Racism and Puppy Training

puppy trainingI signed Miss Riley Annabelle up for puppy training, since she is a little monster dressed in fuzzy fox’s clothing. At the first class, we were given this handout on things that a puppy needs to be introduced to. Notice the bottom, left hand corner.

I have so many questions.

  • Did the Caucasian instructor think anything of this when she handed it to my Asian husband?
  • Is said husband “Asian” or “Oriental”? I mean, WHAT? Why does it even say that? What is the difference, other than one term is socially acceptable and the other is not? I don’t even know where to begin.
  • Is this really necessary? Aren’t dogs mostly color blind? Don’t they really just see primarily in shades? Why doesn’t it say to introduce my dog to a blond and a brunette, if this is necessary?
  • Racism insanity aside, am I really supposed to go find horses and turtles, and take my puppy to the airport and a sporting event? Are puppies allowed in the Moda Center now, and I’m just out of the loop?

rileyI kind of skipped this homework. I just don’t even know what to say. It is true Riley is afraid of everything, but this list is kind of blowing my mind.

Am I overreacting?


My Longest Run Ever

longest runIn 2013, I trained for a marathon. This watch shows the longest run I ever made it on- 16 miles in two hours, 49 minutes, and 47 seconds. It was the craziest running year of my life, but also the end of my running any real amount of miles. My goal this year is to get back on it.

I had been running off and on for a few years, and somehow got it in my head that with two half marathons under my belt, I could totally train for a marathon. I started building consistency in late 2012, and worked up to a 20 mile week in about five months. Then I started adding on mileage a little at a time. I had some rough patches, but I really kept on it pretty well. The marathon was in the beginning of October, so I signed up for a half marathon July 4th to keep me on track.

The half marathon was glorious. It came with the usual inconveniences- get up at the crack of dawn, drive around in the dark, take some sketchy shuttle bus, wait around, etc. After all that, the run was fantastic. My goal was to finish in two hours and 10 minutes, for solid 10 minute miles (for me, that was fast). My eventual goal was to finish the marathon with 10 minute miles, but I knew at my current pace that would be a stretch. I killed it though! I finished in exactly 2:10 (and some seconds, but I don’t recall what they were).

I was really motivated and kept training with a vengeance. Sundays were long run days, and I no longer drank on Saturday nights. After my run I would take a long salt water bath. I was sore all the time, but I loved it.

I had consistently started to feel some pain in my right calf on my runs, but it wasn’t too bad and I ignored it. Running always hurts, was my line of thinking. On the last long run I ever did, it became a stabbing pain. I hobbled at times, but I kept running. I figured I could power through. I was wrong. We lived in a second floor apartment at the time, and I barely made it up the stairs. I will say, I think my time on that run was pretty awesome, considering all of that.

I thought I could soak it out with epsom salt, but I couldn’t. I ended up going to the ER, and found out my calf was torn. I went to physical therapy and tried to convince myself I could still run the marathon, but it was late August. I had six weeks. I kept trying to heal it and run at the same time. Obviously that didn’t work out at all, and I was devastated.

It took months to heal. Last year, when I finally decided it was healed, I started running again. Then I got runner’s knee in BOTH knees. More physical therapy, and at that point I decided running was costing me too much money. I am, however, convinced that the runner’s knee was from gaining weight. My current plan is to lose 20 pounds and then start running again. Maybe now I can do just a mile at a time? Does anyone have an opinion about this? I would love to start up again.

I also want to tell y’all who run- please don’t ignore a pain if it is consistent. Stabbing pains are the most dangerous, because those signify that something is tearing (unless it is a cramp). Let it heal, and don’t undo all of your training like I did!

Happy trails!


How I Started Running

sibling 5k

This is me with some of my siblings (I am on the left), before we did a 5k together last year (my brother’s first!).

In 2008, I had never done more than the mile they used to require in P.E. class (I’m not sure, but I don’t think they do this anymore?). Even then, I would whine and moan and walk most of it. I was always one of the last to finish. My whole life I had accepted that I would never be athletic. I could never climb that evil P.E. rope, either, for the record. I could barely even dangle at the bottom of the rope. The kids that could were like circus acrobats to me. Books were my area of expertise, and I was fine with that.

Then I got a job, waiting tables and bartending, with a girl who had ran several marathons. I absolutely could not fathom than anyone would ever do that, but I was charmed by her super lean and muscular body. I was also really jealous of the power she must feel from being able to push her body that far. Still, I thought it wasn’t even worth trying for. In addition to being out of shape, I have asthma. I had so many excuses…

Suddenly, some other girls at work wanted to run a four mile Turkey Trot. I thought the idea was preposterous, but was intrigued by the idea of getting a work out before pigging out on Thanksgiving. I signed up and meant to train, but had no idea how. I essentially didn’t train at all, but managed to run a good portion of the race. Apparently the other cardio I was doing helped me through! I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to do more.

When I tried to run on my own, I failed massively. Then I heard about Couch to 5k. It seemed to me like it was for wimps because it involves a lot of walking in the beginning. It turns out, running is really hard, and alternating running and walking is perfect for a beginner. The workouts were hard for me, but worked perfectly. I can’t even explain to you how proud I felt the day I ran two miles without stopping. I thought I might cry. I told everyone I knew (for the record, most people are not impressed by this. I have no idea why. I am very impressed!).

From there, I just kept adding more. My sister signed me up for a half marathon, but I wasn’t ready. I switched to an 8k. I did a 10k, and eventually (after running for a few years) two half marathons. I have never been fast, but I was happy just with the sense of accomplishment it gave me being able to cover the distance.

I will be honest- a lot of what made me sign up for a half marathon was the fact that my sister did one first, and I was so impressed by her. If she could do it, I wanted to do it too! The family decided long ago that she was the strong and athletic one, and I wanted to be like that too. I finished my first half marathon in 2 hours and 17 minutes. I was very happy with that time, and then was so sore I could barely move for a few days. I loved feeling like I was no longer in the box of “oh, she’s just not athletic”. Title IX made so much possible for girls and women, and I want to take advantage of it. Gone are the days when women couldn’t run long distances because of crazy ideas like that it would ruin our reproductive organs. We are strong, and we can do whatever we want to with that strength 🙂

Tomorrow I will tell you my full marathon story, because I don’t want to make this too long. Who else loves to run? Well… maybe I have a love/hate relationship with running, but it gives me a feeling that no other work out can.


Puppy Training and My Shiba Inu

kuma and rileyThese are my dogs. Don’t let their sweet, innocent faces distract you- they are not sweet and innocent at all. When they don’t get their way they are like teddy bears that have come to life and scream and have very sharp teeth and claws. There is a special term called the “Shiba scream”. Trust me, people were not kidding around when they made up a special term for this. It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard. When we lived in an apartment, we were afraid dog control would show up when we brought out Kuma’s nail clippers.

Anyway. All of that to say, Shiba Inus are very smart and can be easy to train. If they want to learn something, no problem. If not, well… good luck to you. You will be subject to shrieking, thrashing, and general theatrics worthy of an Oscar.

Riley is 5 1/2 months old now. We have had her for 2 1/2 months, and started immediately on a few things to establish a routine and pack order: crate training, sit, and house training. Crate training was the easiest, and she really only cried for a few nights (her crate is in our bedroom, and she won’t have to sleep in it forever- just until she can be trusted to not eat everything she sees and kill herself).

Sit took several weeks, but she finally got it! Once she had it, we kept reinforcing it every time she got treats, when she gets fed, before she goes outside, etc. It’s the most basic command, so I wanted to know that she had it down. Then we went to lay. She doesn’t care for it. I think it’s because she has to lay all the way down and it’s submissive, but obviously I’m not sure. It only took her about two weeks to learn lay. Check out how cute she is!

House training was a big strain on the whole household. We thought it would be easy. We were mistaken. Neither of us had ever raised a puppy (we decided as children doesn’t count. the adults do all the work!), and we read everything we could find. In a fashion that I can only assume is similar to raising a child, it seemed a lot easier on paper. I would take her out every half hour, but she still would pee all over the floor with no warning- even when she had gone outside! We have wood floors, but she also managed to ruin every throw rug in the house that couldn’t be washed. Pee pads didn’t work, taking her outside didn’t work- I was so frustrated that I wasn’t able to communicate with her. I had heard of using a dog bell, but it seemed so ridiculous and annoying. I knew she would ring the bell every time she was bored, and probably not when she needed to. Weeeellll… in a fit of desperation, I got these bells from Amazon (this is an affiliate link- if you buy this I will get a small percentage. I bought these myself!). They have directions on how to train the dog to use the bell, but I skipped several steps (she is a fast learner when she wants to be, I’m telling you…). She learned in one evening. That was two weeks ago, and she has only had one accident since (before 5-7 a week was not unusual). She rings the bells a lot, but it’s far preferable to the alternative. She thinks it’s a fun game ringing the bells and watching people come running to cater to her. Try it with your puppy if you’re getting desperate- I think they are miracle bells.