Tuesday, December 31, 2013

'Twas The Night Before New Year's Day (A Blog Shout Out Poem)

Happy new year's eve, my friends! I am quite excited to share a poem I wrote for you. I got the idea from my friend Denise over at FitPsychology, who did a Facebook shout out in story form, and I thought a poem would be an awesome way to end out the year and share with you some of the blogs that I love. If you click on the links within the poem, it will bring you to the blogs with that name. I'd love it if you would check out some of my blogger and running friends.

'Twas The Night Before New Year's Day

'Twas the night before new year's,
And all through the streets.
Not a runner was out there,
No one to meet.

Then I saw him,
Mr. Jogging Jeans.
I swear it was the weirdest thing
That I’ve ever seen.

"Hey you, out there!
Are you tri-ing to be athletic?
Because jogging in jeans
Looks quite pathetic!"

He said, "Too cute runner!
You like making fun?
Why don’t you just,
Shut up + run?"

But I was just searching
For my running friends.
I’m just enjoying the course,
I didn’t mean to offend!

What’s the Fitpsychology
Of running alone?
Is it all in my head?
After all, I’m full grown!

What was I afraid of?
It's quiet out here
It's not like the T-Rex runner
Is someone to fear.

I heard, "Run faster Mommy."
and I found dashing dad,
But he was shouting and cursing,
And flailing like mad.

He was not like himself
He was a runner unleashed.
He said “Mar on the run
And she’s stolen my feast!”

I calmed him and assured him,
We can begin to feed.
Cooking with the Caldwell's
Is all that we’ll need!

He said that he would try
To be more forgiving,
Because we're all just
Running, Loving, Living.

Now the clock is ticking,
And it’s almost midnight,
With all my running friends,
2014 looks bright!

Happy new year! I hope you liked my poem and will take a few minutes and check out these great blogs. See you in 2014!

*p.s. I know that the lovely Mar on the Run would never actually steal anyone's feast and I'm sure the Dashing dad is quite even tempered. :)

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Keep Running,


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photo credit: Philerooski via photopin cc

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Year in Review

Happy New Year, friends! Before I even had an official blog, I have published a year-in-review blog post to share with friends and family. It was kind of how this whole blog thing started. Once a year I would post the highlights of my year in pictures. It eventually evolved into the blog you read today. I am happy to continue the tradition. Here is my 2013 in pictures.

 My little friend Owen brought me a Valentine's Day flower.
I went to a fashion show to support my incredibly talented designer friend.
Aww...look how cute we were.Happy Valentine's Day!
My mom and sister came to visit from Pennsylvania and we made pierogies.
I changed my blog name from Running for Dummies to Running with Ollie
I went to Nashville for record store day to visit my favorite record store, Third Man Records.

I ran the Pretty Muddy mud run with friends.

We put all new windows in our house.

We celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary in Galveston, TX.
I quit my terrible job and started a great new one. (no pic of quitting my job. I wish. lol)
We remodeled our bathroom (and had a deck and fence built).
I celebrated my 39th birthday.
We celebrated hubbies birthday with Star Wars pancakes. Stay young!
I went to Bloggy Boot Camp.
Ollie and I attempted to run a Turkey Trot.
...but that didn't really work out.
Christmas stockings for the whole family.
There was an Icenado in North Texas! (nice deck, right?)
Ollie loved it!
Ollie wishes you a Merry Christmas.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year!

Keep Running,


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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Who is Running Who? A Ridiculously Simple Way to Improve Running with Your Dog

You may not know this about me, but I have a teenager. A teenager that is becoming increasingly unruly by the day. He doesn't listen. He thinks he knows everything. He does as he pleases. He doesn't respect my authority. He whines when he doesn't get his way. Does this sound like your teenager? He also poops in the back yard. My teenager is Ollie, my English Pointer.

Ollie is getting big...and strong. We adopted him about a year ago when he was 1 1/2 years old. A year later and at about 80 lbs, it is clear that he is growing into a rambunctious teenager. I don't have any (human) children of my own, but I now have this rebellious teenaged dog. I know I have written blogs in the past about tips for running with your dog and why dogs make better running partners than people, but lately Ollie has been down-right impossible.

The Problem?

What has changed? As he is growing, he is getting much stronger. He has a strong body and an even stronger will. We've had two incidents last month within a couple of weeks. I told you about what happened at the turkey trot, right? He set his sights on a Great Dane and Ollie won, not against the Great Dane, but against me. Ollie 1: Lea 0. He pulled and pulled and when I grabbed him by the collar to try to get him under the control, he kept going and dragged me right off my feet and through the mud. My weight hardly even slowed him down. My dog is too strong for me.

Then later that same week, we were on our regular running route in the neighborhood and he became fixated on a barking dog from behind a fence. He wouldn't stop. He pulled. I tried to grab him by his collar again to get him under control and my hand slipped all the way up the leash...I ended up with a nasty case of leash burn. It was burning and bleeding where the skin bubbles burst. I was almost in tears. How can I control my dog on our runs?

This was the "leash burn" after about two weeks.
I was so mad at Ollie, but he really had no idea. Besides, how could you stay mad at this guy?
Why can't I go running too mama?
He's a sweet dog that doesn't mean any real harm, he just gets...well, excited! Then every time I would put on my shoes to run, he would think he was coming with me, but I couldn't do it anymore. If I couldn't control him, I couldn't take him. It made me sad. It made him sad too! He would whine at the front door until I came home, probably not understanding why he couldn't run too. How could I have a blog called Running with Ollie if I couldn't run with Ollie? I needed to find a solution to my problem.

The Solution.

I started searching online and I found the Sporn per halter on Amazon that was pretty inexpensive, so I thought it would be worth a try. The Sporn pet halter is a harness that goes around his body and front legs. It claimed to be a humane way to stop the pulling without choking or hurting your dog. I really liked the idea that it didn't go around his nose like some of the ones that I had seen before. We bought a size large for 80 lb Ollie.

When it arrived, we removed his regular collar and hubby helped me slip it on him around his front legs before we were off for our regular run. At first, I think he felt something different and was acting a little strange. He would run a little, then stop, then run, then stop. I think he might have been getting used to the way it felt. It took about a half a mile the first time out before he started to run normally.

The great thing? When I would need to bring him back under control, one little tug at the leash and he would stop in his tracks. If he ran too far ahead and the leash pulled out to the end, he would stop himself. If he started to get aggressive and bark at another dog, one small tug at the leash and he would stop pulling. Even when he saw a cat and he really was determined to chase after him, it just took a slight tug and he would stop. He was particularly excited about the cat so he would keep trying, but every time, one little tug at the leash would stop him. This was quite a change from our turkey trot misadventure where the entire weight of my body couldn't stop him.

The only funny thing he did is that when he had his sights set on that cat, he would crouch really low to the ground, I've never seen him do that before. I'm not sure if he thought he could get out from under the harness, but of course, it didn't work.

Ollie Approved.

I paid extra attention to his demeanor, as I wanted to be 100% sure that I wasn't hurting him at all. His tail was wagging, he never whined or displayed any signs of discomfort. The straps around his legs are wrapped in soft Sherpa to minimize rubbing and for the dog's comfort.

Ollie didn't seem to mind it at all. I love it because it allows me to stay in control. We can just run together again without worrying about Ollie getting out of hand. It works great for walks or runs. It brought my unruly teenager back under my authority.

the Sporn pet halter

I still think that dogs make better running partners than people.

Whew. That was close. I almost had to change my blog name again.

What about you? Do you ever run with your dog? Do they ever get out of hand? Have you ever tried a harness?

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Keep Running,


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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from Running with Ollie Blog!

I just wanted to take a moment and wish you a very Merry Christmas. I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas spent with family and friends and a healthy New Year. Thanks for hanging out with me in 2013, I am so excited about the year ahead.

Keep Running,


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Monday, December 23, 2013

Top 13 Blog Posts of 2013

Thanks so much for hanging out with me in 2013. It really was a great year. I didn't get everything accomplished that I had hoped, but hey, that just leaves the opportunities wide open for 2014. I put together my top 13 blog posts (in order of page views) in 2013. Let's revisit the most popular posts of 2013!

13. Are you a real runner?
12. Apps for runners; the good, the bad, and the scary
11. Running with Ollie re-launch
10. How to train for your first mud run
9. Pin it Party
8. How to make your treadmill runs not suck
7. What NOT to wear mud run edition
6. Conquering your inner night owl
5. A dummies guide to buying running shoes
4. 2013 Holiday Runner's gift guide
3. The things your runner friends don't tell you
2. It's all in your head: Mental tricks for running

and the #1 most viewed blog post of 2013...

1. I'm afraid to post this blog

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

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Keep Running,


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Friday, December 20, 2013

Why Dogs Make Better Running Partners than People

Dogs make better running partners than people. Here's why.

I have the best running partner.

1. He never hits snooze on those early morning runs.

2. He never cancels.

3. He always is always enthusiastically ready to run.

4. His schedule never gets in the way of our runs.

5. He never complains.

6. He never talks my ear off about things I don't care about.

7. He always listens when I talk.

8. He is perfectly content with running in silence.

9. He protects me against the dangers on the road (people, dogs, horses, and especially those big dangerous squirrels).

10. He doesn't care about pace. He'll go as fast or as slow as I want and is a born natural at Fartlucks. "Hey, a squirrel, let's run fast to catch him! Hey, this tree smells interesting, let's stop and check it out."

The only downside? I have to pick up his poop! (I don't have that problem with human running partners.)

Does your running partner have four legs? Then check this out!

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Keep Running,


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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Personal Training Sales Pitch Gone Wrong

Welcome to the December edition of Throwback Thursday. This is a monthly post where we revisit a blog post from the archives that you may have missed the first time around. But first, in honor of Christmas (6 days, people!), let's first revisit little Lea and a Christmas from my childhood. 

Throwback Thursday. Me and Santa circa 1979
It's the most wonderful time of the year. The time that we face the facts that we may have over indulged a bit over the holidays and start planning how to change our ways in January. Last December, on a motivation downswing, I paid a visit to my local LA Fitness to inquire about personal training sessions and encountered quite a nightmare of a sales pitch! After I published my blog about my experience, I couldn't believe all the people who told me that they have had similar awful experiences. Have you ever genuinely wanted to buy something, but then the behavior of the salesperson convinced you not to buy?

I'd love it if you click over to the original post and read about my Personal Training Sales Pitch Gone Wrong.

personal training sales pitch gone wrong
Have you ever had a personal training sales pitch gone wrong? Tell me about it in the comments.

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Keep Running,


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

"LIKE" the Running with Ollie Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each other's workouts on Dailymile
See what I am up to on Pinterest
Add me to your circles on Google +
Follow me on Instagram @runningwithollie

photo credit: istolethetv via photopin cc

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dear Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

Today is the four year anniversary of the day you passed. I miss you a lot, but sometimes I feel guilty that I don't remember to miss you everyday, but I know you wouldn't want that. I always miss you this time of year, especially today. I miss you on your birthday, and when I think about high school. I miss you when I see a Sandblasting van. Is it OK to tell an inside joke here, that only you would get? Of course it is. I miss you when I think about opera day and how we made that everyday. I miss you when I think about Cambodia...and Chi-Chi's. I miss your face. I am laughing and crying right now and it reminds me a little of how we would laugh so hard that we would cry.

I wrote a poem about a dream I had about you a few years ago and I always share it on this day because it means a lot to me. I share it every year to celebrate your life. I miss you, my beautiful friend.

click to read ----->  The Dream about Jen 

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Keep Running,


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