Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sad because I'm feeling less and less sad

It's been about a week and a half since we put dog #1 down (cancer), and I am still sometimes startled that I will never see him again.  Intellectually, there's no confusion, and I've become used to the void.  I've gone through practically all of the post-dog firsts, and I no longer expect him waiting at home, or by the bed, or outside the bathroom.  If he were to miraculously come back at this point, it would actually be an adjustment, stripping away the filter of memory and a bunch of new habits.  After a wretched first few days, I've mostly moved on.   Yet a sliver of primordial emotion/denial still clings to prior associations: "oh, he's at the kennel, oh, he's at the vet, oh, he's out in the yard.  He has to be back sometime."

Perhaps he will feature in my terminal anoxia-induced hallucination that will seem endless (and hopefully pleasant) but last no longer than my dying neurons.  Or perhaps both of us are eternally in the "bookcase dimension" (thank, you, Interstellar, for enhancing Flatland explanations)...but this dog isn't coming back.

I've previously lost loved ones, including other dogs, but this dog was one of those dogs, as it turns out.  He wasn't the easiest dog--far from it---which probably explains why this is such a fundamental loss.  His faults forced me to examine my own, and yet he was incredibly loyal and stoic and patient, albeit with just a few people.  Some dogs love everyone, and other dogs distill their affections.  For eight years, I was so much of this dog's world.

His high pain threshold masked the problem until it was incurable.  I can't actually remember our last run, but it was a few miles sometime in March.  Forest, sandy trails, same old, just another bland half-hour, putting in the time.  He had to go to the vet for his yearly checkup soon after, and we had questions about arthritis or whatever--because he did look stiff at times and we were giving him glucosamine--but we weren't expecting anything major because he was still fit, still fairly active for a nearly ten-year old dog.   His bloodwork last year was that of a much younger dog.   Well, this year, hemangiosarcoma and worsening anemia and possibly just a few days left.   Fortunately, he hung in for a couple of months and seemed to enjoy them, mostly.  We took him to the beach, we fed him decadently, we spoiled him.

Unfortunately, his high pain threshold made the decision very hard.  Other dogs give that look or quickly decline, but this dog, a pit/mutt, had a solid pedigree of gameness, that self-sacrifice sought by dog-fighter shitheels.  I waited and watched for that look, but slowly realized that he probably wouldn't ever give it, leaving us with a grim calculus.  He got sicker a few times, but recovered.  In retrospect, not completely, but enough to convince us, one more week or whatever.

But he was losing so much muscle.   His collar, once snug, became loose.  His head and body became foreign to my hands.  His abdomen became swollen and tight, and the warnings of rupture resounded,  More and more, he shook while standing or balked at lying down.  Yet he wasn't done.  He still bolted after squirrels.  He still pleaded for food, for his walks, for car rides.  He looked at me not with resignation or blankness, but a more prosaic expectation.  The usual excitement, or confusion, or (usually) concern.

His last full day was the best one in a while, I think.  We walked together for close to an hour, albeit slowly, completing a trail loop that he hadn't managed for weeks.  The weather was mild and so he spent a few hours nosing about the backyard too, and later on we shared pizza and cake.  I suppose it was perfect.   I forgot that he used to run for hours with me.  It was like that had been another dog.   Perhaps he felt the same.  I have no idea if he was disappointed with himself at times, or simply preoccupied with maintaining appearances, but he seemed content during his last day.

The following morning, he appeared fine, bloated by the cancer, yes, but otherwise happy.  At the vet's, he scarfed down treats and barely looked my way (my husband had the treats).  This was fine.  He had no idea why he was there.   I didn't want my sadness to upset him, so the less he heeded me, the better.  Like I told the vet when she asked about optional sedation, "whatever is best for him."

Afterwards, even though I no longer heard his heartbeat, I sat beside him and waited.  I had to finish emptying the vet's box of tissues, yes, but I was also waiting for something else.

And I'm still waiting for the irrationality to leave.  I feel less and less like Peter Pan missing a (brown) shadow.  I'm starting to forget what he looked like, especially what he looked like at the end--more and more, I picture him as he was a few years ago in his prime.   He's becoming abstract.   However, the reality that I won't ever see him again still bewilders me.

Meanwhile, dog #2 is adjusting to her new promotion.  We've discovered that she hadn't really learnt a few commands, merely followed his lead, but we've been running.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Back in the saddle?

Today is my first weekday post-job.  I've given myself a month to prepare for a move (sort through/weed through our stuff, pack, repaint, do yardwork, etc).  At first a month seemed excessive, but I now regret not taking more time off.  My job was intense in a sometimes interesting but also sometimes wearying fashion, and it drained me.  The pay sucked too but I learnt and saw a lot, and met some really cool people.  The most fascinating discovery was a type of chronological amnesia during emergencies.  Seconds would crawl by, and then events would burst past the prosaic, and afterwards, hours afterwards sometimes, it felt like no time had passed at all.  

If only I could tap into this while running!  Sometimes, I enjoy every moment, sometimes I enter an endorphin-laced timeless haze, but sometimes I long to exit my body and let it go around for an hour or two.  Especially here.  Running has become so boring.  I wasn't ever that fond of trail running but it's my best option.   I much prefer city runs, productive runs, either commuting or running errands or simply exploring routes and snacks, but there's very little of that sort of opportunity here.   Even my runs to work became boring, and too hot, and thus eventually extinct, not to mention that running 9 miles and then spending the following 9-11-? hrs on my feet wasn't ideal.

I didn't run once during my last two weeks of work; I was too tired.  Between overtime, call, shifting shifts, and appointments/obligations outside of work, I just couldn't catch up on sleep. 

Fortunately, I slept about 13 hours yesterday, and I don't have to return to work for the time being, and so I am out of excuses.  20 min jog with dog #2 and then pushups and situps.  It's my plan to do 20-30 min each morning.  It's summer (tomorrow is supposed to be 34 C) and while there will be cooler days now and then for a bit, I can't expect too much.  However, I also hope to hit the TM for a long run, before the garage heats up too much, so that I can finally watch the Boston marathon.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


There's an official video?  
This song was playing during my drive home tonight/this morning/1:15ish am.  It seems like it's been a while since I last heard it.

Sadly, I have been doing much more driving than running :(  I'd thought about running to work tomorrow because the other days will have highs of about 30 C.  PUKE.   But there are supposed to be thunderstorms, plus after almost 11 hrs on my feet tonight (I didn't even get my full lunch break)....I'm toast.  I have the feeling this is going to be a rough week anyway.   BLERG

Hey, at least I can leave my little palm trees outside all week!

At any rate, I will try to jog with one of the dogs tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2015



So I finally watched Interstellar, which investigates space and time, and I fail to understand how I manage to have too much of the former while too little of the latter (but the 3-D wormhole was cool).

But I have been running.  Short runs mostly.  Occasionally (1-2 times a week), I have to run to work because we share a car in a place where this is impractical.  So much wasted space to get through.  I do have about a mile of sidewalks, but the other 7.5ish are beside roads.  Mostly on the shoulder, on pine needles/grass/debris/??   These textures have grown old and I'm becoming increasingly fatigued in multiple dimensions. 

And summer is approaching.  My last work run was in 27 C. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

quick recap

Life's been a blur, but I think I'm back at it.  actually, I like this video better--I appreciate the solid narrative of the former although it was kind of overdone in the wrong fashion, but I am rather fond of vintage TV performances, particularly foreign ones (tragedy struck when the clip of OFF/Time Operator was removed, but it's back too!)  Anyhow, it's a cover (props, ABBA!)

Anyhow, anyhowm quick recap--my husband's back, yay!  PHEW!

....and I'm doing small runs (15-20 min tempo runs, 30-40-etc min easier runs) fairly regularly (~4/week), but perhaps the real success story is x-training.  Pushups and situps approx 3 times a week (50 of each usually), some shoulder exercises and the yes-no machine 1-2 times a week, plus I've returned to the garage!  cleans and squats and deadlifts.  I'm really happy with this considering the circs.   Admittedly, the past week or so has been sort of dodgy (my husband's back, yay!) but I think I've struck a good balance.  Truth is, I'm pretty done with running here, but we've just a few months left!  I can tough it out, surely.

We'll see how this week goes

Sun: 35 min tough hilly run, pushups and situps
Mon: tempo run (25 min total), yes-no machine (lol)
Tues: easy 40 min run (oops, forgot shoulder exercises)

Meanwhile: work start times:
Mon: 1430
Tues: 1430
Wed: 700
Thurs: 600
Fri: probably 1430, but a slim chance I can switch to 600, which would be even better, because:
Sat: 900

tomorrow might hurt!  good night!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Never so happy with a DNF!

I was really tempted to sleep in...little ghoul me doesn't do 7 am anymore.  But the race is so close to my house, probably a 5 min drive, and I know the route so well, and what's the worse that can happen during a 4.5 mile loop race?  4ish miles of absolute crud?  That's less than most marathons!

I was vaguely remotely tempted to attempt the full distance, 100K, but I reminded myself of a few very important factors:

1.  My last run over 3 hrs was in November.
2.  My last run over 2 hrs was in November.
3.  My last run over 1 hr was in December (wtf?)
4.  My average mileage during the past month has been like 10 miles/week.  Ok, under.  sob.  It's true.  Little dinky tempo runs twice a week, and maybe a mile or two jogging with the dogs--but our outings have devolved into power hikes, I guess--and this really came in handy when passing people uphill, but it's not running at all.  And most of it wasn't even on trails.
5.  The semi-last minute daytrip on Thursday took a lot of juice out of me, plus the week before was ROUGH.  it included a 3 am trip to the emergency vet.  Puppy #2 is better now, though!
6.  I haven't been super well to begin with since September--this whole year has been sort of off, but things got worse this fall, culminating in a workplace swoon last month.  Yep, I hit the floor in the OR.  Fortunately, this was pre-incision, so I didn't land on someone else's blood.  Turns out a fair number of people faint in there from the strain (holding heavy patients limbs/whatever under bright lights, or just forgetting to keep knees loose).  I'm better now though!
7.  My husband is away so I would have to deal with my increasingly irrational thoughts when trying to figure out what to eat or wear umpteen hours in, plus drive home!
8.  Plus the dogs would be left waiting an awful long time for supper.  They have a doggy door so that's not the issue, but 14+ hrs (ok, 18?  who knows?) between meals is not fair for them.
9.  I'm lazy.

However, 50K is not bad at all--I wasn't positive I could pull it out of my ass this time, but it usually precedes the onset of major hurt.  I admit, I toyed with the idea of running a bit further, but a few pains cropped up, including some IBS and some ITBS.  That last one surprised me.  Maybe the yes-no machine isn't a completely adequate substitute for clamshells, but trails can be brutal.  These trails are better than some, no loose rocks, but they're sandy and they have a ton of roots, plus a few fairly steep uphills and downhills.  They're like, "you want to just shuffle through this, haha, NOPE."

Fortunately, I got rid of the ITBS with stretching, and the other stuff subsided enough for me to push through.  I finished the 50K in just under six hours--very happy with that considering the trails and the human involved.  Plus it didn't tear me up too badly.  I was able and happy to hang out for 3-4 hours afterwards to chat and watch the top men come in.  My quads feel rather tender, and my abdomen feels oddly raw on the inside (not guts, almost like my diaphragm--is this even possible?), but otherwise, it's like I didn't run much at all.  Except I'm wiped!

It was a really fun day--the race staff, volunteers, other runners, and spectators were awesome.  

What's next?  I'm not sure.  We might be moving...sometime...maybe May...somewhere...don't know yet.  Maybe if there's a local race, I can sign up.  I intend to try to exercise the dogs and myself more honestly, though.  Even an hour long run on the weekend would be better than before, and fairly easy to accomplish.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The army marches on its stomach

My tomorrow  (although not necessarily with cookies, but with everything else in the house).

It's been nuts.  Today I had to go to a nearby city, which was a sort of stressful occasion, but ultimately awesome because I got to walk on those things called sidewalks, plus I also felt the thrill of reuniting with my car on the fourth deck of a rather large and complex parking garage...anyway, I dug the city!  I miss the city, any city!#  I should have spent more time walking around while I was there, but I was bombed after just two hours of sleep the night before, plus I still had the 1.5ish hour drive back, albeit minus ~0.25 hrs of securing a parking spot.  BUT, if I lived in that city, I would just walk or bike or bus--the bus system is actually free.  No joke!

Alas, my plots to return to city life are continually thwarted by the demands of my husband's career, but meanwhile I'll hold down the couch and eat lots tomorrow.  I'm signed up for an ultramarathon on Saturday.  Apart from tempo runs 2 times/week in the gym, daily hikes/easy jogs with the dogs, and 40+ hrs/week on my feet, plus resistance exercises*, my training has been nil.  I can't remember my last long run.  So this will be an interesting experiment!

The ultra is the same 100K I did last year.  It's a loop so I could do half, or less, without undue inconvenience to anyone.  And, yes, just doing half, which practically feels like just a third, is a very attractive proposition.  Six-ish hours (hopefully), get done and home with daylight remaining, and then enjoy three full days of recovery.  I'm off until next Wednesday.  This is my misguided attempt at Christmas vacation, actually!

#My present sleep soundscape.
I pulled it out of retirement at about 4:30 am last night.  It's too quiet to sleep here (the jarring intermittent cries of wildlife don't help), but white noise apps wear off after a while, and so I have to combine or rotate them.

*An appeal to public gym owners: please put the yes-no machines facing a wall.  No mirror.  I use these machines because they replace clamshells for ITBS prevention, but at my present gym they're smack in the centre of all of the quasi-nautilus (I forget the brand) equipment, and this is kind of....showy.  It's awkward going in and repeatedly spreading my legs with a bunch of guys around.  I've never had any problems, and I'm pretty cool about gym ogling in general--hey, we're all human, we all glance--but these machines are simply too suggestive, plus they are impeded by my ankle-length skirts and petticoats unless I hike them up, and this simply shows too much ankle.  I jest, and I wear baggy pants, large headphones, and a thousand-yard stare when I use these machines...what is my problem, actually?