week 31: the last time you said this is the last time

said “This is the last time” last night when we decided to drop to the half and NEVER run in that hell hole of ankle deep sand again!

I’m a creature of bad habits so I say, “this is the last time,” and awful lot. Last time I smoked – “this is the last time.” Last time I got drunk, “this is the last time.” Last time I found myself talking to that person I shouldn’t be talking to, “this is the last time.” It won’t be. I know this. But it’s nice to pretend. I think maybe three weeks ago when I was doing laundry, I told myself, “this is the last time I go three weeks without doing laundry.” It was also the last time I did laundry. Yep.

know better than to say “this is the last time” because I’m a liar. But I did run a night marathon in a field once. I stepped in a puddle while star gazing around mile 8. It got into the 20s overnight and I spent to rest of the race with a frozen foot….and the next few weeks sick. I can’t remember if I consciously said I’d never do that race again but i never did.

I keep saying that this is the last time I mow the lawn and hire a yard service. But then I tell myself to stop being a pansy and just do it. Plus, I’m a cheap ass. Maybe next year?

This is the last time I’ll be on Facebook this week.

ook my son to a water park yesterday and there was this one slide where you had to climb multiple cargo nets to get to it. Plus it was built for people 42 inches tall. I climbed through once and felt like I was going to rupture my Achilles. Of course the little guy loved the slide and wanted to do it again. As I was climbing the second time and almost ripped off a toe, I said “this is the last time”. I bribed him with dippin dots and he forgot about that slide!

I don’t tend to say “this is the last time” because I usually know it won’t be.

Last time I said never again , was the last marathon I ran January 2015 ish? Disney a bazillion degrees and I ran both the 1/2 and the full that year. Apparently I don’t learn I am going back this January 25th Anniversary of the marathon that means special bling.

Every time I drink a soda.

I have a lot of bad habits. I probably should be saying “this is the last time” a lot more often than I do. But, this is the last time I am posting a zero for the weekly muskrat check in (well, probably not, but I got out tonight so at least I have next week covered).

This is the last time I run a marathon. Every. single. Time.
Ooohhh look! A marathon!

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august raos

The Frida Evita Bonita Chiquita 5K ©

This month’s RAOS can be blamed entirely on Quadracool. Upon seeing a Frida Kahlo painting in which I made a reference to the items in it as possible RAOS fodder, she replied “I would go for the creepy doll and coconuts, but you do you.”

In that spirit was this month’s ROAS (and the name of my new punk polka band “Creepy Dolls and Coconuts”) born.

The rules are ridiculously simple. PLEASE note that ALL 10 points below must be completed.

1. Make a race bib. We at the Muskrat 2020 love our race bibs.

2. Obtain a coconut. On the coconut, draw Frida. Unibrow mandatory.

3. Attach a monkey to your shoulder (Frida loved monkeys, you know.) If you don’t have a monkey, you can substitute a creepy doll. But some creature on your shoulder is mandatory for the 5K.

4. Construct a banana hat. This will consist of no fewer than three real bananas (not wax, paper or other simulations.) They can be attached to your head however you like (mr. pants urges you not to use staples) as long as they’re on top of your head. The hat must be worn throughout the 5k.

4. The start line for the 5K will be somewhere near an art exhibit. This could be a museum or gallery, as long as its primary purpose is to display art.

5. Using colored chalk, write “FRIDA BE WHO I WANT” in LARGE LETTERS along with a drawing of a flower, on the street or sidewalk outside the gallery. Take a photo of the saying, with your Frida Coconut in the photo and the gallery in the background. Then start running, since this is sort of illegal.

6. Wearing your banana hat, carrying your Frida Coconut and monkey/ugly doll, and keeping an eye out for policia, run 1.55 miles.

7. At the 1.55 mile turnaround, whip out your chalk and wherever you are at this point, IN LARGE LETTERS write “I COULD FIND JOB SATISFACTION IN PARAGUAY (my favorite juan peron line from Evita. humor me).” Then shoot a video as you belt out the chorus of “A new Argentina.”

Successful entries will sing the entire chorus in a forceful voice:

“A new Argentina,
the chains of the masses untied
A new Argentina,
the voice of the people
cannot be denied.”

Waving the banana hat overhead in defiance during the rendition is highly encouraged but not strictly mandatory.

8. In addition to the video, shoot a photo of your coconut and monkey/ugly doll posing with the chalk saying. Then resume running again. Did I mention this is sort of illegal?

9. Run back to the start/finish line. Assuming there is not a police investigation underway, shoot a short video at the finish line (where your original Frida essay is written in chalk) of you and your Frida Coconut shouting “I TROTSKY FOR FRIDA!!! VIVA LA MUSKRAT!!!” while throwing your bananas in the air.

10. Flee the scene. Eating your chalk to destroy the evidence is suggested but not required. Or just drop it in your water bottle. This was how NUUN was invented.

In event of legal trouble, contact Carissa. This was her idea.

Good luck! Post-race piña colada encouraged.

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august raok

I bought a big box of Fudgecicles this afternoon. I offered one to a coworker, then another and another. A few minutes later I had given one to almost everyone in my department and people were happily talking about how they reminded them of childhood.

i was running the mile loop at the track yesterday when i saw the maintenance guy trying to push his little electric buggy, which had pooped out a couple of football fields from home. i jumped in and helped him push, to the point that he eventually hopped on and just steered. harumph. upside: i think i can get away with anything at the track for the next month or so.

Got a co-worker her small breakfast. She already had her coffee and just wanted something light for her stomach. She loves biscuit with honey. So I got it for her while I grabbed my oatmeal with raisins. (Just a small kindness to start the week. 😎)

We were in the vet’s waiting room. There was a couple there that was clearly very sad. Their elderly beagle mix, “Billy,” lay at their feet with nothing moving except his sad eyes. It turned out that Billy has cancer and in the last day has stopped eating or keeping food or water down when he does eat. They were very sad.

Grady has never been an effusive dog. Polite, yes (my late MIL once called him a “cordial dog”), but not a huggy sort. When he meets new people he checks them out briefly with his nose and then he’s done and he moves on. But today he went right to the sad woman and put his nose on her knee and nuzzled her. She petted him, and when she stopped he asked for more. He wasn’t a pest – she clearly wanted him to visit with her, and so he just stayed with her and nuzzled and comforted her, probably 8-10 minutes, until Billy was called. I might have needed a tissue when that happened.

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week 30: what’s the highest you’ve ever been?

I assume you’re talking about the traveling kind of high and not the kind of high that I got in college. We went to Aspen on vacation once, but I wasn’t runner then so I didn’t notice a difference 

I think the highest I have ever been physically on land was atop Mount Haleakala. But, I think I felt higher at a Tom Petty concert in 1999.

The highest I have been is Beech Mountain in NC, It’s the highest point in NC. I also have been to Grandfather Mountain, I actually stood at the beginning of the mile high bridge and could not bring my self to walk across it. I plead the fifth on all the concerts I went to back in the day.

Pretty sure the highest I’ve been was when we drove to the top of Pikes Peak in June. The air is def thin…but the coffee and doughnuts at the top are great!

Highest was probably Estes Park, CO. Went on a hike with our 3 kids. Ended up getting a little lost above the tree line so approximately 10,000 feet.

Highest was Mt Hakeakala (10,023 ft) for sunrise. I dated a police officer for several years in my 20s so only elevation highs for this girl.

Angel Fire, New Mexico was probably my highest elevation (8000+). Loved it – the air was so clear, but running in the altitude was pretty hopeless for me (I was there only a couple days). I’ll have to plan another trip. Great music festival – going on now, as a matter of fact.

Pretty much a tie for me. i ran a marathon once that went up to 13,100 in Leadville. And while exploring the work of Carlos Castaneda in high school, I discovered that, yes, a 1966 Ford Falcon could fly. For both, I learned it’s all in the mind.

I’m kind of surprised that I’m the only one, but I’ve been above 30,000 feet several times. Don’t others fly on planes too? Most of those were a bit cramped, but getting there safely was the important part.

Grand Lake, Co for a wedding last year. Did some hiking – guessing about 10,000. It was beautiful.

Ran Big Bear, St George, Colorado and New Mexico marathon. Been to the base of Mt Rainer, Rocky National Park, Mt Whitney and Yosemite. It’s peaceful up there. More time to think.

I’m not sure the highest I’ve ever been. When I was young we used to hike a lot but it was all on the East Coast so probably not too high.

Highest I’ve been is Colorado? I went in junior high and bought a Grateful Dead shirt there, even though I only had their greatest hits CD with Truckin’, Casey Jones, and Friend of the Devil on it. My 2nd cousin has a cattle ranch out there too, but I haven’t seen him since. Presumably eaten by cattle.

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week 28: where would you go?

I’d go to England’s Lake District and walk/hike/run as much as I could for those 12 hours of the Coast to Coast path. Completing the trek is on my “bucket list” because I truly love England and Scotland and the route has appealed to me for 15 years since I read about it.

I’ve always wanted to run in New Zealand.

I think I’d pick the PNW and run those trails! Trees and trails = ❤️

I think the Eiger Trail would be lovely. I do absolutely love running through the tree canopy of the AT, but seeing mountains that go above the treeline and have vast fields of wildflowers in the valleys are pretty breathtaking.

I’d head to Iceland and run like a boss! I was there in 2004 and the landscapes are amazing.

Avenue of the Giants and yes I know there is a race out there.

I would probably pick the La Sal mountains in Utah for some running.

would go to the Charlevoix region of Quebec province. I’ve never been there, but we have several paintings by a Charlevoix artist, and my impression is that there’s beautiful scenery. Really, I’d happily take my transport ride to any scenic place I’ve never visited.

North Pole. Running, walking with camera in hand for 12 hours might be the coolest thing!! LOL 😎

I would go to the Baja peninsula and run amongst the twisty, curled boojum trees.

I have been fighting the urge all year to quit my job, get rid of everything, head west and just live out of my car. Which I have to keep reminding myself is not an option. For 12 hours though… I have only been as far west as Colorado so any scenic trail west of Colorado would be perfect.

If I could run anywhere, I would go to Green Lake Park in Seattle. My college roommate lives in Seattle and runs there and takes pictures, and it looks beautiful. I would hope people would be out kayaking on the lake.

Hawaii. I wanna get mountains and beach in my 12 hour run





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week 27: what’s your dog story?

here’s Lucy my boyfriend’s dog. She’s a sweetie.


I had only had Brady for a few months when I had to move. I had packed up almost all of my things and they were all piled up in my dining room (god, I miss that apartment). I scooped up Brado, turned off the lights, started to make my way towards my bedroom and immediately walked right into a suitcase. I tumbled over the top of it, sending my poor, sweet chihuahua through the air. In trying to hold on to him, I didn’t get my hands down to break my fall. It was a bad spill for both of us.

I sat on the floor a bit dazed about what happened. Brado didn’t miss a beat. He came right over and started licking my knee where I had scraped it on my fall.

That pretty much sums up having a dog. You can accidentally fling them across your dining room and the only thing they care about is if you’re okay.

(Brady was fine btw but he still doesn’t like being carried if the lights are off)

My sister who has no children adopted two dogs a few years back. My nephews are Kingsley (beagle) and Tiki (chihuahua mix).
my pup (11 years old) is pretty awesome too.
Honestly, as the years go by, I like dogs less and less. And for reasons that are almost all due to crappy owners. I’ll always be a cat person.
I ran Grandfather Mountain Marathon on Saturday. The finish is on the track during the Highland Games…so spectators at the finish were really there to watch a dog sheep-herding competition and listen to bagpipes. It was surreal. Dog was cute….but all I could think of was Babe! Award post-finish video (with dog) to follow.
Suffice to say that I’m a dog lover. Their relentless love is the best. As humans, we hold grudges and get lazy in our affection. But dogs? They are happy to see you even if you went to get the mail. 


As for overcoming the fear of the unknown, I think that I find way too many parallels between running and life. I like doing stuff that scares me.

After my 🏃🏽 in the  in the land of 🌲🌲🌲in the middle of creating a little RAOS footage along a singletrack trail, a couple 🐶 ran past me with their leash still attached to them. They looked like Huskey crossbreed with Border Collie. One was black and white, while the other was white and grey. They stopped for a moment and peed. And then ran off again. One thing that vividly struck me was they both look super happy! Free to explore nature with all its wonder. 😎🌲🐶📷🏃🏽
When Caroline introduces new people to Bennett she says “This my brother.”
 I have had 2 dogs in my life. Currently dogless. This was Winston, my first dog.
Back when The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were just lowly books and I was too young to drive to the movie anyway, I had a black minature schnauzer named Hobbit. He would stand by the back door and bark at nothing. Maybe a leaf had blown in the wind or a bird flew by, but I could never see what he was barking at. My mom liked to say that he is barking at elephants that are hiding behind the trees. I knew that was ridiculous but maybe I should have thrown some peanuts outside just in case.
 was driving home at lunchtime to take Grady out when a couple of elderly neighbors, Bertie and Mabel, flagged me down. To my surprise, Bertie, not a dog owner, was hanging on for dear life to a dirty, disheveled Great Pyrenees. They had found it, or probably it had found them, and hadn’t a clue what to do with it, so they thought that Grady’s lovely young owner (ahem) would know what to do.

I asked them to hang on for a few more minutes while I went home, took Grady out, and returned with an extra leash. The dog – I’ll call him Bill – I don’t know why, except he seemed like a Bill – was quite easy-going and amenable to anything except getting in a car. We pulled on the leash, and pushed on his stinky butt, all to no avail. Bill was not having it, and remained on terra firma. Finally, Grady’s lovely young owner (ahem) decided that all that Nautilus must be good for something, and hoisted him bodily into the back seat of the car. Problem was, next-door neighbor John, who had been hovering with interest, chose that moment to be helpful, and opened the back seat door on the opposite side of the car. Bill scrambled delightedly through to his beloved terra firma.

Take 2 involved stern threats to neighbor John, and I discovered there was just enough strength left in my Nautilus-toned self to hoist Bill’s stinky body into the back seat a second time. I took him to the animal shelter and was done with him, except for airing the car out.

Until that evening when I walked Grady. A car was driving slowly down our road with the driver’s side window open. I asked the worried young man at the wheel if I could help him find anything. He said, “I’m looking for my dog.” I said, “Is his name Bill?” No, I didn’t say that. What I really said was, “What kind of dog is it?” Sure enough, he had come home from work to discover that his Great Pyrenees had gotten loose. I informed him that Bill had been partying all day, probably rolling repeatedly in poop, and that he could be found at the shelter. I assume there was a joyful reunion the next day, involving some sort of special treat to get Bill into the owner’s vehicle.

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july raos: The Dave Schultz Memorial Four on the Fourth Nathan’s Hot Dog Melon Collie and The Infinite Sadness Fun Run ©

an event in which people go out with a watermelon and a racing bib to take photos with dogs for no particular reason at all …


I ran 4 miles with the watermelon in my hiking pack 2 days after 70 miles. Ouch. Also, it is hot AF outside.

I found 4 hot dogs to take pictures of on my run, but only 2 made it into a picture with the melon. I think my melon was feeling shy today. So I have renamed both of my BTs Grady.


It’s the darnedest thing. When you ask people if you can take a picture of their dog with your watermelon they say, “Sure!” No questions asked!
Thankfully the dogs came 2 x 2!










dr pangloss

RAOS – DSMFOFNHDMCATISFR-ATTEMPT #2 Pretty sure that I didn’t do this correctly (I am too tired to reread the rules) but here is my second attempt at the RAOS. It isn’t pretty, these aren’t good pictures and if you were to make me do this again I wouldn’t blame you (I’d hate you but I’d totally understand).

First, going to a dog park without a dog is weird. Going to a dog park, without a dog but with a watermelon, in a backpack is even weirder. Setting your watermelon (with a picture of Dave and a race bib on it) on the grass in front of you and trying to take pictures of the dogs who stop by to say hello is just creepy. That was me. I am creepy. I am honestly surprised that no one called the cops (although, I did take the picture of Dave off, I think he was scaring the dogs).

It took me forever to get 7 pictures. The park was not nearly crowded enough and although I tried, I was unable to approach anyone and ask to take a picture of their dog with my watermelon. So I sat and pretended to read and snapped a picture anytime a dog came near the watermelon. I did rehearse what I would say, in my head, many times, especially when I realized my phone was on 6% and I still had a picture to go. But I couldn’t do it. In the end I think I would have called it a fail before I got up the nerve. Luckily, a group of dogs happened by and I got my last picture.

Then I went and ran/walked 4 miles, in a strange area, in the light of day. Strange days indeed.













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