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Should I stay or should I go now? What would Clash suggest?

Should I run?  Should I cycle? Should I swim?  Should I crossfit? Should I watch Housewives???  What would Clash do?  Life is good when you wake up in the morning and your biggest concern is deciding what activity you are going to do for the day!

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Brotherly Love- St. Elmo’s Fire

My brother Jeff said, “Shut the door.”   No trace of light could be found in the downstairs half bath of our townhouse apartment in Gastonia. “Here, hold this” he stated.  Kind of reminds me of the last words of a redneck, “Hey yall, watch this!”  He said, “light this match.”   Maybe, I should preface this story with another story of how our apartment neighbors….(another apartment complex…) would run from their apartments and jump into the community pool fully clothed to save me from my brother who would hold me under the water longer than our good neighbors thought big brothers should… Or maybe I should share the story of how my mom saved his letter to Santa Claus that I found accidentally.  It requested that Santa take me away.  “Dear Santa, I don’t want anything for Christmas but I want you to take my sister with you.”  My brother just thought he wanted Santa to take me away.  Sooooooo…. back to my original story.     I did as instructed.  I lit the match because I loved my brother and he was giving me attention momentarily and plus, I had no idea what I was doing, what he was doing, or why.  The last thing I remember was seeing the words, Aqua Net.  Do any of you know what that means?  Yes, burnt eyebrows and hair.  He laughed his butt off, which incited me to start laughing my butt off.    HA!  So freaking glad Santa let me keep my face  another year.  I forgot to mention I was in 2nd maybe 3rd grade.

Believe it or not, my brother and I have a great, healthy, non-life threatening relationship now.

This post inspired by a blogger I am following.

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I Found True GRIT in Central Park.

My family and I are in NYC on vacation.  The day we arrived we did a CrossFit workout at the Black Box.  You don’t have to do anything but show up 10 minutes early.  Thought we were doing “Barbie” but ended up doing a BUNCH of deadlifts!  Had a great workout!  Michael and this other guy(I never got his name..) were EXCELLENT instructors.  The gym was 3 floors up in an old building.  Nothing fancy, just perfect!  My afterbash was in Bryant Park with a red wine sangria.

Later, we went to Hershey.  I bought dark chocolate kisses thinking they would be healthier, but my hand keeps finding itself in my son’s reese minitures bag!!!

I found true GRIT the next morning while running with my husband in Central Park.  It made that perfect crunchy sound under my shoes with each stride I took.  I love that sound.  Running behind Stephen always sucks but the first mile didn’t suck as much since I was in CENTRAL PARK!!!  Seeing so many people out there just being healthy was a sight to see.  There are some great rolling hills.  It was a beautiful run!

A few hours later we HOOFED it from Times Square to Canal Street in Chinatown.  We took the subway back thank goodness!  Thank you Mr(s). subway inventor!!!

Heading to a Yankees game this evening and plan to consume hotdogs and beer! (All gluten free!!! yea right!)  Tomorrow, we will all do the Rugged Maniac in Brooklyn and head to Coney Island to rinse off in the ocean.  I have never been to Coney Island but I have heard mixed reviews.  Looking forward to it and a Nathan’s hotdog!

Finally, we will visit the Guggenheim and the 9/11 Memorial on our last day.

Any other suggestions????

Whatever we do, I am sure it will be fun and involve walking!

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And the WINNER is….

The BOYS!

TEAM “Waldrep to the 3rd Power” claimed their victory over the GIRLS once again in the 2012 Shelby Sprint Triathlon!  Congratulations MEN!!!  The weather could not have been better. Crisp McDonald with Setup Events did a spectacular job.  The race was extremely organized and I loved the fact that we were able to run straight through the Foothills Farmers’ Market!  Hearing the live music and the cheers from the shoppers helped perk me up!  Congrats to TEAM “Are we there yet?”!  You all did GREAT!

Below are the Relay Splits!

1st-Team Waldrep to the 3rd Power       Swim-7:43 Bike-45:29 Run-21:12

2nd-Team Runs in the Family                 Swim-8:27 Bike-45:59 Run-24:03

3rd-Team Are We There Yet?                 Swim-10:27 Bike-45:33 Run-27:11

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Girls against the Boys!

So tomorrow it is going down! Where Amy’s hands part the water, Connie’s rubber meets the road, and my feet hit the pavement.  The Shelby Sprint Triathlon at Shelby City Park starts at 8am and our Girl Team “Runs in the Family!” will face the Boy Team “Waldrep to the 3rd Power!”  for the 2nd annual local triathlon.  The three generation team consists of Ben, the swimming grandson, Benny, the cycling grandfather, and Stephen, the running dad.  Last year the boys team took first with the girls in a close 2nd in the relay division.  This year Team “Are We There Yet”, with Robin, Victoria, and Missy, will add some friendly but stiff competition!

Here is a quick summary from the event website:

Shelby Sprint

The Shelby Sprint Triathlon takes place at the Shelby City Park in Shelby, NC, also known as the City of Pleasant Living. The Shelby City Park holds a fantastic outdoor 10 lane Olympic size overflow swimming pool, where participants will snake their way down the pool only swimming one direction in each lane. The transition area is located a mere 50 meters away on the front lawn of the Park, allowing excellent spectator vantage points.

The 20 kilometer ‘lollipop course’ on the bike takes participants into uptown Shelby where they immediately turn out of town onto rolling hills. The participants will then circle back and head back towards town. The 5K run portion is nearly completely flat, and is run on some of the most scenic streets in uptown Shelby, passing the Courthouse and many other 100+ year old homes. This event will definitely become an instant favorite with its beautiful outdoor pool and beautiful scenery.

 

Good luck to all who participate!

 

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Daily Funny….

Yesterday was a GREAT day for working out!  The weather was great.  The company was even better.  I cycled, swam, and did a crossfit workout all before 2pm.  On cloud 9, I was!  So, after cycling, I was putting my bike in the back of the Scout.  I saw my friend, Maria, running down the street so I called out to her.  “Woooooooo!  Looking GOOD GURL!!!!!”  She She looked great!  Her hair had been highlighted.  Her stride looked strong.  She  stopped and started walking towards me.   I met her half way.  When we were within a foot of each other, with arms stretched out to give each other a hug, we both realized that we were complete strangers!  It was not my friend Maria.  That didn’t stop us!  Without hesitation, we hugged, then shook each other’s hand and introduced ourselves!  Her name was Gina.  After our hug, we said our goodbyes and she was back on her way to finish her run.  Hopefully, one day our paths will cross again.  She seemed like such a sweet lady! 

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Rest days are important!

Rest days are important!  Try to include one or two rest days each week.  This will decrease the chance that you will skip a workout and these days also allow your body to heal and grow!!!  Don’t feel guilty.  Enjoy and know that your next workout is right around the corner!

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Anyone can do crossfit…

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If you want to do CrossFit, you can! I know the lifting part and some of the exercises can be intimidating.  But, do you realize there are modifications for everything???  Your heart will beat as much as the next person’s.  What is stopping you?

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CrossFitting Fool

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CrossFit specializes in NOT specializing.   It doesn’t focus on just one facet of fitness or health. Whether you are an Olympic athlete, a grandparent, or a 40 yr old runner….the fitness needs are similar but the intensity level necessary varies.   Balance, stability, agility, power, flexibility, endurance, stamina, etc…Every workout is different. It reminds me of the things I did as a kid but took for granted like jumping, hanging, stretching, climbing! I love CrossFit!

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MUD RUN!

If you haven’t completed a mud run then you are missing out on a lot of fun. Find one near you and sign up for it with a group of friends or your family. And definitely carpool. Riding together is sooooo much fun!

Carpool!!!

I completed a 2nd mud run this past weekend with my husband, son, and a group of 10 friends. A friend told me about a groupon, so I saved about $40 per person! The run was called the Warrior Dash. It was a blast and was very similar to the Rugged Maniac race I did a couple of years ago!

Clean Warriors!

We climbed up/over/down/under/around/through so many obstacles. At one point, we were submerged to our necks in a mud pit. At the end we were face down crawling under barbed wire in 2 feet of thick mud to the finish line. The water hose party was hilarious. The Warrior Dash post race party was probably one of the best I have attended. I love how people get pumped up and dressed up for this type of race.

newlyweds before

newlyweds after

Shower time!

Checklist of what to take to a mud run:

  • 1-2 heavy duty trash bags
  • throw away running shoes
  • ball cap
  • croc sandals
  • change of clothes
  • large beach towel for “deck changing”
  • photo ID for beer garden
  • camera phone (leave in bag!)
  • good attitude

Have FUN in the MUD!

ride home..
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Runner plays volleyball?

Absolutely…or at least I tried. Remember i did do CrossFit 2 days in a row.
I was actually going for the intimidation technique tonight.
My 8th grade Algebra student is on a traveling volleyball team. When she got wind that her 40 yr old teacher was playing, she took it

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outfit provided by Allie!

upon herself to make sure i was outfitted properly!  I thought the knee pads and jersey with “RAGE’ across the back would send a “don’t hit the ball to me” message. I was wrong. It was fun eventhough we lost. Sorry coach. I will come up with another strategy next week.

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HissyFit…CrossFit

Last night I rode with a group to a nearby town to try CrossFit for the first time.  My husband and son have been doing for a couple of weeks now and bought me three trial visits.  Unable to do one pull-up, I arrived at the warehouse type building full of apprehension.  All types of people, (young/old, male/female, big/small) were running around the outside of the building with a weighted medicine ball.  Some were carrying theirs on their shoulder, some in front of their belly, while others on a hip.  We walked in and the music was pumping.  I was so excited.  There was nothing fancy about it.  The owner/instructor, Michael, did an excellent job with his instruction.  I had no clue what a “burpee” was…Excuse me.  😉  Squats, squats, and more squats with proper form, shoulder presses, 200m run with a medicine ball, etc…  It was different than running but sooooo awesome! 

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I woke up this morning and parts of my body that I had forgotten about were screaming for attention.  I am going back tonight so I am hoping that I will be able to walk at the Warrior Dash this weekend.  

Any CrossFit experts out there?  I don’t know a lot about it, but the little I have read makes sense. 

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This is not me…yet.

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Need for Speed…

When I am presented with a new experience or adventure, my reflex response is always, “Sure! Why not?”   

Some examples:

Navigate the subway in a big unknown city, like NY or Paris?  Sure!  Why not?
Learn to crochet?  Sure!  Why not?
Eat tofu?  Sure!  Why not?
Ride a wakeboard?  Sure!  Why not?
Marathon?  Sure!  Why not?
Yoga?  Sure!  Why not?
Mud run?  Sure!  Why not?
Go to Key West, miss your race and your flight, drive home from Mile 0?  Sure!  Why not?

So, when I asked what could I do differently with my running.  My husband said, “you could try to increase your speed.”  And you can guess my reply…I have the song by Cake in my head..I love that song.

he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
he’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
he’s going the distance.
he’s going for speed.
he’s going the distance.

I welcome any simple ideas for speed workouts.

 

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Positive Peer Pressure….

Sometimes, a running buddy can motivate you to run way more miles than you set out to do.  I love when 2 loops in the cemetary turns into 4!  Two bowls of Breyers Vanilla ice cream also inspires me to run more.  I am sure that we all have different motivators.  Do you know yours?

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I teach, therefore, I drink…and run.

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All independently of course.  Although, this morning while I was running the Clifford’s 5k race for abused animals, I thought that if I licked my sweaty arm that I could enjoy the previous night’s glass of cabernet again.   Pshaw…did I say, “glass”?  I meant bottle… A group of my teacher friends and I get together on Fridays at the beautiful Owl’s Eye Vineyard.  Above is a picture of the aftermath. I used to drink the night before a race and brag that it helped me run faster…sadly, it doesn’t work that way anymore.  I think I am going to stay in tonight and chill.  My body is requesting some reprieve.  Tomorrow, I may swim a little…
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My Dreadmill Assault…

Rainy days are inevitable.  Therefore, running indoors on a treadmill might be part of your training at some point.  Whenever I am forced to battle the dreadmill, I mix it up by doing a “5,4,3,2,1” workout, a friend shared with me. 

My starting speed is very important in the plan of attack!  I start out running the first 5 minutes at a comfortable and moderate pace, usually around 5 or 5.5 mph).   Then, I bump up the speed 1/2 or 1 mph and continue running for 4 minutes.  Next, I bump up another 1/2 or 1 mph for the next 3 minutes.  And again, for the next 2 minutes.  Finally, I increase to a full sprint for my final 1 minute. 

After this interval, I slow my speed down to my original pace and start building again.  Each round is a total of 15 minutes of running.  Try this 3 times and you have conquered a NICE 45 minute run and your treadmill battle!!!  Spice up the clash even more by adjusting your incline! 

For those or you just joining the running world, you can start your first 5 minutes with a brisk walk and build from there.  This workout helps me so much because it makes me pay attention to something other than my boredom!

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In search of the Silver or Ruby Red Slippers…

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Asics and Saucony and Mizunos, oh my!  Asics and Saucony and Mizunos, oh my!

I took a trip to OZ yesterday and tried on “forty-leven” pairs of shoes at a local store.  Tapped my heels together three times and left the store like a “twista” with a pair of Asics off the clearance table.  There’s no place like home, I thought.  Just let me out of here.  I wasn’t even sure if I liked the shoes or not.  I think I just bought them because I ran the poor sales clerk, who had only been working there for the past three days, to death.  Yes, this tin lady does have a heart.

Basically, I have trained in about every brand of shoe and can honestly say that I have no clue which shoe I like the best.  In fact, I am embarassed that I didn’t even know the brand of my latest running shoe until I just looked in my workout bag:  Asics Gel Kayana 16.  They have done their job.  My knees and ankles are still intact.  I am not complaining.  But, I really want to find a shoe that makes me want to buy it over and over again.  I want to feel like I am rolling up on Michelin tires.  I want each stride to feel like I am floating in a big ole Lexus running about 70mph down the highway.  I want each step to feel like I am falling into the plushest down comforter on the planet…

It’s almost 4:30!!!  Time to go follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road!

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Practice your UPSWING…

For the last month, I have been experiencing a surge in my desire to run.   “Tessa done got her groove back”, thank goodness…(for the moment, at least…)  My latest running funk lasted about 4 to 6 months.  I would force myself to run on a Saturday morning once every two or three weeks.  All my girlfriends were still running like clockwork.  Getting up as early as 5am in the cold.  My eyes mght have been open at 4:30am, but I had absolutely NO desire to get up to run.  I am not sure what caused my slump.  But, obviously I am crawling out of it for the time being.  Eventually, I know the pendulum will swing again at some point.  So, while I am up high on my perch, I feel like I need to take advantage of my running boom as much as possible.  Although, 5am runs still don’t entice me, I pack two workout bags in advance for afternoon runs.  Why two bags?  Because Imageof all people, I know myself all too well.  In the past, I would be all jacked up and run Monday.  Then,  get busy on Tuesday morning and forget to pack a bag or not have time to prepare.  So, my well intended run would not come to fruition.  NOW, my packed bags have warm and cool running clothes plus yoga pants if I get a hankering.  “SNAP!” my students would say.  Well, maybe they would have said that last year.  “SNAP” has kind of run it’s course, hasn’t it?

What causes the UPSWING, swell, or rush?  I wish I knew.  What will help foster it?  I wish I knew that, too.  But, if you are in an upswing, savor it, feed it.  If not, then look forward to it’s return…Yes, it’s coming soon.

Get your feet lined up, get a good grip, take a gentle backswing, and follow through by running a little every once in awhile!  And your upswing will be magnificent!

Look forward to seeing all the superheroes tomorrow!!!

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Running and Yoga?

The answer is yes!

I took my first yoga class in Asheville years ago.  I have to be honest, I wasn’t crazy about it.  I was expecting serenity and relaxation.  But what I got, was a drill instructor.  During the class, I remember actually jumping from fear when he would shout out instructions.  Luckily, I decided to try yoga again recently when a dear friend of mine was instructing.  It was such a totally different experience.  My favorite part was the “corpse” pose at the end.  I still wasn’t on the yoga wagon yet, but I knew I enjoyed it.  My mind was stilled temporarily and my freakin’ tight hamstrings got some much needed stretching!  I was incited to go to more classes each week.  Now, I make at least one class per week and  three if I am lucky!!!  I feel like yoga just sort of crept up and found it’s way inside my body and soul.  It’s not a “wagon” to jump on or jump off.  I love it and look forward to it so much.  I don’t know all of the yoga history, yoga poses, or yoga words.  But I don’t think I have to know all of that stuff right now.  I learn a little bit as I go.  I even bought a yoga handbook so when my teacher says something and I don’t know what the heck she is talking about, I can go home and look it up!

My perfect afternoon is  a 3-4 mile run at 4:30.  Yoga at 5:30.  Then 1/2 price pizza and a $2 draft (or two) with my hubby and son across the street at our neighborhood pub at 7.

Give yoga a shot.   Namastae!

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Meet Betty, the fat lady…

The first time I met Betty, I did not like her. Actually, when I introduced them to Betty, most of my friends did not like her either. Depending on our mood, some of us would give her the silent treatment or call her ugly names like “fat lady.” Sometimes we would yell or curse at her. Some of us would just downright refuse to go near her. So you would think that our relationship with Betty would only go downhill. Ironically, the opposite occurred, despite how she made us feel.

Now, the last thing I want to do is give you a negative impression of Betty. You may fall in love if you ever meet her. But I would like to share with you how I have learned to live with Betty through the years. In fact, she has become an inspiration to me.

These days, I run a lot. However, growing up in my town, running never entered my mind unless it involved escaping the wrath of my brother. I attempted to run in the early nineties to impress my new husband.  I tried to run a few 5K races with him. Confusion describes my finishes back then. Big or small, young or old, it didn’t matter. All those runners trotted past me whispering words of encouragement. Once, a pregnant lady pushing a baby stroller flew past me going up a hill. This lady had to be at least seven or eight months pregnant!

During the fall, my friend and co-worker, Jerri, and I decided over drinks that we wanted to run a marathon. We assumed the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February would be perfectly flat. I knew that Jerrianne had been running for years but she had never done a race. She was my “healthy” friend who wore really cool Keen shoes. She was always running, cycling, hiking, doing yoga, or walking the dogs.

So, let me explain the seriousness of this. In that discombobulated moment, I was convinced that I could complete a 26.2-mile footrace without sleep breaks. At the time, my husband’s suggestion to start training the following day seemed perfectly feasible. So Jerri and I decided to meet at her regular running route in the cemetery. The next morning I was not thanking my husband for his bright idea. To put it mildly, we will just say I was worried.

We arrived bright and early and Jerrianne was already there. The gates were locked. For a split second I rejoiced that our running appointment might be cancelled. Jerri seemed unfazed as she led us through the shrubs past the gate. Inside the graveyard, we had a decision to make. Go right and meet Betty on the way back, or go left and see the Gold Hill. “Who the heck is Betty?” I wondered.

Jerri explained that one loop, which was basically the perimeter of the cemetery, was approximately 1.4 miles. She liked doing one loop and then turning around and doing the loop backwards. We decided to go right so, I guess this meant that I would meet Betty on the way back to our starting point. Off we shuffled, chatting all the while. Down, down, down the hill we ran. My grin was large. Jerri said that she called the hill, “Gold Hill”.  I realized why when I saw all of the headstones to my left. She reminded me that we would be travelling up on our second loop. My grin disappeared.

Fortunately, I had yet to feel that my running shoes were too small. I looked to the right and saw the gravesite of my grandparents. I really miss my grandmother. I guess this was about when my breaths started shortening and my jammed toes starting talking to me. I made it up to the top of the hill and turned right on a gravel road called Laurel. I said hey to a friend, Stacy, who died way too soon. Even though many years have passed, his headstone looked newer than so many others nearby.

My heart sank as I made the turn onto Ford Street. I realized that we were about to embark on a very long uphill journey.  I immediately quit talking. Up, up, up we ran. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other. As Stephen and Jerrianne laughed and had a full-blown conversation, my frustration and the hill’s slope were increasing. “You guys go on,” I said. “I will catch up!  Don’t wait on me!”  My pace slowed to a snail’s.

As they ran up the hill ahead of me, I wondered who the heck Betty was and how in the heck can they run so fast up this gigantic hill?  Up, up, up, I staggered, determined not to walk.

Everything by now was a blur. The pain and lack of oxygen were comforted only by the fact that I was in a cemetery. Up, up, up we ran. Right foot, left foot… Eventually, my staggering trot turned into a survival shuffle, then to a walk, and finally to a dead stop.

After what seemed an eternity, I was finally nearing Jerri and Stephen. They stood admiring a tombstone at the very top of the hill. I was almost in tears. Tears of joy since they were standing still and not running! Finally, I made it.

As my heart pounded, I read the inscription on a headstone.  I read that her name was Betty and that she had come to this town as the “Simple Fat Lady in the Fair.  She left this Earth as our friend.”

So, I finally met Betty. I could not believe what I was reading. How awesome it was for our community to care enough for this 46-year-old stranger who died in 1954. She wasn’t from our town and had no family here. Betty was from Rochester, N.Y.   Later, I learned that Betty went from a 104 lb dancer to 600 pound carnival act. Her weight gain was caused when she was stricken with pneumonia and a treatment affected her thyroid.  She eventually died from a heart attack in her sleep.

Jerri, Betty and I trained for four solid months. Eventually, this “fat lady” became a driving force in my daily runs and a major part of my inspiration to complete a marathon. We ran our race in February and finished gracefully. Jerri and I shared our favorite stories and talked about Betty as we ran mile after mile. It was a very memorable event in my life. Since then, I have shared the tradition of introducing the “Betty” hill to several people who wanted to run with me or train for a special race.

Betty may have left this earth as our friend, however, she still lives on in spirit to help train and encourage many people to push themselves more than they ever thought they could. I encourage everyone to come out and meet our friend, Betty. She will always be waiting at the top of the hill for you.

Simple Fat Lady from the Fair

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You’re not in Kansas, Toto…

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The Toto Story:

I saw Toto on the side of a highway coming home from work one day.   She had her paws on the white line, just sitting and watching the cars drive by.  I made an illegal u-turn and came back around and pulled off the road.  I walked slowly up then down to my knees I reached out my hand.  Her tail started wagging so hard that her whole body got in rhythm.  I put her in my car on my lap and she didn’t move the whole way home.  The ride was approximately 25-30 minutes, so I had time to figure out how I was going to introduce Toto to my husband.  We already had several dogs, (we also claimed 2 dogs that don’t belong to us), so I wasn’t sure how my husband was going to respond to our new addition.  When Toto and I arrived home, I let her out and our big dogs immediately came over to check her out.  My husband was busy in his huge 3 bay shop doing who knows what!  Toto seeked refuge under my car since the other dogs couldn’t fit.  I walked in the house and waited.  About 30 minutes later, Stephen came in and excitedly told me about this cute little dog who just happened to come up on our property and how she was getting along so well with the other dogs…  I didn’t say a word for about 3 weeks.  I let him fall in love before I broke the news of how Toto found us.

 

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Pre-race day at Lake Lure

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Prettiest lake I have ever seen.

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