In Memory of Carmen

As I sit here typing this short blog in memory of Carmen, I find myself still overcome with an incredible amount of sadness over the fate this wonderful cat was dealt two years ago.

Carmen Wertman

Carmen was a healthy energetic 17 year old cat who would run all over the house still playing with her toys and chatting loudly when she wanted to show us what she had found.  She lived her life on Fancy Feast which we jokingly call “kitty crack” and had some of the best blood work numbers our veterinarian had seen for a cat her age.  She was never on medications and was only sick twice–once from a Hartz flee powder poisoning, and another poisoning from eating flowers in the home.

Shortly after we moved to Seattle in August of 2012, Carmen became more finicky with her food.  I didn’t believe it was anything serious, but I continued to monitor her and provided  other options.  Around Christmas I noticed she was having difficulty chewing on one side.  I thought she was having a problem with her teeth so I made a vet appointment after the first of the year.  The results from the appointment were devastating, Carmen had oral mouth cancer and the cancer was on her palate making it extremely difficult to remove and treat.

Throughout our short journey, we visited three vets in the Seattle area, along with having three telephone conversations which included a specialist and our prior vet from Phoenix and it was concluded that only palliative care should be provided due to her age and the area of the cancer.

Over the next month my husband and I syringe fed, provided subcutaneous fluids and administered pain injections to Carmen.  We continued to try to find some miracle treatment all while this horrible rapidly growing cancer continued to grow in her mouth.  It was heart breaking to see what Carmen was going through with her mouth.  She was still energetic and playing up until the last week of her life when we had to make a very difficult decision or face an emergency situation as our veterinarian stated.  Carmen died on February 2, 2013 at the age of 18. She had been with us her entire life.

Oral mouth cancer is absolutely horrible.  I’ve read over-and-over similar situations.  The cats blood work is fine, their playing, grooming, using the litter box but this horrible disease is taking away their ability to eat and drink–and they are trying.

Each month I send out a tweet encouraging people to perform a nose to tail examination of their companion animals–this includes the much overlooked mouth.  With oral mouth cancer, like most cancers, early intervention is key.  Examine the gums, palate, teeth and tongue no matter how difficult this may be because you just may be saving their life.

Learn the early warning signs of cancer at and if you have any questions on oral mouth cancer, local veterinarians or need a great local compounding pharmacy, please feel free to email me. I am also currently dealing with other felines in my home with asthma, hyperthyroidism and food sensitivity and may be able to provide suggestions for you. I can be reached at

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Seasonal Feel Good Runs

Two seasonal end of year feel good runs worth signing-up for in the Seattle area are the CATurkey Trot supporting homeless animals and the Seattle Jingle Bell Run/Walk supporting the Arthritis Foundation.

My husband and I have always wanted to start the holiday season off right by doing a Thanksgiving Day 5k but could never bring ourselves to getting up early, or sidelining our other holiday traditions.  But this year, being the feline fanatic I am, there was no way I was going to pass-up the CATurkey Trot 5k–especially after getting a glimpse of the creative shirt they would be passing out, along with the great cause the run supported.


The inaugural CATurkey Trot was put on by CAT (Covering All Terrain) Running–how clever is that?  Proceeds from the event support local animal welfare agencies such as the Meow Cat Rescue Group.  The event held in Fall City, Washington was on the small side, with just over 60 finishers for both the 5k and 10k races.  Thankfully the race was flat allowing me a 9:19 pace–not great, but I’ll take it considering how slow I’ve become since moving to Washington and running less and not road biking at all.

I would love to see this race grow in size in the years to come.  I believe it needs more advertising in the running community.  In addition, it would be great if they had a donation collection area at the event for the animals similar to the Good Karma race put on locally in the spring.  I wish them success in their up-and-coming runs and will be signing-up for more.

The Arthritis Foundation’s Seattle Jingle Bell Run/Walk is in it’s 30th year.  The event gives participants the option to have their race chip timed or not.  Considering some of the crazy holiday costumes, I can see why some would not want to be timed.

The best way to describe the event is a holiday costume parade combined with a 5k run.  Those not in holiday attire are the minority and bells jingling are everywhere.  At one point I thought someone placed bells on my back because they were so loud I could hear them over my iPod.  There are runners and walkers of all ages and experience levels.  Some of the costumes were so creative.  One memorable child was dressed as Cindy Lou Who (hair and all) from the Grinch cartoon.  And what better way to end a race at 10 a.m. then with an ice cold Sam Adams or Hard Cider.  As they say it’s 12 o’clock somewhere.  I’ll definitely be adding this wonderful holiday race to my annual list.

Until next time, wishing you all a wonderful new year.

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Hot Chocolate Running Series

Proclaiming to be “America’s Sweetest Race,” the Hot Chocolate Running Series has been in existence since 2008.  Since that time well over 200,000 runners have participated in one or more of the events now held in 14 US cities.

It appears the logistical problems the group faced early on have been resolved and the race has become a sought after event.  Very few events can compete with the goody bag which  this year will contain a fleece lined hoodie.  Post race festivities include a finisher’s mug filled with chocolate goodies, music and an opportunity to have your photo taken with a chocolate inflatable–if that’s your thing.  A quality finisher’s medal shaped like a chocolate bar is awarded to each finisher.

The 2015 Seattle 15k/5k Hot Chocolate Series will be held on March 1st beginning at the Seattle Center.  Register now to save five dollars before fees increase on January 12.  Use code SEAHAT1 to receive a hat.

For more information on the Hot Chocolate Run Series in Seattle, or in one of the other fine U.S. cities hosting the event visit their website.

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2014 Dirt in Your Skirt Summer 100 Challenge

This year once again the Dirt in Your Skirt group held their Summer 100 mile challenge.  The challenge–run 100 miles between June 1st and September 1st and receive a Muckle (mileage buckle.)

Dirt in Your Skirt Muckle

Participants self-monitor their mileage and report it to the group at the end of each week. When your 100 miles is completed, it is reported on the group’s website–adding a bit of a competitive challenge to the event.

My goal was to complete the challenge in three weeks, but unfortunately it took me four weeks again this year.  I did start the challenge with a half marathon as previously stated, but was unable to raise my weekly mileage due to my continued nursing of injuries from two prior ultras.

As stated in an earlier blog, I do love this concept because it has something for everyone–from a beginner to a seasoned runner.   You can set your goal however you’d like–run it in a day or two, a week, a month or use the entire three months.

For more information on the challenge visit Dirt in Your Skirt.

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Biggest Loser Half Marathon 2014

This year’s Seattle Biggest Loser Half Marathon event held on October 12th was moved midyear from Gas Works Park along Lake Union to the Port of Everett, about 25 miles North of the city.   Fortunately, participants who found this an issue were given the opportunity to receive a refund.

It was refreshing to find the previous year’s parking issues, both at packet pick-up and the start of the race were eliminated, as there was ample parking for all.  Port-A-Potties were also plentiful verse last year where none could be found, other then the parks bathroom facilities.  A very nice goody bag was given to each participant this year filled with a variety of treats.  This seems to be a rare occurrence at races lately–with fees going up and goody bags just becoming bags filled with paper flyers.

Biggest Loser Goody Bag

TV reality personalities Dan and Jackie Evans from season 5 and Vinny Hickerson from season twelve kicked-off the race–with Dan singing the National Anthem.  A group from the local ROTC was also at the start.

The race started off smoothly with roughly 425 runners and 165 walkers participating.  The group ran along a portion of the Port of Everett before beginning its invasion of the local neighborhood where we ran a boring pattern of down one street then up a hill, then down the next street up a hill and so on.

Unfortunately, I ran my slowest half marathon ever at a 2:31 due to a foot injury I suffered around mile 8 which caused me to sit down and attempt to repurpose tape from another area of my body.  I ended-up walking a portion but did finish in the end.  Sadly, in 2013 at the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon I tripped on a speed bump and smashed my face on the pavement and came close to passing out.  After sitting for a few minutes and regaining my whereabouts, I was able to finish the race at a better pace before going to the emergency room for treatment.

Biggest Loser Medal

To sum it up it was a cloudy chilly boring race, but at a nearly an unheard of half marathon cost of $35 should I really be complaining.  I am always so disappointed with these Seattle races because they’re always boasting about the beautiful scenery.  I’ve lived, visited and ran in so many coastal areas of the SE–Naples, FL, Hilton Head and Charleston SC and Tampa, FL to name a few and I just don’t get it, but I do keep trying.  Will I do it again next year?  At $35 why not.

Until next time–watch those speed bumps!

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