i have this weird relationship with time. good and not so good.

i can tell the time of day to almost the minute just by 'feeling' what the daylight is. without a watch around.

my body can wake up when i 'tell' it too, without an alarm (95% of the time).

3 weeks ago yesterday was cora's last day here. i am still completely heartbroken. almost every night, about now, bedtime, i cry. a lot. she was my best friend (besides mark.) she was HERE. and it felt RIGHT. and now it's empty. Quinn is a good boy (most of the time. okay, maybe half the time.) but he's not *her*. Right or wrong, that's the truth.

I noted on December 20th that 6 months had elapsed since completing my first marathon. In scorching heat and humidity. with some of the best people i never knew 2 years ago...

I look at a calendar on June 25th and think, 'huh. 6 months til Christmas'. (now folks will look at that date and think 'the day michael jackson died'. See?!?!?! there I go again! another silly tidbit I totally don't have to remember...)

I can remember my first real kiss (date, year, time) from way back when (nice try, Dad. not going to dish....)

I had an experience almost 2 years ago that shouldn't be anything I remember. But I do. There's so much *other* important data and info to keep straight in the world, what is my issue with time? Why remember something that's trivial?

I look at a calendar again, and see a date waaaay into the future (we're talking something fun we might have to look forward to in August *2011* for goodness sakes) and I get stoked.

who does that??


like or not.

I am a planner.

I am a remember-er (good or not so good events).

so my relationship with time is a little schizophrenic. I love remembering the good. I dislike remembering the bad, and I long for times of 'before' that are no longer. Like adventures with my girl dog. I look forward to next summer's travels, but I pine for the time we had 2 months ago.

and then there's just enjoying the now.

which I do try to *not* take for granted. and just, well, enjoy.



so we end 2009. another year. another 365 days. and another set of selected random dates, events, times, that are imprinted on the ol' noggin'....those i enjoyed, those that were remarkable, those that were forgettable, those to learn from. and those? that just were.

for better or for worse.

this decade was a biggie.

finishing my MLIS. getting a job. getting a new job. (the 'dream job'). getting married. buying a house. making new friends. many new friends. learning to run. learning to run far. learning that anything you put your mind to, you *can* achieve. losing my 2 grandfathers who served in WWII. gaining a stepfamily. gaining a goddaughter and her sister. learning to roll with the changes. and to challenge yourself. and learning that change? *is* okay. even if it hurts sometimes.

here's to more in 2010, as they are sure to be more in all of those categories.

travel. camp. canoe in the back country. go to florida with my best girls of 30 (holy. crap. yes 30) years for the first time in 15 years. open a new library. camp more and take cora back to where she belongs. run the chicago marathon. and whatever else comes my way.

as the old college yearbook staff i was part of used to say...

expect the unexpected. because that's always part of life as well.

here's to you and yours into the new year, as we leave one decade and enter another.



6 years, 10 months, 13 days...

not nearly enough time for the most loyal canine friend i could have ever asked for.

the cancer has become fierce enough that it has made cora not be able to get comfortable any more, meds or no meds.

this is killing us as much as it's literally killing her. but we want her to be pain free and we have known for too long now that this was the eventual end :( the vet today is pretty certain she has a pathological fracture in her left leg due to a bulbous mass on her shoulder that appeared almost overnight. her spirit is still good (which is so SO hard...) but her body? is broken beyond repair :(

so as of december 8, our girl will run free in the next place and we will miss every bit of her being here with us...

blessings to all during this usual merry time of year. i think our christmas will be more subdued this year...and rightfully so when one of the family is missing...

peace & love...

3 out of 4 legs work well...

but when it's the front leg that you were told 4 months ago had cancer in the bones, i realize one should feel lucky that they got 4 solid months of a happy waggy dog.

her spirit is still awesome. her personality too. but her body? is failing.

and her owner/mom is just heartsick.

not sure how much time is left, but it's likely not too long...

it's going to be a rough week.

on the flip side she's still here now and we're going out for a slower walk that she still loves...


haven't run more than 5 miles in about 5 days.

this weekend i'll run 3, maybe 5 on saturday. it's our 2nd annual runner retreat to celebrate our awesome 2009 season at friend kim's cabin.

since my last post i remembered a smattering of NYC details to share:
Favorite tidbits I failed to mention in the last post, random order.

1) african man holding a sign with "Twizzlers' on it and the african translation handing out candy. just by himself on a corner. then an older (more than 70 i'd say) european man running next to me with his individually wrapped twizzler was not able to open it. Man nudges me, worried or questioning look like 'can you please tear this baby open for me?' i did. he smiled and kept on truckin'. awesome.

2) similar story to above but without the elderly man. an asian woman holding 'Swedish Fish Here' hand made sign in english and kanji or some asian translation and a little gladware full of red swedish fish. again. awesome.

3) a man. with 2 prosthetic legs. changing them out. Mile 10 or so. In the middle of the route/road. With his pit crew of friends helping. WOW.

4) the sound of thousands of runners and sticky shoes. Gatorade Endurance formula was on the course...it's full of more sodium and other 'goodies' to keep us hydrated. it also has to have more sugar in it. because SO MUCH was on the roads, esp the later we got into the race that when we throw our cups to the side, there's always splash out of what you didn't drink (non runners? we usually don't ever down the whole cup...) so with all that gatorade on the road, our shoes literally stuck to the road for a good 1/4 mile past each water stop. very very weird. shluck shluck shluck shluck....as we all kept on pace..

5) related to above? so much water and gatorade on the road led to the cups themselves literally composting down as we ran over them...most races have people with brooms or rakes get the cups over to the side to prevent runners from slipping/tripping on them. but with so many people on the course it was nearly impossible for them to do that at certain points without becoming hazards with rakes. so composted trampled wet clumpy bits of gatorade cups were all over the road. again, just not the norm...and kinda interesting.

it was an amazing event. it took about a full week for the whole experience to really settle in. yes. i WOULD run it again. it was amazingly cool, even if i still can't believe they let me in...

my next event is not until January, unless I become one of the millions (yes that many) on Turkey Day to run a 5K. which I just might. where's one right by my house. can't really pass that up...and i have the whole day off before turkey day to clean house for our house full of friends to attend thanksgiving dinner. no family near here so it's just us and the friends hanging out. much wine, much delicious food, a variety of topics to laugh about and no dysfunction :) amen!

January is when i hope to travel to phoenix to see baby Julia, mom Karen and dad Jerry...it also happens to be when the Rock N Roll Phoenix marathon and half is. Let's not think crazy. I'd be doing the 13.1. this girl is taking retirement seriously. IF i run a marathon at all next year it'll be Chicago. It's on Oct 10th. That would be 10.10.10. Which I think would be awesome karma and a stellar way to remember when I ran it ;) I still remember 8.8.88. The lights went on at Wrigley Field for the first time. I remember such useless things sometimes...but there you have it.

on the homefront, we got back from Winnipeg, Manitoba on Monday. Mark had a big basso profundo solo to sing in a Rautavaara piece last weekend. The choir director flew us both out, put us up in a beautiful hotel and paid Mark on top of that to take part in this. Very cool! Mark is now wishing he could sing full time and ditch retail land. But reality is that singers just don't make the millions...esp basso profundo singers. yet?

Cora is hanging in there but the limping is getting much worse as time goes on. She was great until about 2 weeks ago. I have a sinking feeling we are in a much diff position now than we were all summer. I hope she sticks around for another couple of months but I know reality may not play out that way. We really don't know. The vet is astounded how well she's done til now. But he has told us many times we're really lucky it's gone this way. And that we just have to see how this continues in the coming weeks. Her spirit is still awesome! Her shoulder sadly is not. We'll keep you posted...

On that note, it's time to get some chores done. Peace & love, ~jd

the recap of the amazing race...

pull up a chair. this is my longest story ever.
of course it's completely optional and i realize some of you might likely just scroll through the pictures. have at it...


a beautiful dedication statue to fred lebow. the founder of the nyc marathon 40 years ago....(he died of brain cancer in the last decade :( very sad.)

oct 30th. fly to NYC LaGuardia. Check in to the very nice Marriott at the airport.

If anyone ever runs this race in the future, I *highly* recommend going with the travel agency that works with the marathon. *super* reasonable rates at the Marriott and a START LINE BUS on race day. SUPER handy!

never been to New York. it was quite the experience. i think Christmas there would magical. the tree. the twinkling lights. the skating rink. the Barney's windows...okay anyway...marathon weekend was magic in it's own way :)

we went to the expo first.
VERY. AWESOME. amazingly this girl didn't spend a million of Visa's dollars as I just couldn't justify $120 for a jacket just because it had the official ING marathon logo on it....I *have* race jackets. That said, I DID go a little crazy at NikeTown on Saturday with some race gear ;) Not too crazy but a few shirts, new shorts (which yes, i totally wore on race day) and a race hat.

niketown bus :)

the expo had welcome signs in about 6 languages.

it was like 'it's a small world marathon style'. and just as much with the many thousands wandering the aisles of vendors, etc.

and at the expo i met my old friend bart yasso. he's famous in the running world. he has a workout named after him. YASSO 800s. google it if you're curious for more. This man has run just about every race you can. Death Valley. Antarctica. A nudest race. ALL of them almost. Super great man...and he signed my bib for me. good karma there!

Friday night was the pasta dinner at Team MS headquarters. Met some great team members..One had just run the NY Ragnar race. One was a priest at St Patrick's Cathedral. One was a businessman from CA. and the list goes on...very nice folks and we learned our team raised $206,000!!! The largest sum yet that they have ever raised for the NYC MS chapter, and the largest team (about 60 folks). A great way to end our first night in the big apple...good pasta, much running talk and inspiration for those we're running for. During the race, early on, maybe mile 5, a man ran up to me and said "are you running for MS?' me: Yes! Him: "*I* have MS!" Me: "Then I am running for YOU!" and he ran onward in his own race...pretty cool!

team MS at our table...

oct 31st. Halloween. Except, in NYC, it is really hard to know who's in halloween garb and who's version of 'fashion' is different than where I live....
we wandered town a bit, wandered central park *a lot* esp the last 2 miles of the course....

walked the final few miles and saw the finish line for the first time...

found dinner that night in Little Italy. Which is right next to Chinatown. Which I found not that pleasant (Chinatown, ie pirated DVD hawkers on every corner, fake handbags, fake rolexes, all of it. i paid, PAID a DOLLAR to pee in a disgusting burger king. because I had to....

dinner btw? was very pleasant :) example A.

lights out about 11pm with the time change. Runners know that one never sleeps well the night before a race. ESP a big race....

alarm set for 4am on November 1st. alarm doesn't even have a chance to go off. this girl's internal clock just knows when to wake up. 4:10 up and at em.

climb into pre-laid-out race attire.

something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...
pack up a few essentials. find the start line bus down in the lobby at 5am.

(news break: pictures stop here as I didn't take a camera with me on the course. MANY people did, but I had a goal to make and quite honestly I just didn't want to jostle the camera let alone did I have room for one with 2 water bottles, 6 GU packs, pretzels from the plane, gum & sweet tarts :) I was a running snack market!)

buses arrive at the verazzano bridge at 6:15am or so. find a spot to 'camp out' for a solid 3 hours and chat with the following folks. a 40ish VIP man from Ottawa who's run 14 marathons, a 65 year old gent (school administrator) from Miami who hopes to run 3:50 in his first marathon; a lovely Scottish visitor who gave me his brand new sleeping bag to stay warm in when he left with the first wave, a group of 5 Ireland residents who I loved hearing speak, and 2 ladies from the Netherlands who spoke Danish only. (or so it seemed). Again, can you hear It's a Small World in your head? This was in every sense the 'everyman's Olympics'. I couldn't believe I was here. All of these people within about 10 feet of me. And the many many many other international and stateside visitors...

9:30 or so I started the walk to the start line and to the UPS vans to drop my sweats bag and de-layer at least one layer. Temps when I arrived at basecamp were in the upper 40s and a little rainy. Not ideal but the race itself stayed dry! HOORAY!

9:40 was the start of the first wave of elite men and 'general' population (aka fast) folks. the cannon was shot...and Frank started singing "Start spreading the neeeeeeewsss'....SO COOL! The cannon shook the earth. all of it. SO. COOL. they did that (thankfully) for all 3 waves, so that when you crossed the start line officially Frank was singing his heart out to you and all of your close 14,000 friends. (the # of people the started in each wave). And you heard him on the entire 1.5 miles on the bridge....

My start wave was 10:20 and stupid me forgot to start the Garmin until about 3 minutes into the race. Thank god they have people to keep track of your time for you at events like this ;)

Miles 1-10 or so FLEW. For me, this is saying a lot. I never think the miles just melt away where you are all of a sudden like, whoa, 10 miles down? But this time, it really happened that way.

10-17, steady, kept on. Ran with the 5 hour pace group which is why I met my goal of running sub 5. Also ran with a great awesome girl about my age named Emily. Almost the whole race. She was a New Yorker so I kept asking 'where are we now? which borough is this?' Very helpful to run with a local ;) her 2nd marathon, and the last one was NYC last year. The course was great, the support like none other on the sidelines, but it was work, and the concrete *killed* my joints. I have never been this sore :( Worth it? Totally.

Around mile 11 Emily and I were running on the left side of the road. Fans were yelling our name the whole way for about 3 miles...'go Jennifer! looking good' "Run strong Emily!' and so forth. Finally a voice behind us said 'are you guys famous? how does everyone know your name??' the rule is if you are running a big race, put your name on your shirt! who doesn't want support of strangers telling you to put some hustle in it??

We explained this to Kelly. I know her name because this girl (me) LOVES Sharpies. So at the start line/camp area I found a blue one on the ground. You can't let a good Sharpie go to waste!! So I tucked it in my hip pack. Lo and behold, I said, well, I happen to have a Sharpie. Run with us, and at the next water stop, I'll put your name on the front of your pretty plain white shirt. 30 seconds after scrawling K-E-L-L-Y, sure enough, she got lots of 'Go Kelly!'. happy girl strode on :) and Emily and I kept on our way as well...

After mile 18, this girl was starting to tire. I knew Mark would be meeting me at 22.5 miles in with a banana to have some 'real food' and not have to just be using GU. GU works, but after a while it really can make you feel just blech.

Mile 22.5 I found him. He? Was doinking with the camera. Apparently my sub 5 pace was not in his plans so the one time he was adjusting the camera, he missed taking a picture or two. But I got the banana, so bigger deal sealed :) And? He got to witness the elites and pros as they ran by like cheetahs.
Here's Paula...poor in pain Paula. She's still a phenom to me...

here's the 'general population' running past mark...

Miles 23-26.2. the hardest yet. Emily and I just kept plugging along. We ran most of the course like this. Run a mile, walk a minute. It's the Jeff Galloway training plan. But we did 'blow off' a few walk breaks, esp at the end. Despite the great crowds, it was time to get this DONE.

I told Emily a few times 'if you feel a surge, please by all means go ahead. I'm going to keep this steady pace going and if what you say is true (her Garmin worked the whole time; mine timed out on some of the bridges, etc for some weird reason) we were 50 seconds ahead of pace. She too felt good but not 100% so we hung together til the waning 800 meters. Then she found her pocket of energy and took off. See you soon, I thought.

400 meters to go. Keep going, Just Keep Going. (at this point I literally was talking aloud to get myself there).

200 meters. UH-OH. what is this? This horrible I am going to lose my GU Banana Lunch feeling? DAMN IT. Okay here's the thing. the last 200 meters is RIGHT in front of people who have paid a good small fortune to sit AT the finish line area. Like this...

And THIS is when I got the heaves feeling. I never actually lost my lunch but I had a few good dry heaves (sorry, it's part of the true story) and I literally pulled myself over to the side and stopped for about 20 seconds to either lose it all in front of poor paying people or to breathe through it, regain composure and keep going. I did the latter thank God.) Must. Keep. Going. I haven't worked my ass off to literally have it tank AT the finish....just trot it in....just. believe....a couple of deep breaths later (and this whole lil episode took about 30 seconds if that) I was running towards that beautiful blue line and the silver cloaked runners after it (in their heat blankets). run run run run....

FINISH line crossed. this race? COMPLETE.

THEN it was time to stand and shuffle a few inches, literally, at a time to the UPS trucks with our dry clothes in them in the sweats bags and get our goody bag with an apple, a bagel and a gatorade. But imagine running sub 5 hours and then STOPPING. No stretching. No ice for your legs. Nothing but shuffling for a solid 30 minutes or so. again, another reason I'm so sore. and why almost anyone who ran the marathon was clearly visible from blocks away post race.

However, that all said, it was a phenomenally well organized event for 43,000 runners. And I really can't think of what they'd do differently at the end to prevent the log jam of runners waiting to get their bags and exit the park.

I finally found Mark (brought the cell phone with on the entire journey so I COULD find him quickly at the end and on the course) we took a photo and capped off the most amazing race so far.

On the phone with one of about 5 people...crying tears of 'it's done! and wow!'

Would I do it again? Probably. Next year? Too soon to tell. Did it exceed my expectations? I really don't know what my expectations were except to finish and *maybe* PR (set a personal record). I've got the tiny seed planted that says "Chicago" on it. Not sure though. I'm going to enjoy retirement from 26.2 for a while...a good LONG while...

Finish time? 4:58:27. 17 minutes faster than my last 2 marathons :) I'll take it.

Thank you again for ALL of the phenomenal support from friends near and far. I literally could not have done this without all of you.

Much love,
The retired for 2009 Marathoner

here we go....

here's what i'll wear in 3 days.

here's to the $2450 I raised for MS in honor of Stacy & my aunt...

here's to all of the wonderful supportive friends who will be in my head the whole time..

here's to the amazing race...more after FINISH and a flight home.

paths may split...

life is one big road map...

marriages start...

babies are born...

kids grow...

schedules can be impossible...

some marriages end...

people might move...

jobs might change or be lost...

sickness can happen...

health might return...

and friends might fall away...

it still won't stop me from thinking 'how are you?'...

and the answer is....plus one more picture!

i *just* asked this during my marathon on saturday...so nice to have an answer for random trivia....

138,336 steps in 26.2 miles and 69,168 for 13.1!

new york city happens in something like 19 days.

then these barking dogs are bein' put up...

let's hope for dry weather in the 40s, maybe 50s on November 1st....pretty please Ma Nature??

Unrelated, completely, a HUGE congratulations goes out to Karen & Jerry, my stepsis & bro-in-law who welcomed Julia Kaitlyn Snitselaar a whopping 8 weeks EARLY on October 8th :)

Julia is doing well despite being just shy of 4 lbs, and Karen is home resting and recovering. I hope to visit them sometime near the holidays :)

welcome, peanut!

one down, 3 to go...

(keep reading. this wasn't on today's course. this is next week...)

so the shorty is done. (ps, not to sound one bit cocky that 10 miles is short. it's a big accomplishment and i'm proud that i've learned to run that far. but compared to 18, 20, 22, 26 miles? it's short. next year? i am asking santa for *more* 10 mile races...not marathons...)

TC 10 (and marathon) day is just about over. from here on out in the next 4 weeks, i have 3 races. 2 marathons, and a half marathon through a state park. and considering today was a bit more challenging than i had expected, i hope i don't get my a** handed to me in the coming 3 events. I feel like I'm in the deep end, and boy, this girl sure doesn't swim well.

that said, i'm up for a challenge. (or three). and i'll tackle what I'm handed. (or sign up for, as i realize this is all my doing...)

but let's focus on today....the race went like this...

5:15am-alarm goes off (though I'm pretty much awake so it's just time to get up. I don't sleep well the night before a race and my body knows what time it is, so the alarm is rarely needed. however of course i'm human, so the one night i wouldn't possibly set it, would be the time i actually sleep in and god-forbid miss a race! and i was driving two other runners today, so i had to get it goin' on time!)

5:50am-eat the pre-race banana and drink the pre-race beverage

5:55am-leave for the runner girls houses and drive to the start buses

7:10am - gun time! (we were corral 4 out of 4, and there were about 6000 runners for the 10 mile. the marathon had 2 corrals with 11,000 runners as comparison, and they started an hour later than us)

8:30am - meet cindy's sister and folks at fairview and summit, about 5 miles in...halfway there! feeling pretty okay and strong, keeping a 10:20 pace

8:50 - about 2 miles to go, and feeling a little bit tapped out. CJ got me through. she looked awesome and I just stuck to her as much as I could...

9:00 - my loving biggest fan was at the base of the cathedral cheering us on...i ran over, gave him a big smooch and kept on truckin'! the race wasn't over yet!

9:07 or so, crossed that finish line on a great downhill part of the course to the end!

So, the TC 10 had a great day for running (chilly if you were spectating, but good for going 10 or 26.2 miles) and I finished in 1:43:36. 30 seconds slower than last year, but such is life. it's seconds. and i am not a huge time girl on my races as it is.

next week is the whistlestop marathon in ashland wisconsin. it looked like this last year..

let's hope for similar weather, and i'll just get by, one mile at a time, through the wilds of wisconsin. marathon #2? here i come...after a full week at work, including my first committee meeting of this runner girl helping plan an inaugural 5K run/walk for the library! my love of work and my love of running/walking bonding? wow. who knew?

it's almost time....

it's twin cities marathon weekend!

i drove down summit tonight and saw all of the barricades and the signs that said 'road closed sunday october 4 6:30-2:00pm' and i thought 'bring it on!'.

mark had a concert tonight and one of the singers said 'are you running on sunday?'

me: yes, the 10 mile

she: oh, so you're part of the reason i can't get anywhere on sunday.

me: give us ONE day, babe. (my exact words said in my jd way of course)

TC weekend is a big deal to about 12,000 runners and 200,000 spectators. so am i getting excited? yes! and boy do i need some good vibes and karma going on...

so here we go...7:05 gun on Sunday morning. I'll be done before 9am. (SOOOOO not like a marathon...) and it's not supposed to rain (fingers crossed! it did last year and the year before that was a hellish heat bath with people dropping over left and right.)

next weekend is my 2nd marathon of the year in ashland, wisconsin.

and NYC? 4 weeks from Sunday. FOUR. wow, this is all getting so real and overwhelming...

so i will continue to bury myself in work and do my best to not worry. (HA!) both are what i do best.

apple crisp time!

okay, so yeah, i stole that from the star trib site.

however, i'm also passing on news from just below that pic on their site as well...

this recipe

it was devoured by my co-workers in about an hour today.

granted i had brought it to work right from the oven, so who doesn't like warm apple anything?!?

but it's really super easy and really delicious.

i used honeycrisp apples instead of the mix they call for in the recipe, and it was still awesome and not overly sweet like i feared...

so enjoy!

i'm off to spend a blissful afternoon off from libraryland listening to the much needed rain, reading, baking (another apple crisp that i can have here and to feed my neighbors with) and maybe a nap.

more soon....


from marathoning.

yes. you read that right.

2010 will likely be a year i won't talk one time about running 26.2 miles.

i am sick of running.

yes. you read that right again.

while it's done phenomenal things for me mentally and physically, it's also become something that is *work* lately and not nearly as fun as it used to be. i'm just plain tired of spending every free moment running. while new york will be phenomenal (and completely overwhelming in every sense of the word), i look forward to november 2nd (mark's 42nd birthday coincidentally) as my official retirement date.

i'll keep running over the course of the winter. (i can't really fathom putting all of this work into this year to lose it all by totally giving it up.) so i'll only run 3 or 5 miles every few days. none of this devoting 6 hours every saturday morning to running 18 or 20 or 22 miles. (yawn). my friend ally is going through the same strife...so i'm glad i'm not alone in feeling like i do. there is such a thing as 'burnout' and i don't just mean those high school kids who used to hang out on the corner smoking...

that said, there *are* plans already in the works for 2010 in relation to travel and running. but it's much less running than *training* for a marathon...

i plan to run here.

pretty right?

those are the wasatch range mountains in utah.

there happens to be a ragnar relay there.

that we've already got a team put together for :) jd meet altitude.

i've never run in the mountains. actually mountains and i haven't ever really bonded, much to my chagrin. we just don't have too many mountains close to MN that i hang out at regularly. the mother lake is awesome, but she doesn't come with big range mountains...so next june (coincidentally over grandma's marathon weekend) we'll be heading to utah for 4 or 5 days of fun, running and adventures!

not else much to report. mark's in texas as i write this. he's singing for just a few days, and we found just one day in mid october that we can actually take a day trip to either leaf peep or hike or bike or something just the two of us. which, again, running takes me away from. the husband. not good. but the same goes for his singing. we really don't have the traditional life of seeing each other every evening or on weekends. we see each other, literally, at bedtime and *maybe* one or two evenings a week. if that. i hope by retiring, this will help us see each other more...

we leave for nyc on oct 30th. we fly back nov 2nd. we leave for winnipeg for mark's big 'rock star' solo of a concert on nov 6th. come back the 9th. that's going to be quite a week!

Cora is still hanging in there, and still doing pretty damn well for getting diagnosed with what usually takes greyhounds down within a few months back in June. Quinn is Quinn. lovable. goofy. afraid of all hard surface floors including our own. felines are just as snuggly as ever (as long as they aren't in the same vicinity. ellie still give lucy grief at every turn...)

happy autumn to all (since it's almost equinox day) and be well...~jd

it's been a while...

first and foremost, thank you to everyone who passed the word and donated what ever amount they could towards my MS NYC goal. I have exceeded the $2000 mark! TWO. THOUSAND. DOLLARS. All for a great cause, a great friend and a huge event. So thank you from the bottom of my heart....Race day is 52 days away...it's never too late to pledge. See my previous post for the link love...

Okay, so after posting that, I then left for about a week in early August with my BFD. That would be my Best Friend David. He's single. He's straight. (and he'll kill me for even saying this out loud but I don't care..) and he IS one of my best friends. And yes, Mark is okay with this. David, Mark and I all used to work at B&N back in the day, and David and I are just great friends who travel well together. And who doesn't love travel???? I thought so....

So David and I went camping. For the first time together and for the first time for him in like 25 years. Pitched the tent at a campground way back in the Superior National Forest just outside Ely, MN (about 4 hours NE of here). And then 2 nights at Bear Head Lake State Park. Also beautiful but much more crowded. I am learning I love deep private campsites that are not often found at state parks...I am not a fan of loud people, barking barking barking dogs or screaming children running around my shared nature spot. I'll share with those for a few minutes but if it's all the time? No way. I'll find camp elsewhere. (rant done). then for another 2 nights we traveled even further north and stayed at Big Bog SRA, which had a campground and camper cabins. Small cabins with electricity but no running water. Delightful though. So here's here's photo mini-album one.

Birch Lake with morning coffee

campsite off the lake...

Big Bog boardwalk. One mile out. One mile back. Beautiful and desolate. Reminded me much of Alaska..(minus the big gorgeous mountains).

fast forward to the weekend of august 21-22nd.
ran my first Ragnar Relay.
what's that, you say?
195 miles. Mostly through WI next to the Mississippi River...
2 vans.
12 runners.
and about 36 hours of awesome camaraderie.

I ran my fastest legs ever.
my first leg was just shy of 8 miles. and I got to start the race at 7:30am in the rain that Friday morning. I apparently ran so fast my 2nd runner wasn't quite ready when I hit the exchange point.

next leg was 6.2 miles long, about 12 hours later. Run from Stockholm to Maiden Rock, WI. That was a tough one. Big hills, not a very happy tummy most of the day lead to a very tough 58 minute run. But I did it, and my girls got me through...Our team was the Chicks. Hence all the yellow. Our Captn Ally did an awesome job sewing aprons for us and decking us out in yellow finery.

starting leg two...the sayings on the truck say it all...

last leg, 5:00am. Run from Stillwater to Bayport.
No one around but runners...
and a stray car or three.
Ran 3.1 miles in about 28 minutes if I recall. (which honestly, I don't. but it was something like that...)

Our Van 1 was done around 10am. Van 2 finished about 2:30pm with CJ being our 12th runner and we brought it home across the finish line as a team. An amazing experience that was a blast and I'd totally do again next year...(ps, Dad, there's a Ragnar relay that runs from Prescott to Mesa every February. Maybe someday...

The Chicks waiting for CJ, our final runner to come in at the finish area.

Okay then to finish out, last weekend was Labor Day somehow.
So we headed outta town.
A friend asked today if I was camped out.
oh wait, I'm sorry. I tend to speak my mind.
um, why no. maybe no reason to be so emphatic. (except that's sort of how i roll in case you haven't known me long.)
I mean how could anyone get tired of the woods and nature and no electronics??? (okay this girl doesn't get tired of it..not even a little.)
camp coffee.
camp moon.
you get the gyst.

But we actually didn't camp as we'd had plans with Don & Mary (great friends of ours) for over a year to stay in a cabin in Itasca State Park. The headwaters of the Mississippi River. So here's a few mini-album shots from that trip. Amazingly perfect weather for 4 days, a stunning state park (also Minnesota's oldest) and we stayed in a renovated 80 year old cabin that used to be where people would check in to use the park back in the 40s and 50s up through the 70s.

the four of us outside the cabin just before departing for home..

we hiked to the top of the old fire tower.
because things like that are there to CLIMB.

we did it! (the wobbling at the top? not so awesome. so we took this quick and started heading back to at least a few stories down..)

now it's 9/9/09 which is good luck in China.
My 2nd marathon is in a month, NYC is in 53 days and then? I am going to retire from long distance running for a while. I'm rather burned out on running long long LONG miles.

But I just found an adult ballet class.
If it's anything like the I Love Lucy episode, I'm SO there :)

time to get serious...

for at least a few minutes.

follow this link.

it will take you to my first ever charity fundraising page.

i am officially running the world's largest marathon (and my *2nd* major one ever) for the MS folks of the world.

in short, i've always wanted to 'give back' to running.

i want to run for *others*, not *me* all the time.

i've had friends say 'jd, it's NOT all about you all the time'. (i think they're usually kidding; i hope they are, but one never knows. running *has* definitely played a role, sometimes negatively, in some of my friendships).

but i digress.

one of my best friends was recently diagnosed, and when that happened, i knew, KNEW that i needed to try and give back to a society that could help her, and millions of other people.

stacy is so much more than just your 'average next door neighbor'. she, travis (the outdoorsy pabst loving husband), maddie (age 3) and baby-dude cooper (7 months) are awesome amazing friends of ours and we seriously wouldn't want to move ever unless they moved too. we cook for each other. we watch each other's houses. we feed each other's dogs when needed. we laugh, we hang out, we eat. you get the gist...

so i am running NYC for stacy. i am also running NYC for my aunt sonny who lives in oregon. she too has MS and has for almost 30 years. she too is doing pretty well thanks to good treatment and the wonders of modern medicine.

so the deal is i need to raise $500 by sept 1, and $1500 total by mid-october. (or else it all gets charged to me to help...)

any amount you're willing to pledge can be sent right from the link above.

if you have any questions, please email me, and treasure each healthy good day.


sunday laziness...

looks like this.

david stopped by for a little while as i had baked him birthday cookies (knowing he was in town) and he helped me break in my new camping toy that i am stoked about! i made a little more than expected over the weekend and had to have this. for all the running i do, i should lounge. that's my new motto. (ps dad, your belated father's day gift is not forgotten. it's not a hammock. but it's on order...random thought but dad reads the blog and i wanted to be sure he knew i didn't forget..)

started the morning with one of Cora's favoritest people ever coming over.
Aimee and I met about 8 years ago when she had adopted her first greyhound Tipper, and i had adopted Cora. Aimee and Cora got some quality time since her diagnosis to hang out on the deck. examples A B & C....

Cora's making the most of not knowing what the future holds. And we leave again next Friday for yet another place we've never been. Much closer than the previous campsite, this time only about 90 miles north. We have a new tent. The 'old' brand new tent had rain fly issues. So REI (the world's BEST company) exchanged it for a newer modeled tent. Which we did set up last night, and by George, it's actually not as intuitive a design as the 'old' one we took back. But I think we got the hang of what we need to do, so we'll see in less than a week.

Oh, and see what happens once you run a marathon?

You don't blog or talk about running for a solid MONTH after. How is it possible that tomorrow it's been one month since Grandma's?? So the official 'countdown to NYC' is now up. Sigh. Back to training. I'm tired and I haven't even started....

making the most of whatever time is left...

So as most of you know, our older dog, Cora, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on June 22nd.

in plain english she has bone cancer in her left shoulder.

she started limping on and off on her front left foot, and I took her in to the vet 2 days after I ran my first marathon. I think it will forever be synonymous that those events occurred at pretty much the same time. One, a huge high. The other? Crushing at best.

Cora is still acting like a normal dog, and if a stranger met her (many did this past weekend!) you'd never know she was sick.

The vet gave her a month to two months on June 22nd.

We're almost to the one month mark, and still? A great dog who isn't acting sick at all sleeps a lot like normal around our house. Yes, she needs the pain meds, and yes, she got very tired this past weekend when we took her on a pre-planned 3 night camping trip to Madeline Island, WI. But we made the most of her still being pretty well, and made some great memories with her. And she? LOVED the trip.

Here's the proof in the photos....so for as long as we have Cora around, and as much as it hurts so much I can't help but cry sometimes to think of her not living forever, we're going to make the most of the time she can adventure with us and know we love her as much as she loves us.

we leave a week from Friday for yet another camping trip. a) pending on how well Cora is doing and b) weather permitting since it's much closer to home. The time in the woods, the time with our girl we've had almost 7 years (she's 9 1/2 by the way, which is not quite old for a greyhound) just time to live each day as it comes. There are no guarantees in life. This we all know in some capacity. So here's to more adventures as they come....as long as they can.

hooray for...

neighbors being back home where they belong.

25 feet from us :) YAY NOLLS! Welcome Home! (they were on a week long road trip to Pittsburgh to visit Stacy's side of the family...)

and just in time for us to leave town for 4 days on Friday for Cora's 'Make-a-Wish' camping trip.

she's still doing pretty okay, but it's evident she needs pain meds. She's definitely not as a-okay without them.

but to a stranger? you'd never know she was sick. so that's good.

off to the Apostle Islands this weekend.

(closest vet number in hand just in case. it's good to be prepared).

never been camping with a dog since about 1982. So this should be very interesting.

but I forsee good times and my god, after today's blurring of some major friendship lines, I'm so glad to get the heck out of dodge. It's tough to be stomped on when you're already down. Some days just go that way.

here's to a better tomorrow. and an awesome weekend with my loved ones.

thanks a huge ton to Ally & her Tri-Guy for taking care of our house (and their own!) while we're away...

it's okay if most of my world feels this way.

i still found this pretty hilarious.

it's an official friends & family ING New York Marathon tshirt graphic.

happy 4th of july!

been pretty quiet around these parts.

next weekend is camping with cora. that should be interesting. good i hope. i'm making the 'plan b' itinerary in case of super inclement weather. (ie doggy lodging with her people) as we still want to have some kind of family-vacation-that-involves-nothing-to-do-with-singing-or-running.

off to our dear friends place soon to celebrate america's birthday...may all of the friends & family near and far be well!

ps, this is a blog lift from my friend ally. it hits dead on how my race went (except for the very end of her post where she clearly never hit her groove and will hopefully someday be okay with that. or not.)

click here

highest of highs to smashing of lows...


running a marathon with 4 of your best friends. and finishing with one of them...


hearing 30 hours later your amazing loving dog has oseteosarcoma in her shoulder.

is there a record for tears shed in a matter of 4 days??

enjoy the good life while you can.

for this week, outside of worrying on the inside often, i have much to tackle at work and have to put the professional face on. so here we go...

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