Happy 6th Birthday, Simon!

Simon wearing his rose scarf made for us by our friend Petunia.

Happy 6th Birthday, Simon! Simon is the baby of the family age-wise. He is the “middle child” when it comes to adoption order and length of time with our family.

Simon has the sweetest disposition. He bonded quickly with Jude after adoption. He keeps me entertained with his antics. Simon plays frequently with Jolene. Simon is known as our Chief Cuddler. Everyone loves Simon. He is the glue that holds our family together.

All three cats are very well bonded. However, Jolene and Jude are both extremely bonded with Simon. Jude and Jolene have a bond as well. However, I do not think the bond Jude and Jolene has is as strong as the bond that Jude has with Simon nor as strong as the bond Jolene has with Simon.

Simon is terrified of thunderstorms and vacuum cleaners. He is the only cat I have ever had that is completely scared of thunderstorms. He is a very brave hunter when it comes to bugs in the house. He is gentle, even pointing at and playing with ladybugs as opposed to squishing them.

A phrase frequently heard in our home is “Simon is a good baby.” Even when Simon is being “naughty,” he is adorable. Simon likes to steal marshmallows. He does not eat them. He carries them off and plays with them. Whenever I have marshmallows in the house, I have to be sure to hide them in the microwave so that Simon does not take off with them.

Of the three cats, Simon is the quietest. He does not often meow or make any noises. It is always a surprise when he does make noise. On the few times Simon has vomited (it happened with a change in food in the pandemic), he cries / yowls right before vomiting. Typically, a noise from Simon means something is wrong. Jude and Jolene meow and talk all the time when they want food or want to play. Simon only meows when there is something wrong.

Simon waits patiently for his breakfast and dinner, as opposed to Jude and Jolene who run around prancing and begging. Simon is truly very sweet. He is tolerant about being dressed in bandanas and scarves. 

Simon loves sleeping under the covers with me. I am so blessed that he sleeps with me every night. Simon is also typically the first to wake me up in the morning to feed them all breakfast. 

He enjoys his banana phone toys and the cat tents. Simon is truly an indoor cat. He loves watching outside. However, when offered the opportunity for outside time in the dog cage, he makes it clear he wants nothing to do with being outside. He loves being indoors where he is safe.

Jude, Jolene and I all love Simon and are so glad he is part of our family. He is such a precious soul. Simon was quick to welcome Jolene to the family when we adopted her, and was gentle in his interactions with her after her surgeries. 

As the baby of the family, Simon is rarely in the office as a coworker for the work from home. I’m sure as the youngest, he doesn’t think he needs to “work!” Simon is definitely a loveable homebody who enjoys peace and quiet and time on the human bed.

We are so blessed to have Simon as part of our family. He is definitely the baby, as he is the youngest and these three are the last cats I will have. Happy 6th Birthday, Simon. We love you. 

Running Season 2022

Running season 2022 is officially here! I rarely do spring races, but when I do, it is for charity. Fall races are my preference, as they are easier to train for with the weather conditions. This spring, I am running a half marathon benefitting Ukraine.

Proceeds from my spring half marathon are benefitting UnitedHelpUkraine.org. If you would like to support my efforts, please consider a donation to a reputable charity providing aid to Ukraine.

For the fall, I am very happy to announce that I am officially registered for the Italian Stallion Challenge as part of the Rocky Run 2022! I will be chasing down a hat trick of medals as I go 13.1 miles long.

The Rocky Run has been on my bucket list for quite a few years. This year is going to be really special. Once I complete the Italian Stallion Challenge and earn all three medals, I will have reached my goal of 8 medals from Philadelphia. I currently have 8 stars surrounding my Philly Marathon tattoo on my right arm. My goal has been 8 Philly medals.

This year is also significant for another reason. Once I have completed my Ukraine race and the Rocky Run, that will add four medals to my total this year. By the end of 2022, the goal is a total of 24 medals!

In recent years with my health, disability, and the pandemic, I have been looking at the reality of retirement from the competitive running circuit. My goal is to earn and achieve 26 medals when I enter retirement. 

If I am able to earn and achieve all 4 medals this year, then I only need to earn 2 more medals in 2023 to retire. Retirement does not mean that I will stop running or that I will stop racing. For me, retirement means that I will not need to push myself to compete at the same level I have been competing. To be honest, I’m not sure how many more miles I have left in me. Of course, I am going to keep running until I die or otherwise cannot. 

For me, retirement means that I will not be chasing down medals. I may do more 5k races than marathons. I will do more charity runs. I will not worry about my speed, time, or placement. If I am lucky enough to earn more medals than 26, that is fine. It is my competitive racing days that will be over. Once I’m retired, every mile will be the frosting on a cupcake.

Of course, this is all wishful thinking. I currently have 20 medals. I have to earn 6 more medals to achieve my retirement goal. All of this is dependent upon remaining healthy and COVID-free. 

The big excitement is that my goal is in sight. If I can achieve the 4 medals I have planned for this year, then I only need to earn 2 medals in 2023 to reach my goal.

In addition to my action packing running season this year, I am also working on my memoir, titled: Always Pee Downhill: Tales of Running, Life and Love. I am about halfway through the first draft. My goal is to finish as much of my memoir this year as possible. Each chapter details one of my marathon medals. Not only does it look at my training and race day itself, but also the events in my life that were happening at the time. 

To add a little excitement to this year’s running season announcement, here is a never before published sneak peak of the first few paragraphs of my forthcoming memoir, Always Pee Downhill.

November 18, 2007

Philadelphia Half Marathon

Time: 2:21:29

Age: 28

Medal # 1

At mile 6 of the 2017 Philadelphia Half Marathon, the infamous runner’s grid kicked in. I was at the furthest point from an aide station or a porta potty and I had to pee. On one side of me, cars whizzed by at 70 mph on Interstate-95. On the other side of me there was a sea of runners in the race. Right up ahead, I saw a small grouping of trees. I could squat behind one and hide myself from the other runners. I would still be in full view of I-95, but those cars are going 70 mph. They will go by so fast; they won’t have time to register someone squatting to pee on the side of the highway. 

I ran over to the tree, and squatted to go as quickly as possible. I just needed to get it done and hope I was not arrested. Just as I was almost done, someone ran past me and stopped at the tree next to mine. The back of his shirt said “FBI.” I was pretty sure I was about to be arrested for public urination and indecency. 

The man did a double take look at me, apologized, turned, and whipped his out to pee on the tree in front of me. I was done peeing, so I pulled up my shorts as quickly as possible. I got back into the race. Little did I know at the time, this was common practice for marathon runners to just pee as discretely as possible where and when you needed. Runners in sanctioned races are exempt from public urination laws, yet we are still supposed to use a porta potty as much as possible. Peeing where needed is for emergency use only. 

I ran the next mile like I was being chased by the cops. I was still thinking there might be a slight possibility of getting in trouble for my little pee break. But then I figured Mr. FBI man was doing the same thing. I just kept running. I ran like the cops were chasing me. They weren’t, but I had not seen the guy in the FBI shirt pass by me yet, so you never know.

This has been your exclusive sneak peek at my memoir, Always Pee Downhill! Thank you for reading. It’s time to Cowgirl Up! For running season 2022.