Running With Your Dog Is Sometimes A Terrible Idea

I recently took up trail running at a park near my apartment with my dog. His name is Tip and he is an 11 year old beagle mix. He basically looks like a beagle with the brown, black and white colors in all the right beagle places but his bone structure kind of resembles a short snouted short legged lab. See below:

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It always looked like fun to run with your dog. Cute dog, plus cute running outfit and you got yourself the perfect Instagram moment. So you hand a stranger your phone and proceed to fake run past them as they snap images of you. This was not my day yesterday.

Tip is rather quick when it comes to running. The problem is he is much faster than me in the beginning. Being as old as his is, his energy level is shockingly high. But he doesn’t know how to pace himself…because he’s a dog.

So at the start of the run I have to pull back the reigns to keep him from dragging my ass down the trail. He likes to launch himself down hills covered in tree roots, sand ( I live near Lake Michigan), and rocks. Pretty dangerous situation when I’m attached to the other end of the leash.

The when it’s walking time, his type of walking is straight up jogging lightly. I never get to rest. Which is good for me but the problem comes when we get 1.5 miles out into the woods and fields. Suddenly he’s depleted his energy and I have to drag him back home.

He’s naturally a hunting dog so he likes to sniff out small animals like squirrels, mice, and cats. It took 4 months to get him to stop hunting our new kitten this summer. He doesn’t EAT them when he catches them though which is why we weren’t too worried about the cat. He pulls them out of their hiding place and plops them on the ground like “Here you go mom! I caught you dinner. You can have the honors of killing it.” No thank you, Tip. I’m good.

Naturally, in the middle of a sprint in the middle of the woods, the dog detours suddenly launching himself into the trees after a squirrel at full speed. I run passed him with no time to change direction or speed. And suddenly I’m on my ass cursing his name and nursing my arm socket.

He also HATES other dogs. He hates other people too. Overall, he thinks everyone and everything is out to get us. Especially the squirrels. I usually take him out to the trails early Saturday/Sunday morning to avoid the dog and people crowds. This week I took him out after 5:00 pm on a Wednesday. Bad decision. So bad.

We got 1 mile out and ran into a dog. When that happens we either go back in the other direction and take another route or turn off the path if possible. It’s not the other dog’s fault that mine is psycho.

This time, right after turning back we instantly ran into another dog. I took him down a side path and we ran into two more. We saw 4 dogs in a matter of 3-5 minutes. Tip was in a straight up panic attack. He was phantum peeing on everything (when a dog tries to mark his territory but ran out of pee). He was so mad at me for not letting him hunt the dogs that he just beagle whined at me the entire walk back to the car.

And yet through it all, I continue to take him out in public. It’s either real dog love or it’s the selfish runner inside me who doesn’t want to run alone.

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Seriously, What’s Flax Granola?

One of my biggest pet peeves about eating healthy nowadays is all the excessively complicated ingredients. I recently read an article online that offered a 3-day cleanse. It gave recipes for each meal for three days to aid in the cleanse. Great, I said, this will be fun! No. Wrong.

The problem I have with “being healthily” in today’s world is everyone is so worried about the littlest things. The littlest ingredients. I drink half and half in my coffee every morning. EVERY morning. 7 days a week. It’s the only creamer that doesn’t make me gag. I really hate flavored creamers. In fact I dislike sugary tastes in my regular home coffee all together. I only drink sugared up coffee from like Starbucks in the form of a latte. I’m sure I could easily use some form of non-dairy creamer like almond milk or cashew milk or some other alternative that today’s healthy crowd swears by, But really I don’t think changing my daily intake of a tablespoon of creamer is going to kill me.

The first thing on the list for the cleanse was breakfast. It was something that sounded like oatmeal. Sweet, I thought, finally a guide with easy things that I already have and love around the house. Nope wrong. Flax granola and rice milk….things that I didn’t even know existed. In fact, they both probably cost an arm and a leg too. Can’t I just eat my Quaker Old Fashion Oats and milk, please?

These new age diets really don’t make it easy on anyone. My boyfriend, whom I live with is a junk food junkie. He’s the reason my cupboards are filled with Doritos, Twinkles and Pop Tarts. Just last week I had a battle with a bag of Doritos. Ended up eating 1/4 of the bag in one day. While he could eat the entire bag in one day. I still obviously felt terrible and did my body own cleanse with a bunch of water and fruit for the rest of the day.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being broke all the time and constantly being disappointed by health crazes is it’s all really a lot more simple than the media makes it seem.

Eat oatmeal, vegetables, fruit, lean meats, and if sometimes you want something salty and sweet then eat some damn Doritos because you only live once!

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Sometimes when you’re unhappy you have no idea what you need to turn it around. In general I think when you graduate college you either blend in smoothly with normal life or you constantly fight against it.

I just can’t get myself to fit into the cookie cutter life. Get married, have babies, clean my house everyday forever…

I just want to leave my laundry on the floor, eat take-out and not worry about another living thing besides my cat.

But I don’t want to be a 20-something year old either. I don’t want the drunk nights at bars. I don’t want my apartment to be filled with junk foods. I don’t want to be careless about my life.

Everyday I wake up, drink coffee and start working. Then I finish working, take the dog out for a walk and head to some appointment or fitness class. When I get home I eat and watch Netflix/Hulu. I’m stuck in this awkward after college stage where I have no goals or motivation to change it. I dream to big and get let down when it seems impossible. So instead I revert back to having zero goals and head back into my boring routine.

I want my life to be moving toward something important. Something to be passionate about. Something powerful. How do people get that? Where do you find what you are looking for? I feel like I’ve never truly found anything that has grabbed my attention permanently. I’ve always just grown bored of things and moved on.

Turning 25

My birthday is coming up soon, slow and steady. I’ll be turning 25. My twenties are going by faster that expected and I am rather alarmed by it. Recently I have been reanalyzing my life choices, relationships and future a bit more than needed. I’d call it an obsession. I’ve already almost signed up for school again twice to escape my adult future. I miss college so much. My body, relationships, priorities, have all been changing quite a bit in the past year.

I was recently talking with my boyfriend about what I wanted to do for my birthday. His birthday actually comes about a month before mine. We broke into a discussion about what we both wanted to do. I have decided that I really want to go up to Michigan wine country (Tabor Hill, Lemon Creek, Round Barn, etc.) for the weekend. I love wine. Especially red wines. I love how different they all are. White wines are nice and easy to drink but I don’t find their flavors to be very vast or interesting. I usually drink white when I’m spending the evening alone in the bath tub.

I told him the reason was because I wanted to spend the weekend with people who I truly cared for and vis versa. I’m am very tired of inviting out a bunch of people who don’t speak to me, except for like 0 to 2 times, a year to a crappy bar in northwest Indiana. It’s exhausting. Oh no…I’m turning into an adult.

He on the other hand, wanted to because he likes reconnecting with those people. The big difference between myself and my boyfriend is that he is the social butterfly. In fact he’s kind of a weird social butterfly. He’s not the life of the party or anything. He’s just a good guy, non-aggressive, and knows how to enjoy a night out without alcohol. He hates alcohol and will nurse one beer the entire night. I think that makes him really approachable especially for people who have been drinking. He’s got a lot of patience for them. He is VERY kind. Sometimes to kind for his own good.

I am anti-social. For the past two weekends I have literally not left my apartment except to go grocery shopping or to visit my boyfriend’s sister. Oh and I had a bon fire with my best friend. Literally just with her. She’s just like me. Give us a bottle of wine and some fire and we are good.

I CAN socialize. There’s no fear there. I just choose not to. I find screaming at people from across the table at a busy bar with half dressed women and smoke chocking me to be really unenjoyable. There’s really no chance in me having fun in that situation unless you feed me a couple grey goose and cranberries.

Lately, even half of a drink with hard liquor has left me dragging in the morning. I used to never get hang overs. Oh my god my ass, my ass has shifted too. I’m serious it hangs slightly lower. I’m devastated. Spin classes have become my best friend. I feel like a mom.

Yeah okay I’m not old and my body is not a disaster but when you are so used to your body being a certain way for the past 5 years, changes hit you hard. You never think this day will come this fast until you’re putting on your favorite pair of underwear and your butt bursts out of the sides.

I had made a mental goal of having children when I’m 30 or like right before 30. I don’t feel the need to rush anything. But guess what? That’s in like 5 years or less. From how fast things went from 20 to 25, I can tell the next 5 years isn’t going to take very long. I don’t even have a plan! How am I going to pay for these kids??

My boyfriend and I don’t even have a plan on when we’d like to get married. We’ve talked about it and decided that we want to do it eventually but definitely not any time soon. Money is a big issue but there’s also the fact we don’t find it super important. We’ll probably do it for the kids or to share insurance. I guess this is what happens when two kids of divorce get together.

I’m not 25 for a couple months though so I should probably chill the hell out.

Use Your Words Not Your Gifs

I’ve realized that while I have been trying to stay far from hashtags, memes, and gifs for the past several years, I may have impaired myself when it comes to blogging. I was looking at other blogs for inspiration this morning. People actually blog about people they tweeted with and then add a gif and BAM. Is that really what blogging is or has become?

I mean I am no blogging expert (obviously) but when I think of blogging I think of posts with a point. A point of view, instructional, an intense subject of some kind, and I don’t know, something with an intellectual point or even just someone’s mind wanderings is okay.

I think it has come to point where people are happy with a couple hundred words or less to read. My biggest pet peeve is Buzzfeed video explanations. These people actually write posts describing a freaking video that I am about to watch. You think I’m really going to go through all your stupid gifs of the video and read you describe everything when I can just click play? I wouldn’t be so annoyed by it if they were giving a well thought out response to the video about how they liked it or hated it or what their take on it was. But that doesn’t happen. It’s usually a pretty thoughtless video of a dog or a child doing something adorable.

Buzzfeed is just a disaster. They started out so strong and got so many followers. Now they are just drowning their following in lazy material that inspires nothing.

I don’t blame the writers though. As a writer with a job that inspires nothing I understand. Sometimes you have to take jobs that ask for zero creativity. Sometimes those jobs really don’t make any sense to you as a writer but makes complete sense in the eyes of marketing and editors.

We the readers control what is written. Get informed about something or everything, and start reading more intellectual stuff. Stuff with substance and passion. Sure this post isn’t much more than my morning mind wanderings but at least I’m not creating gifs to help describe how I’m feeling. The words do that for me.

Thanks for listening.

Stress Fracture Nightmare

My worst fears have come true this week. My chiropractor discovered the beginning of a stress fracture in my right tibial. My left leg had one really bad at the beginning of this year where I was stuck on crutches for over 10 weeks.

This time though, my chiropractor believes it was caught early and I just need to ice it and lay off it for a couple weeks. This is all seriously getting aggravating. I feel like I will never be able to really run long distances. All I want to do is run half marathons again.

My doctor believes it has something to do with my foot mechanics. He said genetically, my foot is shaped weird and so when I step down and then kick back, my foot over corrects itself causing a lot more stress on the posterior tibial muscle. The stressed muscle then pulls on my bone and causes fractures. We are going to try high arch supports to see if it will take the stress off the muscle.

I am so frustrated. I just want to run. My training has been so limited. I really want to start running more than two days a week. I haven’t even started pushing my distance yet. I’m stuck at 2-3 miles.

The week I started to feel the fracture I had done a 2 mile run, then a spinning class, then a 3 mile run and then another spinning class and then a light run a couple days later. It’s definitely more than I usually do but I have been running twice a week for the past few weeks. The only thing I added was spinning classes. Maybe the spinning was to hard on my body?

I read online somewhere that if you don’t allow your body to heal after increasing your workout, you can injure yourself because your muscles are weakened during their rebuild. Maybe that’s what I did. I miss spinning class. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow just to keep up my fitness. I’ve already had 3 days off.

Why can’t my body just be normal so I can be active. My best friend basically can do anything. She has never been injured and I don’t think she ever will. I’m so jealous.

Ugh…

Post-Graduate Regret

I think we all regret some things in our lives at some point, whether its something we said, something we did or didn’t do. As someone hovering between a finished Bachelor’s degree and life itself there is a lot of regret.

I think the fact that you actually finished your degree is what sparks it. Suddenly, you can’t go back anymore. This is especially difficult for those like me who changed their major 5 times in college. After a while you complete one or two just because that’s where you ended up after 4-5 years. Now you’re wondering, what do I do next?

It still feels like the beginning of college to me. I still feel completely undecided and confused. I wonder if I should go back to school and chase that first dream. Is it really worth going back to school? I could just end up right back here where I started, still confused on who I want to be but with much more student debt.

I feel so out of place in the world of writing. I’ve always felt so out of place in everything I do. I’m always looking to “fit in” and once I get that feeling I’ll know I’m where I’m supposed to be.

I love museums. Especially art museums. There’s something magical about them. I like to wander around and let my mind drift off into the world of the artists around me. Sometimes I can feel their brush strokes and hand strokes in my mind as they create, I wonder, how in the world did these do this?

I’m a painter, but I only seem to squeeze out photo-realism artwork. I can’t understand how to do anything else. I don’t get how these amazing famous artists made these beautiful works of art and they are not perfect…and yet they are perfect. I wonder if what I need in all this is art school. I always wonder. I wish my wondering would go away.

I fear that if I make that step I will just give up because it didn’t fit me. I’m tired of hitting dead ends. I just want to be something. I want to feel true to myself. I feel totally lost. I’m afraid that when I get to art school they’ll ask me to make something original and creative and I’ll just blank. I’ll have absolutely nothing to give them.

If art isn’t what I am supposed to do then what is. Is writing all there is for me? The problem I have with writing right now is that I picked the easy way out with it. I chose a job and a field where I don’t need to really be that creative for.

Maybe I’m just creatively lost and lazy. Maybe I have it, I’m just not disciplined enough to reach for it.

I’ve always been that way though. If something looks like it’ll be too difficult then I avoid it. I quit my Fine Arts degree my first semester of college because drawing frustrated me. I thought it meant I didn’t like it. Well, I guess I was wrong because I still like art.

Maybe art school will be good for me, even if I don’t finish it. This could be my chance to break into my creativity and break out of my pathetic mold.

It’s funny. I started out with art, went through 5 major changes, ended up with two degrees because I couldn’t decide and now I’m back to art again. Makes you wonder if life really is just a circle. I can’t really think of anything in my life that I tried and hated. I just remember doing a lot of trying and then stopping myself because I was scared of failing. So maybe it’s time to stop hitting that wall and instead of turning around, climb over it.