#VanLife, Here I Come!

By June 14, 2016 Products, Running, Travels
#YourLead van, #vanlife, living in a van, Teton Sports, Gear Forward, Wilderness Press, Sportsman's Warehouse

Y’all. I am jumping out of my skin with excitement. I leave this weekend to live in the Teton Sports #YourLead van for a spell. Two weeks of traveling with no makeup or showers, only wearing running clothes, and exploring all the places and meeting all the people? Yes please! Here are the down-and-dirty details.

Who

  • Heidi, a Teton Sports ambassador, fellow ultra runner, and all-around badass
  • Teton Sports, the brains behind the #YourLead van trip
  • Wilderness Press, the people behind my paycheck
  •  Sportsman’s Warehouse, the outdoor retailer where we will be holding events
  •  Gear Forward, an organization that collects gently used backpacks and outdoor gear for children in need
#YourLead van, #vanlife, living in a van, Teton Sports, Gear Forward, Wilderness Press, Sportsman's Warehouse

Everyone say hello to Heidi and ask her not to murder me

What

The #YourLead van will crisscross the country, stopping at Sportsman’s Warehouse locations for events, hosting hikes and meet-ups on trails, and collecting gear for Gear Forward. And giving people a taste of what van life is all about. I’ve been invited as Wilderness Press to be Heidi’s +1 for two weeks, documenting the trip, hanging out with some of our authors, and showing off some of the best trails in our guidebooks!

#YourLead van, #vanlife, living in a van, Teton Sports, Gear Forward, Wilderness Press, Sportsman's Warehouse

Shame we’re about to get her so muddy and dirty…

When

Saturday! As in 4 days from now! *squeals* The fun ends for me July 2nd.

Where

Down by the river, of course! Heidi will pilot the van throughout the summer, traveling to places from Arizona to Montana to Canada. I meet up with the van in Flagstaff, then travel to Lake Tahoe, Bend, Portland, and Seattle, hitting epic trails found in our books along the way.

#YourLead van, #vanlife, living in a van, Teton Sports, Gear Forward, Wilderness Press, Sportsman's Warehouse

Kam warmed the van up for us at Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks!

Why

Is this even a question? Because van life is the best life!

#YourLead van, #vanlife, living in a van, Teton Sports, Gear Forward, Wilderness Press, Sportsman's Warehouse

Because, this

How

The #YourLead van is a retrofitted Ford Transit, lovingly hand-crafted by the Teton Sports dudes. It is so awesome inside! Like, reclaimed wood awesome. We will eat, sleep, and work (and maybe party) from this trusty steed. If the mood strikes, we will grab our Teton Sports gear and sleep under the stars.

#YourLead van, #vanlife, living in a van, Teton Sports, Gear Forward, Wilderness Press, Sportsman's Warehouse

She’s a pretty gal

If I already annoy you with my oversharing, just go ahead and mute me for the summer. I have many more trips coming up. There’s your one warning. #SorryNotSorry

If you want to follow along and experience the ups and downs of living in a van, do me a favor (fun fact—I hate the phrase “do me a solid” because it makes me think of someone crapping and handing it to me) and show some love to my work accounts—@wilderness1967 on Twitter, @wildernesspress on Instagram. You can also follow @yourlead_van on Instagram and Twitter for all our collective awesomeness. If you live somewhere between AZ and WA and see us on the road, flag us down and let’s hang out!

#YourLead van, #vanlife, living in a van, Teton Sports, Gear Forward, Wilderness Press, Sportsman's Warehouse

See you on the road!

Anatomy of a DNF – Lake Martin 50 Race Recap

By June 1, 2016 50 Miler Training, Race Reports, Running, Trail Running, Ultra Training
Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Why am I so bad at race reports? Why don’t I just admit that they’re the worst to write and just abandon them? Because my Type A personality won’t let them go, dammit! So I’ll continue to be a slave to my blog. This Lake Martin 50 race report will be a stream-of-consciousness post, so roll with me here. My old race report is much more useful.

Lake Martin 100/50/27 is a fantastic race. If you’ve considered running it but haven’t yet, do it! The course is a pleasant mix of rolling (read: hilly) single track and red clay jeep roads. It’s scenic and not technical and the perfect place to run your first ultra. Chris can attest to that. Plus, it’s a Southeastern Trail Runs race by David and Mary Jo Tosch, so you automatically know it’ll be well-run.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society

BUTS loving some Lake Martin

Good. Now that I’ve gotten the pleasantries out of the way, let’s get down to my race experience. My DNF. Technically, it’s not a DNF because I finished the 27-mile “fun run.” But it wasn’t the distance I signed up for, and this is my blog, so I’m calling it a DNF.

There are different types of DNFs (Did Not Finish). There are obvious sick/injured/missed cutoffs DNFs. There are “Fuck it, where’s the food and beer?” mental DNFs. And then there are the DNFs where your heart and body and brain get into a battle royale for hours until you succumb to common sense and quit so you can live to see another day. That was my day running Lake Martin 50.

Full disclosure—I was never really confident that I’d finish the 50. After my Mercedes ultra, I hadn’t had a single pain-free run. All of March was one big Groundhog Day from 2014. Same pain, same race distance, same outcome. Only this time, I was smart and stopped running before my “run” turned into a broken sad hobble like at Mississippi 50 where Sally’s boyfriend thought I had an actual disability.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

He’s not far off – I am a little…deranged

So my only goal for the Lake Martin 50 was to run for as long as possible without doing further damage to my L4. Or SI joint. Or lady bits. Or whatever was the source of my hurt.

Which I did, successfully. I threw in the towel when my body said it was time to call it quits, and walked (not limped) off the course proudly. But not without going through all five stages of grief while deciding to drop.

Denial

Sally, Mindy, and I drove out to Lake Martin early that morning, rocking out to some T Swift to wake us up. I had felt that telltale shot of pain up my leg when I stepped out of bed. Awesome. But nothing was going to stop me from toeing that start line. Because, stubborn.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Mile 1. Ow. 49 more miles. I got this.

I ran the first 12 miles at a comfortable pace, chatting it up with friends, taking photos, and enjoying the scenery of Lake Martin. The sun rose and the light filtered through the trees onto the new spring grass and leaves and flowers—I was smitten with trail running all over again. I could run forever! Except that every blessed step hurts. But fuck that! Yay trails! No pain, no gain!

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

It’s so pretty! But I don’t got this.

I spent a lot of those miles being distracted by Chris, who was running his first ultra. You should know all about it if you clicked on his race report in the beginning of this post. If not, go read it now and come back. Good? Good.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

This is Chris. Hi Chris.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Chris left me some great photos on my phone

Chris and his famous blogger wife Rachel are the best couple (of friends) you could ask for. We share a love of dead animals, photography, and running. Chris and I fell into an easy rhythm of chatting and leap-frogging each other during those first 12 miles—he successfully read both my body language and mind, knew that I was in a world of pain, but played along and pretended it wasn’t real. Enabler!

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Look! Chris showed me I look great running! I can do this!

Anger

I rolled through the Heavenly Hill aid station for the second time, barely pausing to refill my water and grab a handful of chips. I knew that the longer I lingered, the more time I’d have to think about dropping. And I didn’t want to drop! Pain is all in your head! I could do this! You’re meant to suffer in an ultra! I stomped out of the aid station and back into the woods.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

An example of a “rolling hill” with soul-sucking clay

I spent the next six miles completely alone. Well, except for the voices in my head. I didn’t want to just “give up” and run “only 27” miles if I wasn’t feeling terrible. I don’t quit while I’m ahead. Or still moving forward somewhat successfully. Power through it, Pansy. Suck it up, Buttercup. I’m a stubborn fucker who would literally have to be on the brink of permanent injury or death before admitting defeat on something I really want to do.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Chris! Why’d you run away! COME BACK.

I was cranky and pissy and kicking rocks and hating everything and everyone. Mature, right? Instead of focusing on running, I was throwing a temper tantrum. Pause—I’d like to take a moment to be thankful that I have the energy in a 50-miler to devote to throwing tantrums, when a few short years ago the thought of running an ultra terrified the bejesus out of me. Unpause. I was mad mad mad.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Red dirt roads that never ended

Bargaining

But the thing is, you can’t have a bad day on the trails. It isn’t allowed. A bad race is still better than a good day not in the warm embrace of the woods. So I came to my senses, calmed down, and did the only reasonable thing to do at that moment—whipped out my phone and started calling all the people. I told everyone the same sob story, “Wah wah wah, my leg hurts but I’m in the middle of a race what do I do?” But I clearly called the wrong people. I was wanting some reassurance that yes, I was a pussy, and no, I shouldn’t drop. Unanimously, everyone said, “DROP!” when they heard the word “pain.” Ugh.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Gorgeous backdrop to my desperate phone calls

I then launched into my elaborate recovery plan once the race was over. I had months before Cascade Crest 100, so why not suffer through a 50 and then sit on the bench for a few weeks or months or decades. My bargaining skills must be a tad unpolished, because no one agreed with my logic—I knew I should have taken more sales courses in undergrad.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Lie to me and tell me I can do this

Depression

I got to the start/finish aid station and glumly told Tosch that I was dropping to the 27-miler. And with those words, I got a serious case of the sads. I held my head high as I dipped back into the woods alone for the final 7-mile loop, then promptly fell apart. It was perfect running weather, I was working on my golden runner’s tan, I was in my happy place, and yet I was the saddest panda at the zoo.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Time for my emergency mood-boosters!

Running is my thing. It’s what I do. It’s not completely who I am, but it kinda is. And when you take away one of the things I love most, I’m going to be upset about it. Sure, it’s just a race. One I didn’t ever expect to finish anyway. But there’s a reason “death before DNF” is a common saying among ultra runners—we will do everything we can to avoid failing. It’s deeply disappointing.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

This older gentleman from Alaska was running the 100 and was a huge inspiration to me

I stopped at a little creek and lay down to mourn the loss of my race. Ok—really I wanted to take a rest, have a snack, and listen to the water, but I was also mourning. Multitasking, yo! I eventually stood up and put my big girl panties back on, then met up with another runner and chatted with her for the remainder of the loop. Pause—what are we learning here? What’s the common thread of all Tanya low moments in races? Running solo gets to me. I need a running buddy at all times, or else I get mopey. Unpause.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Pity Party for One

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Upright and smiling again

Acceptance

The 27-miler has a short two-mile out-and-back section, where you need to grab a ribbon to prove you’re not a cheater (as some have done in Tosch races) (we know who you are). I took off with renewed energy. Two miles left before finishing yet another ultra. Let’s do it!

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

What’s another instant mood-booster?

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

CLYDESDALES!

I used those miles to act a fool and enjoy what was left of the race. I sang out loud. I skipped and danced. I took shots of whiskey. I had finally accepted that today was not my day to run 50 miles, but damn it if I couldn’t still have fun! Still a great day at the office, if you ask me.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Hey, random beach ball. Why yes, I will sit and rest on you.

And that worked. All the anger and sadness and frustration melted away with the sweat that was pouring from my body. No matter the struggles, I still got to spend the day doing exactly what I loved. And overall, I had a fantastic time.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Made the turnaround ribbons into a fashion statement

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

Final hill of the day

So there it is. A peek inside my brain during the Lake Martin 50. While it was hilarious at times (I swear I didn’t exaggerate—if anything, I under-exaggerated how I felt inside), I was really, really bummed. I battled both my body and my brain for hours and hours and miles and miles. That shit is hard, no matter how experienced or trained you are. Runners get it. You set a goal, and it hurts when you don’t reach it. But in my case, it would have hurt worse to reach that goal. So instead, I Did Nothing Fatal. Which was still a win.

Lake Martin 50, Lake Martin 100, Southeastern Trail Runs, Lake Martin, David Tosch, DNF ultra marathon, ultra running, trail running, Alabama trail running, five stages of grief in trail running

My (fittingly) failed finish line leap

2016 Shenanigans (So Far)

By May 31, 2016 100 Miler Training, Running
Cascade Crest 100, Lake Martin 50, Mercedes Marathon, Statue 2 Statue, Run for Kids Challenge, Rockin Choccolocco 50k,

Buenos dias, amigos! Remember that thing I sometimes do but haven’t mentioned in ages called trail running? Yeah—I still do that. A lot, actually. And I’m going to use this week to play catch-up on everything that’s happened in my running world over the past few months. Not because I think you care, but because I want to show this to my offspring and say, “Look how cool I was back in the day!” And they’ll roll their eyes and go, “We get it, The Mom,” as they fetch me my water because my legs are too tired to function.

Yes, The Mom. Like The Dude. “Mom” is so…boring. I digress.

Cascade Crest 100, Lake Martin 50, Mercedes Marathon, Statue 2 Statue, Run for Kids Challenge, Rockin Choccolocco 50k,

And then I’ll send The Offspring outside to wrestle snakes

February—Way back in winter, I ran the Mercedes Marathon and turned it into an ultra. Somewhere along those 30+ miles, my body armageddon-ed on me. Not to be outdone by my raging uterus (which has since been silenced—thanks IUDs!), my pesky groin/hip/back injury reared its ugly head again. I tried going to a chiropractor and resting—neither worked.

Cascade Crest 100, Lake Martin 50, Mercedes Marathon, Statue 2 Statue, Run for Kids Challenge, Rockin Choccolocco 50k,

Story of my race

March—Because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, I decided to ignore the groin and toed the start line of Lake Martin 50. Which I wisely turned into the 27-mile “fun run.” That decision didn’t come without heartache, however. I boo hoo-ed on the trail and wrote a race recap that’s coming atcha tomorrow!

Cascade Crest 100, Lake Martin 50, Mercedes Marathon, Statue 2 Statue, Run for Kids Challenge, Rockin Choccolocco 50k,

When the going gets tough, take a shot of whiskey

April—Since I was technically on the injured list, I decided to back off any major mileage and used April to “rest.” I started the month on the right foot by paying a visit to Dr. Sloan at The Farm to get my hip fixed up. She worked with me to learn how to engage my glutes and core properly—turns out that I run with my gigantic ribs pushed out, which pisses off my lower back. Which then pisses off my groin.

Cascade Crest 100, Lake Martin 50, Mercedes Marathon, Statue 2 Statue, Run for Kids Challenge, Rockin Choccolocco 50k,

My “PT is fun!” face

I ran/walked Statue 2 Statue 2 Statue and lovingly embraced the hills in the city I call home. And speaking of home, we had our second annual Birmingham Women’s Trail Running Retreat. Once again, it was a sell-out and a big hit! We had 40 ladies with different backgrounds and skill levels come out to Ruffner Mountain for a fun day of playing in the woods.

Cascade Crest 100, Lake Martin 50, Mercedes Marathon, Statue 2 Statue, Run for Kids Challenge, Rockin Choccolocco 50k,

Hooray for more pigtails on the trails!

May—What comes after a month of rest? The Run for Kids 12-Hour race, of course (report coming)! Unlike last year, I went into the race without a mileage goal. But what should have been a relaxing day in the woods turned into a 6-hour death march when I somehow got heat exhaustion. Gotta keep things interesting! In other news, Dr. Sloan is a miracle worker with her hands. She gives one hell of a butt (SI joint) massage. You know, should you ever need one.

Cascade Crest 100, Lake Martin 50, Mercedes Marathon, Statue 2 Statue, Run for Kids Challenge, Rockin Choccolocco 50k,

The more I screamed, the more Dr. Sloan smiled

This past weekend was the Choccolocco 50K—AKA the race on the face of the sun. It was wonderfully challenging, and I ran a strong race with minimal groin pain. Having run two ultras in May (since I skipped one in April) brings me to 5 ultras in 5 months. Not a shabby start to 2016!

Cascade Crest 100, Lake Martin 50, Mercedes Marathon, Statue 2 Statue, Run for Kids Challenge, Rockin Choccolocco 50k,

Pretty medal, even prettier course

Cascade Crest 100—I found out a few months ago that I’d been invited to run Cascade Crest 100, an iconic race outside Seattle in August. Ever since, I’ve been counting down the weeks and silently trying not to freak out. This race feels like it’ll be a real test of my 100-miler skillz. Don’t get me wrong—Pinhoti wasn’t an easy race, and the weather made it even harder than usual. But it went so well that I almost wonder if it was a fluke. Beginner’s luck. CCC100 is a Big Girl race with Big Girl mountains. I really need to get my ass in gear over these next three months to ensure another 100 miles of smiles.

Cascade Crest 100, Lake Martin 50, Mercedes Marathon, Statue 2 Statue, Run for Kids Challenge, Rockin Choccolocco 50k,

Trollin’ the trails of the ‘Ham instead of running serious vert

So that’s pretty much it! Now to follow through and post all the race reports before I slack off again…

5 Things I’m Currently Hating On

By May 20, 2016 Rants
thigh gap jewelry, thigh gap, Anastasia date, tough baby names, A4 waist challenge, Samford Alpha Delta Pi

Until yesterday’s post about Sasha, I haven’t blogged in a minute for no other reason than good, old-fashioned laziness. The words float around my head but never land—they’re essentially a flock of annoying horseflies. Like the song Sail by Awolnation says, “Blame it on the ADD.”

But what better way to come out of a writing funk and sad mood than with a senseless Tanya Rant? You’ve all missed those, right? Right. And we all need a pissy party every now and then. Here goes.

Alpha Delta Pi Racist Shirt—This happened in Birmingham last week. And then this week,  they announced this. So let’s dissect this from the beginning—can someone please explain to me how someone at Alpha Delta Pi used The Google to find an image of Alabama, “borrowed” it, and it just so happened to have a racist image on it? And then everyone was like, “Yep, looks good to us!” And no one at Samford thought to tell the racist girls, “Hey, cut that shit out.” And clerical error my ass! I bet the vendor got paid big bucks to take the fall for this. This story stinks to high heaven of designer perfume. Damn it, Alabama! Quit making it so fucking hard to defend you to the rest of the world! The entire Greek system just needs to vanish, please.

thigh gap jewelry, thigh gap, Anastasia date, tough baby names, A4 waist challenge, Samford Alpha Delta Pi

What says “end-of-year formal?” This state map, of course.

Anastasiadate.com—All of a sudden, my TV has been blowing up with Anastasiadate.com commercials. The first time I saw the commercial, I nervously giggled, thinking it was a joke. Then by the 100th time it aired, I wanted to punch the actors in the throat. “What will she look like this time?” Human. “What will she be doing?” Human stuff. Is buying mail-order brides a thing again? Or is this site the 2016 legal version of prostitution? Fellow Ukrainians and Russians, come on now! Have some self respect! You’re making the rest of us look bad! For shame. This Tatiana is one angry Eastern European.

thigh gap jewelry, thigh gap, Anastasia date, tough baby names, A4 waist challenge, Samford Alpha Delta Pi

I am yourrrrs forrrreverrrr (in heavy Russian accent)

Thigh gap jewelry—Loyal readers know how much I abhor thigh gaps. If not, you can catch up here and here. So it should come as no surprise that thigh gap jewelry would set me over the edge. What the actual fuck is this? I mean, really. It’s glittery jewelry to accentuate your lack of thigh meat. For the low, low price of $200, you can own a shiny jewelry penis that sways gently in the breeze that blows in the chasm of your thigh gap.

thigh gap jewelry, thigh gap, Anastasia date, tough baby names, A4 waist challenge, Samford Alpha Delta Pi

How…sophisticated

#A4waistchallenge—I thought I had seen everything with the aforementioned cavalcade of craziness. Then I stumbled upon the #A4 Waist Challenge. Read it. Absorb it. Did your brain just explode? Paper is for writing. Waists and hips are for storing food and baby-birthing. Not for hiding behind a stupid rectangle! If that’s not some fucked-up body image issue, then I don’t know what is. Sigh.

thigh gap jewelry, thigh gap, Anastasia date, tough baby names, A4 waist challenge, Samford Alpha Delta Pi

Oh man, can you see me behind that itty bitty piece of paper? No shit you can!

Tough Baby Names—I happened upon this article the other day (as a “You May Also Like,” not because I was searching for baby names). As I read it, my blood pressure slowly rose. How incredibly, disgustingly sexist is it to assume the name you pick for your child will determine their personality? Your son will be whoever the fuck he wants to be, whether you name him Jagger, or William, or Angel. And I’m not even going to touch on the fact that a boy has to be “tough.” I hope with all my heart that baby Axel turns into a fabulous, sweet, loving little boy. And his parents weep over the lost dreams of their leather-clad child who eats snails and pulls puppy dog tails.

thigh gap jewelry, thigh gap, Anastasia date, tough baby names, A4 waist challenge, Samford Alpha Delta Pi

Just look at this little shit-kicker – bet his name is Rambo

Your turn—what has your panties in a bunch recently?

A Husky Only A Mommy Could Love

By May 19, 2016 Positive Thoughts
siberian husky, husky, husky death,

IMG_9468Last Friday, we had to put our Husky, Sasha, to sleep. It was very sudden and unexpected, and I’ve spent the past week living in a numb shock. Mixed with bouts of ugly crying.

I feel the urge to write about Sasha and share her stories—writing is how I process the world. But how can you sum up a decade of life with a Husky? Impossible. So I’m just going to blurt out some memories, slap on some photos, and hope it’s coherent.

siberian husky, husky, husky death,

Sasha and her trash bag raincoat

There aren’t any adjectives to properly describe Sasha. My go-to was always, “She’s just…Sasha.” And if you had ever spent even a few moments with her, you understood what I meant. Sasha was completely off her rocker. She was smart as a whip and knew right from wrong—deliberately choosing to do wrong every.single.time. Always while wearing her shit-eating grin. Because life was more fun that way.

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“Bet you can’t find what surprise I left you today!”

siberian husky, husky, husky death,

Crazy face

Sasha was my first real responsibility. My first unsolvable challenge. My first mistake. Right off the bat, she taught us that college kids moving across the country had no business getting a Husky puppy. We were reminded of that over, and over, and over, and over. Every day I’d slowly approach the garage door with one eye open, bracing myself for whatever destruction she had inflicted upon the house.

siberian husky, husky, husky death,

How she got past that enclosure is a mystery

But like any “oops baby” (oh yes, grief does not suddenly make me into a better person), she was ultimately my best decision and worth all the heartache and drama. From Day One, we were the best of friends. Partners in crime. Bonnie and Clyde. She was my personality trapped in a furry body.

siberian husky, husky, husky death,

Sasha loved selfies

It was Sasha’s mission in life to cause mischief. As a puppy, she would greet us with a variety of practical jokes—standing on top of countertops, bringing 5-lb sacks of potatoes to her bed, biting the caps off an entire case of bottled water. Even at 10, she personified an ADHD child with sugar coursing through her veins. Always stomping, always talking, always wanting things exactly her way. Or else.

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Leaving not-so-little presents

siberian husky, husky, husky death,

Creepin’ on Thanksgiving dinner

siberian husky, husky, husky death,

Rolling in dead things during a party

Sasha also had a heart of gold. She loved everything and everyone. Especially me. Every evening between 8 and 9 was “kiss o’clock”—she’d hunt me down and bathe me in sandpaper-tongue kisses. When I’d come home from trips, she’d climb into my lap and cry inconsolably. She really was a Husky only a mommy could love, and she loved me hard in return.

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So

siberian husky, husky, husky death,

Many

siberian husky, husky, husky death,

Kisses

Losing Sasha has been harder than I imagined—but in a weird way. The pain of realizing she was sick and having to put her down was terrible. It was fast and sharp and knocked the breath out of me. But the times I’ve blissfully forgotten what happened and come home expecting to see her bounding around the corner with that gigantic grin—that pain has been much worse. Putting away her food bowl forever. Finding her fur on my shirt. Rescuing her broken tennis ball from under the couch one last time. That pain is deep, agonizing, and terrible.

siberian husky, husky, husky death,

Sasha and her flying saucer in a rare, quiet moment

I know everyone thinks they have the best dog. And that may be true. But I had a Sasha, and she was The Best.

If there is a doggie heaven, I hope you’re up there raising absolute hell, good girl.

siberian husky, husky, husky death,

My silly Husky

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