Easy Workout: Run the Dogs

Spring in Arizona: The days are getting longer, the afternoons are getting hotter, but the mornings are just getting gorgeouser.

Longer days + my later work schedule = waking up to nature’s alarm clock. The sun starts creeping in about 6:30 and I tried to fight it for the last few weeks, but this week I decided to embrace it.

When I took my new job, I really wanted to use the morning hours I was used to being up and at work anyway. It has worked, but more often than not, it has failed miserably. Not this week – and it wasn’t even a huge commitment.

When the sun woke me up about 40 minutes before I HAVE to get up, instead of fighting it for those 40 minutes, I laced up and took the pups for runs! This is the most genius thing I have done in a while, which is why I’m so excited to tell you. It’s probably common sense to everybody else and their mom, but for me, it took a while to get there.

(Yes, pups plural. Allow me to introduce Lily-girl, she is Sean’s dog.

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She’s a beautiful mutt – he was told boxer mix, but she turned out to be a tall and skinny medium-sized girl who looks more like a lab, whippet, Great Dane, maybe pointer of some sort, but everyone always tells us how gorgeous she is – her coat is super shiny! Sean got her as a puppy just a few weeks after we started dating and now, of course, we’re all together.)

Rigo is a racer and Lily is a bit of a klutz, so they can’t go together (maybe some day!), so one at a time, we go for a mile run. Then I do a few chores around the house, wait to stop sweating, take a shower and start my day – NBD.

Rigos happy post-run face

Rigos happy post-run face

We got these in three days this week and it was amazing because:

1. They got exercise so they wouldn’t go crazypants being in all day. 

2. I got exercise so if something came up after work and I had to skip my “real” workout, at least I got something for the day.

3. exercise-gives-you-endorphins

True story. I even made Sean’s lunch one morning – out of the goodness of my endorphin-loving heart. Running + sunshine is really just an amazing way to start the day.

4. As I said, Rigo’s a sprinter, but Lily’s no lazy girl, she keeps a pretty good pace. Our runs have been faster than my normal pace, which is great tempo training for my upcoming Pat’s Run.

5. I didn’t feel guilty about staying in bed when I was awake and could have been doing something more productive.

6. It’s good preparation for the summer when morning workouts will be the only option – if even that…there will probably be some days it’s just too hot for them.

So, that’s my life/exercise hack for the day – an easy-to-commit-to workout that kills about six stones with two little miles.


You Got Schnauzered: Petco 5K9

First of all, OMG Ragnar happened this weekend, but my brain still needs to process the (spoiler alert) AMAZING experience before I can think about recapping it, so in the mean time I’ll recap the 5K Rigo and I did on Sunday morning.

Yeah, I thought signing up for a 5K the day after a two-day 200-mile relay race was a good idea. Oops. A friend told me about the race and I wasn’t so sure, but then a Living Social deal came through a few days later so I took the sign from the universe and signed up.

Rigo stayed with my parents while I was gone and he’s always pretty exhausted from running around in their big backyard and the long walks my mom spoils him with, so when it was time to go yesterday morning, he wasn’t so sure.

Rigo 5K93

But, I told him how fun it would be and off we went. I was meeting the friend who told me about it and her family including her handsome tank of a dog, Rhino. We waited through a bark-filled national anthem and then we were ready to rock and roll!

My quads are pretty sore from Ragnar and I have a minor foot injury, but it was chilly and windy so I wanted to warm up and Rigo needed some personal space, so I decided we were running. We darted around some pups and found a nice open area, then walked, then a crowd started to come up behind us so we ran again, and kind of continued on with intervals like that.

The race took place around Tempe Town Lake, so again, a familar course for me, but it was Rigo’s first time. Some parts are a little crowded when it’s just people, so throw dogs in there too and it’s a squeeze, but it gets the job done. Rigo gives it two paws up.

We ran past some pretty tough looking dogs – labs and boxers and shepherds, oh my! We schnauzered all of them! Rigo doesn’t look like he’s ready to rock out a 5K at any time, but he is!

We jumped ahead of two more right at the end to finish in 34:32, Rigo’s first PR! And he literally slept all day after that, which was perfect for me because after my exciting, runtastic, sleep-deprived weekend, I was a tired puppy too!

What a Day!

Today. Is a Big. Day.

Two years ago today I started my job. I recently read on 20 Something Financial that for ages 23-27, 75% of workers were with their employer for less than 2 years, and 88% less than 5 years. Sadly, not in that bracket anymore, so for ages 28-32, 68% of workers were with their employer for less than 2 years, and 84% less than 5 years.

I felt like I was at my first job FOREVER. Reality: 23 months (plus some intern time there too). Then, I had two yearish long stints at two different hotels.  It’s a totally tootable horn! And, once a year, the job takes me away to this lovely place…

…so that’s nice!

That’s not all. One year ago today, I got keys to my first home! There are still things I’d like to do to the home and I’m already thinking of more space, but it’s fantastic to have lived in a place for a year and not be packing up to move onto my next apartment…what a pain!

And still…

One year ago today, my munchkin was born! I had no clue at the time he’d be mine, but the universe sure did. Happy birthday, Rigmonster!

See? Big day!

And me? I’m maxed out on my PTO (a perk of being in a job for a while!) so I’m taking a long weekend and you can find me on my mat and at the pool!

Retraining the Trainer

It’s no secret that Rigo is in better shape than I am, but in my defense, he’s seven in human years. Have you ever tried to race a seven-year-old? You will lose. Every time. And then, later that night, they’ll still be up for running around when all you can think about is laying on the couch. Yeah, that’s pretty much the same experience with a puppy.

However, Rigs also had some down time this summer. We did about a 3/4 mile walk every morning, but our days of running on the greenbelt have been long gone. I wasn’t running much and it was just too hot. However, I’ve been taking him on parts of my runs on the weekend mornings and he’s been okay – enthusiastic as always, but earlier this week I took him out for a little play time around 5pm and the start of a summer storm had blown in and the weather felt nice (keep in mind it’s been 110 degrees here every day for months so when it hits 90s, I’m breaking out my sweatshirts), so I decided to head out on the longer loop near my house – our old 1.75 mile route.

Long story short, Rigs didn’t handle it well. We got very close to home, but he gave up and spread eagle on some gravel. He’s usually such a trooper and add to that a lady (who was just trying to be helpful) rolled down her window and told me to be careful because her dog gets heat stroke. Cue my freak out. I picked up the little one and carried him most of the rest of the way. His little body was so warm and he was just panting his little heart out.

He didn’t want his treat when we got home, which I kind of figured he wouldn’t, but he did drink his water and let me rub his head and paws with a cool, wet cloth, which was recommended when I of course Googled “heat stroke in dogs” the second I walked in the door.

I know not to leave him in cars, not to leave him outside (even if it means leaving him out of family get-togethers because a certain someone in my family has decided her house is not dog-friendly) and in the really hot part of the summer, I made sure our mid-day walks were strictly business (in a condo, ALL potty breaks have to be walks), but I didn’t consider that even though 90s feels like a nice, cool break to me, I’m not covered in fur and walking on hot pavement with my bare tootsies.  It was selfish of me and scary enough that I’m sticking to our morning or nighttime walks until it’s cool enough and slowly working his mileage up. Even dogs need to retrain for the season!

Oh, the end of the long story short is that he eventually cooled off and his breathing eased up, he ate his treat and his dinner and took a little nap before running his usual suicide drills (back and forth between two imaginary lines in my bedroom and office) while I laid on the couch – too much excitement for a dogmom in one day!

The Fastest Half-Mile in the West

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit. I actually said it today because as much as I love my birthday month of August, I’m happy to see September and I’ve got some high hopes! But first, to finish August, in addition to my hot yoga sesh last night, I had one more little thing to do …

In July, I had no running goals..honestly, no real fitness goals at all except to take the pup for a long walk every morning or evening when it was cooler (you know, like 95 degrees) and get to the gym three times a week. In July I ran all of TWO miles. In August, it was time to get a little more serious and since I was starting up running again, I decided 35 miles was a good place to start.

Rigs takes after me in this sense…he must have gotten his run-like-the-wind gene elsewhere!

Running was not on my schedule for yesterday, but I added up my miles and was at 34.5! That’s just too close to not actually get there! And, yeah, I really did just run a half-mile, BUT I came home from yoga and my dog was being a crazypants, so even though it was still really hot and sunny out, I decided he could come along AND he picked the pace.

He runs like it’s the best and easiest thing in the world, so it was a tough half-mile (for me). And yes, I realize that not only are there athletes able to run a whole mile in the amount of time it took me to run my half, but there are super athletes who can run 26 consecutive miles at just about that my-half-mile-is-their-full-mile pace, but damn if it didn’t feel like a full-on sprint to me (3:56 for anyone keeping track)! A little butt-kicking every now and then is a good thing to remind myself what I’m capable of if I don’t let the mind games take over.

One of my high hopes for September is to get back in official training mode to help me prepare for my upcoming races – four 5Ks, one 10-miler and one half-marathon all before the end of the year! – so I joined the September Miles Madness Challenge! Ashley (She Runs Strong) and Cait (The Arty Runner Chick) made a bet to see whose team could run the most miles in September. All the runners have to do is pick a side and run their little hearts out!

I’m sure Cait is great, but Ashley is a Phoenix-area running and lifestyle coach and very involved with Girls on the Run Maricopa County…no contest! I’ve got a lot of miles on my training plan this month, plus I’m a smidge competitive, so…Go Team!

Are you running in September? Join me! Or join Team Cait and let’s get ready to rumble!

Rigo’s First Hike

Work out five times a week WIN! With one day and probably a yoga class to spare, I got in five workouts this week!

On Monday, I got off on the right foot with a pre-work run, swam on Wednesday afternoon, ran AND did a hot yoga class on Friday (yes, a two-a-day) and this morning, took Rigo for his first hike!

I was up way too early, but it was 70 degrees and I’m pretty sure I heard some angels singing – it’s really been heating up around here lately, so it was glorious – so I made the most of it and headed out to a trail I have been meaning to get to since I moved to North Scottsdale.

Lost Dog Wash is a multi-use trail system that’s part of the McDowell Mountains. The trailhead is pretty close to me, but five minutes into the hike and you can completely forget that you’re anywhere near civilization! It’s all mountains and saguaros.  There were a handful of other hikers and trail runners and some mountain bikers, but it was mostly quiet.

I took a trail that led to overlook Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West and some pretty views of the city. Rigo did not quite understand the concept of stopping to enjoy the view after the hard work and was ready to keep going! It was an out-and-back trail, so back we went for just over four miles total. I’m glad I finally made it out there and really glad it’s a dog-friendly trail that’s so close!

Five Little Minutes

My sister’s bridal shower last fall

My mom is celebrating Mother’s Day on an Alaskan cruise, so my MD was really just like any other Sunday. After some learning this morning, I took Rigo over to play at my parents’ house (and water their plants), then got to a much-needed (five days a week FAIL) hot yoga class  this afternoon.I guess it kinda wiped me out, so I took a little nap and woke up with a half-hour til the Desperate Housewives finale. Instead of wasting it, I got busy with all the stuff I’ve been putting off or would have put off and I was amazed that it only took five minutes to do each of the following:

  • Throw together this zucchini lasagna dish (healthy, ready-to-go leftovers for the week FTW)
  • Empty the dishwasher AND take out the trash
  • Give Rigo a bath because he got into something sticky at G-ma’s
  • Switch the laundry and change the sheets on my bed

By that point, the house was starting to smell delicious and I still had 10 minutes til my show!

Sometimes the little things seem like the hardest things to cross off the list because they’re so easy to put off, but I’m glad I’m starting my week at least a little ahead of the game!

What’s the best thing you’ve done with five minutes lately? Have you watched DH through its eight seasons? What did you think of the finale?! (It’s still on here, gotta go give it my full attention!)

Kiss Me I’m Irish Run

My good friend from high school came into town last weekend two weeks ago for a bachelorette party (she’s already back for the wedding!) and suggested we do a St. Patrick’s Day fun run she found in Glendale.

Yes. That is a bag o' poop I'm carrying.

The Kiss Me I’m Irish Run had three distances – 4K, 8K and 17K – and we decided since green beer was the reward for completing any of the distances, we’d stick to the 4K, which worked out well because the night before I decided to take Rigo to the pet-friendly event! With all the outside stimuli, two-and-a-half was a good distance for him.  There were quite a few schnauzers, including one who did the 17K!

We started at the back to get some space and walked most, but as we found space, jogged a little. Rigo did well on the race (he loves to run!), but the start and finish areas were a little intense for such a little guy.

He was unimpressed with our time of 45:54 and the fact that the first 17K finisher blew by us shortly before the finish line, but we all had a lot of fun.  I want to do more fun runs!

And then, of course, there was the green beer!

Another finisher’s reward was a pack of Hershey’s Kisses. Get it? Kiss Me I’m Irish? It kind of worried me that some might end up on the ground and look like a good treat for Rigo, but I thought I was watching the little boy until we got home and he sacked out, but woke up and threw up a wrapper!

I kind of freaked a little, but the vet said to soak a small amount of hydrogen peroxide onto a piece of bread and give it to him. It bubbles their tummy and induces vomiting in dogs.

About a half hour later, it worked. In that time, I had also read that the kind – milk chocolate is less toxic than dark or baker’s – and the amount he had likely ingested (if it was, in fact, anything more than just a wrapper) was not really enough to harm him, but he’s such a little guy that I was happy to have it all out just in case.

While he rested up, I went out for a little more St. Patrick’s Day celebrating at O’Donoghue’s Pub in North Scottsdale.  It was quite the party with live music, traditional food, Guinness, Jameson and lots of green everywhere! Including on this lovely group of ladies:

Oh and I FINALLY finished Mockingjay.  I let it alone for quite some time because I found it pretty disturbing.  I liked the first one (but still haven’t seen the movie)  and liked the characters (although not really in MJ) and am not sure what I expected from a post-apocalyptic dystopia story, but I guess I’m a little disappointed by a few things in the end.  I’ve heard from a lot of people who at mixed feelings at the end too.  If you’ve read the books, what did you think?

Do you have the fun run bug?!

Super Pup

In honor of National Puppy Day (yeah, it’s a thing), here’s a post I’ve had as a draft for too long and it’s about time I admit this to you…

Recently, I have been ousted as the fittest being in my house.

Who me?!

I’ve had Rigo the Super Pup for almost five months now and we’re finding our routine.  We do a little something different every day to expel his puppy energy – long walks, dog park, long walks to the dog park, running around like crazypants (him, not me).

In the past few months or so, the long walks turned into runs.  He’s made my Garmin display paces it hasn’t ever seen (well, maybe while riding my bike), but chasing him makes it somehow easier (similarly, the fastest I EVER saw my Girls on the Run run during practice was when the workout involved a game of chase). Luckily he still gets a little distracted and stops pretty quickly, so they’re interval runs for sure.

Mostly, we take a little 1.75 mile loop around my neighborhood. It’s a nice workout for him and a nice addition to my regular training.  I like that it’s a constant that will allow me to really track improvements, whether it’s the time it takes or how the distance we run before taking a walk break.

We’ve started taking the runs to the Scottsdale greenbelt so there are fewer lights but more people and dogs and ducks (he needs a little social immersion) and he does very well.  He’s a pretty good training buddy.

And then we get home and he does this, which is sometimes nice too:

I actually took the Super Pup to a race last weekend and am just waiting on some pics to do a recap!

If you’re thinking he looks like a totally different dog, here’s his before and after from his first big boy haircut earlier this month:

Happy Puppy Day!

It’s Friday, this is all I got…

Even to someone who instantly loved gua sha (me), it sounds a little fishy, so please accept this photo comparison:

After back and neck gua sha treatment last week:

After neck gua sha treatment today:

He rubbed (hard, I might add) and then just kinda went, “hmm, there’s nothing there.” Muscle issues eased, still working on the disc.

Having a sleepover tonight with a good friend so we can wake up bright and early tomorrow to do this:

It’s nice to have someone to be crazy with.

I looked at the calendar today and realized that in one month, my triathlon will be over! About three weeks ago, I was looking forward to being done with training calendars and what not, but now I’m kind of in a “oh no, what will I do when it’s over?” mood. I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

My boss told me this week, and I quote, “you are wasting your life away.” He has a way with words. What he meant was I am such a loyal and devoted (and healthy!) worker that I have maxed out my PTO and if I don’t take time off, I’m not accruing any more. What a problem to have! Vacation? Staycation? Or just a few long weekends? Yes, yes and yes, please.

Last weekend I attended the Arizona blogger meetup at La Grande Orange. Yum! It was so great to talk to the wonderful ladies who I read every day! Note: I would not look so cute as those girls if I had biked, hiked and biked some more.  They are sexy champs.

Carolyn, Me, Marisa, Stacey, Nicole, Emily and Ari

I’m debating seeing Hunger Games at midnight on the 23rd, but oh yeah, I hate teenagers and I can’t stay awake that late, which is why I haven’t been able to finish Mockingjay yet. I would LOVE to be one of those people who stays up til 3 reading a really good book, but sleep always wins. Usually by about 9:30. I will probably wait until a little of the hysteria stops (to see the movie, the book’s time on my nightstand is up this weekend).

Rigo was a terrible fitness influence this morning. Usually as soon as the alarm goes off, he is all up in my grill, but this morning, when it went off at 4:50 so I could get up and ride my bike trainer for an hour before work, he just stayed so sweetly snuggled in that the poor trainer got no love. He even slept past my normal wake up time! Yesterday, we went to the dog park AND ran sprint drills at the greenbelt by my house after I got home from the gym. I guess I’ve figured out the puppy energy drainage system. And don’t worry, I hopped on the trainer after work and watched 50/50.

I’m working on cleaning up my diet, but yesterday while running those sprint drills (unplanned) after taking a yoga class (planned) and swimming 1000 worth of intervals (planned), I thought to myself, “holy shit, if cleaning up my diet gives me even more energy, I’m not sure I’ll even know what to do with myself.” More on that clean up (and my plans to take over the world with the new energy) to come.

My coworker/coach is expecting a good report from the weekend, so time to have fun!