Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Stella recheck: Last one in 2016 (alternative title is FU 2016:(

I am beginning to hate the year 2016.  Lots of great people left this world.  Lots of great dogs left this world.  This has been the year of Stella's illness, the year of bleeding money, blind faith, and wavering hope. Sometimes i feel like I just need to put my big girl panties on and stop whining and posting about this shit. Sometimes I obsess and this is all I think about.  Yeah, it's just a dog, I get it.  But she is my dog.  My heart and soul.  My kiddo before my real kiddo.  And it fucking sucks to see her suffer.  Let me back up a bit.

We started her new drug combo on Monday, December 19th.  Azathioprine plus the steriods she was already on, prednisone (15 mg every other day).  Her last relapse we thought, was due to her going down to a level of pred that was too low (10 mg every other day) and the fact that the cyclosporine was not doing anything to help.  We dropped the cyclo in hopes that a new immunosuppressant would do the trick.   Fast forward to yesterday.  The day after Christmas, a beautiful day in KS.  Stella, my iron gutted girl woke up and had diarrhea.  Odd, but well, shit happens.  We had not noticed anything missing food wise or crayon wise, so the cause of the upset tummy was a mystery.  She had been super active after starting the new drug combo, and that made us super hopeful.  I had not started walking with her again, but was tempted to.  She seemed like the old stella, the pre illness stella, and I was super hopeful that we had finally found the magic bullet.  I didn't dare breath a word on social media for fear of jinxing it.  Yeah, I am superstitious like that, stupid right?  I had however posted about stella's tummy to try to get information about pumpkin. You see, I had a can of 100% pure pumpkin that tony was intending to make pumpkin bread with, but I had no clue how much to give or how often.  I went to social media to get some answers, because most dog people I know carry that stuff around like it is gold.  I got lots of great answers, so I gave her a 2 tablespoons and hoped for the best.

Well, for a while, all was right with the world and she stopped gushing brown water out of her butt (which is a good thing, aussie butt hair likes to trap that stuff and I was tired of washing her butt with wet wipes).  We decided to throw the ball a few times for her and deuce as she was FULL of energy.  They were over joyed and raced after each throw.  She was fine during our session and looked great!  Now fast forward again a few hours later, and you have a dog that couldn't even walk.  It was like her hind end wouldn't work at all, like an old dog.  The pain seemed to be in either both back legs, as she would pick one up and put it down and then the other,  or in her hips.  She walked with a stiff gait, with both legs stiffly straight out.  I felt like the pain must be further up.  Of course the codeine she was prescribed doesn't do anything for the pain, but does knock her out.  She was panting constantly, with what appeared to be a stress pant, although she was not running a fever.  Her gums were pale, but her cap refill time was right at 3 seconds.  I decided to give her the codeine and pray it knocked her out and lessened her stress.

Lucky for me, while the codeine didn't really do anything for her pain, it  did knock her out, and she slept all night, no accidents.  I had given her a cup of rice with her pumpkin (2 tablespoons again) for dinner.  We were headed to KSU in the morning at 11 anyway, and my vet had said to wait and see what KSU wanted to do about her tummy, so no meds that night. Of course while I was running, she pooped all over the dining room, but at least runny water is easy to clean up.  An aside though, never have witnessed a dog poop pure rice.  Kept having to remind myself it was NOT worms, just undigested rice.  Had flashbacks to when I worked in a kennel and a dog pooped and puked up roundworms.  I digress.

At KSU we saw our normal guy and the student she saw last time.  They were both dismayed that she had a flare up.  They felt like the tummy issue was unrelated, although I am still not so sure.  She is on canned food for a few days and metrinidizole.  She of course had a slight fever and had pain in three joints, so full blown flare up.  We danced around the word relapse, but I am betting if she has a high white count in her blood work, that will change and we will be in relapse.  Here is where I am going out on a limb and trusting.  We all felt like because she was only one week into the loading dose of the Aza, that we could not conclude it was or was not working.  We are going to stay the course, get another week of the drug in her system, and then re evaluate.  I have been given the green light to do three or less days of 15mg pred dose when she has flare ups, to try and minimize the pain, since nothing really works to reduce her pain (last night was a 0 dose night and it killed me to not give her anything).  No more exercise, even thought I was previously told that exercise does NOT cause this disease to flare up.

I feel like we are having so many inconsistencies right now,  relapse versus flare, under control versus out of control.  As she lies next to me while i type and cry, she looks peaceful and pain free.  I feel like she is worth it, worth fighting for, worth every penny of re checks and blood work, and all of the  heart ache and worry.  I honestly spend more brain space on her most days than my own child.  My picture of normal and expected keeps changing.  I know for sure that this is a long drawn out fight and that there is no rule or reason to this disease, that each immune system is different and you can't really have expectations, but I want to have them. I want to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  I am hoping it isn't a freight train coming my way (thanks metallica for that one).  Please let us find the magic bullet, please????

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The in Between: Week 8

Hello Winter.  Nice of you to dump some nasty stuff on us.  Hoping this week thaws out our running routes.  Me and the Mill have a hate: hate relationship.

Monday:  Rest day.  Wrestling and grocery shopping.  PJ day at school.  Wishing we had PJ day at work.

Tuesday:  Planned 6 miles.  Ended up hitting the mill around 5:20ish.  Need to get up earlier I guess.  That was painful.  Had to get off twice to hit the restroom.  Pulled the damn key out three times, so each time the time and distance restarted itself.  Pretty sure I went more than 6.  Took a walk break every mile for a tenth, so I wouldn't loose my mind.  Watched a documentary on Neflix called Finding Traction about Nikki Kimball running the Long Trail in Vermont, and her attempt to break the men's record.  I wish it had been longer, because I finished it before my run was done, and it did help me stay distracted.  I will admit, when she was bawling during one of the hard times, I was crying right along with her.  That hit me right in all the feels.

Today was dress like your favorite Christmas character at school.  Andrew went as Rudolph and this decision was made at 7:42 am.  Let's just say some scrambling happened, but I made it work.

2T pants out of the too small drawer, a brown t shirt turned inside out, a long sleeved shirt that had black sleeves, some of my black dress socks for hooves, black socks of his he never wears for foot hooves, and some antlers I had just purchased at the dollar store.  Whew.  Plus my undergrad that works for me had theater make up for the red nose, since I don't have make up, well correction I have make up, just not bright red lipstick for a red nose.  

Wednesday:  Cross training.  Just listened to a podcast about strength training and how it increases your running efficiency.  Was pumped up to go home and work out.  Change of plans.  Sing, the animated movie about the koala bear who runs a theater and has a singing contest, came out and I had to go see it myself take andrew to see it.  We just had a brand new IMAX theater open up close to our house (well 2 miles closer than the old theater), so we took andrew as a surprise and had fun.  Someday I will start working out again!

Today was dress up nice day.  Should have ironed his shirt but oh well.

Thursday:  5 mile run planned.  Up bright and early and hoping for no ice.  I had driven our route on the way to the movies the night before, and it seemed okay as long as we went a different way into the gravel.  What I didn't account for was the fact that we had to do sidewalks in downtown, and there was still ice in places.  We took it slow and enjoyed the Christmas lights on our way out and back.  Funny how feels like 22 felt like summer after the previous few runs.

Friday:  Was suppose to be cross training and or strength.  I decided to switch things up since Christmas is on Sunday.  Did what work I had to do in the lab, and headed home for a quick run.  I actually ran in shorts and a long sleeved t and sweated!  I think we can say global warming is the real deal!  5 miles done.

Saturday:  12 miles planned.  I know it is hard to describe to others how a run is magical but this one truly was.  There was a fog that had freezing drizzle/air in it and it coated everything to make everything white.  I felt like I was running in a winter wonderland!

The funny thing was, it really was not that cold.  I was quite comfortable due to NO wind.  

We did catch sight of that loose dog again.  The dog ran away from us both times we saw it, and while scared, appeared to be unhurt.  My heart hurts for it though, because it is a short haired dog.  I couldn't call the sheriff's office, as my phone was dead, but at least he has somewhere he is bedding down and staying alive.  

My long run today just felt effortless.  Glad to see that life has returned to my legs once again.  When I got home, my mother in law made me scrambled eggs, biscuits, bacon, and for dessert chocolate gravy and a biscuit.  I so do love having family at home for the holidays!

Sunday:  Day off!  Christmas Day!!!!!!

27 miles.  Onward and upward!  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A time line of Stella's illness IMPA: Links to all Posts in 2016.

I have had some people ask about a time line of stella's illness or wanting posts, so I thought I would just make a blog post with all of the links to all of the posts here.  Remember this was originally diagnosed as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and is now a diagnosis of IMPA.  I am trying to get as much on my blog as I can about this horrible disease so that people can follow here story and see what worked and what didn't if their dog is ever diagnosed with this disease.

















Sunday, December 18, 2016

Are we still in the in between? Week 7?

I think I may be officially training again, need to clarify LOL!  There is some confusion, since I am still trying to figure out exactly what my goal is for spring 2017.  I have my spring races set, just need to make up my mind about what the heck I am doing with each of those races.  I have some warm up races and some possible goal races in mind, if I can figure out what the heck my goals are.  I would love to have a speedier marathon time, but I also would like to finish my next ultra stronger.

Monday:  Rest day and wrestling.

Tuesday:  6 miles planned.  Woke up to feels like 4 with a 12 mph wind.  Was kind of excited, since i felt like I had a good combo of clothing for this kind of weather.  Melly wasn't feeling well, so she opted out and I set out alone with Deuce.  Since my phone is a wimp and likes to die in this weather, I had gone ahead and put my Christmas music on.  Had in the back of my mind the dog that supposedly was attacking other dogs/animals out on my route.  I was hoping it had been found and captured.  Pretty sure I jumped at every sound I heard that was pretty much the crazy wind, until I got to one of the few houses on my route.  I am pretty sure it was a dog about the size of a lab that jumped out behind us.  Best I can tell, it was bedded down in the tall weeds around their mailbox.  It looked black, but hard to tell in the dark with just my head lamp.  Deuce headed out after it, as it was making screaming noises, but I called him off and he came back like a good boy.  If I was jumpy before that,  I was SUPER jumpy after that event.  I did contact the humane society that is located out there post my run, and I did look on all of the wamego pages to see if anyone had reported a loose dog, but saw no posts.  I also called the wamego PD, who referred me to the Pott County Sheriff's office who contacted animal control. I sure hope they found the poor dog!

Wednesday:  Does grocery shopping with a 4 year old count as cross training?  No?  Dang it!

Thursday:  Planned 5 miles.  Was really excited to maybe see the tail end of the geminid's meteor shower.  Nope.  Woke up to clouds.  It actually wasn't too cold this morning, no wind and feels like 24.  Didn't see any signs of the dog, so hoping it got caught or reunited with it's owners.

Friday:  I took the day off to take stella to KSU vet med and to do a thousand things on my list. Working out was one of those things. I purposely did not take a shower in the morning to force myself to not have any excuses not to work out.  Was raining and icy, so no bike ride outside.  As you probably guessed, no work out.  I ended up going to bed super early and getting 12 hours of sleep!  YIKES!

Saturday: 4-5 miles planned.  Supposedly sunday would be the colder, but dryer of the two days, so moved my long run to sunday.  Got up to snow and ice so made the right decision.

This was my view.  Chose to go 4 miles and had to play mind games with changing the speed just to get those 4.  Praying that I don't have to do 11 or 12 on there tomorrow!

I was replying to Melly on FB to take my mind off of the pain of the mill, and i accidentally hit the FB call button.  We ended up talking for the next two miles.  I think tomorrow if we both have to hit the dreadmill that we will have to do this.  She doesn't have an Iphone, so this would work!  All things aside, as much as I bitch about running on the mill, I am glad I have one, and that I don't have to go to a gym on these bad days.

Sunday:  11-12 miles planned.  We got a few inches of snow on top of ice, plus negative wind chills.  I decided to wait till 2 pm to run, when it was suppose to be the warmest temperature of the day.  I was hoping that there would be enough snow that my yak trax would make it easier to run.  I love running on snow, but I do NOT like running on ice.  I really couldn't tell via FB how the roads were at all, because most people were staying in and running on the mills.  Cold does not bother me, but ice does.  I went back and forth all day on what to do.  I really didn't think mentally I could do 11 or 12 miles on the mill, yet I didn't want to potentially break a bone, since I am officially entered and paid up for my full and my ultra.  

In the end, I decided to suit up and head out.  My hubby even gave me an early Christmas present before I left, new Mizuno breath thermo gloves and a new winter hat from saucony with a pony trail hole!  I ended up wearing a full face/head buff, a buff for my neck, my mizuno breath thermo base layer, some fleece lined running pants from road runner sports, compression socks, a running skirt, my brooks jacket, my new mizuno breath thermo gloves, new saucony hat and my UD pack.  My phone, although buried under several layers died at mile 2.5.  My honey stinger waffles also froze again, and were super hard to eat.  The nipple of the one bottle I had in my pack froze solid, so I couldn't take in any more liquids past about mile 5.   I only made it 10.23 miles, as I was kind of worried about the fact that ice on the gravel was super slick, and that there were many spots where the snow had been plowed and or drifted, which made my yak traxs useless and kind of painful to wear.  My fear was that I would slip and fall and hurt myself, and not have a way to call tony.  I knew I could finish up on the mill.  I was nice and warm, not sweating, just a nice level of warm, even though I had frozen eye lashes.  I made it back, changed quickly, and hit the mill to finish out a little over 11 miles.  Let's just say this winter is going to be very, very interesting.  How do all of y'all train for Boston in this mess?

26 total miles.  Hello winter.  It's going to be long and interesting.  

Friday, December 16, 2016

My Year in Running Fun

Okay I just love filling these out so here goes another one:

Best Race Experience:  Hands down Running with the Cows!  They always know how to put on an amazing race!  Between the super cute merchandise, the huge party afterwards, and the change back to the old course, I will always love this race.  While my spring plans are changed, and I might not be able to run this race since it will be so close to my 50K, If I can, I will run it and will continue to run this race forever and ever :) This year was the perfect storm of cool temps and low humidity, which helped me reach my current half PR of 2:05.  PR or not, this is my favorite race of the year and one that will keep me smiling forever!

I will have to give an honorable mention here though to the Kansas Rails to Trails crew. Talk about the BEST aid stations EVER!  I have never been taken such good care of at a race.  I will NEVER forgot how wonderful those ladies were at the last manned aid station on my way back to the finish.  They took such great care of me, filling my water bottles, cooling me down with an ice cold towel around my neck, and getting me some flat coke to drink. Going into those tents at the manned aid stations were like walking into a golden corral.  Every food you could possible need was present and displayed!  I am sure this is standard at most ultras but it blew me away!

Best Run:  SO hard to pick just one.  Many beautiful sunsets witnessed out on the prairie.  So many tough training runs accomplished.  While I focused more on mileage and less on speed, I didn't have those huge highs that come from nailing a tough work out, but I did have some highs from hitting mileage that I had never done before in training.  I did multiple 20 mile runs this year and some 22 mile runs!

Best New Piece of Gear:  My ultimate direction AK 2.0 vest and my gypsy runner double pocket shorts are a tie.  Both helped me run efficiently this year and make it through the heat of training in yet another Kansas summer.  I LOVE the body bottles and how they fit in the pack, and I love having more pockets:) I am a pack mule when it comes to training and racing and love having everything I need on my body.  I really like having the shorts and the vest so I can pack my vest with fuel and my shorts can contain my giant phone in it's otterbox case.

Best Running Advice you have Received this year:  Don't pee right before you run, especially an ultra!  I seriously learned the hard way on this one. I am a nervous pee-er, and I thought that emptying my bladder 2 minutes before the gun went off would be a good deal.  I chaffed the inside of my bladder basically, and peed blood for 2 days.  Running an ultra is hard and running an ultra with an angry chaffed bladder doesn't make it better.  Lesson learned, start out with a little pee in the tank.


Most inspirational Runner: Meb.  Hands down.  Watching him run at the trials and then at the olympics was amazing.  When he fell at the finish line and  did some push ups to show how tough (and that he has a sense of humor even at the olympics) he was just showed what an amazing character he is.  He isn't much older than me, so if he can go out and push it and train for all of these big races, so can i for my little races :)

Favorite picture from a run or race this year:  Don't make me choose just one!!!

Okay if i HAVE to choose one, it would be this one.  Such concentration on that little face!   I also love ALL of the pics that Mile 90 photography got of me at my second ultra attempt.  

Runner up:) . Someone stop my garmin please, because I think I am in shock :)

Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat!  I feel like this post is pretty much about the same two races but when you love a race, you just love it! I will take the experience of the aid stations from Rails to Trails and the pre and post run from Running with the Cows.  I can't wait to do more ultras to see if that is the experience that all have at these distances.

Of course I also love Wicked here in my hometown of Wamego KS!  Who doesn't love Oz themed gear and medals, a start and finish within walking distance of my front door, and running through the cute little town I love?  Come join me and run with me this spring in the flint hills of Kansas!  Go to this link to sign up!

If you could sum up your year in one or two words, what would they be?  Epic and crazy

Bring on 2017!  Planning at least one ultra and 2 fulls!  Let's do this!

Stella Recheck: Changing drugs

Another recheck and more decisions.  I will admit, she has been doing pretty well, but sometimes on the morning after her 0 dose of the roids, she will be lame.  It isn't horrible like three legged lame, but I can still tell she hurts and with no go to pain meds now, I have no way to help her through till she get the 15 mg dose the next night.  It also seems on the bad days for the steriods to kick in if you will.  Anyway, I had been in email contact with her Internal Med doctor and we had discussed some plans of attack.  Here are my previous thoughts about things, so I don't have to type them again.   The gist of my questions was and is, can we use human drugs, is the cyclosporine working at all, and can we use dexamethasone versus prednisone.

We both agreed that the cyclosporine was probably not doing anything since she relapsed again.  Dr. S also thought that she would not have any lameness at all if the cyclosporine was working.  He agreed that we could try another popular immunosuppressor Azathioprine.  It is a much cheaper drug (about a dollar per pill), but it comes with a drawback of blood monitoring for the period of time that she is loading onto the dose.  Hopefully the loading dose will last for 2 weeks before she goes to an every other day dosage.  At that time, if she is tolerating everything well, we will attempt to remove the steriods again.  The main goal here is NO STEROIDS PERIOD.  I understand it and I hope we can achieve this goal, but I am also prepared that we may not be able to or it make take a very long time.

I also was very concerned about her growing midsection.  She pretty much looks preggers at this point.  I have been monitoring her food and making sure she isn't sneaking snacks or eating other dog's food and she isn't hers (well unless you count the crayons she has probably helped Deuce eat lately).  His comment was that this is part of the prednisone doing it's job and we can't really counteract it with food or exercise.  

I feel confident that at least we are trying something different, instead of trying again to just lower the dose of the roids.  Yeah, it's going to suck to have to take her in once a week for blood work, but I am so hoping this works and will be all worth it in the long run!  I am cautiously optimistic!  I did try and convince Dr. S to start a clinical trial and he just laughed.  It was worth the try:) . 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016: A year in Running Pictures

I was looking for a picture on my FB page, and came across some really good memories, so I thought I would go ahead and review my year, because what good blogger doesn't?  Let's start off with what happened at the beginning, shall we?  I became a Nuun ambassador first off.  While it hasn't exactly gone as I had planned, I was really honored to be a rep for a product that I use regularly.  While, I still use Nuun on all of my long runs and races, the new formula doesn't agree with my tummy, so I use it half strength.  I will not be renewing my ambassador ship, not because of that, but because I feel like I have not held up my end of the bargain.  I am not good at hashtagging every picture I take, and while I have gotten several of my friends hooked on Nuun, I just don't feel like I do enough for them to want me back.  It was super fun Nuun! 

I got to go to San Deigo again and run in that beautiful city.  While I won't get to go this year (major sad face), I will cherish all the running I got to do there in 2016.  I really could look at this scene each and every day for the rest of my life.  Still laughing at the fact that I was running in shorts and a tank, while the runners there were in full winter gear.  Perspective right?

Melly and I had a great winter/spring training.  I had a little foot injury (that still likes to rear it's ugly head), but other than that, we hit all of our paces, and generally loved having a pretty mild winter.  

The good new was that my foot wasn't broken and no official diagnosis was given, but through massage and chiropractics,  and LOTS of PT, my foot mostly behaves now.  The band of muscles that goes across the bottom of my foot likes to get grumpy and cause all kinds of issues.  Dry needling and some pretty painful massage keeps it in check.

I decided not to run the St. Pat's 10K and 2 miler this year, but miss Melly did and did well!  I was the official sherpa for these races, and enjoyed watching everyone run from the comfort of the coffee shops in Aggieville.

Stella and I finished our second official half marathon with running the Wicked in the rain with the Tin man, whose name is Michelle as well, how cool!  We paced her to a big PR and I still love, love, love this race!  

I did my third year of the Heartland Series and earned my 3rd year finisher's jacket.  This was Melly's second year, so she got her bigger medal that fits with her smaller first year medal.  We about froze to death at the Rock the Parkway Half, and had to share clothing amongst our selves to keep warm, as none of us brought clothing for that cold of weather.  

It was a bit warmer for the Garmin Half!  We had a new race course and a new race expo, in which Gypsy runner was present.  Seriously,  I could spend so much money at her booth. I LOVE her clothing!!!!

We even got to run together till she had to split off for the full and me for the half.  Amy seriously is the nicest person I have ever met!  Please visit her online store at www.gypsyrunner.com and spread some love for yourself or one or all of your runner friends!  You won't regret it!

I also ran a 5 K in Lawrence KS that benefited the local humane society.  I love races that let me run with my pups!  We didn't get a PR, even though the official time said we did.  Pretty sure the race was short, like super short.  Oh well, it was fun and my baby girl got to run with me!

Baby D even started running with me on a more regular rotation.  He isn't a fan of heat or humidity, but he stepped up and loved being a part of our running addiction.  

Next up was Running with the Cows, the final race of the Heartland Series and my PR for the half!  I finally hit 2:05, a goal I have been working towards for two years.  

Andrew and I were ambassadors for the Wicked Half and Full (and this year a 5 K as well!!!!) at the Bill Synder Half.  We had a table with lots of goodies and informed tons of racers about a great local race just a few miles down the road.  Seriously, come run this race with me in the beautiful town of Wamego KS!  Visit http://wickedmarathon.org/ and sign up today!  There is even a virtual option for those who want that Oz themed medal, but can't make it to Kansas.  And YES, you can run with your dog as long as you register them as well.

In June, the nightmare began with my favorite running partner.  This was taken the day it started.  We are almost 6 months into this disease, and while we sort of have it under control, we are still having good days and bad days.  IMPA in dogs is a horrible disease, and I wish we could convince her body to quit attacking itself.  

Round about this time, my BRF got married in beautiful Colorado.  I am so lucky to have her, as well as her running hubby as close friends.  The wedding was so amazing, and Tony and I got a much needed get away, even if it was for only a few days.  I really loved living in Colorado a few years ago and hope we can move back west at some point in our lives.

The summer was devoted to training for my first 50K.  After running Chicago the year before, I felt like I had more to run than a marathon in me.  Thanks to my distance training, I was rewarded with a  PR at the 10 K distance of 56:32.  Brew to shoe was hot, fast, and fun and I finished upright:)  Instead of running the Speedy PD 10K, I volunteered and really enjoyed it!  After the race, Melly and i got our long run in out at Tuttle Creek lake and it was beautiful!

I also did a local 5K that benefitted our schools.  Run Back to School is a fast and fun 5K that benefits the very school that andrew will be attending next year!!!  I got an AG award and I also won best dressed female.  Full disclosure, I think I was the only female sort of dressed up.  The theme was super heroes, so not sure what exactly I was going for.  Sparkly cow star girl?

Andrew ran his first kid's race and got his very first medal!  This kid has some speed in him!  The race was a block long, but up a hill.  I can't wait for him to run more races this year.  Please let him get the running bug!

Training in the summer is always hard, but we made it fun.  We ran four days a week, with 2 runs during the week, and 2 runs being back to back long runs on the weekend.  We tried to get the shorter of the two long runs on technical trails, and the longer run on our normal route flat gravel route.  Melly and I got new packs, and we both tried new fuel for the longer distance.  I found that honey stinger waffles and fig bars worked well for me, and Melly turned to Tail wind.  

Some runs just flat out sucked, thanks to the hot and humid summer in KS, but Melly always knew how to make me laugh and finish strong.  

We used Konquer the Konza 25K as warm up for our 50K race.  We both placed in our age group, with Melly getting a 1st and me getting a 3rd. 

I just love this pic from the race.  Barb VS took it, and I will always cherish it.  I hope he learns to love running as much as I do!  So much seriousness in that little face, and yes daddy dressed him that day:)  

Unfortunately, our first 50K attempt ended in a DNF for melly and I.  The horrible heat, combined with a late start, no shade, and running in a rutted bike trail got both of us.  Melly had to drop at mile 17, and I had to drop at mile 22ish.  I learned a lot that day, mainly that I way tougher than I thought I ever was as a runner.  Those trails were NO joke, and I almost conquered them!

I took recovery seriously, but I also had thoughts about doing another race to avenge my DNF.  After talking to several other long time runners, I decided to enter another 50K and try again. I was hoping that the weather would be cooler towards the end of October.  I was wrong, but it was a good idea at least:).

It was hot and pretty windy, but the trail was pretty flat and forgiving, so I finished and avenged my DNF.  I honestly can't wait to do my next 50K.  While I am slow, I feel like Ultras are definitely my thing and ultra runners are my tribe.  I will never be able to do a regular road race ever again (well unless I get into Chicago, but well Chicago is just epic like that).  The aid stations are like meccas of wonderfulness, and the volunteers are so amazing and helping you with your every need.

I ended the year in recovery mode with my new four legged running partner.  Deuce has stepped up his game, and is regularly running with me.  We haven't started back hill training or speed work, so will see how he likes that, but thus far, he is doing great.  He is up to a long run of 11 miles already, and not showing any signs of slowing down.  Where he use to hang out behind me or dragging beside Stella, he now regular runs in front of me.  Melly and I are shocked that he takes it so seriously now!

I can't wait to see what the new year brings.  This will be my first two marathon year and maybe I can pull out two 50Ks in a year?  I will be running the marathon formally known as the Andrew Jackson Marathon and Chicago again (EEEEK, just found out).  I entered the Chicago lottery on a lark, not thinking I would get in but I did!  Tony and I had SO much fun and learned so much last time that I thought it would be fun to go back and do it again a second time.  

Have a great rest of 2016 and hope 2017 is just as awesome and epic for you and me as 2016 was!!!