Sunday, September 27, 2009

All about Oliver

Oliver is a source of amusement, frustration, and of course, love. I have had him in my life since July 2006, when I rescued him from certain death on a farm back in Iowa. He was just five or six weeks old and in desperate need of TLC. The grass in this photo would have dwarfed him, that's how small he was. He quickly blossomed into the 12.75 pound maniac that he is today.

Recently, I really want to know what he is thinking. Most days, and nights, he is quite normal. However, this past week he has been a nightmare. Constantly under foot, following me everywhere, in general being a pest. This includes when I am trying to sleep. He starts at about 2am, sniffing my ear, wanting under the covers, then wanting out, only to come back and start licking my ears. He is driving me crazy! I try to tell myself that this is my fault, because I have been so busy lately and he is just in need of some attention from me. So, I stay home for a couple of hours and just focus on him. I don't read, I don't draw, nothing but play with him. This has done nothing to make him calm down. I have checked him over to make sure he has no injuries or pests and he seems to be fine. A couple of months ago, I found an article about cats and their owners, or I should probably say, about cats and their slaves. Read it here.

Hopefully he just has extra energy due to this wonderful weather that we have been experiencing and will calm down soon. Until then and after, I will continue to give him as much attention as I can, and of course, my love and affection.

Oliver, late August 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Has anyone else noticed how late the sun comes over the mountains in the morning? This morning, it was 8:08 before I was blinded by her. I don't know about you, but if I was always waking up later and later, I would loose my job. Well, maybe not :) What I've also noticed is that she calls it a day earlier and earlier as well. I know that this is a normal thing and happens every year. I just seem to be having a more difficult time dealing with it this year than I did last year. I suspect that it is because I actually enjoyed a full Missoula summer, rather than just half of it spent here last year.

There are plenty of things to look forward to now that it is Autumn. For me, it is the crisp, clean morning air on my runs, the changing scenery as the leaves turn colors and then blanket the green grass so that I can run through them with childlike abandon. However, part of me is still sad. It is very dark here in Northern Montana during the Winter months, and after having so much sun, and fun, I worry that I may get into a rut. I am consciously aware that thinking this way is not good, and must bring my awareness to the delights of the changes going on outside.

It doesn't matter what season it is here in Missoula, the sunsets are always fabulous. Wednesday night Justin and I headed to a bridge that is conveniently located just a couple of blocks from our apartments. There has been a fire burning near Stevensville since the middle of July that has only recently brought smoke up our way...this proves to add to the atmosphere and makes the sunsets a bit different than I am used to.

Just to orient everyone, those birds were flying South.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Training has begun...again

It has officially begun again...except this time, instead of training for a half marathon, I am training for a marathon. I took a week off after my half marathon and am now wishing I hadn't. I was so excited and well rested for my run on Monday that I probably pushed myself too much. I ran 4 miles in 32 minutes, 36.81 seconds which figures out to be an 8 minute, 9 second pace. (By the way, that is the fastest I've ever run 4 miles). Right away I knew that my legs were tired, and just not used to running for several days, and my lungs were burning almost the entire time. I didn't realize I was running that quickly until I got home and checked my time. I will have to be careful so that I don't get burnt out or hurt myself.

I have once again selected Hal Higdon for my training coach. Well, I've at least selected his guide for marathon training. I look forward to doing the longer runs with my boyfriend Justin, and a new friend from his marathon, Helen. I will be jumping back into training in the middle of the second week and changing the schedule up a bit. I will be pushing everything back a day, so as to have my long run on Sundays, as it is always one of my days off. I'm also going to do some light weight training as well as some Yoga, but keep it to a minimum so I don't bulk up or injure myself.

As I woke up this morning in the almost still dark at 7am, I realized that I am going to have to start running in the evenings, or just learn to love running in the dark. Either way, by mid November, both morning and evening runs will be by the light of my headlamp. Oh well, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?

I look forward to having a schedule is a great motivator and it seems to be what really pushes me to go out and hit the trails.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'm going to Italy!

It's official, Mindy and I booked our flight to Italy! We will be there in early November for eight days. Which gives us seven weeks to research where we definitely want to go, and what we are willing to pass on. That also gives me seven weeks to finish my Italian lessons, of which I am on lesson three...out of fifteen. (Let's forget that I've been working on this since April).

We will be backpacking, staying in hostels, and riding the rails to get around the country. Starting out in Pisa, the plan is to go to Florence, back down to Siena, then to Rome, and perhaps to Naples and hitting any little towns along the way that interest us. Then it will be back up to Pisa for our departure. If anyone has ever been in those areas and has any suggestions, I would be very interested to hear what you have to say.

I have purchased my backpack, and think that it will work out very well. I went with and REI Ridgeline 65 and have found it to be very comfortable and convenient. It has a great hiding spot for my passport, once I am in the country (I will carry it with me if I leave my bag in the hostels), and also has various other compartments for my more frequently needed items.

I have several friends that have traveled abroad and I look forward to any advice that they have to give. Justin has already been quite helpful with how best to deal with jet lag, as it has the potential to be a problem when I first arrive in Italy. He will also be of great help while I am gone, as Oliver can not be left alone for twelve days, and there is no other person I would rather have looking after my bubba than him.

I also look forward to running in Italy with my original running partner again. Mindy and I just spoke on the phone and agreed that it would be very neat if we could find a 5k or 10k to run while we are over there.

For now my research begins, and my Italian studies continue. Ciao!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Yep folks, that's how long it took me to run my half marathon on Sunday. 1 hour, 58 minutes, and 22.8 seconds. Needless to say, I was thrilled that I finished well within my goal of 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Justin and I were on the bus heading to the start at 8:15am and ended up having to wait there, outside in the shade of a mountain in the cold air for just over an hour with about 80 other folks.
This was actually all right with me...yes, it was cold, but it gave us time to get to know a few fellow runners. A camaraderie was quickly being established and strangers were wishing luck to their new friends.

At the sound of the horn, we were off. I had positioned myself in the middle of the 146 runners, thinking that was about right. Turns out I should have pl
aced myself about a quarter of the way back from the front, as I had to weave around many of the people in front of me. I was soon passing the 1 mile marker at 7 minutes, 39 seconds! I was astonished that I was running that fast, and not winded at all, so I kept it up for the next 2.5 miles. Then I was on pavement and the gradual downhill was mostly over. I noticed around mile 5 that I was having more difficulty breathing, but not too bad. Miles 6 through 9 were pretty smooth sailing, with the next couple a bit more difficult. The last mile and a half was the worst, but I knew that I could do it. I walked more than I did during my training, due to shortness of breath, which I think was adrenaline induced.

This photo was taken within 10 minutes of me completing the race. I'm still in recovery mode, as all I wanted to do was drink water and get my shoes off! I'm happy to say that I suffered only a minor blister on my big toe. However, on our way to the hot springs to soak, I got a terrible stomach ache that eventually went away, but throughout it's duration, I was certain I was going to die. On Monday and Tuesday, my upper legs hurt more than they ever have. Icy Hot was a necessity and did ease some of my pain. Today, I have a little bit of soreness, but am able to run up and down the stairs at work without "ouch, ouch..." every step of the way.

After enough water, it was time to celebrate with a beer! I had finished 7th in my age group (30-39), I was the 22nd woman to complete the half marathon, and I finished 46th out of 146 runners. Not bad for my first race!

Of course, now the only thing to train for is a Full Marathon. My plan is to run P.F. Chang's Rock 'N Roll Arizona with Mindy in January 2010.

Bring it on!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Prep time

The weekend of my half marathon has finally arrived. I have been officially training since July 13 and have had only a few minor setbacks. I feel as though I am truly ready to run 13.1 miles up in Whitefish, Montana; the Two Bear Half Marathon.

My most recent setback is a sore knee. I took it easy all week, only running 10 miles on Sunday, and five on Wednesday. Friday morning I woke up to run three miles and opted not to since my right knew was suddenly sore. Today, it feels quite a bit better and I hope that tomorrow it will be completely normal.

I have set quite a lofty goal for myself. When I started training two months ago, I wanted to finish in 2.5 hours. Now, I will be upset if it takes me longer than 2 hours, 10 minutes. I know that my body can handle it.

The most I have ever run at one time is 10 miles, so tomorrow will be the most I have ever run in one day. I know that I can do it, and I look forward to crossing the finish line.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Yesterday I headed to Arlee with Justin, Matt, and Brad to the Peace Festival. Great music, vendors, and speakers were all there for a unified reason: peace.

It seems that so many in this world are not at peace. Some things we can not control, but in many areas of our lives, we can make a difference. Doing a good deed can leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling, a feeling of giving back to the community, humankind, etc. Do what you can and you will benefit and so will the people around you.

For the most part, I can say that I am at peace...I have finally re-established a good communication with my mom, something that has been lacking since early April. I think I just got tired of being mad at her for her lack of initiative. The phone may not work both ways, but I know that it works from my end, so why punish both of us?

In other areas of my life, I have also found a calmness that had been lacking before. I have a new understanding of what many of my different relationships need, and mostly, of what I need. I can only try to tell you what this feels like. For me, it is being able to be comfortable where ever I am, being able to be still and take a deep breath and know that everything is going to be all right.

And now, for my favorite pictures from the peace festival. Just looking at the statues put me at ease.

Yum Chen Mo


Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Tempest

The week's theme of free entertainment continued last night and will again tonight. Montana's Shakespeare in the Park is in Missoula! Wednesday night's production was The Tempest. Not being a Shakespeare expert, it was at first hard to follow. Getting into the rhythm of the language I was soon captivated. The actors I felt were very into their characters and seemed to be having a lot of fun, as was the audience. While I did follow the play quite well, I will not say much more about it, just in case my interpretation is totally off. All I will say is that I went to it thinking it was more of a drama. During later conversation with Justin, we both concluded that it was more of a romantic comedy.

Nora, Blake, Amy, Justin (not pictured), and myself enjoyed Le Petit bread, smoked gouda, and mild cheddar cheese, along with a bottle of wine during the production.

For tonight's show, Two Gentlemen from Verona will be performed. I will be joining up with Amy and Nora again, which is always a fun time.