Mutt Monday: Adoption Tails

Saturday’s Workout: Ran 5.5 sets of 10 flights of stairs (27 steps per flight) at the local college. That’s 1485 stairs. Roundtrip I walked 3-ish miles. 

Sunday’s Workout: Run-Walk intervals at the high school track. Run 200 m (1/2 lap), Walk 100m (1/4 lap). Repeat for 12.5 laps = 5K. Time: 36:56.

… … …

This is Caesar, he’s a French bulldog puppy with a heart murmur and an umbilical hernia. I declare right now: I love this dog.

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In this first pen there are 6 puppies – Ceasar (he’s the white one fast asleep); 1 Boston Terrier, Penelope (she’s the brown and white one with a red collar); 1  wirehaired miniature dachshund, Tellulah Belle (she’s the brown dog sitting on Caesar); and 3 terrier mixes, Honor, Treasure, and Justice. OMDog, so cute

In the second pen are 6 more puppies: 1 chocolate lab, 1 great Pyrenees/spring spaniel mix, 1 black lab, and 3 australian shepherd/blue heeler mixes. The cuteness is overflowing!

photo 2 photo 3

I spent 3 hours with all these guys on Saturday. It’s okay, you can be jealous. 

Mutt Monday:

Volunteering with a dog rescue, I meet some really interesting people. Saturday’s adoption event was like many, some really great people and some really odd people. Here are a few tips about what you might consider at dog adoption events:

1. We aren’t selling dogs or puppies. They are available for adoption. They have an adoption fee. But they aren’t an off the shelf product for sale.

2. Try before you buy. Ask me to get a dog out so you can interact with it. Take the dog for a walk outside. Schedule a meet-and-greet so your kids/spouse/other pets can meet the dog. And ask me questions! The biggest benefit of an all foster rescue system is that we know these dogs! Don’t pick based on looks alone.

3. It’s not first come first serve. Fill out an application and we’ll be in touch. My last foster dog received more than a dozen applications. Most were amazing families but ultimately I had to find the best fit for her.

4. If you can’t afford the adoption fee, you can’t afford the dog. You think $500 for a puppy that comes spayed or neutered, with all its shots and a microchip is expensive? Wait until that puppy eats your kids’ Halloween candy and you go to the ER vet at 10 PM on a Sunday. No new shoes for mama for a while. 

5. You are allowed to look, pet, and admire and not take one home. Don’t feel bad. We all wish we could adopt them all but we can’t. It’s ok the just pet and leave. The dogs love the attention. Can’t adopt? Then foster. Can’t foster? Then donate. Can’t donate? Then help spread the word.

And just for fun, here is our cat, Indigo, thinking that my warm jam jars make for a nice pillow.  

photo 1

How cute is Caesar? I so want to foster his squishy little face. I’m not sure his name suits him. What name does he look like to you? I’m sorta feeling Franklin. 

Lately, I love…

Yesterday’s Workout: Ran 5 sets of 10 flights of stairs (29 steps per flight) at the local college. That’s 1450 stairs. Bam! Roundtrip I walked 3.05 miles. And it felt so good!
Today’s Workout: Run-Walk intervals at the high school track. Run 200 m (1/2 lap), Walk 100m (1/4 lap). Repeat for 12.5 laps = 5K. Time: 37:21.

… … …

I know I have it good. Really good, in fact. I know that a couple months on crutches and several months of recovery are nothing compared to what a lot of people go through. But for me, these last couple months been eye opening and have helped remind me what I love, what I’m grateful for.

Lately, I really love my husband.
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He is my rock. His sense of humor is often inappropriate but always on the mark. I love that we give each other a hard time as a way of showing love. He reminds me to appreciate life and live in the moment. And lately, he’s been my walking and workout buddy and I love that.

Lately, I can’t get enough of my mutts.
IMG_6200 IMG_6257
I recently fostered a squishy face, Boston Terrier named Roxy. She had a meet-and-greet with a nice couple that didn’t workout. Then another couple who I thought was perfect for her, and turned out to be her forever home family. As they contemplated adopting her, I told them the undeniable truth – having 2 dogs costs twice as much as having 1. But I also assured them that having 2 dogs meant twice the fun and love of having 1. I am so lucky to walk through the front door and have more than 20 paws (yikes!) bouncing up and down, excited that I have once again returned home!

Lately, I’ve appreciated living in such a beautiful place.

It’s so easy to take Seattle for granted. I remember running errands with my mom a few years ago and commenting on how beautiful the mountains were and how cool it was that we have mountains in every direction (the Olympics to the West, Mount Baker to the North, the Cascades to the east, and Mount Rainier to the South). She was take aback; she said when she was my age she had no appreciation for things like that. I reminded her that at my age she lived in Ohio and saw nothing but flat wheat and corn fields as far as the eye could see. It was a different kind of beauty, but the kind I’m surrounded by is undeniable.

Lately, now that my hip is on the mend, I’m am embracing my ability to be active.
IMG_6055 IMG_6127 IMG_6337 IMG_6366
I can’t seem to get enough. I sit at work for 8 hours and think about what I’m going to do when I get home – cycle, go for a walk, throw the frisbee around, even just gardening and doing chores. Don’t get me wrong, I get my dose of TV time (hello physical therapy exercise entertainment) but I am loving feeling healthy again. It’s amazing.

What are you loving (the most) lately? The summer weather? Your own pets or family? Wine?

You smell different when you’re awake – Vol 3 (Anniversary Edition)

Yesterday I celebrated 7 years of marriage with the most awesome guy I know.
He gets me.
I get him.

Photo A Photo C
Our major celebration was on Saturday at our first concert of the summer – the Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry, and the Plain White T’s.
Photo D Photo B
The weather was perfect (overcast but just warm enough). The venue was beautiful (the Chateau Ste. Michelle, one of my top two favorite local concert venues), and we collectively drank 3 bottles of wine, Mmm Mmm.
Photo E Photo F

On Sunday, we continued our celebration by going out to dinner. He had the French Dip (totally predictable). I had the Asian Chicken Salad (equally predictable). We drank, we ate, and we drank some more. And we laughed, because that’s what life is really about.
Photo 1 Photo 2

And now for the You Smell Differently… Funny Moment of the week.
photo 3
Him: *points to beer list and laughs*
Me: “Danger Ale? Dick Danger Ale?”
Him: “Oh, I thought it said dangler.”
Nice dear. No, but that would be such a better name.

Last night, on our actual anniversary we did what we do best, cooked dinner in, watched TV with the mutts, and went for a nice evening walk.
Photo 4

Happy anniversary, babe! I love you. Here’s to many more years of putting up with each other and a lot more laughs.

How I got my Diagnosis – by the numbers

If you haven’t already read them, you might want to start with these:
The Beginning: My Injury Diagnosis
Part one: How I got Injured [alternate title: How to (almost) Break your Leg]

Part two: How I got my Diagnosis
I thought this would be fun to summarize my route to diagnosis by the numbers.

2 – The number of half marathons I ran in March
18 – Number of days of complete rest I took before seeking medical assistance
2 – Number of half marathons I registered for during those days of rest (Tacoma Narrows in August and Beat the Blerch in September)
3 – Rooms of my house I painted while not knowing I had a practically broken hip, because that is a runner’s idea of “taking it easy” on the weekend
IMG_3050 IMG_3075
3 – Pieces of Ikea furniture I built, by myself, while not knowing my hip was ready to snap, because that too is my idea of relaxing.
2 – Number of times I tried to run on the treadmill during my recovery phase, before I admitted something wasn’t quite right. Not to worry, when I hit 1/10th of a mile and realized running still felt ‘off’, I finished it out by walking the rest of the mile, ’cause I’m no quitter.

 - Number of Chiropractic, Physical Therapy and Massage Therapy appointments I attended
10 – Time span, in days, over which those appointments took place
63.49 – Dollars I spent on physical therapy aids (including a blood pressure cuff for an SI joint strengthening excercise and the worlds best ice pack, a Torex)
60 – Minutes per day, for two weeks, that I was doing PT exercises to strengthen my SI joint
3 – Combined number of MRI and Xray imaging studies I had completed – MRI of the lumbar spine, X-ray of the Hip and Pelvis, MRI of the Hip
2 – Approximate minutes passed between the time they pulled me out of the MRI tube and told me I needed to be on crutches. Now.
IMG_3467 IMG_3979
1 – Amazing sports medicine doctor who helped me get the diagnosis I needed and is managing my care with my complete trust and confidence
3 – Number of appointments I’ve had with said amazing sports med doc so far
1 – Helpful Orthopedic Hip Surgeon who I met and hope I don’t end up going to see again, because ain’t nobody got time for screws in their hip
3 – Number of said titanium screws we discussed putting in my hip
6 – Prescribed number of weeks I’m to be “non-weight bearing” on my right leg
4.7 – Number of those weeks I’ve completed so far
1.3 – Number of weeks I have left until we re-assess the status of my hip
47 – Dollars spent on a pedicure which was priceless!
69.5 – Hours I spent in Phoenix with my best friend for a girls weekend
jess poolside IMG_3683
126.5 – linear feet of crown molding I painted (with 4 coats of paint) last weekend, because seriously, that is ‘taking it easy’ for a dedicated runner on the weekend
1 - Number of times I’ve really lost it because the frustration of the crutches caught up with me. Thankfully the mutts were the only witnesses, because it wasn’t pretty.
50 - Percent of time which I’d say I ditch the crutches and am breaking the rules and bearing  weight while just trying to restrict activity as much as possible because crutches? They. Suck. And-plus-also, see the last statistic; losing it just isn’t healthy.
Unknown – The amount this injury has cost so far. The insurance explanation of benefits statements and doctor invoices are starting to roll in. I’ll try to do a summary post later about this, because I think it’s important to highlight. Running is not cheap.

0 – miles I’ve run, or walked, since March 15th. I miss it.

Next up – Part three: focusing on the positive during this period of recovery I’m currently navigating and what I’ve learned so far.


How to (almost) break your leg.

Come and listen to a story about a girl named Jess
A dedicated runner, barely took a day of rest,
Then one day she was running another half,
And a few hours later her leg gave her the shaft.
That little poem is intended to be sung to the theme song of the Beverly Hill Billies… Ok, let’s get serious…

I’ve been putting off writing this post for about a month, because I just can’t figure out how to tell this story. The story of how I got that dreaded diagnosis – Femoral Neck Stress Fracture.

I’m breaking this story up into a three part series:
1. How I got Injured
2. How I got my Diagnosis
3. What I’ve learned so far.

and so we begin… Part one: How I got injured.

It’s really quite simple: Overuse. In the span of 12 weeks I trained for and ran 2 half marathons, one of which was a PR race. I put in a total of 211 miles (walking and running, combined). And I probably did things a little too fast.

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Two training highlights – an unofficial 10K PR during a long training run and riding my new bike

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The result of all that training – the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon and the Saint Paddy’s Day Half Marathon.

In summary, I did this (Note, this includes running and walking mileage, combined):
Double Half Training
Looking back, that plan seems a little intense. But back during mid-December, I thought it was very sound. It was loosely based on Hal Higdon’s intermediate Half Marathon training plan. I re-arranged the days a bit to suit my lifestyle (I like having rest days on Fridays and long runs on Saturdays). One big goal of my training cycle was to run 5 days a week. Another goal was to cross train. I was fairly successful with the first goal and failed at the second. But I went into the races feeling like I accomplished what I’d planned.

I still don’t have a clear explanation for how I got injured, other than “overuse” which I think is sort of a cop-out. Over-what? Is there some invisible line I crossed? Can you tell me where it was? Because I didn’t see it. The doctors just keep saying I might have fractured my femur in a day or maybe over an extended period of time; I think it must have been that second half marathon that did me in because I had no pain during my training cycle. Even that first race was typical, I had discomfort similar to what I’ve experienced in previous races and that I associated with going out a little too fast at the start and pushing my limits to get that PR. I didn’t really hurt until that second (and last) race. In hindsight, I should have DNF’d but I was too determined at that point. My dedication was stronger than my reasoning.

Even (immediately) post-race, I was completely clueless that I was injured. I walked around, enjoyed my free and hard earned Little Caesar’s slice of pizza. It wasn’t until 30-40 minutes after this photo that I could not bear any weight on my right leg; I couldn’t walk without significant assistance. What happened in that time period? We visited the bar, ordered a beer and sat down for 20 minutes. Yep, there was no crazy fall, or glamorous moment where I can say “oh shit, I just did something wrong.” Instead, it slowly crept through my body while I rested and when I wanted to move again, my body totally disagreed with my plan.

… Coming up in Part Two, what I did between that post-race unable-to-walk moment and getting diagnosed with a stress fracture, during the 5 weeks which I thought were simple race-recovery but turned a really bad direction.

“You smell different when you’re awake.” – Vol 2

I’ve loved re-reading my last “You Smell Differently…” blog post several times over, so I’ve decided it needs to be a semi-regular (monthly?) feature. Me and the husband? One of the best things about us is our weird, twisted senses of humor. So, here are a few favorites from lately.

On a completely unrelated note, my 30th birthday is 5 months from today which will be just a few days after what should have been my first full marathon. I think, since I can’t run, I need to set a goal of losing a few pounds and getting to a really healthy, happy place instead. Any thoughts? I’ve got about 10 pounds that could totally go (I’ve been there before and loved it!) and am just having a hard time finding the motivation and discipline.

Alex and Jess - Goofy 1 Alex and Jess - Goofy 2

<working on building a ramp for our oldest dog to get from the deck to the yard>
Him: This [the slope] just has to be close, right?
Me: Yeah, I don’t think Tony’s gonna measure it later and tell you it doesn’t meet doggie ADA standards.

<To understand this next one, you first have to understand that Jack has a little issue; I call it a ‘leak’. You see, whenever he sits on your lap, he usually leaves behind a few or several drips of pee. So the other night, we were eating dinner outside and the husband kept pouring little pools of beer on the deck for Jack to lap up>
Me: <looking at Jack> I’d pick you up but I know you’ll leak on me.
Him: Jack’s like ‘If you thought I couldn’t hold my pee sober!…’

<Being injured, the husband keeps trying to get me to use those electric scooter carts at the grocery store or Target. I refuse, and just wear myself out crutch’in it around the store. We were discussing going to a nursery to get flowers for the planters on our deck>
Me: But I have crutches now. I can get around.
Him: You’re allowed to go to places that have scooters. That’s it.

Husband: I need to make you a smoothie tomorrow.
Me: Yeah, I need to start drinking those again. I think they’re a lot better for me than the granola bars I’ve been eating.
Him: *smiling* Yeah…
Me: Oh, you ate my last granola bar, didn’t you?

#5 <this series was all from last night. We went out drinking. I might have had a little too much>
Getting post-bar-drinking Taco-Bell snacks on our way home.
Me: I had a good afternoon.
Him: You know it’s 9:45 (PM) right?
Me: Yeah, but we started this adventure at 4:00
Him: Yeah buddy!
<long pause then total subject change>
Him: Doesn’t it kinda worry you how fast they made the chalupa? Like, BOOM! Chalupa! … I just want to feel like it’s fresh.

Me: <laughing while getting out of the car and leaning my crutches up against the garbage can>
Him: Let’s try to crutch. Not ass over teakettle. Step. Step. Step.

Me: <laughing> I tried to transcribe our conversation [for blog posterity]. It’s just a bunch of gibberish
Him: Jesus Christ, Jessica.

Me: <laughing> Uh, I spilled taco in our bed.
Him: Why am I not surprised there is taco in our bed?

<I ended the night by setting a glass of water on 1/2 of a coaster on my nightstand. It promptly fell to the floor and shattered. I’m pretty sure I just laughed.>
Him: It’s okay. It was one of your favorite glasses… I heard Whoosh, and then smash!

I Accidentally told Facebook I was Pregnant

Spoiler alert: I’m not pregnant. But apparently I’m a terrible writer, because for 30 minutes last Sunday, the internet thought I was.

flight collage

You see, I had a girls weekend in Phoenix with my best friend. She is pregnant (with my soon-to-be honorary nephew!) so this was a last hoorah of sorts.

My vacation recap is best told in pictures. We ate.
food collage

We shopped. I bought a new bikini, because i’m not pregnant and can totally rock it, and it had cute little pink palm trees on it.
jess poolside

We went to the movie theater and saw The Other Woman (because there is no way my husband would take me to see it). We soaked in the sunshine by the pool. I may or may not have gotten a sunburn, oops!
pool collage

And we Talked.A.Lot. We also took a few “Magnet Head” selfies. You know, those photos where it looks like your two heads are attracted to each other like magnets?
magnet photos

And like any typical self-centered, totally bragging, Facebook user, I posted a few photos while on vacay. Including this one, right before we sat down to enjoy some Yogurtloand froyo in the Phoenix sun.

facebook convo 1a

Just 30 minutes later, froyo gone and ready to head back to our hotel, I checked my phone and it had exploded with facebook alerts. The text from my husband read “Did you see that you announced you’re pregnant on Facebook?” Um, what? I immediately re-read the post and responded to the husband, “I wrote that post very carefully to complement how adorable K looks… The whole string of comments is pretty funny.” because this had happened:

facebook convo 1ab

Yeah. I guess my post was confusing? I still don’t see it. I very clearly said “with.” I think my friends must have baby-fever for me, maybe?

To make sure things were clear, I later posted this photo and tagged my over eager friends to make sure they understood, this wine-loving, half-marathon-crazy, running-mama is only parenting a pack of 4-legged mutts. There are no babies going on over here. Just a half-broken hip.

facebook convo 1c

 Now pass me another glass of wine!

Have you ever accidentally written a misleading post on Facebook?
Tell me, honestly, was my post that confusing? Do you think it sounded like I was the one with the baby bump?

The Beginning (My Injury Diagnosis)

Sometimes the best way to tell a story is by beginning at the end. The journey makes a lot more sense when you where where you’ll wind up. And while this is not the end of my journey it’s the end of a journey, the end of the first part of my story – the story where I finally figured out why I was in pain for a month following my last half marathon.

That right there is me, in scrubs, at my 3rd visit to the imaging center last week. And when they pulled me out of the MRI tube, the radiologist presented me with the following images.

Femoral Neck Stress Fracture
That is a stress fracture of my right femoral neck. The femoral neck is the narrow part of the femur, just below the ball, of the ball-and-socket, which makes up the hip joint. In the photo above, my right hip is actually on the left side of the photo. The fracture is the grey ‘crack’ within the very white area of the femur; the white is the inflammation of the bone marrow around the fracture.

Labral Tear
A more minor issue that I also have is a labral tear in the right hip. This is a tear of the soft tissue lining between the ball and the socket of the hip joint. This is something I’ve likely had for a much longer time and is not what is causing the pain I’ve been experiencing, but was interesting nonetheless. The tear is the ‘blip’ on the lower right side of the round grey ring in the photo above.

I’ve been on crutches for a week. I’ve got 5 more weeks of being on crutches and bearing no weight on my right leg. After 5 weeks, I’ll have a few more weeks of crutches, gradually increasing the amount of weight on bear on the right light. Then I’ll get to start walking again. Running is a solid 12+ weeks away and it’ll be a very slow build up. When asked if I could consider a fall 10K or half marathon, I was told to set might sights on a 5K.

Feel free to leave me some love. While I know this isn’t a hug deal, that it’ll heal, and that there are a lot worse things it could be, I’m still really bummed. Just because other people have it ‘harder’ doesn’t mean this isn’t hard. We all fight our own battles and this one is a physically and emotionally tolling one for me right now.

I’ll be back next week with the story of how the last few weeks got me to this point. Looking back, I wish I’d done a few things differently and I want to remember that, and hope it might help someone else someday.


Cancelled Plans and a Race Giveaway for you

So, remember that one time when I had no idea I’d broken my hip and couldn’t run for months and excitedly declared the inaugural Snohomish Women’s Run 10K in May to be my next goal race? A PR goal in particular. 

Yeah, well, I’m currently on a cannot walk plan. The full explanation is pending in an upcoming injury post, I promise. I’ve had a hard time writing that post because (a) it’ll probably need to be a series to tell the whole story, and (b) I’m still in the midst of figuring out just how bad this is and talking about it makes me sad, and (c) it’s hard to tell a story when you’re not really sure where the story is going yet.

In the meantime, how about a race giveaway? Snohomish Women’s Run is giving away two race entries over on Gametiime’s facebook page, click here for details on how to enter. The winner will be chosen Monday (4/28), so don’t procrastinate like I usually do.

Even though I’m not running, you should! And if you don’t win, you can still save 10% on your registration fee with the code: RUNYOURMUTTOFF2014. I can’t take advantage of my race entry, but I’m keeping my word and will still be supporting the race charity, because I think it’s a great thing to do.

Tell me, are you planning to run the race? Assuming I’m able-bodied enough in a few weeks, I’m hoping to go to the race and cheer on some runners. Knowing someone who is running would be extra encouragement for me to go and support you!

Five Things Friday

Can you believe it? Two posts in one week! It’s like I’m a real blogger or something. Here’s another list of Friday Five for ya’.

1. Molly is famous!
She’s been featured on a blog that isn’t mine! The amazing Lea at Running with Ollie has featured me and Molly as part of her Furry Friday Feature series! If you landed here via Lea’s blog, thanks so much for coming over to say hello! And to Lea, big thanks for sharing our profile and making Molly famous!

2. Injury update
Injury Update 2 Injury Update
Molly thinks this injury status is bullshit tolerable; she misses running and playing but the cuddles are a pretty decent trade-off while we live our life in 10 minute increments of icing. So far, all imaging has come back normal. Another MRI tomorrow; if it’s normal, we may need to reassess the current course (image after image after image is getting old).

3. Mutts & Life Lately
Life Lately
Despite my injury woes, we’re still having some fun around here. Last week we went to the Mariner’s Home Opener. We usually go to one M’s game each year and I’d never been to a home opener. It was a little too crowded to become an annual tradition for us but it was definitely fun!
Mutts 1 Mutts 2
The mutts have been livin’ it up too! Tony went on a field trip to the local brewery with us last weekend to enjoy some sunshine and treats. Look at that tongue, he loved his tasty snacks! And Diamond is the first mutt in the house to discover the new, extra plush bathroom rug. Pretty impressive considering she’s the only dog that can’t see it!

4. The Importance of Hydration
I may not be running but I’m still drinking!
Drink 1 Drink 2 Drink 3 Drink 4
I’ve just traded some of my water and Nuun for some wine, beer, and cocktails. It’s tough being on a strict rest-and-recovery plan.

5. Home Improvements
With a little extra time on my hands (several hours a week, that aren’t being spent pounding pavement), I’m trying to tick a few items off the never-ending home project list. I’ve got the living room/dining room/hallway repainted and decor put back together. And I built that ikea bookcase all by myself! Which freed up the little bookcase to move to the living room; it’s a work in progress.
House 1 House 2
This coming weekend, we’re hoping to build a ramp from our deck to the lawn. Tony has been struggling with the deck stairs, so it’s time to do his little old body a favor. I’ve sketched up a general plan… Stay tuned until next week to see if I’m still married. Kidding! Sorta. The husband and I work great together usually. And this project is way less complicated than several others we’ve conquered survived.
House 3 

What are you up to this weekend? If the weather is nice, will you be running or gardening (another task that I need to start getting on top of!)?