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Marley: Get that camera out of here, paparazzi.

Dylan: <sigh> Can’t we have our moment in peace?

Last week I was so excited when I found a cute, ripe, teeny tiny red tomato from our tomato plant. (so sad, this lonely little tomato)

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Since this is our first full summer in the house, we had to experiment with planting since there is very little sun in our back yard. One of the tomato plants is doing very well, the other – not so much. However, the one that IS doing well has a case of disappearing fruit. Since we have seen bunnies hopping around, we thought it had to be them.

Until this past weekend.

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That is a squirrel eating a not-yet-ripe tomato from our plant. We watched as he sniffed around the plant, grabbed one and quickly carried it up this tree. We both stood in amazement at what just transpired in front of us, and really couldn’t do anything other than laugh. And then we turned into the paparazzi.

Little bastards are eating my tomatoes!

My mom suggested covering the plants. I, of course, have no idea what she’s talking about. I’m assuming she means by using wire mesh? How can I keep these little critters away from my veggies?

I think fat cats enjoy squeezing into spaces that are too small for them. Marley loves it. We pull out paper bags and boxes of all sizes, and no matter how small, Marley will find his way into it. Dylan doesn’t seem to care as much.

We bought this bed for Dylan a while back, but since then, Marley has ditched his own bed (which is small dog bed) for this – an actual cat bed.

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But the best part is his leg.

Look at that leg.

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We’ve all done it – hung our leg off the bed while we were sleeping for whatever reason.

But for some reason, this is funnier.

Please tell me you have an animal that constantly tries to fit into small spaces. If you have pictures to share, that would be even better.

Sidelined

My my, has it been three weeks since I’ve spoken to you guys? I guess I’ve been slacking. Between the 4th of July holiday week, traveling up to Utica, NY for the Boilermaker 15K, and work being absolutely insane, I’ve kind of been neglecting you.

Sorry.

I wanted to come back from the Boilermaker race and give you guys a fabulous, happy recap. I had it all played out in my head how I was going to approach it – and I had some cute pictures to share too. But then I went for a quick, easy recovery run two days after the race and have been injured ever since.

Awesome.

So here’s what happened. I went for an easy recovery run after work on Tuesday of last week. I was going extra slow because A. it was hot; and B. I was running on gravel. I didn’t feel anything abnormal, there were no issues or anything that made me feel like I shouldn’t have been running. Then, all of a sudden, I felt this weird pull in my left hip that caused me to stop running immediately. I looked down at my Nike+ app and it said I was .99 miles into my run.

Ok, I thought, maybe I need to stretch my IT band.

I moved to the side of the trail and stretched for a few minutes and tried running again, but I only  made it two more steps before I realized I did something bad. So I turned around and did the walk of shame back to my car.

I should have called out of work the next day because I was a total mess. My entire left leg from the hip down was in so much pain. Every step I took, I thought my leg would give out. I moped around my “cube” and was pushed around in my desk chair by my co-worker because walking around hurt so much.

What the hell did I do to myself?

I tried foam rolling but it was too late. The damage was done.

I’ve been sidelined.

Finally, I was able to see an orthopedic. (Tip: Don’t wear a dress when you see an orthopedic. Trust me.)

Diagnosis? Left knee patellofemoral pain syndrome, ITB (IT Band) Friction Syndrome and Fibular stress reaction. So yeah, I have a “stress reaction” or, how he put it, a slight stress fracture in my fibula.

Awesome.

Physician goals and treatment?

This is right off of my therapy orders: Pain relief, increased function, education; include core, pelvic and hip strengthening. PT and evaluate. The physical therapy is 2 days a week for 6 weeks – but only if my insurance covers it. If not, I’ll be doing some more research for at-home treatments.

So for now, along with some very strong anti-inflammatory meds, I’m hobbling around with my trusty IT-band brace (which is helping tremendously…$20 well spent)

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As you can see, it ties in nicely with my summer attire.

I will admit, as much as I’m annoyed that I’m injured, I’m glad it’s now when it’s 100+ degrees out. I loathe running in the heat, so this is a great time to take a break and try new things. Since I need to strengthen my core, I am going to bust into my Pilates DVD collection and concentrate on strength moves for now. However, I will admit that I’ve been pretty lazy. This injury has actually wiped me out – I feel exhausted at the end of every day, and I really think it’s because it takes so much effort for me to walk around. My movement has gotten MUCH better since I’ve been taking the pain meds, but when I get home at night, the pain killers are worn off and I’m just beat. I’m ok with that though. I need to take a break. I’ll get back into the swing of things when the pain dies down a little more.

Oh, and for shits and giggles—when I was up in NY for the race, I had to go to my mom’s house to pick up some of my old things. I found a bunch of old pictures and this one, in particular, is one of my favorite baby pictures (I love the outfit)

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It’s not very clear, so I apologize. There are a series of these with me running around our old neighborhood, and a co-worker saw this and said, “Look, you’ve been running your entire life!” I thought it was cute, and it made me love this picture even more.

I’ll give you a race re-cap next week…

Ok so the picture quality isn’t that great since I had to zoom in to my camera’s max, but I am so excited to share these with you.

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Last weekend, we noticed a pile of random broken branches laying on our back patio and I thought, “was there some kind of storm or something that we didn’t hear over night?” It seemed odd, but we just brushed it off and went about our day.

Later in the day, however,  we noticed a “big bird” in our neighbor’s yard trying to fly. We didn’t know if it was hurt or not so we both went out to investigate when we heard this other big bird calling from a high tree branch. The next thing we knew, the one trying to fly called back and flew up to the branch as well. This went on for a while…we’d see the one bird fly down, try to fly, flap around, disappear, answer calls back to whom we assume is the momma, and then fly back to the branch.

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We *think* it’s a baby falcon. It looks like it might have some baby feathers, and since we can’t get TOO close, we’ve had to use these pictures to attempt a description for our research. We ran up to our second level balcony and found that the source of the falling branches looks like it might be their nest! I couldn’t get a good picture of it because it’s high above us. We can’t tell if they’re nesting in there or not, but it sure as hell looks like it.

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And then there were three!

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Again we are no bird experts, so if someone out there can tell us what they are or if we’re wrong, that would be awesome.

The funny thing is we live in a pretty urban area, so the fact that we have these guys chillin’ in our yard (and neighbor’s yard) is pretty cool. Dennis’ mom is sending us binoculars so we can keep a better eye on them. Hopefully they’ll stick around for a while, but I’ll be very sad to see them go.

Do you have cool birds or animals that hang out in your yard?

Ghost Cat

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Ha! I’m completely hidden! You can’t see me! Mission accomplished.

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Wait, where are you going?? 

Heat wave!

I don’t know about you, but I hate running in the summer. Loathe. It’s hot, uncomfortable, sticky, and just plain not fun for me.

I like to feel like this:

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But I actually feel like this:

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The top picture was from last year’s Army 10 Miler. It ended up being a terrible TERRIBLE race for me. It was last October, and it ended up being a very warm 75* day, which normally isn’t that hot. But it was very sunny, and the race is run on blacktop (the course is along the local major highways) and I was NOT prepared. I ended up in the medical tent at the end of the race and was very dehydrated. It sucked.

So why am I signed up to run two races this summer – the Boilermaker 15K July 8 (holy crap it’s in 17 days!) and the Leesburg 20K in August? Because I’m stupid. Ok, maybe it’s because my co-worker signed up to run the 20K and my competitive side came flying out … but we don’t need to go there.

Also, I really enjoy the Boilermaker atmosphere. There’s beer, there’s fun people cheering you along the way, and it’s close to where I grew up so there are always people I know running.

Since today marks the official start of summer and it’s going to be 99* and grossly humid for the next few days, I figured it would be a good time to talk about what I do when it’s grossly hot out.

I run inside.

No, seriously.

Is this cheating? Probably. Unless it’s a race, my ass is NOT running in this crap. When it is hot out on race day, I make sure to keep as hydrated as possible but I’m not going to lie – I’m miserable and I run terribly. This is why I hate signing up for summer races – you never know what you’re getting yourself into. However, since I know I don’t run my best in the summer, that also makes it more of a challenge. I have to change my mentality for summer races. I can’t expect to PR. I have to make it fun (which includes bringing my camera and stopping for photos. Hey, if I’m spending money on a race, I better make it worth my time!)

How about you? Do you enjoy working out in the summer heat? How do you deal with it?

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