Friday, December 31, 2010

The first day to the last day

Went on a 4.5 mile run this morning. Boy was it COLD out!! I got to thinking about my year. On Jan 1st, we ran 13.1 miles with some friends. So I started the year running and ended the year running. It is crazy to think of all that has happened in these last 365 days.

Things were different then, I was different then. I had only run 2 marathons in the last 7 years. I ran 4 marathons this year! Buster hadn't come to live with us. Gus and Wookie were still alive and we didn't know that either of them was even sick. That was probably the hardest thing to think about. I miss them SO much. I love Buster and he has certainly healed my heart, but I sure do miss those sweet babies.

I was about 5 pounds heavier. I wore the same pants today that I wore on Jan 1 when I ran. Today I had to keep pulling them up because they are a bit too big. Our business is in a different place that it was back then. We've worked hard this year to move it foward.

I wasn't really sure I could actually do an Ironman, but I was signed up for one. Today, I am an Ironman finisher and I know that I can do anything I set my mind to do.

Then, there are things are still the same, in many ways I am still the same. That group of friends I ran with on Jan 1...I will be running with most of them again this Sunday. Trevor is still my best friend in the entire world. I still love our pets and our life. I am still full of excitement about the future and what it holds for us.

I wonder where I will be at this time next year, how things will be different, how they will be the same. The one thing I know for sure - you never know what life has in store for you. That is what makes it great...and sometimes tragic.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Run and some other stuff...

I love to run on Christmas morning. I've done it the last few years and it is a great way to start the day. This year, I did a7.5 mile loop. We need to be at my inlaws early, so we had to head out on the run pretty early. It was still dark when we started and it was so fun to see houses all lit up for the holidays. You could see lights on in some houses, probably with kids wanting to open presents! Lights were off in others, getting some much needed sleep!

I ran my usual loop and did lots of thinking about how good we have it. Seems like I know alot of people who have lost family and close friends this year and I thought about them and how their celebrations will be different this year.

I didn't dress warm enough and I was really cold. Another issue that I need to resolve is my running pant situation. I've lost a few pounds in the last year and I do not have any pants that fit...they all fall down when I run and I am constantly pulling them up. Its really annoying. Plus, my stomach was exposed because of that and it was REALLY cold!!

I got home and jumped in a HOT shower, got out and did our gift exchange. We keep it simple these days and I got THE BEST gift....

I love, love, love this hoodie! Trevor hit the jackpot on this. I got him an awesome pair of jeans and a shirt. He has no clothes that fit him and is always wearing something that is like 3 sizes too big. He looks amazing in clothes that fit. That was like a gift to myself too!

We headed to the inlaws, where my mother in law showed me that she really does love me. I have been craving homemade press cookies. I remember these as a kid and they make me really homesick. All my friends on the east coast were making them and posting pictures on facebook and it made me sad. I commented on it on facebook and my mother in law saw that. When we arrived at her house, this is what I saw...

actually, what I saw was a full plate of cookies. I finished them all by the end of the day and am crapping green three days later. (too much info? sorry)

We came home and hit the couch, where we were all asleep by about 7. The dogs got to go with us and play with my in laws dog. They were exhausted for their day of fun!!

Sunday morning, we had a run planned at the store. Every Sunday we have a group of friends that meets and runs together. There are about 10 of us. I thought it would nice to have some cider and treats after the run on Sunday. I posted it on facebook and next thing I knew, it was posted on like 5 other facebook sites. We had people coming into the store to sign up for it!

Sunday morning, we had 40 people show up to run with us, at least half of them were people we didn't even know! It was great. We did a raffle and had cider and treats. The weather was awful, but no one seemed to mind too much.

That afternoon we went to a movie, then home to fall asleep on the couch by about 4 pm. We were all piled on top of and two of the dogs...

Trevor took the picture while he was pretending to be asleep...the rest of us were REALLY asleep.

It was the perfect end to a great weekend.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I love the memories

I've been thinking a lot about this year. As 2010 comes to an end, I am amazed at how many great memories I have of this year. I have had lots of good times in my life, but I feel like this year generated more memories than years past. Here are a few that keep coming to mind....

The day after Ironman, we put ice cream in our coffee instead of creamer. I can't remember if we didn't want to waste the ice cream or we were out of creamer or we just thought it would taste good.

Two days before Ironman, we were going for a practice swim. Trevor was helping me put on my wetsuit, his hand slipped and he punched me in the face. Doug was there and laughed SO hard.

On a long bike ride to Mt St Helens - the day started out overcast and at one point we broke through the clouds, saw the sun against a beautiful blue sky. I looked up ahead and saw my three best riding buddies. Life was good.

Coffee with my friend Diane - we'd sit in my car with Buster and Maggie while we drank our Starbucks.

Saturday morning swims at Klineline Pond with Trevor and Doug - open water, peaceful mornings...putting in the time.

Crossing the finish line at the Capitol City Marathon - high fiveing Trevor and team.

Crossing the finish line at the Newport Marathon with all my running friends.

Tracking our friends doing the Ironman in Coeur D'Alene. Knowing that people would be doing the same thing for us during Ironman Canada.

Reading all the comments on my facebook page from Ironman - seeing how people really were tracking us and talking with each other about our progress. It made me feel really loved.

Discovering Pretzel M&Ms.

Going for a run at 5 am in Colorado Springs with Trevor and Doug...with a sinus infection and pulled back muscle.

Bringing Buster home to be a part of our family.

Laying on the floor at my parents house, telling secrets with my nephew Bryce.

Buying my first pair of Keens and wearing them everywhere.

Being told that I was an inspiration, that I was strong, that I was not a quitter. Things I never thought about myself. And believing them. For the first time.

Every morning, having oatmeal and coffee, on the couch, watching the news with Trevor and the dogs.

As you can see...its the little things that are really the big things in life. The best advice I ever got was from my high school Chemistry teacher. He told me to take pleasure in the drudgery of life, the day to day, the commute...these are the moments that life if made of. Take pleasure in these and you will love your life. If you are always looking foward to the big moments, you miss out on what life truly has to offer.

This year was full of little and big things. A good mix, I think. Lots of memories this year. I really focused on soaking them up. I loved every minute.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Goals - looking back and looking forward

A few years back I stopped making "resolutions". It seems like I would always ramp myself up the last weeks of the year, only to be let down once January got here. I always had these hopes of how much better my life would be. Of course, the resolutions were always the same - lose weight, be more organized, pay off bills, be nicer. I never do any of that stuff anyway! I finally decided that if I wanted something different in my life, I would make the change today, no matter what the date was. No more waiting for January 1st. If you want something different, something better, why wait a single day to get it.

Nowadays, I look at the new year as a marker. It is a time to look back over a period of time and review things. It is also a time to think about what I want in the coming year. I usually put down some goals for the year. Here are my goals for 2010 - let's see how I did...

1. Continue to promote our businesses and a healthy lifestyle to our customers. We are promoting some events in 2010 - a half marathon, a 10k/5k, two triathlons. I want to do more of that. We are also getting our triathlon coaching certifications in January.
We did this! I feel that we touched more people this year than ever before. We got our coaching certifications in January and trained a group of people for their first triathlon this summer. We promoted a half marathon, a 2.5 mile parade run and a triathlon - not as many events as I had planned, but I am thrilled with the ones we did. We met a lot of new people and saw our customers achieve some amazing things.

2. I want 2010 to surpass 2009 as the fittest year ever! August will bring the Ironman Canada. My goal is to spend all year training for this event and to complete it under the time limit, be safe, feel good and be happy with my performance.
Without a doubt, this was the fittest year ever!! 4 marathons and an Ironman. Sometimes it even surprised me!

3. We have two marathons before the Ironman, one in April, one in June. I want both to be better times than my Portland time in October (5 hours 14 minutes).
We actually did 3 marathons before Ironman - two were under 5 hours and 14 minutes - my best time being 5 hours and 4 minutes. The other was 5 hours and 17 minutes!

4. Spend time with our pets every single day.
This was a tough year with the pets. We said goodbye to Wookie and Gus. I was able to spend a lot of time with them and with the other pets. I love our animals so very much and feel so blessed to have them in our lives.

5. I would like to make a trip back east this year. Its been too long since I've been back there and I miss it.
This didn't happen. Maybe next year.

Now...what's on the list for 2011 (how can it be 2011?)
1. Increase my speed. I want this to be the year of the sub-5 hour marathon. I start training in January for that. I would also like to complete at least one Half Iron distance triathlon in under 7 hours, dare I say - under 6:30.

2. I really want to work on my swimming. I want the fear and anxiety to lessen this year. I completed the Ironman swim this year. I have that on my swimming resume now. I really want that to help, I want to draw on that accomplishment when I am feeling scared or anxious. I know that I will speed up if I calm down.

3. I want to win my age group at the Girls and Dudes Triathlon in July. Last year I came in second, by 10 seconds. This year I want to win.

4. I want to end 2011 with the same feeling of accomplishment I have at the end of 2010.

5. Give all my love to my pets every single day. We lost two of our fur babies this year. I loved them every minute of every day as their time drew near. I want to give that same kind of love to the rest of the pets. I don't want the mundane things in life to be more important. If they want my attention, I will give it to them.

There are many other things I want to accomplish this year, but these 5 are the big ones. This has been a good year, I look forward to more of the same in 2011.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The best thank you.

We have lots of customers who do lots of great things. We LOVE to hear about the goals that people have and really love to watch them achieve those goals. We like the struggles, the challenges, the heart that it takes to see something through to the end. We find it particularly exciting when someone sets a goal that makes no sense to anyone but themselves.

One of our customers, Mike Rudolph, had a goal. He was on a weight loss journey and in 2010 decided he was going to complete an Ironman Triathlon. We met Mike in 2009, he came into our store. We knew that he was doing triathlons and that became a common bond. The quest for Ironman really put us on the same page. Mike had signed up for Coeur d'Alene in June. Our Ironman wasn't until August. We watched Mike closely in order to see how it was done!

At one point, Trevor posted some pictures of me from a triathlon we had done in 2009. Mike pointed out that he was in that picture. I didn't know him then, but there he was...right with me at the end of the Hagg Lake Olympic distance. It only seems fitting that we had been on this journey together and didn't even know it
During his training, Mike turned to us for advice. We gave him all the encouragement, support and advice we could. We were invested in his success on both a personal and professional level. The time finally came for his Ironman and we were so anxious that you would have thought it was OUR Ironman. We tracked him all day long and were thrilled when he crossed the finish line. We were relieved because now that he had done it, it seemed within our grasp. We knew the struggles that he had gone through, what he had overcome and it gave us the inspiration to push through. We wanted to be just like him. We wanted to be Ironman too!

Our time came and when it did, Mike was tracking us all day long and cheering for us. The difference was that he knew what we were going through because he had been there. I thought of him many times during my long day in Canada and drew on his strength to get through the hardest moments. I knew he was watching and I didn't want to let him down!

Yesterday, Mike brought something to me and Trevor. It was a framed picture of him finishing the Ironman. There was also a picture of him at his heaviest weight and a note that said "thank you". Wow. I know how it felt to cross the finish line at Ironman. It blows me away to think that we played any part in someone else having that feeling. It also blows me away that Mike took the time and effort to do something like that to thank us.

This is what life should be about...making a difference in someone's life. Thanks Mike. You have sure made a difference in ours.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fight night in pictures

I will post my favorites here. You can see all the pictures from the night at this link (Trevor's fight starts on page 5. Be warned...they are not for the faint of heart.)

This is Trevor's corner man's wife Kristine. She sits with me during these things and tells me it is okay.

This is us before the fight.
Here we go...
I look at this picture and wonder who the hell that guy is!! He looks so mean...and he is not.
Done. Whew.
Trevor walked out of the ring and came right over to me. I couldn't wait to get my hands on him.
Ready to go again...
Our team...Chris, Kristine, us, Eric. These are the people who make it happen, who stick it out until the end, who helped prepare. Thank you guys. We love you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fight Recap.

It is hard to believe that we got ready for this fight in less than 2 months. Ironman was August 29th and less than four months later, Trevor stepped into the ring to fight. I had been kind of apprehensive about this for a while. Not really nervous, just uneasy. I felt okay on Saturday, until we got to fight venue. Then I wanted to vomit.

Trevor and his corner guys, Chris and Eric, were there early for the fighters' meeting. Chris' wife, Kristine, and I got there around 5:30. We said hi to the guys and then found our seats. We had the best seats. They were front row, kind of in a corner. I could stand up and not block anyone's view and I had a great view of the cage.

There were three fights before Trevor's and I just wanted them to be over as fast as possible so we could get to it. When the time came, Trevor walked into the ring and I was so nervous. It was the same feeling I get before we do an event - triathlons especially. I SO did not want him to do this. I could barely stand it. We made eye contact and he blew me a kiss. I smiled to make him believe that I wasn't actually feeling the way I was feeling!

His opponent came into the ring. He was 26, 11 years younger than Trevor. He was in good shape, about 10 pounds lighter and a few inches shorter. Trevor looked so calm and ready. He and Chris stood in the cage during introductions and I loved that they both looked so at ease. That helped me.

The bell rang and the fight started. I honestly don't remember what happened next. I know that Trevor punched the guy in the face several times. At one point, they were on the ground and the guy had Trevor in a choke hold. The crowd got quiet and I thought it was the end. Trevor and I have deal in events - you don't quit. This is really in relation to time don't stop, you make them physically remove you from the course. That is all I could think about - DON'T TAP OUT. He got out of it and the round was over.

As Trevor was standing in his corner between rounds, I could tell by the look his face that he was more tired than he expected he would be. He had to cut more weight for this fight than last and he was dehydrated. I figured that was having an effect on him that was surprising. We made eye contact again and I smiled to let him know it was okay.

Again, I don't remember what happened next. It was the second round. I believe this was when the other guy really started showing some wear and tear. His face was bleeding. Trevor had lots of blood on him and I couldn't tell who's it was. Then Trevor took a punch right in the face. I could tell it jarred him and I thought "oh no". He put his hands up to guard his face and he recovered. He seemed to be dictating the pace. This guy he was fighting was tough. Trevor kicked him in the head, had him in a triangle hold, an arm name it, they did it. It was a good fight, lots of action.

The round ended and I could tell, again, that Trevor was feeling a bit more tired than he had planned. We have been to so many of these fights. None of them go into the third round. Out of the 12-17 fights per night, maybe two will go that long. I couldn't believe Trevor's was going into three rounds.

I was still nervous. When I do an event, the nervous feeling goes away as soon as I start. With this, I don't get to start...I just get to watch and so the nervousness never stops. I didn't like all the blood. I didn't like how the other guy looked. Most of all, I was worried that Trevor would get caught and end up losing, when I really believed that he was winning.

The third round passed quickly and the last minute of the fight Trevor was on top of his opponent, dropping punches. I could see the ref watching closely and honestly I couldn't figure out why he wasn't stopping the fight. I was watching the clock and finally it was over. I found out later that the ref was telling the guy he was going to stop it unless he started defending himself and the guy said "NO YOU AREN'T'. Sounds like someone I know.

It went to a decision. I hate that because anything can happen when it goes to the judges. I was confident that Trevor had won, but you just never know. Finally, they read the decisions and all three judges agreed that Trevor was the winner. Thank goodness. I mean, its not all about winning, but its much better to be 1-1 than 0-2. I just wanted him to win.

Trevor left the ring and walked over to give me a kiss before he went back to clean up. I was so relieved.

I gave him a few minutes and then went to check on him. Trevor was literally covered in blood. We got him cleaned up and into some warm clothes, with a protein shake to help him recover. We had a lot of friends and customers there to watch. Many of those people came back to visit with Trevor. It was such a great sight. I was so proud of him.

Meanwhile, Trevor's opponent was laying on the floor in the corner. After a bit he started throwing up. It was awful. His parents were there with him, I went over to talk with them and suggested he go to the hospital and get checked out. Multiple blows to the head, followed by vomiting spells concussion to me. I felt bad for him, mostly because we've been there. Its fun and exciting and you know it is risky and could result in injury. Then it does and it really kind of sucks. He was a tough kid, fought a great fight...but he needed a doctor.

We hung around for a while, chatted with all our friends and supporters. Then we came home and were in bed by 10:30. I was so relieved. That is what I had hoped for the last time he fought....but it didn't happen that way. Last time, we spent hours in the emergency room and got to bed around 3 am. I like it better this way.

Everyone asks how I can stand to watch. The truth is...I can't. This time was a little easier. I felt like there was less pressure, it wasn't the first time, so it wasn't SUCH a big deal. I felt more part of it this time. I trained with him and was more involved in the fight prep. Last time, I was just along for the ride and really didn't know what we had gotten ourselves into.

Watching someone you love put themselves in harms way is really difficult. I think watching someone you love live with regret and unachieved dreams is even more difficult. This is something that Trevor LOVES. While I may not understand that, I respect it. And so I support it. I support it whole heartedly. That means, I go with him to the gym at 8 o'clock at night and walk on the stair machine for 30 minutes, I put together a weight routine and do it with him, I cook his food, let him sleep in if he needs it, cover things for him so that he can go train, eating cookies in the pantry so he isn't tempted to eat cookies (ahem...not that I did that, I'm just saying....). Supporting someone doesn't mean not telling them they can't do it. It means standing with them while they move through it. He is my best friend and I will always stand with him.

My favorite part of anything we do is the recap. I love to talk with Trevor and see what he thinks. We have talked a lot about the fight, what went well, what he'd do differently for next time. There will be a next time. I know that. Trevor was very happy with how things went on Saturday night. He will learn from it and move on. That is how life should be - taking chances, making mistakes, failing, learning, adapting, succeeding.

Its been a hell of a year. Trevor's last fight really changed us. It made our lives less scary. It showed us that we can do anything we want to do. Sometimes I look at us and wonder who we are. Trevor is not the man I married and I am surely not the woman he married, we've changed. Together. I know that we will continue to change and I don't worry about that anymore...I embrace it.

I feel like I always say this..I don't know what's next, but I can't wait to find out. And that's the truth. I. can't. wait.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tonight is Fight Night!

Trevor fights tonight. Ever since his last fight, in March of 2009, he has been looking forward to his next fight. The time is finally here. We've spent two years focusing on triathlons. You can't really train for fighting AND triathlons at the same time. While training for Ironman, he kept saying that when it was over, he was going to focus on fighting.

The last two months, we have switched from endurance workouts to much higher intensity workouts. We have added some strength training into the mix. Trevor hates lifting weights. So he made me his strength and conditioning coach. We've been lifting a few times a week and hitting the stairmachine at the gym, sometimes two times per day.

Trevor is fighting at 185 tonight. He was around 200 when we did Ironman. The diet has been a little different for this! While training for Ironman, we ate whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted it. The last few weeks, Trevor has really been sticking to a clean diet. He's done a great job. He weighed in this morning and is all set to go.

This is his second fight. I was so nervous before his first fight. This time is different. I mean, I am nervous. That's what I do and who I am. But I am like this before any event. I worry about him when we are doing a marathon or a triathlon. Its especially tough for me when we do an event with no out and backs, when I don't get to see him until I cross the finish line. I always wonder how he is doing. At least tonight I can sit in the front row and be with him.

He's a hard worker. He worked hard to get ready for this fight and I am incredibly proud of him. While fighting isn't my favorite thing, watching Trevor accomplish a goal and achieve a dream is one of my favorite things. And that is what it is all about.

Friday, December 10, 2010

This was the year...

On my run this morning, I was thinking back over the last year. We had one main goal for 2010. It was Ironman Canada. We signed up for it in August of 2009. Everything we did in 2010 was to set us up for August 29th. All our plans, all our efforts, were focused around this one thing. It has been a long time since I have put this much of myself into one thing. It was awesome to do it with Trevor. It gave us a common purpose. Our friend Doug was there every step of the way. We were a team.

This has been the year of "come will be FUN". It was the year of "hey, I'm thinking of doing (fill in the blank). Want to do it too?". The answer was always "YES". No matter who asked and no matter what filled in the blank.

I was going over the months in my mind and here is how I remember this year...

January - Trevor and I decided to get our USAT coaches certification. There was a weekend class in Colorado Springs. We asked Doug if he was interested in going and he said "YES". We flew to Denver, drove to Colorado Springs and spent three days learning as much as we could about triathlon and coaching. We got up at 5 am and went for runs in the dark and the cold. It was a BLAST. Trevor and I also got to spend some time in Denver with my family. We met our newest nephew, Landon.
When we got home from this trip, we learned that our dog Wookie had lymphoma. This was sad news. We spent a lot of time loving on him, talking to him, helping him through this disease that took away his strength.

February - Trevor and I organized the Max Muscle Vancouver Half Marathon. We decided to do this in December and really worked hard over a short period of time to pull this thing together. It was a success and we are well into the planning for this year's race.
For Wookie, this month was full of ups and downs. As his disease progressed, we spent many hours petting him and talking to him about what came next, for all of us. These moments with him are among the best of my life. I was so blessed to have the time to spend with him. It was good for both of us.

March - My memory from March is our 21 mile run in downtown, the last long training run for the Whidbey Island Marathon in April. Our friend Trish joined us. It was rainy, like always. We were dressed the same, like always.
Wookie passed away in March. He left us quickly and quietly. We have missed him every second since then and still can't believe he is gone. A week after Wookie left us, we found out that our cat Gus has an inoperable tumor and was given 6-9 months to live.

April - Whidbey Island Marathon - the best and the worst. This was a tough day for all of us. It was kind of the beginning of the training season and really gave us a wake-up call. I remember thinking to myself "how the hell will I run this far after swimming and biking during Ironman".

May - We organized a Parade Run around the Hazel Dell Parade of Bands. This was a 2.5 mile run. It was a beautiful day - sunny and warm. It was just perfect.

That night, we drove to Olympia. The Capital City Marathon was the next day. This was my favorite marathon this year. I really felt like I hit my stride. As I crossed the finish line I high fived Trevor and Doug. Standard for this year - it happened at every event!!
The best thing that happened in May was that Buster came to live with us.

June - This is where things started to get crazy. We did the Newport Marathon at the beginning of the month with all our running friends. It was great to have the whole crew together. I love these people. At the end of June we did the Pac Crest Half Iron distance. We all stayed in the same house in Sunriver and after the event we got to have the BEST dinner at Doug's Aunt and Uncle's house. This was such a great weekend. Tough event for all of us, but still so fun! We stopped to see my friend Diane in Bend. She's my best friend and had just moved away. It was SO good to see her and know she was happy.

July - This month was the highest volume training - lots of LONG rides, lots of LONG runs and lots of LONG swims at the pond. We also started our training group for the triathlon we put on in September. Doug showed up every Saturday morning to help with this. We rode Mt St Helens. Twice. These were 8 hour days on the bike. Our first trip up the mountain was one of the hardest days of my life and one of the most rewarding.

August - This was Ironman month. We had made it through the toughest training. One last ride....that's when I crashed my bike and ended up in the ER. These following three weeks were probably the most difficult time of my life. I hurt so badly. My confidence was shot. I was working SO hard to convince myself it was okay and I really struggled with believing it. I have some good friends who really held me up during this time. Trevor, of course, completely believed that I would get through it. He says he never doubted it, because I am not a quitter. I was really surprised how much other people believed in me. This was perhaps the best lesson I learned this year...I am stronger than I know. Everyone believes it. I should believe it too. The entire trip to Canada was amazing, full of memories. Every moment was a lifetime. I changed during that trip, I became more of myself than I have ever been before. It was humbling. I know I will never forget that trip and I hope I never forget how I felt about myself then.

September - Home. It felt good to be home. We organized a triathlon for two weeks after Ironman. Not very good planning. The event was great, but I was EXHAUSTED. I don't think I have even been so tired in all my life!!! I was ready for a break when this was done. Gus grew more ill as the days passed. He would have good days and bad days and I spent as much time by his side as I could. I knew he didn't have much time left and I wanted to soak up as much of him as I could.

October - Gus died this month. It broke my heart. I miss him terribly and can't stand the idea that I have to live the rest of my life without him. At the end of the month we did the Gorge Marathon and it was a disaster. Certainly not the experience I was hoping for. But we did it and it was fun in its own way. Next year, I'll do it again and the sun better be shining!!!

November - The off season. Trevor switched gears and started to get ready for a Mixed Martial Arts fight in December. We started doing higher intensity workouts. I decided I wanted to run faster, so I worked on that. We did a 10k Turkey Trot on Thankgiving and I ran faster than I can ever remember running. We had a great holiday with the family. We also took a quick trip to Denver for our nephew's first birthday. It was great to be all together again.

December - here we are...the end of another year. Trevor fights again tomorrow night, holiday parties are in full swing. Its time to reflect upon the past year and look ahead to next year. I like this time of year. I like to take stock.

When we signed up for Ironman, we knew Doug. We ran with him on the weekends and had been to a few social events with him. He gave us advice and helped us through our first half Ironman the year before. So, we knew him casually. By the end of 2010, Doug knows us better than just about anyone else. As I was thinking about the year, I realized that Doug was a part of everything we did this year. He was always there with us and really is now a part of our family.

Doug saw us at our best and at our worst this year and he still seems to like us. I am not a person who really lets people in, I usually keep them at arm's length. I don't totally open up to people because I am afraid they won't like what they see. Doug has seen it all and I feel that he likes me more because of it. That is a true friend.

This has been the most rewarding year of my life. I am better today than I was at this time one year ago. I hope to say the same thing next year. And every year after that.

This has been the saddest year of my life. I have cried more this year over loss than any other before. I hate that. I understand that the good comes with the bad, but that doesn't make the bad any less bad. Through it all, Trevor has been at my side. That makes all things more bearable, all things more fun. As Bon Jovi says "Everyone needs just one someone to tell them the truth". I am blessed to have that...and so much more. Thank you 2010. It was a great ride.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rev3 comes to Portland!!!

I have been thinking about 2011 and what races I want to put on the calendar. I knew that I wanted to do at least two 70.3 half-iron distance triathlons. There are a couple that are within driving distance, but they are several hours away. That means overnight stays and that means extra costs. Today, I saw that Rev3 is coming to Portland.

YEEHAW! This is right in our own backyard. This requires no overnight stay and it is at the perfect time. I am SUPER excited about this. Except for swimming in the Willamette which is equivalent of a rest stop toilet. Other than that - super excited!!!

Its the little things in life that make me happy! I also just got my first GPS watch. I've had a heartrate monitor for years and use it in my training. I finally got a heart rate monitor/watch that has a GPS. This will totally change my training and I am SO excited about it. Again...the little things.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Trevor

Today is my husband's 37th Birthday. It is a special day to me because it was the day that my best friend was born. The man who would become my husband began his life on earth 37 years ago today. It took him 25 years to find me. I plan to spend every birthday with him for the rest of our lives.

There are a million things I love about my husband. At least once a day I think about how lucky I am to have him in my life. I have no bigger fan, no stronger supporter, no one more honest with me than him.

We have so much in common, yet are so different in many ways. We fill gaps. That's a line from a Rocky movie - Paulie asked Rocky why he liked Adrienne and he said "we fill gaps. I have gaps, she has gaps - together, we fill gaps". That is how I feel about me and Trevor. He is good at the things I am not and vice versa. We work well together, we play well together.

I can look at Trevor and know what he's thinking, know what he's feeling. He told me once that I should know he loves me because he wants to spend all his time with me. And its true. No matter what it is, I want to do with Trevor by my side.

Trevor is a very kind person. He is even-tempered, calm under pressure, a problem solver, a dreamer, a believer. And he loves the animals. Man, does he love the animals. He has the biggest heart and would help anyone who needed it. Unless you have crossed him and then you might as well be dead.

These are the things I love about my Trevor. Happy Birthday my love. Happy Birthday to you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Clark County Turkey Trot Race Report

We did this run last year in the POURING rain and think we said we wouldn't do it again. takes place less than 2 miles from home and EVERYONE we know was doing it. You know what I say..."things that suck, suck less when done with friends".

It sucks because of the weather. Last year it poured, this year it was icy and COLD!!
This is a 5k/10k fun run, like most Turkey Trots. It takes place on the Salmon Creek Trail. This is a great running path and we run it ALL the time. I know it like the back of my hand and the miles always go by so fast because it is so familiar.

The run starts at 9, we got down there around 8:30. We got registered and tried to keep warm until start time. It was so weird - I know like 30 people who were doing it, but as of start time we had only seen like 2 people that we knew! Oh well, time to start came and off we went.

It was my goal to run this 10k faster than any other 10k ever. I usually just chug along at the same pace no matter what the distance. This means my 10k times are over an hour, which was starting to annoy me. I have been doing a lot of high intensity training with Trevor. He has an MMA fight on December 11th and has been spending a lot of time in the high heart rate zones. I've been joining him on the stair mill and think that has really helped with my turnover - how fast my strides are during my runs. I FEEL faster.

So, dispite the icy path, I ran as fast as I could go. I tried to find that place where it was tough, but I knew I could maintain it for 6.2 miles. I also focused on my form, I didn't want to be all out of control.

My times were right around 9:10 per mile, which is more than a minute faster than usual. It felt GOOD to push that hard.

Once people started reaching the turnaround and heading back, I started to see some familiar faces. That made me happy. I love seeing my friends out there! I finally saw Trevor, Doug and Trish. I got a hug from Doug and kept on running.

Before I knew it, I was looking at the mile 6 marker. Across the bridge and to the finish. I don't have an official time - they had some timing issues. I believe my time was right around 57 minutes and for me, that is HUGE. I was very proud of myself. Trevor was the only one who knew that was my goal and he was proud of me too!

Within a minute of finishing, I was FREEZING. The cold crept up on me and I was ready for a hot coffee. The trot was done, off to Starbucks for a latte, then home to clean up and head for Thanksgiving dinner.

The Thanksgiving day run is a great time to think about all the blessings in my life. I am thankful that I can do these things and thankful that I have such great people to do them with.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Time to give Thanks...

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! Its all about food, family and friends. There is no expectation for gifts, no pressure, not so much noise and excitement as the other holidays. I love to be with my family, lounging on the couch, eating, drinking, eating some more. I just love it. I always have.

I was reading my posts from years past on Thanksgiving. You can read them here and here. I love to look back and reflecting on things.

I have a good life. Actually, I have a great life and I have SO much to be Thankful for. I always say that if I wasn't me, I'd be jealous of me! Sure, things are tough sometimes and there are lots of things that I wish were different or easier, but I'm not going to talk about that today. Today, I am going to list some things I am thankful for.

I started this post and was listing all the specific things I was thankful for. Then it occurred to me - there are really just a few things that make the list. These things are common thread between all the specifics. I am thankful for Love, Laughter and Health.

I have these thing in my life everyday. I go to bed every night and know that I have loved and been loved. I have laughed and I am healthy. No matter what else happens, if I can say that, I am thankful.

So to all of you that have brought these things into my life. Thank you. I am thankful for you. Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

It takes work.

"If you trust in yourself...and believe in your dreams ...and follow your'll still get beaten by people who spend their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy."

I came across this quote last night and it really resonated with me. It seems that so many people have forgotten that good things come to those who work for them. I grew up being told "there are no free rides", "if you want something, go get it", "don't wait for someone to take care of you, take care of yourself" and perhaps the most important lesson "learn to be okay by yourself".

I worked hard for all the good things, all the worthwhile things in my life. I was patient, did the jobs/the work that others didn't or wouldn't do. I got up early, stayed late, gave up time doing things I really wanted to do. I did this all in the name of progress.

I didn't sit around and wonder why others had things I didn't have. It hasn't always been easy. In fact, a lot of the time, it really sucked. People say that things always have a way of working out. I believe that is because someone works them doesn't just happen.

I do believe in the power of the Universe. I believe in the power of suggestion - that if you put it out there, it will be. But I also believe that you can't just put it out there, you have to work for it. Putting it out there sets in your mind that it will be and then you act in order to make it so.

I see so many people disappointed at the things they have, wondering why things aren't the way the wish they would be. Lucky isn't have to make your own breaks, make your own opportunities. It takes work. For all of us. So go ahead - trust yourself and follow your dreams, just be sure that you put in the time and effort on the way.

"You are kind of mean".

I have been kind of quiet lately. I've had lots to say, but nothing I feel safe saying here. People read this, you know, and I don't know to come across as being harsh or mean. So I've been quiet.

I am on the race committee for the Vancouver Marathon coming up next year. At this month's meeting, I was assigned the duty of Volunteer Co-ordinator. The race director said he thought I would be good at this job because "you are kind of mean". Is that a compliment?!

He later explained that he meant I was direct, not really mean. The truth is, I wish I was more direct, more mean. I don't always say the things I wish I had said. I often stew over things, I keep them down. I end up feeling sick to my stomach and unable to breath because I am so distraught about what others are doing or thinking of me. That is something I wish was different. I have been able, lately, to say the things I want to say, when I want to say them. Some of the fear of doing that has gone away. But I still fret about it. I'll say something and then wonder "was that mean?" "should I have said that".

I saw an interview with Dana White once. He is the President of the UFC. The interviewer was saying how "direct" Dana is and how he is uncensored, always says what he thinks. He was asked if he ever regrets saying things. Dana's response was this "No. I'm not that guy". I LOVED that answer. I want to be like that. He just says it and moves on. I dwell.

As much as I often act like I don't care what people think. I do. We all do. As Dr. Suess says "Say what you mean and mean what you say. Those who care don't matter and those who matter don't care".

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Off Season

After the Columbia Gorge Marathon, I decided it was time for the Off Season to begin! I felt like I had been training forever, always with a goal in mind. Last year, after the Portland Marathon, I hit the off season and gained almost 10 pounds. I felt like crap and couldn't seem to lose that weight. I didn't want to repeat that this year.

Trevor has switched from triathlon/marathon season to fight season. No Off Season for him. He has named me his strength and conditioning coach. This means that we are doing weights three days a week and lots of high intensity cardio. Quite a change from the last several months of endurance training.

My elbow is still not right and may never be again. I have strength in it and really no pain. It is more of an ache. I can lift just about as heavy as before and I have good range of motion. It is hard to describe how it feels. I can tell that I have lost some muscle tone in that arm and am working hard to get it back!!

I really want to work on my leg strength. I have IT band issues when I run and I believe that will go away when I work on my leg/hip strength.

We have been doing the stair machine at the gym. Trevor and I played a game today where I would decide what level we were on for a while, then he would. The last minute of the workout, we were running on the stairs. My heart rate was 183 and I was close to throwing up! Wow. What a great workout!

Trevor supplements these workouts with his fight training - grappling, boxing, wrestling. His fight is planned for December 11th and he is really looking forward to it.

It is difficult for me to have nothing specific to train for. I need to figure out the plan for next season. I love the off season, but I hate the off season!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Opal...the last of the original 3

When Trevor and I met, there were three pets - Opal, Wookie and Gus. Opal is the sole survivor. We have added to the family, but she is the last of the original 3. She is 13 and has aged 10 years in the last 18 months.

When we first got Maggie, she and Opal ran and played. They would bounce off the couches. It was fun to watch, but also made us a little sad. She and Wookie were best friends, but they never played like that. It made us sad that she wasn't able to play like this her entire life.

Once Wookie passed away, Opal went downhill fast. She started having a lot of issues with her hips and back legs. She stopped getting up on the couch and doesn't like going of the deck anymore. We started some treatment for arthritis a while ago. She gets shots once a month and takes pills twice a day. We built a ramp from the deck to the yard so she doesn't have to step down.

She has slowed way down. Maggie seems to realize what is going on. She used to play so rough with Opal, now she is very gentle. She plays differently with Opal than she does with Buster. Opal so wants to run and play, but she can't.

Its hard to believe she has gotten so old. It seems so sudden, even though I know its not. Last night, she seemed to get worse, really fast. Her back leg stopped working and she kind of flailed around like a fish. She keeps falling down and sometimes can't get up.

She is in good spirits, but Trevor said this morning, "if she can't walk, she will lose the will to live". That broke my heart. We have lost Wookie and Gus this year. I think I have cried almost every single day this year. Wookie was diagnosed with lymphoma in mid January and we have been saying goodbyes every since then.

I keep telling Opal that she has to get better. She has to get back on her feet. We are going to take her to a different vet - a neurologist - to see if they can find a pinched nerve, bulged disk or something that can be fixed to make it easier for her to get around.

There is no way that I am ready to say goodbye again. Just no way.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gus in pictures...

All through Gus' life, I sang to him. I am NOT a good singer, but Gus loved it. He would look at me,squint his eyes and start purring. As his days grew shorter, I sang two songs in particular. He really liked these two. I sang both of them on his last day. I miss him terribly and long to touch his fluffiness one last time. I just can't believe he is gone.

Gus loved toys.Loved laying on the bed.
Loved being in the workout room.
More of the bed.
He was our jungle cat.

Sometimes looked confused by his water.
Loved his hospice bed.
And the closet.
Didn't care that he had kitty acne in his old age.
LOVED laying in the front window. This is where he was every day when I got home. Waiting.
Loved to be with his mom.
Loved the sun.
Really loved his mom when he was sick.
Tolerated Roxie, who thinks Gus is her mom.
Thought Daisy was beautiful.
Shared the sun with Norwyn.
Will always be remembered like this....

Monday, October 25, 2010

Columbia Gorge Marathon Race Report

It has been a long season - starting back in April with the Whidbey Island Marathon, through the summer and Ironman. After Ironman at the end of August, I thought it would be good to have something to train for, another goal, that way we didn't get all lazy and fat!

This was a tough one. I learned the following things yesterday during this marathon:

1. I don't mind running in the rain as much as I mind running in the wind.
2. You learn more about yourself on the hard days than you do on the easy days.
3. I need to work on strengthening my legs so I can STOP having IT band issues.
4. I love the leaves changing in the Fall.
5. Anything that sucks is better when you do it with friends.
6. I don't drink enough Hot Chocolate.

The weather report had been calling for wind and rain. I wasn't happy about it. Trevor ran his first marathon in wind and rain. It was miserable. He swore if he ever woke up to that kind of weather on race day, he'd stay in bed. Maybe we should have gone with that instinct?!

We got up around 5. The race didn't start until 9. This gave us plenty of time to get things together and make the 90 mile trip to Hood River. On the way there, we saw a car that had gone off the road. We pulled over and Trevor helped her. She had just spun out and was fine. Trevor got her out of her predicament and back on the road. Good deed for the day - done!

We got to the race with plenty of time. It was drizzling, but not pouring rain. It was really hard to know what to wear. The sun came out for a bit and that made it even more difficult. I finally decided to wear my short sleeved shirt, arm sleeves, visor, capri compression pants and shorts. I figured that was right in the middle of not enough and too much.

It was not raining when we started. We saw our teammate Doug, his wife Melissa (who was doing the half marathon), Koby, Wendy and few other familiar faces. The gun sounded and off we went.

I had been really excited for this run. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the changing colors. I just love it. It makes me happy.

The first few miles were a climb. We got onto a beautiful trail that went through some amazing trees. Around mile 3, the rain started. Within a few minutes, it was POURING. I laughed and it started to POUR even harder. I can't remember how long it rained, but I remember that the wind started once we hit the peak of the trail. The view of the Gorge was amazing. I tried to focus on that as much as I know, so lucky to be able to do this...blah blah blah. I had two Hammer Gels and my pill pouch with Endurance Caps in the pocket of my shorts. My shorts were so wet that they started to fall down because the weight of the gels was too much. So I carried my gels until I needed them at the 3 and 4 hour mark.

We went downhill and headed into Mosier, a little town of 430 people. It was there that I had one of the best moments of the day. I saw my friend Angel, who came all the way from Portland to run a bit with me! She ran about 3 miles with me. I just love her. She is one of the only people I can run with. We run the same pace, always good conversation...she doesn't get on my nerves. So I was glad to fall into step with her for a while. Plus, she carried my gels for me!

My IT band was nagging a bit and I was hoping it was all in my mind and would work itself out and go away. Angel left me around mile 10 (she didn't really LEAVE me, she was just done running with me.) I was so happy to have had her with me.

We were on an uphill section that went on for another 2 miles or so. At the top, it leveled out and the wind starting whipping. My IT band started really bothering me and I knew this was trouble.

In April, during the Whidbey Island Marathon, my IT band started bothering me around mile 17 and I was able to make it to mile 19 before I had to start walking. Once I start walking, I don't start running again. I know that and I know I have to run until I cannot run anymore.

My concern was how early the pain was starting. Walking 13 miles was not something I wanted to do. I did it an Ironman and it took forever. I was not about to do that in the strong wind and driving rain.

We turned onto a long gravel road and things got ugly. It was all I could do to keep moving, I was trying SO hard not to walk. I shuffled along until the end of the gravel road where we made a turn to start a long downhill. This really bothered my leg and I decided to walk.

I remember seeing the mile 15 marker. I wanted to quit. I thought about quitting. I thought that this marathon didn't matter, it wasn't what we've been training for all year. I didn't want the guys to have to wait for me at the finish for hours. I didn't want to hobble for 11 more miles. I could just find someone to drive me in. I envisioned being at the finish line to see Doug and Trevor.

Trevor and I have had lots of conversations about quitting. We were actually just talking about it on the ride over to the marathon. We talked about how it may seem like the right thing, but you'll regret it forever. At this point I was thinking about that conversation and trying to convince myself that I would never regret it! I also remember Doug saying "we finish what we start". I said out loud "you are a f-ing Ironman for God's sake. Just keep going".

And so I kept going. I was walking very fast. Because the weather was so bad, I just wanted to get done as fast as I could. I ran some, until it hurt too bad to keep running and then I would walk. The rain would start and stop. The wind was blowing like crazy. Every once in a while, I would start to cry - from pain or frustration or loneliness...or a combination of those things.

This was a tough day for me, the toughest I have had in a while. I went all summer doing marathons and each one was better than the last. I was feeling confident and this one knocked me down.

I kept reminding myself that you learn more from the hard days. I was working to keep a positive attitude. I didn't want to get bogged down in negativity, but it really sucked. I wasn't having fun. Then, I came around a corner and looked into a little valley and there, amongst the evergreens was the most amazing yellow leafed tree. I looked it and smiled. "Thank you". I wouldn't be seeing that if I wasn't doing this.

I continued my walk/run and the walk became longer than the run. One thing I learned during Ironman was to focus on each mile, not to get caught up in how much was left. This was a good strategy for me on this day. I got to the point where there were 2 miles left and I was out of the hills, back onto a flat portion. I ran and it felt good. I came into town, turned and hit a steep downhill....that hurt. I walked down the hill, then came around a corner - all flat from here. I had one mile left. I started running and figured I could run the rest of the way. Flat, even road, with no slope - my leg liked that.

I ran over a little bridge and made the turn to circle the parking lot. I heard Trevor yell my name. I saw him and said many curse words. He said "I know. I finished in 4:50". I was on track for a 5:30 or a little less.

I made the final turn to the finisher's chute. I saw Doug, cheering me on, and of course, Trevor. I again said many curse words and crossed the finish line with a smile. No matter how badly it sucked, my two best guys were waiting for me at the end and that makes it all okay. 5:28...not my worst time, but certainly not my best.

I was SO glad to be done. It was a tough day for all of us. The guys had already changed into their dry clothes. We went into the tent to get some food. The spread of food was the best I have ever seen. They had a huge, heated tent. Inside that tent, they had soup and bread, plus a whole buffet of taco stuff. SO YUMMY!!!

We ate and then I started to get really cold, so we left. I changed into dry clothes, then we hit Starbucks for the best hot chocolate I have ever had.

This is a great event. I would have enjoyed it more if the weather was better and my leg didn't hurt. That made me sad. I wasn't sure what was next for this season. About mile 13 I realized that this needed to be the end of our season. Time to shift gears to the OFF season. There will still be running, just not such long distances. There will be more cross training and focus on strength training, especially for my legs. Next year I don't want to deal with this IT band pain at all.

The wheels are already turning for what next season will bring...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A familiar route

We are running the Columbia Gorge Marathon on Sunday. Today was my last workout day before then. I did some weights, still working on getting my range of motion back in my elbow, then some abs and then ran about 4 miles.

I have a route that I run two times a week. It goes across the street and through a neighborhood. I have probably run all or a portion of that route about 500 times. When I ran at 5 am, I liked it because the streets were well lit, no traffic and lots of houses. I like it now because it is comfortable and familiar. Its a 4 mile route that I can add on to and make any distance I want.

For some reason, I especially like this route on the last day before an event. I tend to reflect on things more. I don't know why that is, but I always look forward to that "last run". If and when we ever move from this house, I will probably cry all the way through the last run on that route.

I watch the seasons change and the years pass on this route. Right now, the leaves are changing and I love the colors. There is one lilac bush that I really love. At the first bloom in the Spring, it makes me so happy. Then, when I notice it is turning brown, I always say goodbye to it - "until next year" is what I always say.

As I was running today, I could see all the seasons....the heat of the early morning summer runs, the smell of the flowers blooming and the first mowings of the spring, the dark, wetness of the winter and the turning leaves of the fall. Last year, I ran on Christmas morning and saw the most amazing sunrise.

Everyone runs for their own reason. I find myself completely relaxed when I am running. I feel lucky that I love to exercise, that I feel most alive when I am moving my body. I know most people hate to workout. Not me, I think of how I would never see all that beauty if I wasn't out running.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life goes on.

It has been strange this week - I come home and there is no Gus to check on, I go up to bed and I can get right into bed, I wake up and there is no worry. It is amazing how you can grow to depend on those things, on that routine, on being needed. I am relieved that its over, but I also miss the routine of it. I miss knowing he was there, no matter how good or bad his day was, he was there...waiting for me to come and see him.

I have been looking for some comfort and eating more than I should. Trail mix is healthy right, even if half of its ingredients are chocolate covered? I went through this when Wookie left us. It took a few days, then I started to feel a little better, not so utterly sad all the time.

Sunday we have a marathon to run - The Columbia Gorge Marathon. It is supposed to be the most scenic marathon in the country. Good news - its going to be windy and rainy, so not sure how that plays into the scenic part!

That will help get us back on track, or at least exhaust us! Either way, its good.
It is hard to believe that its the middle, almost the end of October. This year has sure gotten away from me.

I am finding some comfort and joy in the other animals....all 6 of them. They are all adjusting to Gus being gone, they know something is wrong, they can tell I'm sad and they seem to be giving me more love than usual - which is hard to imagine.

I guess my point is that life goes on. Its full of ups and downs, happiness and sadness. That's what makes it life. Its a good life for us, we'll get back to that soon enough. But for now, we are missing Gus. Alot.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The long road home.

WARNING: This is a post about Gus' last two days. It will be sad and you will probably cry. I suggest you read it in a time and place when this is okay for you.
Here it goes....

In my last post, I talked about Gus and told his story. I said that I knew the time to say goodbye was almost here. I have felt this way before, but that time I was right.

The last six months have been very difficult. Gus' diagnosis was a tough one. We knew there would be good days and bad days. We knew that it was a matter of time and we needed to focus on quality of life. The days were numbered and we had switched from trying to save Gus' life to making sure his transition from this life to the next was as comfortable and full of love as possible.

Gus had decided that the upstairs front room, my workout room, was where he felt most safe and most comfortable. The sun was best in this room and he sure got every ounce of sunlight possible out of each day. He was always laying in the sun (when it was out!). Sometimes he would lay under the desk, so we put a big blanket there for him. Sometimes he would lay in the closet and sometimes he would lay on his "hospice bed"

The hospice bed was a comfy pillow. This pillow was one that Trevor bought a few years ago. Our chiropractor had recommended it to help with Trevor's neck. It was ergonomically designed. Trevor loved this pillow, but only used it a few nights because Gus loved it too. The pillow became ergonomically INcorrect when there was a cat on it along side your head. The pillow has been on the floor next to the bed for a few years now. Trevor put it in the front room, right outside the closet for Gus. Gus loved it. He would always go back to it.

He would come out of the front room to eat and use the litter box. Sometimes he would wander into the bedroom or bathroom, but mostly he was in the front room.

Every morning I would get up and go find Gus. I would lay down with him and ask him how he was doing. How did he feel? This was a gauge for how the day would go. I would visit with him many times during the day. Then, always, at night before bed, I would find him and see how he felt.

I would tell him that if he needed me during the night, he knew where I was. I would tell him that when he was ready, he needed to let me know. There were many times that I didn't think he would make it another day. Many times I thought he wouldn't make it through the weekend. But he always perked back up. I would tell Trevor "I think he's just about ready" and Trevor would say "no, he's just upset because there is no sun" or "he's just having a bad day". He would say "I saw Gus making his Christmas list", he was convinced he would live through the end of the year.

Friday morning, when I noticed that Gus was having an issue with his back leg, I called Trevor up to see. He was quiet. We decided to see how the day progressed. I worked out that morning and Gus sat with me. When I was done, I was on the floor stretching. Gus came over and got up on my lap. I asked him if he was ready to go. He looked up at me and rubbed his face against mine. I took that as a yes. Friday night, Gus got up on the bed and slept up against my neck, my favorite place to have him. I could feel his heartbeat and his breath.

Saturday morning, I could tell he wasn't any better. I told Trevor that I thought he was ready to go and Trevor said he thought so too. I knew it would be time when Trevor agreed. This was the first time that he agreed. I called and made the appt from 6:30 that night. I figured I would lay in the sun with Gus all day long.

Trevor headed to work and I stayed home. I worked out that morning because Gus loves to workout with me. He loved it this day too - just sat and watched me. Then, when the sun started coming through the window, he wanted up there. He tried and couldn't do it, so I helped him.

I figured I would run to the store, so we would have some food in the house for after he was gone. That way we wouldn't have to do it later. I was at the store, wandering around and a wave of panic came over me. Gus had 6 hours left in his life....why was I at the grocery store? Why was I not home with him? I started crying and realized that I had to get home as soon as I could so I could be with him.

I got home and he was still sleeping in the sun. I didn't leave his side the rest of the day. As the sun moved, he wanted down onto the floor, so that is where I put him. He would get up, every now and then, and head to the litter box. He had a tough time walking and could barely hold himself up in the litter box. It was like he was telling me that it was the right time - showing me that he didn't have any fight left in him. He got up once and I watched him walk and I had a moment of peace. At this second, I knew it was the right decision. There was no more doubt. It was time.

I had told him over and over how much I loved him. The last six months were full of conversations about our life together. We would always look at me and purr when we talked about our life together. He never seemed to get tired of remembering with me.

My biggest concern was that when the time came, Gus would be scared. I didn't want that at all. I kept telling him that it would be over soon. I told him that he would soon be with Wookie, eating pizza. I told him that his tail was waiting for him. His tail was removed a few years back and I always told him that when he got to heaven, he'd have his tail again. I told him the same thing I told Wookie before he died - "we will see you again, for you it will seem like a second has passed, for us it will be a lifetime".

Trevor came home around 5 and sat with us for a bit. By this time, the sun was fading and Gus had curled up in my hair. One last time.
I knew it was time to go. Gus was laying on my sweatshirt. I told the other cats to come say goodbye. Norwyn and Daisy both came into the front room and sat down. Animals know and they surely knew that Gus was sick. I felt like they were saying goodbye and telling him that they would take care of use. I wrapped him up in my sweatshirt and carried him down to the car.

Gus always loved to ride in the car and watch the scenery. He was alert on the ride there and watched the world go by out the window. It occurred to me that we have made probably 500 trips to vet with this cat over the years. There were many times that I was worried it would be the last. This time, it really was the last.

I carried Gus into the vet. I don't know how they are able to do people say goodbye. It must be so difficult. There were lots of tears, the vet was crying, the vet tech was crying, the girls at the front desk too. It made it seem more personal and I appreciated that.

Normally, when the vet comes in the room, Gus buries his head in my arms. This time, he did not. In fact, he looked at her like "its about time" and he laid his head down. Again, I knew he was ready and I was at peace with our decision. We said we were ready and then it was over. It was so fast. I had been saying goodbye for so long and then it seemed like I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. How can that be? It was such a strange feeling. Anyone who has ever been through this knows exactly what I mean. It is the most horrible, empty feeling. Even the right decision is not an easy one.

We came home and had pizza for dinner, because we were sure that Gus and Wookie were having pizza too. Pizza was Wookie's favorite and I told him that in heaven, pizza grew like carrots in the ground and you can have it whenever you want. Surely, he would share that with Gus.

And so its over. I miss him terribly. I am tired of crying, but can't stop. I told Trevor that I don't know who I am without Gus. I can't remember who I was before him and I don't know what to do now that he is gone. We have 6 other pets and I do love every one of them, but I miss my Gussie. Every second of every day, I miss him.

We've been through it before and I know it gets easier, that it will hurt less and less as time goes on. I've said it before and I'll say it now...he was my best friend. I hate how his life ended, but I am thankful that I was able to love him. I know that he knew how much we loved him. There is no doubt in my mind that he knew and he loved us right back. He knew he was lucky. He waited for me, all those years ago. He knew I would come and that our lives would be better for knowing each other. I will never forget him.

And from one of my favorite Bon Jovi songs...."when you get to the gates and the angels sing, go to the place where the church bells ring. You know I'll come running, running to find you...."