Tales of a Broken Tail

Back in mid-December, our rambunctious little pup Zoey got herself into a little problem when her tail broke. We were hiking to get our Christmas tree and I noticed the tip of her tail seemed a bit off to me. There was a small spot of blood on her tail and the tip was not moving when the rest of her tail wagged. I did not know for sure what had happened, so I did not think much of it. Later that night, I gave her a bath and felt what felt like a broken bone in her tail. I never saw much of a cut there but I assume she somehow cut and broke the bone at once since there was a tiny amount of blood.

Both David and I googled “dog broken tail” and learned that there is not much vets can do for broken tails. Most articles we read claimed the best thing to do was to splint the tail with a chopstick and tape. So we did that for a few days. Zoey never seemed in pain, but she did not like us playing with the tail.

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Our makeshift tail wrap.

After a few days, I realized she smelled and I decided a trip to the vet was in her best interest. Her regular vet was full because the holidays were approaching, so I found one closer to us that could squeeze us in that night. They immediately realized that the smell was due to a cut in her tail being infected. This vet wrapped up her tail and gave us two weeks of antibiotics and pain meds with instructions to bandage her tail regularly.

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The vet’s tail wrap.

For two weeks, Zoey was doing great. Her tail stayed wrapped fairly well (in case you have never tried, it is VERY difficult to bandage a tail and to keep it on). David and I became expert tail wrappers when it did come off. When her meds were over, we kept wrapping her tail when we needed to and assumed she would be OK.

About a week after she stopped taking the antibiotics, she regressed. She seemed to be in a lot of pain and constantly tried to get at her tail. I was afraid that she had gotten an internal bone infection or something really scary (which I had been warned from the first vet could potentially happen). We went to our regular vet. She unwrapped Zoey’s tail bandage and her initial reaction was that the skin on the tip of the tail did not look healthy. She was worried that the tip of the tail was compromised (i.e. dead from not enough blood flow) and amputation of the tip might be our best option. Not ideal at all, but at least it would make her feel better.

However, as our wonderful vet was re-wrapping the tail, she noticed that the tip was warm, meaning blood was flowing. If it had been compromised, it would have been cold. So on this Friday night, the vet told me to take her home for the weekend and give her more antibiotics and pain meds with instructions to call on Monday to update her on Zoey’s progress. Well, by Sunday, Zoey was acting like her regular self, so we put off doing anything for two more weeks to see how she did on the meds again. Meanwhile, we were still wrapping her tail

Thursday evening (today), the vet saw Zoey again. After examining her tail, she could tell the fracture had healed. The skin at the tip still looked pretty bad (dry and flaky) so she took Zoey to the back to wash it off to get a better look. Well, it turns out that that skin that had worried us the past two weeks had just been a crust caked on her fur from when it was infected and oozing. Once it was washed it was a nice clean, pink tail.

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There is just a small kink in the tail where it was broken. I will take it over surgery any day!

After 5-6 weeks of dealing with ups and downs, Zoey has been cleared as “healed.” She still has one more day of antibiotics and we hope that an infection will not return (as we suspect happened last time). Her tail is not wrapped anymore and I am hoping that she does not whack it against something and re-hurt it (she has a strong, happy tail wag). So I am still keeping a close eye on her, but things are finally looking good!

My Pregnancy Diet

Have you heard of pregnant women who have been vegetarians for years and then during their pregnancy craved meat? Perhaps they started eating meat and their carnivore husbands then gave meat up? Maybe this actually happens or maybe it was just a Friends episode that has become an urban legend? Anyway, in our culture food cravings and aversions go along with pregnancy and it is not uncommon to be asked if I have had any cravings.

I would not exactly say cravings, but I have indulged in plenty of comfort foods since becoming pregnant. There were about 2 straight weeks where all I could think to eat were noodles and broth. Not necessary chicken noodle soup, but chicken broth and noodles. No chicken or vegetables. Sometimes toast with melted cheddar cheese hit the spot, too. But vegetables? Nope. Fruit? Sometimes. Meat? NO WAY.

So instead of cravings, food aversions have hit closer to home for me. Having been a vegetarian for years, I reversed my diet about 5 years ago to include more meat. As I was running more marathons, my body was craving more meat and started eating it. Just a year or two ago, I could not get enough meat. Since October, my meat consumption has reduced drastically. Now I am basically only eating small pieces of meat when they are presented to me, instead of me cooking them. Poultry is much better than pork or red meat. I think its the juices from those meats that turn my stomach.

After a first trimester where I was eating anything that I felt could stay down (again, lots of noodles and toast and crackers and cheese), I have finally gotten my appetite for healthy foods back. Yay! And I think it is no coincidence that I have felt FANTASTIC these past few weeks.

I have been having oatmeal each morning, with yogurt, cinnamon and/or almond butter. I have been having a salad of greens, other colorful veggies and protein (cheese or egg) for lunch with snacks of raw almonds and soy nuts. And dinners have consisted of sautéed veggies, sometimes tofu (eating tons of it lately, probably unhealthy amounts) and rice, polenta or quinoa. Potatoes, too.

I am not saying I have a perfectly healthy diet. We do get take-out more often and I cannot resist a spicy burrito or drunken noodles from the neighborhood thai place. I snack a lot more often than I used to and I add butter to just about everything. But I love that I can now stomach a lot more veggies and am even ‘craving’ them all the time.

I cannot say I think pregnancy automatically comes with food cravings or aversions, but I do know it makes us more conscious of what we are eating and how our body is responding. For me, comfort foods were all I could eat when I was really nauseous. But I would not say I craved them; I knew I had to eat so I figured I would eat what I knew would go down well. Aversions like meat had a way of turning my stomach so much so that I could not even smell it without gagging. I am not sure why, but that affected me the most. And it still does. I’m not sure when or if I will want to eat meat again, but for the time being, I am happily consuming all the fresh veggies, beans, nuts and tofu that I can find!

Fun in the Sun

Happy MLK Day! I had the day off, but my husband is out of town for the week, so the dogs and I had to get out and have a fun day. It has been beautiful all weekend and today was no exception. By 9 am I was outside in a T-shirt. It was perfect.

Unfortunately, over the past few weeks of snow, the backyard has managed to collect quite a bit of dog poop. So in the midst of melting snow and ice, I was out there picking it all up. That was my first chore of the day.

Then it was time to go explore with the dogs. Last week, we found a new dog park not too far from our house. It is big and there are always plenty of dogs there and lots of old tennis balls. Everyone was happy.

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After the dogs were done playing, I tired them out even more by walking around the lake. When we were done with our exercise, I dropped the dogs off at home and decided Kermit the car needed his own adventure. It was time for a car wash.

Even though we have our own home with a driveway and hose now, the hose cannot reach the driveway (It has to go through our detached garage which is a pain. So Kermit still needs to go to a car wash. I love washing cars and am determined to remedy this situation sometime. Anyway, I was not the only one with this brilliant idea today and the line was long. But it was worth it; he looked like a brand new car when he was done!

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Then I came home and worked on my latest project: a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. David and I have always enjoyed playing games at night, but recently I have been getting bored with our games and need a new challenge. Plus, with him gone for the week, I needed an independent project. So I opened up a puzzle on Friday. After completing the border, it started like this:

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By Monday night, it looks like this:

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There is still a lot of work to do, but I have made some progress, so that makes me happy. I am really addicted to this puzzle and think I need to start getting more puzzles to work on after this one is done! The beauty of jigsaw puzzles is that they can be done over and over again (although by the time I am done with this one, I will never look at beer bottles the same way again).

When was the last time you did a jigsaw puzzle?

I am pretty sure I was still in middle school!

Pre-natal Yoga and Massage

I’m back to blogging! Last night I attended my first pre-natal yoga class. The class was held at a local studio for new and pregnant moms where classes extend beyond pre- and post-natal yoga. They offer lactation support, labor and birth preparation, cloth diapering workshops and playgroups. I love the idea of the business, but I did not know what kind of yoga they would offer.

I have heard from enough people that pre-natal yoga is not nearly as intense as a beginning yoga class. Also, there is often a lot more talking and sharing involved in pre-natal yoga. So I changed my mindset from approaching this as a workout to more of a time dedicated to me. Luckily, I had a friend to go to class with. My neighbor (and running buddy) is just about a month ahead of me in pregnancy so we checked the class out together. It turned out there were only three students in the class and one instructor.

We did start the class by sharing a little bit about who we were, how far along we were and what our biggest fears of labor were. For that last one, I had to say, I still have a mental block up for labor and have not even thought about it. At 19 weeks, I still do not believe this whole pregnancy thing is real. So that was my cop-out. But after that, we launched into a solid, easy yoga routine. We stretched in all the right places, leaving me feeling very relaxed after the class. So it was a success.

However, after the class I noticed a mild shooting pain in my back. So I asked the instructor about it. Her face looked concerned and she said that sounded like a nerve issue that I should get taken care of sooner rather than later. She highly recommended a massage. Well, who am I to complain about that?

For Christmas, David got me a pre-natal spa day (including a massage, pedicure, facial, etc.). While i am tempted to use that now, I know I want to wait until I am closer to my third trimester when I know I will really need it. Instead, last night I got in touch with a massage therapist friend of mine. It turns out she has time to fit me into her schedule tonight. I usually hate spending money on things like yoga and massages for myself, but I am slowly learning that these things are beneficial for me at this time.

So if there is one thing pregnancy is teaching me, I guess it is that pampering myself is OK. While I know I can go the same yoga poses and stretches at home on my mat than in class, I feel like the class is a good opportunity to connect with others and to give me some time to myself.

Identity Crisis

When I was a senior in college, I went through a phase. This phase started at the beginning of my final semester of college. I had completed my senior project during the fall semester (HUGE weight off my shoulders) and I had a brand new invitation to join the Peace Corps in CHINA that summer. I managed to wake up at 7 each morning to go for a cold (often snowy) run in northern Pennsylvania. I was taking a few classes I needed to take to complete my majors (yep, I had two majors and still did not consider myself an overachiever) and I loved them. I was on top of the world.

But this phase I was going through was somewhat like withdrawal. When my roommates (I lived with two girls I still consider some of my best friends) would go out on the weekends, I wanted to stay in rather than join them as I always had in the past. I had recently gotten into the Harry Potter books (I think 1-4 had been released at that time) and saved my Friday nights for pleasure reading in a quiet apartment. At one point, one of my roommates asked me why I never went out with them anymore and I had no immediate answer. I had think about it.

The conclusion I came to was that I was preparing myself for leaving college. I loved every minute of my life in college and I was scared (yet also excited and prepared) to leave the country and live in China for the next two years. If I started to withdraw myself from college life, then the transition away from something I loved would not be so difficult, right? If I could prove I did not need to go out with friends on the weekends, then life in a foreign country by myself would not seem quite so daunting.

I think I have been going through the same sort of withdrawal here on my blog over the past few months. Don’t worry; I have no plans of quitting blogging or running anytime soon. But I do see a transition coming. Quite honestly, I have no idea what that transition will look or feel like, but for right now I am feeling a bit of an identity crisis. I am still a runner, but my running is now sporadic and slow and filled with walking breaks. No speed or distance records for this girl anytime soon. I love running and I love blogging but I am having a bit of an identity crisis trying to figure out how and where it fits into my life now and in the future.

When I got pregnant, I swore to myself that I would not take belly pictures and post them once a week on any social media. I would not take pictures of my growing stomach from above with my running shoes sticking out to show how #inspirational I can be. Frankly, the way our society tends to flaunt pregnancy is a bit out of control, in my opinion. Social media has accelerated this trend and I refuse to participate (fully) in it. There is nothing wrong with being a fit pregnant woman and wanting to show off a bit, but, well, has anyone ever seen the spoof youtube video “Pregnant Women are Smug?” It says a lot about how I feel about the confluence of pregnancy, babies and social media these days. The attention is all on the mother who seemingly has achieved some major accomplishment by doing…something women around the world have done for thousands of years.

I have not yet come to find (or, really, to search for) a happy medium that balances maintaining a running blog and being pregnant without having weekly updates on how running during week # whatever during pregnancy went . Nor have I found a way to read blog posts about all the fantastic running adventures all my blogging friends are planning for the new year without being madly jealous because I can’t even think about what running in 2015 might look like. I am not really a jealous person at all, but it is hard to find a place for myself in this world when all of a sudden, I feel like an outsider and an observer.

As a result of all of these mixed emotions, I took a long break from my blog and from reading other blogs. I hope everyone had happy holidays and set fun new year goals and resolutions. As for me, I am hanging in there and I am doing well!

[Now would be the time for me to ironically place a photo of me showing off my growing baby belly dressed like I have just come in from a hard workout with a smug grin on my face. But alas, I do not have one to post].

Just like when I was a senior in college and I was happy and loving life, I was also intimidated and beyond excited by what the future held. This blog, hopefully, will be here for me to navigate this life transition I am facing.

No Gender December

Has anyone heard about this movement of not buying gendered toys for the month of December (leading up the the holidays)?

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I am torn on what I think about it. On the one hand, my initial reaction was “Yes! Finally people are realizing how many toys that are sold are marketed to genders and not all kids fit into gender binaries. Let’s not force it on them.” But on the other hand, I am a bit skeptical of parents forcing their views/opinions on their kids. If a kid wants to be a princess, let him or her use their imaginations to make-up an alternate world where they live (granted, they do not need a princess costume to do this, but I do believe strongly in fostering creativity and if ‘props’ are necessary, so be it).

I am thinking about this because once I started telling people I was pregnant, one of the first few questions they asked was “are you going to find out what it is?” or “do you know what it is?” There is nothing wrong with these questions because we could know by now, but we have decided not to find out until the baby is born. So many people are amazed by this and tell me they needed to know for themselves so they could plan accordingly.

In my mind, I just need to plan for a baby, which is overwhelming in and of itself. No matter the sex of that baby, I do not plan on anything being different for the first few years. It is a baby. It needs baby things: diapers, clothes, blankets, towels, a place to sleep, etc. Cute animals, books and blocks are fine as toys until the child starts developing and asserting a personality. Then I believe it is important to listen to the child and allow them to choose toys they want. And if I have a girl who wants to play with trucks and trains or a boy who chooses to play with dolls, I love it! Of course, I will be equally OK with kids that choose toys that fit the stereotypical gender norms.

So in getting back to No Gender December, I love the concept of it. And I hope that toy manufacturers start to get the message to stop “pinkifying” entire aisles of toys. But the fact is that kids are exposed to a variety of marketing strategies and if they are not allowed to play with the toys they want, they will still be exposed to them. Rather than denying kids access to toys, I think it is important that parents set the tone and message for how to be a friendly and inclusive princess, rather than one who sits on her throne all day.

Turkeys, Trots, Leftovers

I know Thanksgiving was a week ago. I am just moving slow here.

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Thanksgiving morning started with a nice little run around Washington Park with the Mile High United Way Turkey Trot. It was a beautiful day and we were slightly overdressed for a 10 am race start, but we took our time, so I did not feel overheated. We arrived with plenty of time to wonder around before the race began. Mostly, we said hi to other dogs.

We had planned to bring Zoey and leave Shrek at home, but we could not resist his sad eyes as we tried to leave him at home. So we ran a 4 mile race with 2 dogs.

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We made it through the race with only a few incidents involving tangled leashes and runners/walkers. We started in the fourth and final corral so most of those around us were walking at the start. We kept a slow, steady pace and only stopped to walk once during mile 3 when David needed to stretch his knee.

When we finished, we realized we needed to get home to get the turkey in. We stopped briefly at a grocery store on the way home to pick up last minute items. (I ran out of salt the night before…who runs out of salt? I feel like its a never-ending ingredient.)

Anyway, we had enough time to cook the turkey and sides and get showered before our friends arrived. We spent the night playing some games and eating plenty of good food. IMG_0012

We topped the night off with some pumpkin cheesecake and called it a success :) My favorite part about hosting?

Absolutely the leftovers! Don’t worry–our friends went home with tupperware filled with leftovers, too, but we had so much good food to dine on for the next few days. I am still finishing up the last few drops of the turkey noodle soup I made from the turkey carcass. I want to make a turkey every week to have the leftovers last this long! One day of cooking = one week of eating.

Running in the First Trimester

Thanks for all your lovely comments from my post the other day :) The dogs,  David, and I are excited to get to know more about our next little family member. I am so glad I was finally able to tell you because I feel like my running and blogging have been off recently. I am at 12 weeks and, although I guess the first trimester is not officially over until 14 weeks, I feel much different than I did a month or two ago.

I will begin with how running has been going so far. So far, the little one has technically run two half marathons! One (the Bear Creek Trail Half) I was barely pregnant and I do not think that counts much. During my training between that and the Denver Rock N Roll half was when I found out. Almost a week after the Bear Creek on a Saturday, I went for a 10 mile trail run and I remember feeling completely winded and tired by the last few miles. That Monday, I decided to do some half mile intervals. While the first two went well, finishing them was really difficult. I ended up running an extra few slow miles after that to maintain my dignity (9 miles altogether), but I knew the RNR would not go as I had hoped. I texted my friend Tera that night to ask her if she wanted to run with me. When she said yes, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders!

The Wednesday after that Monday run, I met up with Paige to do a trail run. We have run the same course before and, while it is hilly, it is not too strenuous of a run. During the first mile or so, I commented that this felt harder than normal. Later that night, suspecting something was up and because we were about to go to NYC the next day for a wedding, I took a pregnancy test. Before I had a chance to prepare myself for either result, a big, bright plus sign appeared immediately. I was shocked.

I know a lot of women have more emotional reactions, but I was just stunned. Of course I knew it was a possibility, but for whatever reason, I was convinced it would be negative. So I packed for New York that night and did not bring my running shoes. I needed a break from running. We walked around the city a lot and went hiking before and after the wedding and I felt great.

By the time we returned from our trip, nausea set in and there were times I was dragging myself out of bed and to work, etc. I tried wearing arm bands which prevent seasickness and it helped a bit. I ran two short runs that week so my legs would be ready for the race that weekend. I was so glad I had Tera to run with me. I made it through the race feeling fine (except a few bathroom stops to relieve my bladder) but slow.

After that race at 6 weeks, my running was on and off for a few weeks. On good days I ran, but most of the time, I felt so off and tired that I had no motivation to run. I did feel better after most of my runs. But anything over about 6 miles was tough; I kept it short and easy.

I decided not to run the half marathon that David and I had organized but to run the 6-7 mile version of that instead. Luckily, I had company for this. By that point, I was 9 weeks and I had seen the doctor at 8 weeks. She approved my running with the caveat that I should be able to comfortable chat while running. Some of the first people I told were my running friends (after our parents, of course) because everyone has experience either directly or with friends running while pregnant.

Since the 8-9 week mark, I have felt progressively better. The nausea moved from being all day to mostly at night before I fell asleep. I was–and still am–tired a lot, but feel much, much better. Running is still more difficult than normal, so I just take it slow and easy. Most of my runs are without a watch. With the cold weather approaching I am sure motivation will be difficult, but I plan to get out there as much as I can over the next few months. And yesterday we went for a hike, which really felt great. The 60 degree end-of-November weather did not hurt either!

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Things I am Thankful for in 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! A year ago on Black Friday, David and I put in an offer on our house. By the end of the weekend, after some negotiation, we were under contract. Because the holidays were a in the way, we did not close on the house until mid-January, but I still like to think of it as my biggest Black Friday purchase ever. I am thankful the house gave us so many fun projects to work on in 2014, from painting nearly each room to re-doing the front and back yards.

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In late March, we took a trip to the Humane Society to look at dogs. That night we came home with Zoey. She has been quite a handful as she has engaged in her fair share of chewing and digging (remember the new back yard?), but she has turned into an excellent running and hiking buddy :)

IMG_0735I got to run some epic races this year: 4 half marathons, 1 marathon, 2 trail relays and countless hours of fun trail exploration.

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This guy. And his buddy.

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And remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned my biggest accomplishment of 2014 might have to wait a few weeks? Well I can tell you just a little bit about it now, but the big arrival is expected in June 2015:

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Gah! I hate cheesy pregnancy announcements. Just writing this is making me cringe. And that photo is so poor I can barely look at it. But I made the point. I needed to get that off my chest. More to come soon…

On Writing…

Do you ever take a few days off from the blog? And then a few days turn into a few more days? And then it seems overwhelming to come back to it so you just don’t? Maybe it is just me, but that has been me over the past week and a half. Time off from the blog and, really, time off from all social media. I was reading a good book and it seems that fulfilled my daily reading capacity. (I do not think I have ever, in my entire life, reached a daily reading capacity, as I have been known to stay up all night to finish a good book). It does a body and mind good. But now I need to get back to it and see what others have been up to!

What have I been doing? Not a whole lot of running or hiking and I am OK with that. It is cold and windy and snowy and I am just not that into it right now. Instead, I have been contemplating the “Write” part of my blog title recently. I want to use this as a forum for writing more. And by writing I do not just mean writing about my running or whatever adventures I have. I want to write about me and life and reflections a lot more. Don’t worry-I won’t get too political (even though that is one topic where I always have so much to say) or fluffy, overly-poetic descriptive writing. But I do want to use this as a place for reflection on things other than running and hiking.

In the meantime, David and I are excited to host our first Thanksgiving dinner this year. We are just having some friends over, so nothing will be too fancy. In the years that I have lived in Colorado, I have always spent Thanksgiving with friends instead of traveling to see family. There is something so refreshing about hanging out with friends, drinking wine, watching football and having a laid back meal that I absolutely adore. I told my friends that are coming to bring their sweatpants/PJ pants to wear during/after the meal so we can do this thing right!

Before the festivities begin, however, we will be participating in our annual tradition of running a Turkey Trot. This year, we are running a 4 mile trot in Denver’s Washington Park put on by the United Way of Denver. Zoey gets to run with us, too, so we have to start at the back of the pack. Yay for a fun, easy run with the husband and dog! (Shrek respectfully declined to run with us, as he gets a bit agitated with other dogs around him when he is on a leash).

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Happy Thanksgiving!