Saturday, January 19, 2013

Welcome Barkley!

I failed to mention in my last post that we have a new addition to the family.  Welcome our new dog Barkley!

We brought Barkley home right before Christmas.  Then, she was 8 weeks.  Now she's 13 weeks and already doubled in weight! Barkley is a Siberian Husky.  What a beauty! Before we decided to get a husky we did a lot of reading on their habits, traits, etc. In some cases what we found out was astounding! Huskies can run up to 30 mph.  (I knew they were fast, Idiatrod and all but WOW!)  They can run fast and run long.  I came across an interesting blog on an ultrarunner who actually runs her ultras WITH her huskies! WOW! You can find her blog here

I have to say, huskies seem to be the perfect ultra running partner.  But you MUST MUST MUST know what you're getting into.  They're a huge ball of energy, and get destructive if not excersized.  Two, three times a day even depending on how long you run. Barkley has been on introductory "feeler" runs with us so far, and she has yet to get tired on any of the runs. We are letting her go at her pace, so the runs turn into more of a fartlek running session. She sprints unbelievably fast, then stops for a sec to chew on some leaves. Such as been our runs thus far :-)
Thursday was the first quality workout she joined us for. She actually did hill repeats with my husband, our friend Crystal and myself.  Needless to say, she beat us all and it was her first time! So incredible!! We definitely can tell when we are not quick to excersize her during the day, when we want to get some work done before we take her out she gets antsy. And, as I said - a tad destructive.  Her form of destruction so far is chewing.  She has chewed my garmin charger to bits, our bedpost, and some socks to name a few things.  She's even taken a nice healthy dump right on my treadmill! So while huskies are beautiful dogs - do be careful if you're thinking you want one.  For us, with three runners in the house she's the perfect fit for our family. Many of these dogs do wind up being rescued though, and in speaking with Barkley's vet during today's visit he did say that so many of these dogs just go crazy - stir crazy because they go into homes where they aren't taken outside, aren't run, etc. and that he was very glad when he saw her because he could tell by looking at her nails she was definitely getting excersize. 
Despite what the vet said I was still worried we were running her too much, too soon.  I explained to the vet - "Hey we're marathoners and ultramarathoners, even my son ran a marathon - so we can run for long chunks of time and I'm a bit worried that we're doing too much with her right now." The vet just looked at me and laughed and said not to worry, that Barkley will definitely let us know when she's tired, and that honestly we really shouldn't worry about it, because if she isn't already - then soon she'll be running so much that we'll be the ones tired when it's all said and done, not her.  I can't imagine!! She really is an incredible dog and I'm glad we have her - and looking forward to many running and backpacking adventures with her in the near future!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Running and Beyond, New Happenings In The Non Running World

Let me start out by saying I hope everyone had a great holiday season and hope you are all working on those New Year's resolutions whatever they may be! Be it run faster, get a new job, eat better - may all your wishes come true in 2013!

For 2013 I have a slight change of plans.  I was originally supposed to run my favorite 100 miler, the Beast of Burden winter 100 - but family plans changed all that.  I'm so grateful for all those who wished me well for Beast though!  You guys are the best!  I'm bummed I'm going to miss some of my favorite people and my favorite hundo, but it's all for the better from a non running point of view.    In fact - I couldn't be more ecstatic! My son has chosen his career path and is so certain of it.  He's so excited, and this is just something I've never seen before.  It's incredible!  All the days and all the nights I've thought, hoped, he wouldn't wind up like me.  Behind a desk. Crunching numbers.  (although if that's what he loved to do, GREAT!)  But it is not in his blood to like something like that.  I knew it.  My husband knew it.  And my son knows it.  Over the years my son has watched my brother grow, develop, and become a firefighter.  He slowly drew inspiration from that - visiting his firehouse(s) and hearing about his job.  On a group run last year he mentioned that he *thought* he would be interested in firefighting as a profession.  I stuck that statement in the back of my mind and waited to see if he was serious or just being a teen :-) He was serious.  He became more so over the summer, so I then decided to call around to various fire departments to see if they let any youth come and volunteer at the fire station.  I wasn't sure what he could, but was thinking maybe odds and ends like cleaning the fire trucks or silly stuff like that.  Throughout the process I found out that Perry Township Fire Department has a free program for teens interested in fire fighting called the Fire Explorers. 
It's really an incredible program - they train just like the real firefighters, doing simulations and studying ems among other things.  So great!!  The head of the program, Brian, told me my son would have to come on a panel interview if he was interested - the interview would be done by him and all the other fire explorers in the program.  After the interview they would meet and discuss, and then my son would get a call either way.  Well - he went on his interview and did get on the Explorer team!!
He was thrilled, and started in September! The group meets several times a month.  He had one meeting before I went to G2G, his first...and another meeting during my time in Utah - and has been going ever since.  The pride he has for this program is incredible, I've never seen him this way before.  The group is already like a family to him, and he's excited each time he goes to the program.  (The last time I dropped him off he was so pumped he jumped out of my moving car when we got into the parking lot.  SERIOUSLY!!) 
So, needless to say this has all kept me busy.  Add in the normal December volunteering he does as well as trips to visit Auburn our December was action packed but in a very good way.  I just can't ask for anything more.  If my son is happy with his career, with what he does in life - if he truly enjoys it that's all I want. Nothing more. And it really looks like that's going to happen.

On Auburn:
Auburn is a 2 year vocational program he would go to, if selected.  It is an EMS program.  He has applied and will find out in March if he gets selected.  Not only would Auburn save us money after high school/into college but he'll have hands on experience.  (When visiting the instructor said within the first week of the program one year some students saw their first fatality unfortunately.  Many people have spoken to him about this so he realizes what it is he's getting into.)  With the program he would have a medic license as soon as he graduates from high school, which would allow him to become a Fire-medic right after graduation.  (Most firefighters in our area are fire-medics).  So right now the visiting is done, the application is in - and he's waiting to get an interview.  Then we wait until March!  Fingers crossed for my mini! It's not the end of the world for him if he doesn't get in - he would still be able to pursue his path of course but this would make it much quicker.  During the visitations to Auburn the students in the program said they STUDY.  REALLY study.  They all said the program was extremely hard, and a few came up to him and said they usually are studying until 10 at night.  The instructor told him it was the hardest program at Auburn.  He listened, we discussed what the students and instructor said - and without hesitation he said he still wanted to do it, that he was 100% certain.  OK then!   Quite a few of the Explorers are in the program, and the ones that weren't applied with my mini.   There is a 20 student maximum for the program. The program services several school districts in the area, with applications coming in from all of them.   So again fingers crossed and hoping they all get in! The plan for after he graduates high school will be to find a job of course, but also attend college at Lakeland - they have a great Fire Science and Emergency Management program there.  I've been in contact with the director of the program and he tells me there will be an open house soon.  FUN!!

On the Explorers:
Since my son has been doing the program since September, and he's going to be 16 in March he'll be going to the Fire Department a little more than usual, aside from the normal Fire Explorer class - to study up.  Once an Explorer gets to be a Level 2 explorer (you have to test for that) they are allowed to ride along on firefighting calls.  He can take his Level 2 test when he turns 16 so he is gearing up for it now.  Aside from that - he's also going to be taking a Lifeguard Certification training class in April! (oh and his driving test lol)

So as you can see, ultras have taken a bit of a back burner for now.  As always - FAMILY over running. Nothing new as far as that's gone for me.  It's why I usually trained waking up at 2 a.m, 3 a.m. on a regular basis when nothing out of the usual was going on - to not interrupt family time in regards to my training.  Family will ALWAYS take precedence over running.  I won't run if it means I have to miss one of my son's events - things like that are far too important.  We only have a couple more years before my mini won't be my mini anymore, and I don't want to miss a minute.  There will always be runs, there's plenty of time for that.  I don't NEED to run every race I hear of, I don't NEED to run xxx amount of races to get my fix.  My family is my fix and my running will always be there.  Whether it be a 5k or 100 miles, it will always be there.  So the focus now for me, while my mileage is reduced by hovering in parking lots waiting for my guy to come out will be the marathon.  I have a lofty goal to improve on my Boston Marathon time by a little over 28 minutes.  I really REALLY don't know if I have it in me to do this.  But - I'm definitely going to give it my all.  The timing is right to do this, so I will work my hardest! I had to have a  "crazy out there" goal if I wasn't going to run any ultras for awhile.  You see, the thing with me is....I get excited, very VERY excited about a goal that I'm not sure I can accomplish.  It's why I originally ran BoB winter 100 - because I was unsure if I could finish a nasty winter race with my asthma. First place was just the icing on the cake! 

In between the marathon and now there will be quite a few smaller prep races.  After the marathon, which will be in October, I will be looking into ultras again. By then my mini will be driving (and he's hoping he'll have a job) and I should have a lot more time on my hands.  Potential ultra right now is Hellgate (100k), if I can figure out when/how to apply :-)  Sounds like a good one, and would be enough time after the marathon for some good training.