Monday, October 27, 2014

Son of a Nutcracker!

The NYC Marathon is in 6 days?
Hold up, I think I'm running that.
I couldn't find a more fitting gif compilation to tell my story about the upcoming New York City Marathon than, of course, The Elf. I mean, he's wearing running tights, the movie is set in NY and come on, it's Will Ferrell. By the way, did you know that Ferrell ran the Boston Marathon in 2003 in 3:56:12? Pretty impressive!

So, back to me. Let's start with my training. So I started off strong. Well, I was running. Regularly. And I didn't die. Then life kinda crumbled a bit and I went insane until maybe next week and training was SLACK. BUT, despite not running much during the weeks, I still got in my long runs. Ran my 18 miles...LIKE A BOSS. Who cares if I didn't run during the week... at all? Not the most solid idea in the world, but in my brain, I just have to make it to mile 20 and from there on out, I can walk half a mile, run half a mile and get my ass across that finish line. I'll totally make it happen. A friend told me it was being televised and asked how to find me. I told her that I would be the one dragging my leg across the finish line with a glass of wine in my hand. I'm not being funny. There is a 90% chance this will come to fruition.

This is miles 1-8. Feeling great. Having some fun.
I am really good at making marathon torture fun. Bizarre, I know, but I bring my camera, take pictures with whoever is willing to participate and laugh at myself even when it isn't so pretty. I make friends along the way and meet the most interesting people with great stories. It keeps me entertained and hey, I just like friends, why not make a few more? You have to make the best of any situation in life. A marathon is no different. I will hit every emotion there is. I will hit excitement at the start and nervousness as my coral begins to roll out.
Rolling out. You start off a little unsure and then you just jump in.
I will feel strong at the beginning and I will reach a moment when I would rather do anything (including deliver quadruplets with no pain meds) than actually run this marathon. I will take a few steps feeling peace when I can see the sun over the skyline. I will think back on why I started running in the first place (that's always my favorite moment) and I will think of funny stories about Emily. I love anything that reminds me of Emily. Then I will hit the wall...
And then there is mile 20-26. This is EXACTLY what it's like.
I will feel defeated from mile 20 until the finish, but at that line, at that glorious line with the crowd of complete strangers cheering, my feet will stop, my heart will pound, my eyes will fill with tears and my heart will fill with pride and maybe a little vomit. It is an emotion I cannot possibly describe in accuracy. They will slide a medal over my head and give me an extra shiny blanket that is so loud you can't hear anything else around you. I will snuggle up in my crinkly space blanket and keep walking until they usher you out of the finish line area and I am done.

Congratulations! Nice to meet you.
This is it. My LAST full marathon. Eight marathons completed. I will know I gave EVERYTHING I had inside of me to finish the race. I will know I asked my friends and family a million and seventeen times to donate to my cause, to the thing I love most... the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. I will know that not only did I run a marathon, but I saved a few lives while I was at it. 

AND here it is... I am $307 shy of my fundraising goal of $2,620. That is $100 per mile! So far, I've raised $2,313. I can't stop at mile 23.13. That would be silly. I would never reach that finish line moment and let's be real, I wouldn't get my medal!!! Ain't nobody got time for that! So, if you haven't donated yet (don't be a cotton headed ninny-muggins), please take a minute to do so today and help me reach my goal and SAVE LIVES! $300 will fully vet 3 dogs at our facility. That is 3 extra furry lives you helped save. Skip your coffee today and donate whatever you can spare. No amount it too small!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Enough Goodness to Make You Puke

My crazy lady idol.
If you've followed my blog this long, you are well aware that I go one speed and that is called crazy
lady barely hanging on speed. It's a good thing. Really, I swear. This weekend was no exception to the rule. It was crazy, I barely hung on and I miraculously survived. BUT, this weekend is one of those weekends that reminds me of why crazy is SOOOOO good, it will make you toss your cookies.

The reason I started this blog was to keep myself motivated for my 8th marathon at the NYC Marathon on November 2. I pledged to raise $100 per mile for the animals at the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. This surely would keep my sneakers to the pavement and I could raise some MUCH NEEDED funds for the animals I love so dearly and work for every single day. The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina survives solely on donations and fundraisers. We receive NO funding from the government or from the Humane Society of the US. Just like every other organization that survives this way, we are hurting badly for assistance. I just ran our reports and we have adopted out over 560 animals over the past 12 months. That is 560 super adorable, super furry and super needy lives saved from euthanasia at high-kill shelters. **Insert the happiest of all happy dances here** That is an increase of almost 200 animals saved in a year. The sad fact is though, with more animals, come more vet bills, more staff need, more vaccinations and more in-house meds. We simply can't keep up. It's for real the 4th quarter and we are running out of plays. This fact keeps me up at night and keeps my anxiety levels on high red at all times. Mostly, if you hug me, my eyes automatically leak. Deep breath in... deep breath out.

Fluff and Puff Dog Wash victim number 30. What a pretty boy.
Photo courtesy of Capturing Canines
So this weekend we had a fundraiser AND national adoption weekend at PetSmart.This means the staff and volunteers are hustling and bustling! It makes for lots of excitement, chaos and general busy-ness (aka CRAZINESS). Saturday arrived and the pressure was on. It was cloudy, threatening to rain and our fundraiser that we were counting on was a Dog Wash. Luckily, dogs aren't like cars. You can wash them on a rainy day and it's all good. I mean a wet dog, is a wet dog no matter how it happens! It was also college game day... strike 2. My heart began to sink as the dog wash line was a slow trickle. By lunch we had 26 customers where we usually have at least 45. Yet I looked around me and the volunteers were positive and the people that had come out to support us were beyond giving and kind. There was laughter and encouragement all around and before I realized what happened, an angel appeared by my side. She's one of the cutest angels you'll ever meet too. She's a tiny little thing, but a force to be reckoned with and she happens to be a dog sitter/walker in the area (Danielle's Pet Care is awesome in case you were wondering). She approached with a smile and she could tell I was discouraged. She smiled, picked up her phone and said... I'm texting all my clients to tell them to come out if they can. I laughed and thought, "Gosh I love her" and then the sea of people began to come. We ask each person how they heard of the wash. I'm pretty certain the majority of them responded from that point on, "My dog sitter, Danielle". I even had one lady shrug her shoulders and reply, "my friend's dog sitter?". All I'm saying is, Danielle is my new favorite gal! I mean, I've always thought she was pretty awesome, but this miniature Wonder Woman packs some power. We ended up doing much better than anticipated AND we had a HUGE pallet of food that was donated to the Pet Food Pantry of Eastern NC by our supporters as well, so all and all, I would consider that a success! I returned to the facility to unload the dog pools and tables and walked into a shelter that was rocking and rolling. Adoptions were happening in beyond incredible numbers (that's my favorite) and my mood had shifted from gloom to BOOM!
Not only did Danielle bring us a ton of last minute customers,
but she also volunteered her afternoon as a "runner"
to take the dogs through the dog wash.
Photo courtesy of Capturing Canines

Love Wins. For sure... especially in Italian.
Now on to this morning... we managed to wrangle our kids into the car and make it to church ONLY 5 minutes late. This is like a major high five for us since our church is a 30 minute drive and my kids are related to me. It's like a goat rodeo, in a Jeep Compass. Did anyone bring the wine? At church the sermon hit home and my already emotional self was having an internal meltdown which unleashed itself into an external meltdown with the hug of a very sweet friend. (So sorry Natalie, Velinda and Jeff!). After church, I headed out on a very hot five mile run so that I could go donate blood at our blood drive. Remember, the whole reason I started this blog was because I am RUNNING THE NYC MARATHON and you can't run AFTER you donate so... I sat down and went through all of the insane questions they ask you when you decide to give your blood away (before 1977 did you sell yourself for drugs or money? Ummmm wait, I was born in 77) and then the lady said, "Is your left arm okay?" For the first time EVER I didn't hesitate at all and slapped down my arm tatoo side up! For an explanation on why this is an achievement you can read this. For once, I felt proud of the beauty on the underside of my arm. Just then Jackson came to sit with me and was chatting it up in normal Jackson fashion. The lady put the cuff on my arm and pulled out a marker to mark my vein. Just as I was trying to be all Mom-ish and began to tell Jackson that when he got older he could donate blood too, I glanced back at him and he looked like he might just fall out. I instructed him to go find Daddy and maybe he shouldn't sit with me if it was going to upset him. Before I knew it, I was all hooked up and I heard an American Red Cross worker say, "hey, is that kid okay? He looks really bad". Troy hustled by me with a very green Jackson as I was stuck in my chair with a needle in my arm. As I finished I got up and went to find them. Jackson had his fill of goodness and had in fact tossed his cookies. I think it's safe to say, he and his Daddy just don't have it in them to be blood donors. Sometimes, I find myself feeling the same way Jackson.

I'm gonna seal it with a PRAISE!
Photo courtesy of Capturing Canines
I finished my weekend reading the report that we had adopted out 19 animals this weekend. That would put us at 33 adoptions for September and we are only 2 weeks in! Now THAT is a lot of goodness. Almost so much goodness that I wanted to puke, too. It just reminds me that I have to keep asking people for money, keep asking people to volunteer, to adopt and to donate anything they can! So here I am, asking you to help me reach my goal. So far, I have raised $2,280. This leaves me $340 shy of my goal of raising $100 per mile of my 26.2 mile adventure through all five boroughs of New York City. Let me reword that, I am not asking you to support ME, I am asking you to support THEM. The 560 animals we have saved this year and the 560 animals that still need saving. In Pitt County, over 2,000 animals will be euthanized this year. If the HSEC didn't exist, that number would increase... by 560 lives. I used to hate our old tag line, "Help us help them", but as for tonight, I can't think of a better phrase. Won't you help?
If you enjoy the pics from the dog wash, please visit and give will a shout. He does amazing things with a camera and a dog (he's not too shabby at humans either) and he donated 25% of each package back to the HSEC!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Let's get REAL

THIS is a Flying Turtle and I rocked that thing
down a big ass driveway. That kid looks like he
is going real slow, but it was the face I was going for.
So if I'm asking you to support my passions and ultimately my agenda, there are a few things I should lay out there. I will blog about exactly how I feel and when I feel it. I sound like Lesley Gore "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to..." Sure, if I was a safe blogger I'd keep safe content with safe language and safe political jokes, but safe has never really been my bag of chips. I'm the kid that rode a Flying Turtle down Jamie Brantley's driveway, which was the steepest in town, just because everyone else was afraid to and I felt the need to show them how much fun it was and that it was totally safe. What could possibly go wrong while riding a very low to the ground toy with teeny tiny wheels down a steep cement driveway? Fast forward to the halfway point when I was hauling my turtle ass so fast down that driveway that I thought, maybe I should slow down a wee bit and put my sneakers down. I flipped over the handlebars and rolled down the driveway all the way to the bottom. I think I made a skid sound as I reached my stopping point. I remember looking up and my sister looking horrified at my bloody self. All I could do was break out into laughter. I just kept laughing and laughing and laughing. "See! I told you it was awesome!" Limits have never been anything I have taken notice of in my life. Don't tell me I can't do something if you don't want me to prove you wrong.

Sometimes, even the "happiest" of all
people get sad. When we do, we look like this
and we get angry.
Last night I posted a long, overly dramatic, yet totally true to the letter post on (GASP) Facebook. It was how I felt. I wasn't cruel. I wasn't complaining about the weather or a headache, I was merely stating my human weaknesses and the fragile transition my family is in at the present time. I at least threw in a good ole sense of humor to keep it real when I sealed the post with a closing statement, "Until then, just give me a big high five the next time you see me and tell me it will all be fine and that my hair looks amazing." See, I was still being witty. The thing is, my family is in limbo. We built our "dream" home 7 years ago when we thought we needed more space. Tiny human #3 was still in the plans then and our current home couldn't fit a third child. I had a comfortable corporate job as a marketing director and it was perfect. At the time. We built our fancy 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with a playroom that was big enough for roller derby and we were over the moon. Tiny human #3 never happened and after working a very monetarily fulfilling corporate job for 10 years, I had found my way into the non-profit world through volunteer work and when given the opportunity to actually get paid to do something good in this world with my talents and gifts, I took it. I rode that offer right down that driveway just as fast as I could. It was scary and fast and I even took a few spills, but at the bottom of the driveway, I looked up and just knew I could make a difference. The only problem is, my paycheck isn't as rewarding as the job. It got even smaller when I decided to go part-time to be with my kids when they got home from school. My son struggles with anxiety and he is 11. Mama had to take some time to be a mama. My husband supported me 100% (insert very loud applause and hugs and adoration... what a guy). So, we sold the Mommy Minivan for a reasonable car we could pay cash for that got great gas mileage. We rented out our "dream" house to tenants to cover our mortgage and found a smaller, more modest house to rent ourselves at a fraction of the cost. This worked for 3 years until we needed to move forward and out of the limbo phase we had settled into so awkwardly. I mean, I lived with carpet in my bathroom for 3 whole years people! Do you know how hard that is for someone with OCD? It is time to move on. So, while our house is on the market and our tenants have moved out, it's time to turtle up and move back in until we can close this chapter of our lives with a SALE and move on. The uncertainty of my living quarters and moving not once, but twice (can you believe the buyers are going to kick us out after we sell our house?!) is a lot for a gal like me to swallow. So I did what I do best. I shared. I live a very transparent life. You want to know something about me, I'll probably tell you. I am completely comfortable with me and quite frankly, in my world, I think everyone should be.

What do you mean I share too much?
Does this look like the face of a lady
 who takes herself THAT seriously?
Then I got the message. It was a private message that first asked me if I was okay. It was then followed by the advice that I should probably rethink my last post and delete it. I probably didn't want that many people knowing my business. Whaaaaa? Pretty sure I'm good with it. I realize this person was just trying to be on the lookout for me. He didn't mean harm. So I counted to 10 and I kindly explained that I'm an open book. Take it, or leave it. In the world of social media, it is so easy to paint a picture of yourself that looks like perfection. You are the perfect mom, the perfect employee, the most generous volunteer. You can paint whatever scene you wish to be the star of. I see so many people comparing themselves to others because of this. If I only share the glorious moments in life, I am not telling my story, because there are some really not so glorious moments in my life. So I share it all. Here is what really tickles me about social media. Some people are REALLY annoyed by it, yet they have a facebook page. Some people will comment on one of my very long posts and say they are too long. Well... how would you know that if you hadn't just taken the time to read my post? Why do you follow me if you don't agree with my posting strategy? So, I made my peace with it, posted a snarky comment about "If you don't want real, then don't follow me" (that's the short version) and got over 120 likes and 27 comments saying ROCK ON and a handful of messages from people that just wanted me to know they loved me and thought I was doing A-Okay. I think people on social media need the REAL to be shared more often. I mean, let's keep it funny, don't get me wrong, but some days, some dreadful cloudy days, you just have to throw your hands in the air and yell, "shove it!" Usually when I do share my VERY real and raw, I get private messages all day long about people that are in the same boat or are dealing with the same struggles. They thank me for the post, for being bold enough to share something true and scary, or reassure me that all will be right in the world again. It's a tool people. Use it. Reach out to people and relate to them. It might be through technology and that might seem lame, but my God, if you can make one person feel like they have company on that struggle bus, then I'm all for it. If my not so sparkly days in life make you uncomfortable, you probably shouldn't read my blog or be on facebook. I am guaranteed to disappoint you.

Sometimes you just have to jump in.
We are all just standing at the top of that driveway waiting for the ride of our lives. You aren't courageous if you were never afraid. You can stare down that hill and watch me fly down screaming with laughter or you can join in the fun. I promise, the skinned knees and even the goose egg were definitely worth the ride. The fun part of life is that there are hills and valleys that will form your road, your story. Hang on tight on the way down (or throw your hands in the air and scream) and work hard to trudge your way back to the top, but I guarantee, it's always more fun with company!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Until then... We have HOPE.

So it has been a month since I last blogged. #WorstBloggerEver. It isn't because I haven't thought about it or had brilliant things to say (whaaaaa???), it's because I have been a lazy, scatterbrained, ADHD blogger and couldn't decide exactly what story to tell. There are just so many soap operas in my head at once!!!

Hope really digs the car. This is on the way
home from her news debut on WITN. I think they
got her best side.

BUT, this week is different. This week I knew there was a story to be told. That story is about a dog named HOPE.  On Monday one of our staff approached me and began our conversation with, "Bethann, you are going to kill me". Knowing it was the beginning of the week and we were doing intake from the shelter, I laughed and said, "Oh Lord, what kind of dog did you pull today?" You see, although we are a no-kill facility, sometimes life or death sits on our shoulders. The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina takes on the responsibility to walk down the halls of our county shelter (THAT WE LOVE, LOVE, LOVE) and pull animals that we feel are adoptable to save them from possible euthanasia. This means that sometimes we are fully aware that if we don't pull them, they will be euthanized. That is a hard thing to put on anyone's shoulders. I say all the time that I don't envy the Pitt County Animal Shelter staff. They have a really hard job. One I couldn't possibly do, but unfortunately with over 200 animals coming in a month and less than 80 runs to hold the animals, euthanasia is a reality. So, back to my story... Sistine was walking the hallway to make her selections and came across a pair of big soulful brown eyes. Behind those eyes was a wagging tail and a gentle heart that belong to a dog we named Hope. Six year old Hope is what we would refer to as a trainwreck of a dog. We mean that in the nicest of ways (bless her heart), but when one of my staff said, "It could be worse", I honestly looked at her and replied, "Could it?". So I guess she has both eyes and that's a plus, but Hope is a big hot mess.


This will be hard to believe,
but those are Hope's breasts.
And to think I thought I had
girl problems.

Hope was more than likely used for breeding and breeding and breeding some more. Of course all of this is speculation since Hope can't share her story, but the evidence is there. It's in her breasts that literally drag on the ground and have bruises at the base near her ribcage. This is from litter after litter that Hope cared for and nourished until they were taken from her. You can see it in her bowed out front legs with elbows that she isn't able to hold in when she walks. Probably from inbreeding or from being confined to a crate her whole life. Her ears are thick from old hematoma's that healed leaving extra tissue behind and filled with infections. She was covered in fleas and her skin is infected from all of the scratching. Her teeth are broken and rotted and she walks hunched over all of the time. She also has burns on her feet, knees and the backs of her legs. It could have been from sitting in her urine for so long or from hot cement. Which is worse? Oh and of course, Hope is heartworm positive. Like I said, poor sweet baby is a mess! Luckily for Hope, Sistine saw her worth and decided to save her that day. She is now our responsibility and we don't take that lightly at the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. Homegirl is getting a full makeover and we just know she is going to pull through and get that happy life she deserves.

Bath time for this sweet girl.
So, Hope just gives me another reason to keep up my training and my fundraising for the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. This is what we do and I'd like to think we do it well. We cannot, however, do this without donations to pay for the medical needs of our animals. Hope's case will cost us a minimum of about $800. We will get her fixed up and then we will find her a home where she will live out her days full of love. Until then... there's HOPE.

Please help if you can. ANY little bit helps! Hope will need a mastectomy, lots of meds for her multiple infections, x-rays on her legs and so much more. She is recovering in fostercare where she is doing well and LOVES being part of a family. We will also need the perfect family to adopt Hope. Please contact me with any questions or adoption inquiries at

 I "HOPE" you can help.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hang on Tight

Sometimes, life is an emotional roller coaster.
We all view the ups and downs a little differently
and handle them differently too. The point is,
we all travel the journey.
Running is an emotional thing for a lot of runners. It's what keeps us sane most days. If you're happy, use that as motivation for a great run. If you're sad, channel that yuck into your training and just run it out. Possibly the best one though is when you are mad, like really, really mad, like baby with colic purple crying mad... use it. Run it out. Just go with it, dig into your emotion and when you've completed that last mile, take a breath and let it go. It's quite miraculous how well it actually works. (For the record, wine works too. Especially wine in a rocking chair on the front porch with your best friend.)

Summer time is crazy time in my household. My household is always insane. I am legitimately diagnosed and treated for OCD and ADHD and a little permanently PMS'E so there's that. I am relatively good at organized chaos and quite honestly would be bored out of my mind without crazy in my life. My crazy these days is about way less drama and just kinda every-day-life-how-can-I-get-it-all-in-and-make-sure-my-kids-are-still-alive-at-the-end-of-the-day kinda crazy. Kids, work, meetings, foster dogs, some more kids, SWIM PRACTICE every freaking day of our lives, throw in a little Candy Crush, another dog, a few runs, and injured hawk, grocery shopping, laundry and some meals to prepare for my family to make us seem more normal and that's me in a nutshell. My kids are just like me (sorry kids) so our house is always on GO-TIME! This sometimes mean Mommy's emotions get a
This is a normal night in our house.
Ok kids, let's jump and see if we can get some
funny shots. Wait, do it again.
little out of whack. This week I found myself sitting on the couch and crying to my poor husband about the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina and why it is so important in our community. As if he didn't know what it meant to me, I poured it all out there. What would we do without it? What would that mean to the animals that we house and the one's we have yet to save? You would have thought someone was torturing a puppy right in front of me. I maybe, just maybe, got a little worked up about it. The truth is though, the reality of the Humane Society of EC coming to an end is very REAL and it stares me down every morning when I wake up and keeps me up many sleepless nights.

The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina survives on donations and fundraisers. My "20 hr/week" job (let's ALL laugh hysterically at that) role is all about making the money, the adoption numbers and marketing. So our adoptions are up... YAY US! We have adopted out 117 more animals as of this July as compared to this time last year. We are on track to adopt out almost 500 animals this year. That will break our 5 year records for sure. I feel like our marketing and branding have come along way in the 10 months I have been employed here and even our donations and our fundraising are up by significant amounts if you compare us to last year, BUT because we have taken in and adopted out so many animals this year, our expenses are through the woof. (you like how I did that? Always throw in a laugh if you are getting too serious). But SERIOUSLY, we have operated on a deficit budget for many, many years now and our bank account won't be able to do so for too much longer. People always say, well what can you cut from your budget? As if we haven't already thought of that. The answer is, nothing. If we cut staff, medications, supplies or pretty much anything, the lives of our animals will suffer. We are just not okay with that. We pride ourselves on the fact that our dogs not only get out 3 times a day, but they get individual love and attention at each let out. They get walked, play time in the play yard and sometimes, just some good butt scratches in the office. I mean, who doesn't love a good butt scratch. We love that our cats get out in the play area twice a day in play groups or by themselves with a volunteer while staff clean their cages and prepare their food and meds. We love that if we have a dog struggling with being institutionalized for so long that we have training sessions to break them of some of their bad habits or manners so that they can hopefully get out sooner. We love that Wednesday is new squeaky toy day and that Friday's the cats get cage makeovers with pretty blankets from Mrs. Lisa. We love that Warren has leash trained our feline friends and walks them around PetSmart so they get time out of their cages. All of these things we love so fiercely will be gone with reduction of staff time at the facility. So, that isn't an option for me or for any of my co-workers and it's definitely not an option for all of the animals that we love so dearly at our shelter.

I look super official and important. 
I have a few things up my sleeve that I canNOT wait to announce for a fundraising event that just might save us, but until then, I will be using my running and my blog to show others what THEY can do for the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. I signed up on FirstGiving to fundraise for the HSEC and it took all of 5 minutes to do so. I wrote an "about me" section and shared it with my friends. I challenged myself with running the NYC Marathon for the HSEC and have set the bar at raising $100 per mile. I have challenged myself with raising $2,620 for the animals within our facility. The thing is, YOU can do something to help us by accepting the challenge and setting up your very own FirstGiving fundraiser too. If we all raise a little bit, it can go a LONG way!

Here is the challenge, register on FirstGiving by clicking HERE. Just choose, "Start Fundraising" and choose exactly what you want that to look like. Create a holiday to celebrate, "National Skip Starbucks and Donate to My Cause Day", "It's my Birthday and you Forgot it Last Year so Make a Donation Day", shave your head, train for a 5k, shave your beard, grow a beard, I don't care. As Nike said, JUST DO IT! Join me and help us save the Humane Society and all of the animals within it.

Until then, I'll be sweating out my emotions on each an every run. Some of them will be tearful, some will be full of laughter and some (let's face it) I will be cursing running and all of the glorious pain that comes with it for every single step, but I'm doing it and I'm doing it with lots of love, organized chaos and wine.

Day 22 of training

Total Training Mileage = 56 miles
Total Fundraising = $650

Donors: Megan Hardee, Kay Evans, Shelley Leicht, Chad Smith, Daniel Rankin, Beth (HSEC ALUMNI MOMMY) & Abbey (HSEC ALUMNI) Gallup, Jean Gaskins, Lisa Price, Leslie Bunch, Akiko Barker (HSEC ALUMNI MOMMY) and a super duper anonymous donor I've never met in person, but she's pretty spectacular in every way! THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE DONATED!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Now there's a run that will knock you right off your unicorn...

Isn't Stuart lovely.
Ouch. Well the glory of my 9 miler, finishing my last mile at an 8:20 pace, feeling great and loving the 61 degree temps came to a screeching halt yesterday at 5:15am as I walked out the door for my run and I felt the armpit of humidity I was about to swim through. In fact yesterday's 5 miler knocked me right off my unicorn and brought me back to reality... quick. I'm still in terrible shape. That's the funny thing about runners, despite the number of terrible runs we have, the high that we get from the good ones tend to cloud our minds and judgement about how we actually feel about running. We seem to remember that good feeling we had... that ONE time when we ran and we could have gone forever. We tend to block out the runs where we almost pooped our pants. Come on now, if you're a runner admit it, you've come close. We've all been there. If you're not a runner, I hate to break it to you, it can happen to anyone when they least expect it. That's why I follow one rule in running never to be broken (at least by me), if you think your gonna poop your pants, just stop right where you are. Sit on a curb if you have to, run into the woods if it's a must, find a port-a-potty on route and run like hell to get there, but don't sh*t your pants. Stopping is always the right thing to do. ALWAYS. No questions asked. I've witnessed 3 runners (that I did not know) crap themselves in races. One even passed me at mile 24 of a marathon and I thought, "I can't believe this old lady is passing me"! Then she got in front of me and I saw the blowout that had occurred (she did not stop... not even to clean herself off) and thought, "That lady wants this victory way more than I do!"  and very disgustedly I let her continue on her way and beat my pants off, my CLEAN pants off.

So the good news is, I didn't break my rule yesterday. I completed my 5 miles through Brook Valley with an 8:50 pace and my shorts stayed clean... sweaty, but clean. The bad news is, I'm still trying to catch back up to my unicorn. It was a pretty severe fall and he ran off much too quickly for me to keep up. This morning when I got to my alarm at 4:30am, I checked the weather and it was 78 degrees and 96% humidity. Without my unicorn, I went back to bed and couldn't stomach the thought of doing it all over. I'm crossing my fingers it rains tonight with no thunder so I can go for a rainy run and maybe find my unicorn in the neighborhood somewhere.

In the meantime, if you see my unicorn Stuart, please tell him that I miss him.

Day 10 of training

Total Training Mileage = 22 miles
Total Fundraising = $620

Donors: Megan Hardee, Kay Evans, Shelley Leicht, Chad Smith, Daniel Rankin, Beth & Abbey Gallup, Jean Gaskins, Lisa Price, Leslie Bunch and a super duper anonymous donor I've never met in person, but she's pretty spectacular in every way! THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE DONATED!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Saving it for Sunday

Sunday is said to be the day of rest. This is so not a true statement for anyone that runs OR works in animal welfare for that matter. They say that the most important night of sleep for a long run or marathon isn't the night before the race, but the night prior to that. Sleep and I are not the best of friends. Don't get me wrong. I love me some sleep, but long ago, it lost a love for me.

Friday night, I was up using my mid-woofery skills to help deliver 11 puppies ALL NIGHT LONG. They were not Humane Society of Eastern Carolina dogs. It was a poor stray a very caring lady named Ashley saw on the side of the road in the pouring rain. She pulled over and it took her an hour and a half to get the mother dog in her car. When she did, she realized she was covered in fleas and ticks and ready to deliver her pups. I saw her desperate pleas for help on a pets page I follow and the first pup delivered did not make it. I thought to myself, I can watch this unfold through posts on facebook and watch this poor lady suffer through alone, or I can offer to help her. You either run away from the fire, or you run to it. I like to think I always run to it and on this occasion, I did. I went to a total strangers house at midnight to help her. Maybe not super smart, but I don't regret it at all.

And I thought I was tired. At least I didn't
have to nurse 9 puppies afterwards.
Mamma dog was in rough shape. Malnourished, probably anemic from all the ticks and fleas. Her skin was irritated and she was exhausted. Ashley had gone house to house when she found her to find the owners and a man said he had seen her on the side of the road wandering for nearly 2 weeks. Poor girl had found her angel in Ashley. So Ashley and I got to know each other over the birth of 6 puppies. I had to leave at 5:45am so Troy could go run and then had to work the next day. I went back shortly at 9am before heading to the shelter to deliver some formula and some clean blankets. When I got there, Momma was exhausted and so was poor Ashley. 11 puppies had been born. 2 of them died. I found a rescue to take her and all of her pups as the HSEC was bursting at the seams with 4 litters already in fosters and about 35 animals at our facility. I found transport through fellow animal rescuers Brittany and Paige and before we all knew it, she was safe at the Austin Vet Clinic in Beaufort. I am very grateful to all involved in the rescue process. By the time I got off work. I was D.O.N.E. I had been awake for 36 hours before I crashed while watching Harry Potter with the kids. I don't even remember going to bed.

So there goes the whole "get good rest 2 nights before your long run" idea. I've never followed rules anyways so no biggie. My husband thankfully abruptly woke me in a panic saying "Are you going to run this morning?" I was so confused and then thought, "Oh My GOD, what time is it? Did I miss the run?" I was supposed to meet my running group in Farmville (about 25min from Greenville) at 6am. He then informed me it was 4:50am. I thought, "psssshhhhht, I got this!" I was terrified that it was going to be a disastrous long run, but then I walked outside and although there was 90% humidity, it was only 61 degrees. Halleluiah, Priase the Lord! I JUST might survive this 9 miles! Turns out the air in Farmville is nationally known (I still don't believe this, but Marion says her dad told her and he is never wrong). Maybe it was the clean air, maybe it was the good company, maybe it was the crisp temps or maybe I was just running out my frustrations with people that leave their dogs for dead on the side of the road because they don't want them anymore.... whatever it was, I'm going to need to order some more air, book the same friends, pray for good weather and channel ALL of my frustrations into every single run because IT WAS GLORIOUS!

So, I survived 9 miles this am and I actually really enjoyed it. My last mile was an 8:20 pace to boot! I just might feel like I can do this (again). At least for tonight. Thank you for following my journey and supporting my cause. If you would like to donate to the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina, you can do so by clicking on the donate button below!

Day 6 of training
Tuesday- 3 miles
Wednesday- Rest
Thursday- 5 miles
Sunay - 9 AWESOME miles (at a 9:05 pace!)

Total Training Mileage = 17 miles
Total Fundraising = $395

Donors: Megan Hardee, Kay Evans, Shelley Leicht, Chad Smith, Daniel Rankin, Beth & Abbey Gallup, and a super duper anonymous donor I've never met in person, but she's pretty spectacular in every way! THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE DONATED!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Life is Sweeter with Honey (and wine)

Well that was embarrassing.
Running is NOT like riding a bike. It doesn't come back to you quickly at all. Especially if you get back on that bike in the summer in Pitt County.

I live in Eastern NC. That means running outside in the summer is the equivalent to running in the atmosphere of a large armpit. Gross, I know, but my goodness.... I am dying. Yesterday's run was brought to you by humility and the letter "F" as in failing or fainting or fat chance in hell. I had a 5 mile jaunt downtown Greenville on schedule for 5:30am. It was already 78 degrees with about 98% humidity (like I said, big hairy armpit). I had the girls to keep me company and before I knew it, I was running with Carolyn. Why do I pick the fastest in the group? I was truly thankful that at mile 2 Christenbury Gym on ECU's campus was open, thank you ROTC, and their "facilities" were functioning. I quickly abandoned Carolyn as I ran away yelling, "I'm sorry, it's necessary!" Ain't nobody got time for that! After an emergency bathroom break, I headed back UP the hill to find her again and proceeded to sweat it out with her for another mile. As we reached the top of ANOTHER hill on Charles Blvd, I instructed her (in between loud gasps of air) to go ahead, that I was about to get even slower and I was already pretty darn slow. Carolyn is fast. She is also kind so she will stay with you at any pace, but I felt real bad for holding her back and since she ran with me when I was in shape, I am a little embarrassed that I let it get this bad! I swear as I saw her bright orange tank top fading into the sidewalk ahead, all I could hear was Kelly Clarkson singing loudly, "Since U been gone, I CAN BREATHE FOR THE FIRST TIME!"

Me and Oz
working in the office!
I slowed down and had to reorganize my "running thoughts". I couldn't think about how painful it was to keep my feet moving. So I tried to think of the reasons I was putting all of this effort into this marathon. I had given it a purpose, well, ON PURPOSE. I thought of Ozzie, our Humane Society of Eastern Carolina resident of 2 years, and how he was now sitting happily in his home with his Mom & Dad of 6 months. I had just gotten an update on his progress and how in love they are with him. My pace didn't quicken, but I kept going. I thought of some of my favorite adoptions, some of my favorite stories of how one of our animals overcame a difficult situation and not only made it out of the shelter, but also made the lives of their adopter better too! When I got to my car, I still had 0.25 miles of my planned 5 mile run left. I ran right past the car and I may or may not have cried about it, but I said I would do this for the animals at the HSEC and if they could live in a shelter for 2 years waiting for a home, I could trudge another 0.25 miles. I finished the run, yet again feeling discouraged by the journey that lies ahead.

Today I was working at the HSEC and it began to thunder. I HATE a rainy day at the shelter. The dogs stay wet no matter what we do. I REALLY HATE a day at the shelter with thunder storms. So does a dog named Honey. Honey is a sweet 2 year old hound mix that isn't fond of storms and we immediately heard her start to wimper and cry. Honey is around 55 lbs, so a wimper is a lot like a crying baby in a library. Our receptionist Melissa and I are both a sucker for a dog, so our co-worker Kat helped us set up a crate and we moved her into the office to make her feel more at home. She nervously chewed her squeaky toy, but she was so thankful to be out of her kennel and with us. She was my reminder to just suck it up and get it done. She is one of the 400+ reasons I have to run. If I can raise $100 per mile for this marathon, that is about 26.2 animals I can cover the cost for at our shelter. Seems worth it to me. Definitely seems worth it to my girl Honey. So... Day 5 may be a rest day, but I was still mentally training for the race.

Day 5 of training
Tuesday- 3 miles
Wednesday- Rest
Thursday- 5 miles

Total Training Mileage = 8 miles
Total Fundraising = $395

Donors: Megan Hardee, Kay Evans, Shelley Leicht, Chad Smith, Daniel Rankin, Beth & Abbey Gallup, and a super duper anonymous donor I've never met in person, but she's pretty spectacular in every way! THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE DONATED!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rest Day Ramblings

Because we all know that AWSOME is my favorite word!
So, I started this blogging journey on Monday on a whim. I also started my fundraising AND my training for the NYC Marathon... on a whim. So I have done fundraising before and I have trained for marathons before, but the whole blog thing, well that's brand spanking new to me. People have told me I should blog for years now and I've never done it because of one big huge reason... I get a little b*tchy when people critique my writing.

I would like to be clear with (or should that be to?) everyone following my blog that I SUCK AT GRAMMAR and spelling isn't my bag of chips either. I don't even hide it. If a comma looks appropriate, I'll throw one in. I hate weather and whether, mainly because I think an "h" looks stupid in whether, but whatevs. You catch my drift right? When I was in the 3rd grade I got a 16 out of 100 in spelling on my CAT's (that was like EOG's back in the day). I am dyslexic (so it's super surprising I can even spell that word) and my brain flips & eliminates letters in a word that you read normally and mine only sees key letters and blocks the rest out which makes a completely different word. No lie, I worked at the American Cancer Society and one of our passwords for a website was "wesavelives" as in "We Save Lives". I was on the phone with a co-worker when the email came out and laughed and said, "Why the hell is our password "weasles"?!" It's funny until it's your brain that works that way. Weasles was what I saw. Once I stopped myself and looked again, I saw my error, but you will soon realize, I very rarely stop myself for anything. I just go. So let's wrap these special and glorious gifts I have into a box and label it, I'm 37 years old and I OWN the fact that I can't spell and have really bad grammar, but any intelligent adult should be able to follow along so shut your trap already. No grammar haters allowed!

You're almost there, that's totally fixable with a pen!
Now that we have that straight, stay tuned for tomorrow's post to see if I actually pull my butt out of bed at 4:30am for my run at Elm Street. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Well that sucked

Wallering at Mile 21 at the Shamrock Marathon.
My first run for my official training! Yay, let's celebrate! Or let's call it all off. I was kidding. I'm just going to fast walk the NYC Marathon. This is just dumb.

 Let's set it up. My last run was 1 week and 3 days ago. It was 6 miles and I survived with no major complications. I decided to start slow and low to avoid injury. Low miles, snail's pace. So it would seem that a 3 miler would be easy peazy. It would seem.

I had set up the run nicely. I planned to run with my super adorable friend Megan (AKA Polly Pocket with a side of crack or Megathon). She's super adorable and pregnant. I mean, I can keep up with a pregnant lady. Oh wait, no I can't. Despite Megan's baby bump and her lack of any discomfort, I was riding that struggle bus the entire 3 miles. Not driving the struggle bus mind you... that would take effort, I was riding it, like wallering in the back seat riding it. Side note: For my non-southern friends, click here for a definition of waller. It was hot. It was humid. It was nasty. I can't wait to do it again?

Run 1, Tuesday June 24, 2014
3 miles
9:23 pace
Low and SLOW and hot and miserable.

Total training mileage = 3 miles.

Monday, June 23, 2014

My fundraising page, kinda.

NYC Marathon

Thank you for visiting my super PAWesome fundraising page! (CLICK HERE to actually view it for realsies) Well, okay, it's a page and it has my picture on it with a lot of words. Maybe THAT isn't super PAWesome, but the paws behind the cause sure are.

So maybe it isn't incredibly impressive that I am running another marathon. You've heard me whine about all that training for years now. I assure you though, that when I am running for a reason, it makes the inspiration part of getting through mile 24 & 25 so much easier. Instead of praying to be hit by a bus to end my suffering, I concentrate on the reasons I need to keep my feet moving, reasons beyond myself. So, without further rambling... I dedicate my 8th marathon to my favorite charity and non-profit organization, the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina.

Within the walls of the HSEC, live the greatest and most deserving animals (and I work with some pretty awesome co-workers too). 70% of our animals are pulled from high-kill shelters to avoid euthanasia. We are saving lives EVERY day. In 2013, we saved and placed 387 animals into loving homes. This year, we will surpass that number by over 100 animals! Since we do not receive any government funding, nor are we associated in any way with the Humane Society of the United States, we survive solely off of fundraising and private donations. That is tough way to survive in 2014!

Please help me save more lives.
I will break it down for you:
$10 will cover the cost for us to microchip one animal
$20 will cover vaccinations for one cat or one dog
$50 covers the cost of one cat spay or neuter
$75 covers the cost of a dog spay or neuter
$120 covers the full price of a healthy dog, including vaccinations, flea and hearworm prevention, HW testing, Microchip and a spay or neuter.

Please sponsor me for my next great 26.2 mile adventure!

Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.

Many thanks for your continued support and love -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!

Let's get this party started.

Don't try this at home. Or in the Blue Ride Mountains.
So I have a very common running injury right now called a "sprained motivation". See pic to right. As of today, that all changes. You see, I started this running journey in 2008 after watching a beautiful, funny, intelligent, loving and THE most the charismatic woman lose her battle to Ovarian Cancer. Before Emily's death, I hated running. Is there a stronger word than hate? Does loathe sound better? Okay, so I LOATHED running. After her death, I wasn't running with the thought of my pain in mind, rather I was running with the thought of hers. Within one year and 3 months, I had completed both a half and a full marathon. This really is 0-26.2 in no time and it was all through the inspiration that her memory provided me.

Over the last 6 years, my need to displace my emotional pain has lessened and my drive to get up every morning at 4:45am to knock out 10 miles is pretty much non-existent. I had to re-boot. Part of the reason I don't get up in the morning to run at the ass-crack of dawn is because I am up late at night with worry and stress from my job. My job THAT I LOVE! I don't have a typical job. I can't leave my work at a desk at 5pm. I can't not answer my phone at 1am with an emergency or not reply to an email on a Sunday about an animal in need. I work all the time. Anyone that works at the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina (or any animal shelter for that matter) works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The shelter never shuts down. We are never "closed". The animals need us each and every day and some days, it seems as though the needs are never ending. Someone is sick, someone is scared, someone needs bottle feeding, someone is breaking down emotionally from living in a confined space, someone doesn't like their neighbor and we ALWAYS need money.... All of these need our immediate attention. So needless to say, my brain just never stops.

So about that money thing... Vet bills, medications, food (which by the way, we only have to pay shipping since Hill's Science Diet donates our food! Shipping is pricey, but not as pricey as shipping plus the cost of food!!), spays and neuter (no animal leaves our facility without the SNIP), utilities, cleaning supplies, facility maintenance, flea and Heartworm Prevention, payroll and on and on and on and on. Guess who's job it is to generate those funds? This lady's right here!

Reason 1 out of 387. Azalea was adopted in October of 2013.
She was a fabulous running partner!
So today I am leading by example. I will be running the NYC Marathon for the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. I start my training today with NO more excuses and a goal to raise $2,620 for the HSEC. That's $100 a mile. My husband will tell you, I'm pretty fancy like that. I have 387 reasons to get my lazy butt up and run every day. That is the number of animals we adopted out last year. This year we are ahead of our 2013 adoptions by over 100 animals. I think keeping a shelter open for all of the animals we will continue to save should be enough motivation for me to get my butt out the door and beg all of my friends and family for mula. By supporting me and my training through your donations, we can both do our part to keep our doors open and you can make me feel guilty enough to actually go run.

My workouts won't be glorious. I can assure you, I will question my thinking many times on this 18 week journey. Check back often to laugh hysterically at my efforts, but I promise, I won't fail.