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January, 2021:

Finding Faith

Shortly after Rosie passed away, I said the over/under for when I got another dog was six months. Who had 145 days?

Searching for a Dog and Finding Faith

About three months after Rosie passed away, I was ready to start looking for my next basset hound. The Arizona Basset Hound Rescue didn’t have any hounds available for adoption, so I expanded my search to include my local animal control, basset rescues in southern California, Craigslist ads across the entire southwestern U.S. I was even looking as far as St. Louis, Missouri because the humane society there took in 55 dogs (mostly bassets) from a bad breeder situation.

I spent way too much time on Petfinder, looking at adult and senior basset hounds. I wanted a dog that was past the puppy stage and deep into the lay-on-the-big-pillow-all-day stage. One day, a listing was added for a seven year-old basset named Faith at Priceless Pets in Chino Hills, CA, but there was no picture. I contacted the organization who had her and asked for a photo. This is what they sent.

They say every basset has a hidden heart in their fur. Faith’s is clearly on the top of her head.

I knew she was my dog. They said she was sweet and small, like a miniature basset hound. She was only 33 pounds. (For comparison, Rosie was between 57 and 68 pounds.) I put in an application, and shortly thereafter, I received the email that I was approved to adopt.

The rules of this rescue are first come, first serve. You can’t reserve a pet. The next time they were going to be open for adoptions was Wednesday, December 30, 2020, at noon, so I made plans to take the day off and drive out to California.

Leap of Faith – for a Dog

Chino Hills is about five hours away from Phoenix. Now, I’m not a fan of road trips in general, but the idea of driving five hours for the possibility of adopting a dog did not phase me. I was oddly calm the whole drive out.

I arrived at the rescue at 11:45am, and there were already six people in line outside the door. I prayed that no one ahead of me was there for Faith. When it opened, they only let in a few people at a time, because of COVID. When an animal was adopted, one of the workers would pop their head out of the door and announce that that particular pet was no longer available. By the time I made it to the front of the line, there were at least ten people behind me.

When I made it into the door, the clerk asked if I was interested in a particular dog. When I said, “Faith,” they said, “Did you drive from a long way?” The clerks couldn’t believe that someone drove five hours for the chance to adopt a dog.

The clerk showed me to Faith’s kennel. I sat on her bed and she laid next to me. I pet her while the clerk tended to other would-be adopters. There was no doubt that she was coming home with me that day. She was so small – bony to be exact. She felt like she needed to gain at least five, if not ten pounds.

Taken inside Faith’s kennel

When the clerk came back to check on us, I got up to finish the paperwork to make the adoption official. As I left her kennel, Faith tried to follow me out, her eyes gleaming with anticipation. About ten minutes later, we walked out together, hooman and hound.

Saving Faith

I don’t know much about Faith’s history. She was rescued from Tijuana where she was used for breeding. Now, I want her to live the comfortable life she deserves as a distinguished older lady. I gave her the middle name Helen, after my grandmother.

I put Rosie’s sweater on Faith for a walk on a chilly morning. It’s huge on her!

It’s been about two weeks since her adoption, and the focus has mostly been on her medical care. When I adopted Faith, they told me she had tested positive for a tick-borne illness and gave me her antibiotics. I noticed she was drinking a lot of water, so I took her to our vet to be evaluated. The next day the vet called with the results – Faith was in renal failure and I needed to take her to the emergency room immediately.

It had only been five days after her adoption, and I had to hospitalize my new baby. As the tech carried her into the hospital, I hoped she knew I wasn’t abandoning her. After two days of fluids and medication, she was ready to come home again, with even more medication. The tech said she hadn’t seen Faith so energetic than when she realized I was back.

Faith is so small, she can lay on my lap at work.

Yesterday, we got even more medical news – Faith has tapeworms and giardia. Now, she’s on a dewormer and more antibiotics. On one hand I think, this poor dog cannot catch a break, but on the other I’m so grateful that I got her out of there. Most rescues only do a basic medical overview and spay/neuter before making a pet available for adoption, and when you adopt, you take the pet as-is. I knew the risk when I adopted Faith, and I have no regrets. On the contrary, I’m so grateful that I can give her the love and care that she needs.

Training for Ironman Mont Tremblant 2021

I’m doing my first full Ironman race in 229 days – Ironman Mont Tremblant in Canada. I was supposed to do it last year, but the race was cancelled, and we all got deferred to this year.

I’ve never done heroin, but this is what I say every time I pay for something expensive related to my race.

What is the Ironman?

The Ironman is a triathlon, composed of the following distances:

  • 2.4-mile (open water) swim, then a
  • 112-mile bike, followed by a
  • 26.2 (full marathon) run,

All in under 17 hours.

The race starts at 7am, and you must finish before midnight to be an official Ironman.

Why Are You Doing This?

I learned a long time ago that if I don’t have a race or other athletic event on my calendar, I will not be motivated to work out.

I enjoy the challenge of pushing myself to do something I’ve never done before. Races like this take dedication and mental toughness to get through not just race day but also the training to prepare for the race.

In 2017, I hired David Roher to help me train to complete my first marathon. During Mile 20 of the race, even though every part of my body hurt, I knew I wanted to do more marathons. I knew David did triathlons and coached triathletes, so I expanded my training in the off season to include swimming and biking as cross-training. Within months, I was signing up for my first sprint triathlon. About 30 seconds into that race, I knew triathlons were for me. I did the Half Ironman in 2019, and after that went well, I signed up for a full Ironman.

Are You Following a Program, Have a Coach, or Creating Your Own Thing?

Coach David is overseeing my training. Every Sunday, I get a text from him with my workouts for the week. Most weeks, I have two swim workouts, two bike workouts (one on the stationary trainer, one outside), two run workouts, and a rest day. I also have strength work that I do three times a week and stretches that I do every day. 

In addition to this, I also go to physical therapy once a week. I’ve been having long-term issues with my hips and back. My physical therapist is also an Ironman, which is helpful, because she has a greater understanding of my goals as well.

How Many Hours Are You Spending Training, Prepping, and Planning?

Oh geez. Right now, my shortest cardio workout is about 28 minutes (1,500-yard swim), and my longest is about 3 hours (48-mile bike ride). My strength workout is probably around an hour each time. Stretching takes around 30 minutes each day. A physical therapy session can last over 2 hours with all my exercises.  

In addition to all of this, there are other activities like checking on airline ticket prices for the race, bike maintenance, and replacing gear when it wears out like running shoes, workout clothes, and swim goggles.

In terms of diet, I mostly try to eat healthy, avoid excessive sugar, salt, and white flour. I also try to make sure I have enough protein in my diet, which might require more planning since I’m vegan.

Triathlon Shoes: Flip flops for the pool, bike shoes that clip in to my pedals, and running shoes.

What Will be the Longest Training Workout/Brick in Your Ramp Up?

That will be up to Coach David. In passing, he’s mentioned a 50-miles bike ride/5-mile run and a 100-mile bike ride/3.1-mile run.

I’m also planning to fly back East to do a 3.1-mile open water swim with my coach and the rest of the “Jewish Swim Club” in the Atlantic Ocean. During the race, I’ll be able to remind myself that swimming 2.4 miles is easier than swimming a 5k.

What Are You Most Looking Forward to Related to This Race?

So much. I’m excited to be an athlete who is capable of completing an Ironman race. Every time I can go faster, go farther, or see more muscle developing, it’s exciting.

What’s especially exciting about this race is the fact that I’ll be doing it with my coach and almost all of his other triathletes. There’s a strong sense of family and camaraderie in this group.

What Are You Least Looking Forward To?

My race is in August in Canada, but most of my training will be in Arizona. My longest workouts will be in June and July, when the low for the day can be in the high 80s. We’ll have to be careful to make sure I don’t overheat. On my long workout days, I may have to start at 2am or 3am to beat the heat.

Are You Practicing Peeing on the Bike or While Running?

To date, I haven’t needed to use the bathroom during a race. I’ve heard this is a thing. I even heard from another triathlete who was peed on by another racer while they were both on bikes. That must have happened while one was passing the other, because Ironman has strict rules about maintaining a minimum distance from other cyclists unless you’re passing.

Are You Going to Get the Tattoo?

Oh yes! I’m looking forward to getting the classic “M-Dot” tattoo.