, a few shouted words of encouragement about running. and i started to remember why i was so excited about living here, in this place. it all started with the people.

there are two kinds of households on our street - the first are the families who have lived here for 50+ years. most of these households are now just older couples, who sit outside on their rocking chairs and listen to the cardinals play baseball on the radio. the second type are the younger families, with their kids riding bikes and playing in the grassy boulevard. these are the people who define our street in the city. these are the people who look out for their neighbors and continue to be optimistic that this can be a good place to live.

i am one of those people and i am excited about living here. and last night i was grateful to my neighbors for helping me remember that.



the cat stealing the dog's bed. and yes, our cat likes to be upside down.


puerto rico

are you tired of reading about my vacation yet? sorry for so many posts, i guess i shouldn't have broken it up by days... this will be the last one though, promise!

puerto rico was the departure/arrival port for our cruise. on the last day we had to leave the ship super early in the morning, but we all had afternoon flights home. at the last minute we decided to book one last excursion through the boat. the minimal expense to ride around on a bus tour of the city vs. sitting at the airport for extra hours seemed worth it.


it was so worth it! i didn't know why, but i had no expectations for puerto rico. not bad, not good, i just didn't know what to expect i guess. the city is very beautiful.


our tour included a stop at an old fort, not only was the fort full of interesting history, it also had some amazing views of the city.




and that's it!

i've been working on a few things for the house, i plan to share the details with you all soon. meanwhile, i hope that everyone is enjoying their summer! do you all have the same gross weather that we've been having? i'm so over the "feels like 100+ degree" days, gotta love st louis summers...


st. croix

we had nothing planned for our stop in st. croix. we had heard that there would be buses that would take you to the other side of the island and to the beach, so that's what we did. got on a bus, drove for maybe 30 mins, and ended up here:


after walking for a few mins along a boardwalk, we saw this:


so we took a boat taxi to the island and spent the afternoon snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming.


not a bad way to spend the last full day of vacation.


not bad at all.

(while kayaking around all of those boats, mike and i decided that we probably should get a large sailboat someday. could you imagine just spending your days sailing around these islands? so nice...)

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