14 years ago I ran my first marathon. My friend Shawn and I decided that we would run the Boston Marathon as bandits. I had just moved to Maine and just come out. I was 26. I met a girl while training. Shawn and I finished the marathon somehow. Seriously it may have been a small miracle, cause I am pretty sure we did not train properly! After finishing I call this girl and she told me that she had a surprise. My post race brain was thinking food! And a cold beer. Shawn and I drove home in post race daze fueled by diet coke and gas station food. To my surprise there was a floppy black and tan cocker spaniel puppy (and also a beer....). The girl didn't last but, I feel in love with Tootsie at once and the rest is history.
She and I went through a lot together. Girls, jobs, 9 apartments, one house, two Ironmans, various other races, hikes, walks, cries and laughs. Yes she was a dog, but she was my best dog friend. Through all of my ups and downs and turn arounds she was my one constant. The one thing that I could count on after a shitty day to make me smile. We had to make the painful decision to let her go last week. The feeling of total sadness and emptiness is gone. I have actually laughed a few times in the last few days. But I miss her so very much. It is amazing how much of my life (of my families life) was in twined in hers. Everything I do is different now. Everything. I keep thinking that she is going to come back. That somehow she has just been away for a bit and will return. Her little spaniel stub and butt wiggling out of control because she is so happy. The adorable look of guilt when she had done something wrong and had been caught. The way she knew exactly when someone needed extra love. My life will never be the same without Tootise. Someday we will get another dog, but s/he will never replace Tootsie. She was my litmus test for everyone that was a potential partner/lover/friend/roommate. She and I grew older and wiser together. I feel so fortunate to have had her in my life. In the end she and I found where we belong.
This is one of the reasons that I am thankful that I have triathlon. It is helping me to process the many emotions I have with her loss. Speaking of triathlon.......
I spent much of January being sick. Working in a pediatric facility for the first time has introduced me to A LOT of illness! I am finally feeling better and like myself. I worked out through the month, but much of it was modified due to not feeling well. I had built up a solid base from the fall and don't feel that I have lost too much going in training for Cedar Point. This week was a solid week of training! I will spend the next few weeks continuing with intervals for all three sports (in small durations) and lots of strength training. By March 1, I will likely be in good shape to start the first phase of official training. I am looking forward to the journey to the start and finish line that is before me.