Sunday, September 30, 2012
The fam-in-law gathering was really not too bad as far as family gatherings go, I am lucky to have a very easy set of in-laws. I'd been dreading it because of the current political season, but no one mentioned a word political. I believe it was also due to the fact that the one instigator of such things was not present. So I didn't have to hurt anyone.
I decided to go to the lakes for the easy aid station access at the car. I got started a little after 7, my first loop took forever because I was taking so many pictures. The moonset was impressive over the snow on the Mummy Range. Longs Peak had some snow, as did the Indian Peaks. The leaves and grasses are changing colors down here.
I was wearing my favorite old running shorts, and they are to the point of decomposition. The liner is full of holes and rolls up on the edges. Today it was humid and warm, and the shorts liner rolled itself up into a two-way thong, and was chafing me in some VERY uncomfortable places. I squeezed a big blob of aquaphor and applied it to said places, and yes, I do use hand sanitizer AND alcohol wipes afterward!
I always bring a complete change of clothes during the winter months and I must have had my thinking cap on this morning because I did bring an extra pair of running shorts. On the next lap I changed into them, because the chafing problem wasn't going away.
It was a warm afternoon but the breeze kept up, so it never felt too hot. I carried a bottle and drank it on each lap, and that was enough.
And now I'm going to eat. And eat again. And then eat more.
Friday, September 28, 2012
I had my week all planned out as of yesterday. I was set to do my morning workout, then run in the evening with Shannon. I went to the grocery store and did a real grocery shopping trip, which I usually avoid. I finally gave into my green chile craving and bought all the ingrediients to make New Mexico green chile stew, and had the pork shoulder roast cooking on the stove.
The plan was to do my long run today, Friday. I had all my stuff together to set up my little aid station at my car and do my loop course. I was settling in for the afternoon, about to do some studying for my upcoming certification exam.
I had a great a.m. workout of 8 x 1/2 mile with very little recovery, on a rolling stretch of the bike path, all of them well under 7 minute pace, including the uphill sections. I must have recovered well from the hard run last Sunday.
I saw the message light on the phone around 2:45 pm when I got in the door from taking the girls for a run, and didn't think much of it, probably a political survey or telemarketer of some sort. I kept doing things around the house for 20 minutes or so and then decided to see what the message was about. I didn't even bother checking the caller ID.
It was our charge nurse, asking where I was, hoping everything was okay, since I was supposed to be at work at 1 pm! I looked in my calendar quickly- but there was nothing in there about working. I called her back, thinking it was weird that she didn't call me at 1 when I didn't show up. Apparently my 1:00 patient didn't show up until 2:30, and that's when they realized I had not come in to work!
I guess that's what happens when you work with a whole crowd of women going through menopause...
She said they were doing fine, I had time to take a shower and get a little food before going into work. I got there at 4 pm and it didn't get busy until 5, and I stayed until closing.
I signed up for so many extra shifts this month that I must have spaced out this last one and not put it on my calendar. Anyway, all is well, the paycheck will be nice. But it threw all my week's plans into a tailspin.
When I woke up this morning I realized the route I've chosen for my long run is going to be muddy and waterlogged, and will need a few days to dry out. So I've changed my plans to run long on Sunday, even with the resulting brain fog that often sets in the day after. I'm hoping a nap in the afternoon Sunday will help with that before I go back to work.
Today I will just do miles with some strides and pickups. It's foggy out there. Good day to stay inside, finish cooking the green chile, maybe I can finally get some studying done!
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
This rain thing is starting to get as bad as Arizona. It seems like Colorado people don't know how to drive in the rain, either.
Started out this morning, my first day "off", with a 2 hour staff meeting at work, at 7 am. It was not bad as far as staph meetings go. When I got out, it was not too bad as far as weather, there was a break in the rain, but I was too tired to get much done.
The yard is a mess. The grass is half dead, we're going to re-do the grass area of the yard next spring with raised beds for a garden, then re-plant grass where we want it. And there's a big pit out there where we hoped to plant a fruit tree but haven't gotten around to it yet, so Iris's snakes are now inhabiting it.
And dogshit. I was too out of it to remember to pick up dog poop today, maybe tomorrow, now that it's all soaked and soggy...ugh. Don't step in it...please, I keep reminding myself and the girls.
By the time I woke up from my nap it was looking like more rain, so I took Iris out for a quick 2 mile run, and by the end it was starting to sprinkle. We got home and soon after that, the lightning started, then a downpour, which turned to sleet and hail, and that lasted until it was time for my run with Shannon "Wheaties Boy" and we bagged it to reschedule for tomorrow.
And then Dennis and I went out for Mexican food and margaritas, what an alternative to a hard run! And of course, then it stopped raining.
So I have nothing to report as far as running goes. I will make up for it over the next few days, though. I will be putting in a few miles in. Somehow I cannot get ahead when it comes to getting my studying done, though. It's so hard to find time when my brain isn't foggy. Trying not to let it stress me out, but I am running out of time.
Two miles for the day, 2 miles for the week so far. And here it is, Wednesday. It's almost October! How did that happen? Is this what happens when you get old?
Sunday, September 23, 2012
I texted Jen and we met up by the portapotties near the busses. She introduced me to several other runners, including Althea, that's Althea, Jen, and me from left to right in the picture. Jen and I shared the front seat behind the driver of the school bus, both of us trying not to have motion sickness on the way up the curves in the canyon.
When we got to Mishawaka, where the race started, we jumped off the bus into the porta-potty line, which was moving pretty quickly. Must have been a young crowd. Got that done. Then we ran into my friend Morgan and we went inside where it was warmer, inside the bar until it was time to drop off our bags and for me to warm up before the start.
It wasn't cold at 8 am when the race started, I brought layers and my sleeves but ended up not needing anything extra. I also had planned on carrying my pack with one water bottle in it, but decided against it, since there were 3 aid stations along the course, and it didn't seem like it would get very warm.
My plan for the run was two-fold: to use it as a tempo run, in which I was hoping to be able to average 8 minute miles, which would have had me finishing in 1:44-1:45. The other purpose was to give myself an idea of my current fitness level as a guideline for pacing myself in next month's 12 hour race in Oklahoma City.
I had no idea what would happen in 13 miles but I got up fairly close to the front, maybe 8 deep, and when the gun went off I went out at what felt like a relaxed pace, on a slight downhill grade that lasts a good portion of the race, with a few exceptions.
At the one mile mark I was at 7:23. That surprised me because 7:23 usually feels harder than that. It must have been the downhill. I backed off and made it to 2 miles in 15 flat. That felt a little easier, but I felt 7:30 average pace was still too ambitious for me at this point. I decided to walk through each water stop, that would make it feel like a training run and not a race. I didn't want to be totally spent after this run, and I know my fastest paced tempo run of 10 or 11 miles has been about 8:10 average pace recently.
As the run went on, I stayed consistent and comfortable, most of my mile splits falling into the 7:40 to 7:50 range. My slowest mile was 8:02, and nothing else was over 8 minutes. It never got warm enough to be uncomfortable, and the aid stations seemed to have plenty of drinks and volunteers and were well-placed. If it was a warmer day, another aid station would have been a good idea.
As we approached the finish line in the last 2 miles I was able to pick up the pace and I felt strong, definitely still had something left in my legs. I crossed the finish line in 1:42:11 on my watch, and that is a 7:48 average pace per mile. Mission accomplished.
As far as 12 hour race strategy, I'll have to see what pace feels comfortable on my long run next weekend on the flats at altitude but I'm projecting that I'll need to plan a pace that's a good bit slower than my PR at 12 hours. I think I can get within 5 miles of it, though. I still have a few good weeks of training ahead, too.
For a first-time event this was incredibly smooth and well-organized. Lisa Sinclair is the race director, and a local runner, and she did a fantastic job putting it together and getting enough volunteers. I highly recommend this run. The course is overall downhill, with a few little rises and a few flat areas. I can't say whether it's a PR course because I'm almost a minute and a half per mile off my PR pace at this point in my life! But I know quite a few people who did PR today.
I didn't hang out much to socialize after the race, there was beer and food and an awards program but I have had enough of everything this week, all I wanted to do was go home, finish out my 20 miles for the day, and relax.
I went home and did another 7 miles and didn't feel bad at all, and here I am, contemplating a nap. I got 67 miles in this week, with plenty of quality miles, and two 20 mile days. Next week a long run is in order, but no racing. I see a couple more 5Ks on the horizon after that, though!
Saturday, September 22, 2012
I am so thankful for today, I don't have to work, I don't have to run, I don't have to do anything except: study, work on my upcoming evaluation for work, pick up my race packet for tomorrow's Equinox Half Marathon, get ready for my butt crack wake up tomorrow to catch the bus up the canyon to the race start.
I haven't had time to get in touch with my doctor to get a lab order to get my thyroid checked, but I did jump start things by skipping a little of my thyroid medication this week, because my hands are shaking and I feel like I'm going to crawl out of my skin. Work was almost impossible for me to get through without being grumpy.
All the usual distractions, phones ringing, multiple people asking me questions at once, multitasking between 3 patients with all their pumps going off at the same time, trying to remember little details like calling the patient's family member 30 minutes before they're done...all of this stuff is normal but when you're hyperthyroid everything is exponentially escalated. It sounds like a chorus of frogs croaking and it won't go away! My head felt like it was going to explode.
So tomorrow is the test run, it's a test of my fitness to give me an idea of how I should pace myself at my upcoming 12 hour race in OKC.
This week I met with a runner and coach I've known for years, Kent Oglesby, and ran my training plans and goals by him. I wanted some input from someone who knows speed training. I've always coached myself, and will continue to do so, but when you work on things on your own for so long, it helps to bounce ideas off of someone who works with athletes all the time and has a vast amount of personal experience and knowledge about endurance training and racing.
I showed him how I set up my workouts and my training throughout the year, and asked questions about different elements of my training. He gave me some very useful suggestions for how to tweak a few of my workouts. Although he does not work with many ultrarunners and has not been an ultrarunner himself, it sounded like my approach is fairly similar to his when it comes to setting up training for long races.
I feel like I've been very much on the right track, haven't struggled with injuries, still find it possible to regain some speed, and perform fairly well on a minimum of training.
I've set some age 50 goals for myself and I'm now turning my focus to faster running. Not 5Ks or marathons, but I am looking to make a dent in my sluggishness that has resulted from several years of training for long races. I figure I still have some years to work on my speed and get my body to respond. I still have that 6 day race and more multiday runs in mind for the future, but I'm going to make the most of the resource I do have, which is, a fair amount of natural speed.
I do have naturally fast leg turnover and it doesn't take too much for me to re-train my legs to go fast, I've been doing strides most of this year and I'm definitely moving along at a quicker cadence than I was last year. The 5Ks have helped too. Just reminding my legs that they can also run 7:30 miles instead of 10 minute miles has been a good addition to my training.
I suppose I am lucky in some ways, I do have that ability to run fast and I don't have to train awfully hard to perform well. I do well at moderate mileage, probably on the low side. I take a lot of rest.
It is always mind boggling to me when I hear these runners talking about how they train, with very little rest after long races and hitting it hard with high mileage and killer workouts, week after week, with almost no rest period. Even when I was in my 20s and 30s, I couldn't handle the high mileage.
I average about 40-50 miles a week year-round. That means I don't run that kind of mileage all year. I throw in some high mileage weeks when I'm getting preapred for a long event, but they are always followed by cutback weeks, and in my rest periods after races, my mileage can drop to zero for weeks. I might ride the bike some during that time, but not a lot.
Anything more than that for months on end, I get mentally burned out, first of all. And I get physically tired, my pace drops off, and I feel like a slug. And then I'm just plodding along, which as far as I'm concerned, unless you're training to run for days at a time, is pretty much a waste of effort. Might as well go for a recreational hike in the woods instead.
You might have longevity as a runner doing high mileage, but not longevity as a performing athlete. It all depends on your priorities. I would like to do all I can while I can, and later on, when my legs become less responsive and less capable of achieving lifetime PRs at shorter distances, then I have a whole world of multidays and longer distances to explore.
I don't race a lot either. You won't see me racing for performance more than a couple of times a year. I peak for specific races and everything else I run, even if it's an organized event, is for training. This year I have two goal races on my agenda, one was the Cornbelt 24 hour, and the other one is Across the Years 48 hour.
I can count 24 The Hard Way 12 hour as a race, too, because I am going to push myself hard just to see what I can do, but it really is just one of three key training runs for the 48 and I'm not going for a PR.
So tomorrow when I run this half marathon, which is downhill, on pavement, and should be ideal temperatures and weather, I am going to start off at my recent tempo run pace and try to pick it up just a hair and sustain it all the way to the end.
A good, hard, steady workout without hurting, so that afterwards I'm not completely spent. Hopefully I can run a decent pace which will be mentally rewarding going into my fall training, and will give me a dose of reality for preparing for my big race in the coming months, too.
I have a big blogpost building up in my head but I am still doing a little research and will be posting on that soon, once I get all my other stuff done. Enjoy your weekend, whatever you're doing.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Tonight I ran the Power Trail down to Harmony and back, and at the end of the Power Trail north of Harmony, it comes out onto the street at a little park with tennis courts at the west end. As I was running past the tennis courts, there were two boys, who looked to be about 14, inside the courts. One of them hit the ball really hard but wasn't too focused about where he was aiming, and as he smashed it into the fence, he yelled, in a raw, loud, dramatic tone, "I HATE TENNIS!"
It made me laugh so hard, and I said out loud, "So do I!". It reminded me of the days when I was that same age, having to take tennis lessons. I hated tennis. I always felt trapped inside a chain link fence, like I was in the zoo. So I got to relive some childhood traumas.
It all came back to me, what it was like as an adolescent, having a parent who is so out of touch with who their child is, that they would make them do things that they absolutely hated. Tennis was so confining, so limiting.
My mom thought tennis was the key to turning her recalcitrant, tomboyish, outdoor adventure-loving daughter who came home with scratches on her arms and legs from hiking through the woods, into a lady. I also think her motives had something to do with finding me a wealthy husband, thinking I might meet one through tennis.
"When are you going to be a lady?" was my mom's favorite expression.
"Never!" was my favorite reply.
I am proud to say that to this day, the only game of tennis I know how to play with any skill at all is Fart Tennis.
My mom tried too hard. It backfired...
Monday, September 17, 2012
I lucked out today, didn't have to go in until 5 pm and just worked until we closed for the evening. I was home by 9:00. Awesome! That helped a lot, and I was able to take an hour nap this afternoon.
I have a full plate on the running schedule this week. I'm not going for mega miles, probably will end up somewhere around 65, but I do have a couple of faster sessions planned along with running the Equinox Half Marathon at a good tempo run pace. It's downhill, so that should take a few seconds per mile off the pace and make it a little easier.
Tomorrow is normally tempo day but I will be doing a couple of sustained hard 20 minute runs in with my morning miles. And then speedwork on Thursday, likely 800s. Not too many, though. I want to get a couple of 20 mile days in this week and that, combined with everything else, should make it a good quality training week.
I've continued on the up and down emotions the past few days. All day Saturday at work I was holding it together on the outside but all I wanted to do was cry. I continued that on Sunday, and it was a little harder to hold back the tears but I still managed to keep it together while the patients were around. Back in the nurses station I had a few moments of wiping away tears.
I had a really difficult patient over the weekend, and one of the hardest things to deal with are people with dementia and/or brain metastases from cancer. I'm not sure what was wrong with this one patient because there was no mention of brain mets in his scan or history but the type of cancer he has is likely to go to the brain and his behavior was so inappropriate.
I had to endure two days of him, the first day when I did his chemo for 7 hours, and the second day even though I wasn't taking care of him, he was being verbally abusive and upsetting other patients, and it was horrible.
Sometimes I wonder why we are putting people through the treatments we do. We are so focused on trying to cure things or control things, when sometimes it's just torture for the patient.
I see so few patients who, faced with terminal disease, make the choice to not go through the rigors of treatment, and they sometimes have a better quality of life and live longer because they aren't purging their bodies with chemicals and radiation and being sick from that the last few months of their lives.
But I don't have any tears now. Don't know where they went. I have been so totally unfocused and unpredictable with my emotions. The hot flashes are not helping.
All I want to do is go look at the changing aspen leaves somewhere. I know they are peaking now and won't last long. I should have known better than to overbook myself this week. I always try to get up to the cabin or go somewhere up high to see the colors the third week in September. That was so dumb to miss out on that!
I suppose I could blow off all my runs and studying to go up and see the leaves but right now I feel so crunched for time and so stressed out with deadlines that I think it would be more stressful. So I'll stick to the plan and wait for the cottonwood, maple, and other trees to change here in another week or two.
Not the same as aspen, but I did this to myself. Now I pay for it. Dumb. Really, really dumb.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
It took a comment from Kathleen at Happy Trails, fellow blogger and thyroid adventurer, to make me realize that my recent lunacy might be somehow connected to my thyroid and not necessarily lack of estrogen.
I started thinking about it, and I've been having trouble sleeping, I've been hot, my face is breaking out, my menstrual cycle is completely messed up, and I've been emotionally labile for about the past month. And this week, the additional workload and worrying about things has piled on the stress, and under normal circumstances this is not extreme stress.
I think I need to re-adjust the thyroid med dosage, what I suspect is that over the past few months it's caught up to me, taking my full dose of levothyroxine daily. When I intentionally went hypo before Badwater last year, I was skipping a full dose every other week. For the past 9 months I've been taking it daily without skipping doses. I suspect that I need to skip half a dose once or twice a month and that would probably be a good place for me. But first I'll get tested to make sure I'm on the right track.
I never would have believed that such a small adjustment in medication would make a difference, but it was clear after my labs last year that was exactly what was going on. And my endocrinologist in Arizona warmed me long ago that the closer I get to menopause, the harder it would be to regulate my thyroid meds. So far everything that doctor ever told me has turned out to be right on.
This morning I'm off to work, twelve hour shifts today and tomorrow, followed by an 8 hour evening shift on Monday. I should be sufficiently fried by Sunday night to get some sleep. If I can't sleep after that, I'm sure it's my thyroid. Yesterday I took a 3 hour nap in the afternoon and then only slept 5 hours last night. I woke up at 3:41 am and couldn't go back to sleep. Always fun before two twelve-plus hour back-to-back shifts.
So Monday I will get an order to get my thyroid labs drawn and figure out how to get myself back to a happy place. Instead of being the Random Thyroid-Impaired Bitch.
The world will be safer as a result.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
And of course we are busy busy busy and I was hoping I might get called off of an extra shift. Well that isn't going to happen. All hell broke loose soon after I was committed to the extra shifts. A new and urgent project at work, meetings to resume work on another project after being adjourned for the summer, and multiple things happening all at once, and somebody needing to take a leave of absence the next 2 weeks.
Yesterday was a 10 hour chemo plus an extra patient afterwards. And an extra chemo pump to hook up. A 10 hour chemo feels something like the feeling after a 50 mile run that didn't go so well, one that you were really thankful just to finish. Under most circumstances, it's easier to run 50 miles than it is to work a 12 hour shift, or even 10 hours. By the end of the night my brain felt ready to explode.
Even worse is that a good friend of mine was hit by a car while riding his bike in town last weekend, fractured 6 ribs, and is in unbearable pain. He lives out of town and a bunch of us are taking turns checking on him and bringing him things he needs, but I am really concerned about his safety, living alone up there. He's had a run of bad luck lately, and it's been a rough time for him.
I drove up this morning to see what I could do for him and he's barely able to do the basic things he needs to do, safely. I sort of wish he had been admitted to the hospital to get him through the first, most painful days. Right now I'm afraid for him developing pneumonia since he's hurting so much and on so much pain medication, and unable to keep using his incentive spirometer enough to get much benefit from it. But I'm equally afraid of him hurting himself at home since he's so out of it.
Fortunately there is a group of us watching out for him, who have worked with him in the past or are his coworkers now, and we're sort of tag teaming to keep our eyes on him. But this sort of thing scares me. You can go from being independent and healthy one minute, to something awful hapening that turns your world upside down. And this is the 4th bad thing that has happened to him this year, three of which have been really bad.
I'm trying not to get too stressed out with all this going on. I'm not putting in many miles this week and I will try not to fly off the handle like I did this afternoon at the woman who was placing handbill ads on doorknobs in the neighborhood. I went slightly berserk. The Random Perimenopausal Bitch (RPB) is alive and well.
We have a no soliciting sign on the door but she came up anyway to place the door hanger on there, the dogs went nuts and scared her, and I came downstairs to see what was happening and for some reason I freaked out at her. I opened the door and followed her down the driveway, waving the handbill at her.
I started yelling, "Does this sign mean anything to you?" Don't you understand that NO SOLICITING means none of this crap?" I handed it back to her. She said she didn't have time to read the door, the dogs scared her so much.
"Well, good. Next time read the damn door before you hang your trash here."
I felt absolutely enraged and almost like I wanted to physically attack her. It was like something came over me and I went rabid. Scared myself, too. I suddenly morphed into a raging maniac.
Is this what happens during menopause? Because I can't think of anything else that would explain totally losing it over a silly thing like that. Am I that stressed out?
And did I mention, last night the temperature actually fell below 50 degrees for the first time all season? Maybe since last April. Not sure, but it's damn cold and I love it. I wonder how much of that has to do with hot flashing all the time.
So now I have fifty gazillion things I need to get done in the next two weeks which leaves me very little time to do the things I wanted to concentrate on: namely, running and studying. If I can just make it to October without hurting anyone, I'll be in good shape.
Just don't hang anything on my front door.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Dennis made some improvements to the front of the woman cave over the past week. Steps to the front door, gravel, flower box and flagstone path. Nice. Once the weather cools down it will be comfortable enough to work out there again! Next year he's considering air conditioning. I'm so spoiled...
Today is tempo day and normally I'd be running with Shannon (aka Wheaties Boy) but he is recovering from an awesome run at Wasatch over the weekend where he finished in 29 hours and change. And that is quite the accomplishment as Wasatch is a butt kicker course. I am sure he'll be blogging about it soon. Shannon fared well but his feet didn't do so well, he sent me this picture:
Congratulations, Shannon, awesome job for a first time mountain trail 100 finish in the western U.S.! Shannon is from Virginia, so altitude and real mountains are still new for him. He's an amazing road racer too, and I know we'll be hearing a lot more about him.
So today I went over to the track, since I need to do some of that with my 12 hour race coming up, and did my tempo run. Being my 50% week, I ran only a 6 mile tempo run. Usually it's 10 or 11 miles. I averaged 8:04 pace and felt pretty good.
Yesterday was double brain fog Monday. I got so tired after my run at Bacon Strip but it was more brain-tired than anything. I had to work yesterday, it was an extra shift for me and I was hoping I'd get called off, because I was so brain fogged.
But I didn't get called off, and I went in. I survived the shift, including two chemos, but when I got home, I was toast. I don't know why but it seems like the day after I run a long run I always have brain fog. Must be all those inflammatory chemicals floating around in my body after stirring things up.
Today is September 11th. I remember what I was doing in 2001, we lived in Arizona, I was between personal training clients that day. I arrived at my second appointment of the day to my client glued to the TV. We watched the planes crash into the World Trade Center instead of doing her workout. I still remember how surreal it was.
I also remember how for the longest time after that, someone had draped a banner from their backyard wall near 96th St and Shea Boulvard in Scottsdale that said, "Someone Get Bin Laden", that was visible to all the heavy traffic going by. That banner stayed up there for a long time.
What I also remember were the calls for peace and understanding, for cooler heads, for a serious look at why someone would want to do this...along with the onslaught of yellow ribbons and Amercian flag waving, the anti-Muslim sentiment and hate crimes, and the numerous divisive, ugly American actions...I can remember the feelings I had, watching these responses, and the stupid stuff like freedom fries and boycotting the French, among other things, that made me feel really ashamed of my own country.
Not a time I care to repeat.
But there were good things too, I remember that we had just gotten Isabelle 5 days earlier, she was a little 9 week old puppy and Iris was 4 months old. That was about the time they became The Buffaloes.
And speaking of 9/11, I am reminded of all that from these two relics:
Sunday, September 9, 2012
I woke up early early, at 4:30 am, not intentionally. I had some coffee and got moving slowly, I threw all my junk in the car including the cooler with ice and lots of cold water and drinks, not wanting to have a repeat of last weekend's heat problems.
I drove out to the Bacon Strip and stashed a gallon of half-frozen water under some shrubs about halfway on the loop, and drove back to the parking area. I started just before 6:30 and headed clockwise. I told Jen I would meet her out there by running in that direction.
I knew there would be a lot of runners out this weekend, I got an e-mail about the plan to run Bacon from Bob's group, and I knew Danny and Dianne would be out there too. Eventually I ran into everyone, plus a lot of runners I didn't know.
I took it easy on the first loop, walking all the steep hills, drinking and eating as I walked. I was freezing for the first 4 miles! I didn't even want to refill my water when I got to it, but I made myself drink a whole bottle there and refilled both bottles. I wanted to be sure I had something left after the first two loops, my plan was to do 2 1/2 loops for 25 miles.
Once I dropped down off the high point it was starting to warm up. I saw Jen when I had about a mile to go on the first loop, she was out there doing her own thing, having just returned last night from her mother's funeral in the midwest. She described her run as grief therapy, and we talked for a few minutes and then went on, agreeing to catch up later.
At the car I refilled my bottles, drank a full bottle, re-lubed all my chafing spots, grabbed my bandana and took my piece of Starbucks banana chocolate chip coffee cake, and headed out counterclockwise and ate on the way up the first big hill. I saw Bob's group on my way out, and I saw Dianne soon after I made the first turn and we stopped and talked.
Then I took off again, feeling strong as I ran up the big hill. I refilled again, then came back to the car, restocked on enough water and food for 5 more miles, put some ice in my bandana since it was getting warm, and took off again.
I saw Danny this time, he was finishing up, and I did the 4 mile loop plus an extra half mile out & back on one of the county roads to wrap it up with a strong and steady 25 miles in under 5 hours, which, on the Bacon Strip, isn't quite as easy as it sounds.
I knew if I got hungry I could always make some road hors d'oeuvres, the Bacon Strip special: 1 snake wafer, 1 can of cheez whiz, and a bacon strip. Roll it all up and it's delicious!
Saturday, September 8, 2012
I didn't win the race overall, I was 2nd overall woman and 9th overall of everyone, but this was the age group awards and I had to get a picture of this. And I wasn't even wearing anything from Walmart!
This was the Berthoud Family Fun Festival 5K, small race, small town, probably had a hundred or so participants. It was for the kids, and from the look of the starting line, it was ALL kids. But it really wasn't, because almost all of the kids in the race lined up on the line itself, leaving the adults to dance around and avoid tripping over them for the first quarter mile or so. Once we got past a quarter mile, the kids were no longer in front.
But it should have been called the Obstacle Course 5K, because that's how it felt to me out there. There were other, much more scary obstacles than little kids: hamstring cramps and snot rockets.
I got through the first mile just fine, hit the mile marker in 7:09 and was very comfortable, it was actually a good thing to have the kids in front at first as they held me back from sprinting out.
Lots of turns on the course and a lot of jumping on and off of sidewalks and bike paths. Not blazing fast at all, but I'm in it for the workout. There was one woman about 20 seconds ahead of me at one mile, and I wondered if she was fast or if she would crash and burn.
Soon after mile 1, there's a sharp right and you drop down a steep little hill. About halfway down the steep little hill my right hamstring cramped up, which nearly brought me to a stop. I hopped for a few seconds until I realized it was just a cramp, and I had to slow down.
At the bottom of the hill there was a flat but winding section of sandy trail and the cramp started to let up. Soon this came to an end and we got back on city streets and climbed a BIG ASS hill, pushing as hard as I could without making the hamstring hurt, until the course flattened out again around 2 1/2 miles.
At this point I had lost sight on the one woman in front of me, but there were three men who had passed me while I slowed down for the cramp, and I was gaining on them again.
I passed two of the three, and as the course wound back onto the bike path before it hit the final nasty little hill climb for the last tenth of a mile, I was gaining on the last of the three. As we made a 90 degree turn I saw him look over his shoulder, his face had the unmistakable, eyes wide with fear, "I'm not gonna let her chick me" look and he dug in.
Well, that dude doesn't know me. That look summons death, the grim reaper, the chick machine. Any man who dares show me that look in a race is now in my sight and THE PRIME TARGET. He began to blow snot rockets, one of which I narrowly dodged. That made me laugh. Ha! You think you can hold me off with a snot rocket???!!
I decisively blew past him and up the hill, beating him by a couple of seconds.
Not only was he chicked, he was sharpei'd too...he was only 40! HA!
Finish time, 23:42. Not fast, but it wasn't a fast course, and I was running intentionally slow for most of that middle mile with that cramp.
So I wonder, is snot rocket-blowing a last ditch desperate attempt by a man to avoid being chicked?
These questions run through my head...
Next race: Equinox Half Marathon in 2 weeks. Tomorrow's plan: More Bacon!
Thursday, September 6, 2012
I did 10.4 miles on the Power Trail at an 8:25 average pace, not bad. I'm making progress. At least I'm consistent. There's a place along that bike path, about a mile or so from my house on the way back, where I always hear Shannon saying "I'm gonna eat SO MUCH FOOD when I get home!"
I was even more proud of myself, though, for spending a solid 2 1/2 hours studying for my oncology certification exam, something I've blown off the past 2 weeks.
After I got done, I remembered I had two shoe boxes in my closet and I've been getting close to needing a new pair. For some reason I thought I had two, but only have one pair of shoes, and they are the oversized ones for super long races or super cold days. The other box was empty!
So I made my trip over to Runners Roost and they only had one pair of Brooks Addictions in an 8. Since Steve Folkerts, the manager, was there, I asked him if he could give me a tour of the newest shoes that are motion control and are not minimalist. I looked at the Saucony and Asics models, along with the Brooks Ariel.
I've been running in the Addiction for nearly 20 years and I have tried other shoes, with little success. I did well in the Avia 2050s for several years before they stopped making them. But the Sauconys I tried about 3 years ago, were the ones that led to my ankle demise.
Every few years I get a wild hair and decide I want to try something new, just for the variety. We looked at the wall of shoes and then Steve remembered the New Balance WR940WB shoes. They are made for people like me. Heavy duty stability, deep enough for orthotics, wide enough forefoot for my table tennis paddle-shaped feet, and solid. I did well in some New Balance shoes years ago, but it's been a long time.
He didn't have a size 8, but he did have a 7 1/2, so I tried them. Poof! They fit! They feel great with my orthotics in them, needed a little lacing adjustment, but it was love at first stride on the sidewalk outside the store. So I got a pair of them too, along with the Addictions.
The other thing I did today was signed up for another 5K this Saturday, in Berthoud, just a few miles down the road from here. The race was a bargain, $15 entry fee, plus it starts at 9 am so I don't have to get up at the butt crack and drag myself out of bed.
When I was at the Roost, I also picked up a few more 5K brochures for upcoming local races. What the hell, might as well continue my 5K ultra training experiment, it seems to be working. I don't expect to hit my sea level 5K time from 2 weeks ago, but it would be nice to see an improvement over previous altitude times. I'll find out Saturday...
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Tuesday I took two different patients to interventional radiology for intrathecal chemotherapy, something we don't do a lot of, but I always like to get away from the usual routine and go somewhere else in the hospital. I sort of miss that part of my ICU days, but that's about it.
I recovered from my dehydration on Sunday by drinking a lot of fluids, only to be up several times during the night peeing. That was good for the kidneys but my brain takes a hit by the end of my second shift. And by the end of my second shift I was in the mood for showing my teeth.
I try to schedule some of my errands and stuff I have to do but don't really want to do, on my work hangover days, because I figure as long as I get a nap in that afternoon, I'll be so out of it all day I won't notice that I'm spending the day doing not so fun things.
And that's how I ended up with my own dental appointment on the same day as Isabelle's teeth cleaning at the vet today.
Poor Isabelle had to be dropped off at 7:30 am with morning rush hour traffic, complete with trains. I swear you would think that the railroad is doing this intentionally to piss off people in Fort Collins. Trains come through at morning and evening rush hour, and also at noon. It's crazy because they block the major east-west streets all the way through town, causing havoc with traffic.
When I took her in and talked to the tech, signed the consent and got ready to leave my baby, her eyes got huge, these big brown orbs, saying "You're not LEAVING me here, are you? Breaks a mother's heart.
I went home and took Iris for a run. Dennis stayed home with Iris until I got home because Iris freaks out when Isabelle isn't around. And she did. I took Iris for a run, and then she seemed to be okay. Then I went out to finish a few more miles before my dentist appointment at 11.
I got my teeth cleaned, no issues there, except the dentist told me I have sun damage on my lower lip and I need to be more careful about using lip balm with SPF. Yes, I do need to remember to re-apply it when I'm running. I am bad about remembering to keep re-applying it, even though it's in my pack. I should move it to the front pocket and maybe I'll be better about it.
All she has to show for it, besides clean teeth, is the spot on her arm where they shaved her to put an IV in. Poor baby. But she's happy and squeaking, which is her way of talking, back at home now with her sister.
Got another 5 miles in this evening. I usually do my tempo run with Shannon but he's off to run Wasatch this weekend so I'm going to wait until Thursday morning to do it, so I can get some cool air to help me. My legs would have been trashed tonight anyway, not much benefit if I can't run fast.
I have a good training week planned for the rest of this week. I'm hoping to get a decent long run in, and I might even run a 5K if I can find one within reasonable driving distance on Saturday. If not, I'll be doing speedwork.
And if I need some motivation, I can get pissed off about politics again, it might help me run faster.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
The election season is getting to me. I've been trying so hard to maintain an opaque outer shell and keep my mouth shut. I even posted something on Facebook last week encouraging people to do something for others when they feel like they want to spout crap about politics.
But I'm really pissed off and I'm so tired of the parroting of unsubstantiated lame-ass bullshit coming from people who have no clue whatsofucking ever about how we came to be in the mess we're in. And the reason they don't have a clue is not because they were born without brains or lack the basic education to be able to think critically, but they refuse to use the organ that resides inside their skull.
I have a family gathering coming up on my husband's side and most of them will be among the parroters, and I am absolutely dreading it, because I want to smack them down on their ignorance but I'll keep the peace by telling them simply not to go there with me, then spitting out the shredded pieces of my own tongue afterwards. I'm going to be civil to keep the peace with my in-laws.
But this is my blog and I don't feel like being a damn bit civil, except for saying we're dealing with unreasonable children here and they need guidance! But you know as well as I do that tactic won't work. Not in these times.
This morning the editor of the local paper wrote about how he'd been barraged with angry phone calls by people who claimed "liberal media bias" because the local paper covered Obama's visit to town and didn't cover much of the RNC convention. The editor said few of them wanted to listen, they just wanted to be heard. And that he explained that because Obama's visit was local news, it was covered extensively.
If a Republican president had come to town, they would have received the same coverage. He said that next week's DNC convention will get equal coverage to the RNC. Which is, not too much. Fine with me. I can get that on the Internet.
So Josh Awtry asks, Is there no room left for civility in conversation? My answer is, you cannot have a civil conversation with people who refuse to deal in reality.
Last week I already had the nauseating experience of having to work while an all day patient of mine was watching the Republican convention pageantry on the little TV in her chair. I was hearing bits and pieces of the B.S. they were dramatizing. One little snippet I caught was when someone in the little box mentioned repealing Obamacare. The patient was nodding like a bobblehead to all the crap they were saying.
Wah, wah, wah, Obamacare, Obamacare, like it's the devil and is to blame for all of our ills, as if everyone who is alive now and needs health care can blame their personal health woes on Barack Obama. As if Obamacare has been around for generations. As if Obamacare is the Zombie Apocalypse incarnate. Give me a fucking break.
It's really hard to be exposed to that shit raining down while you're held hostage, taking care of this patient, enduring the noise coming from the little box, and thinking, those people in that little box don't care that you can't afford the treatment you're getting, they don't even care if you can get it at all. They'd rather throw you out on the street and let you die.
Sometimes I think I should get hazard pay for this, exposure to toxins on the job. Sort of makes my chemo cart look like a lemonade stand.
Interesting little snippet of entertainment is Fareed Zakaria on CNN interviewing Grover Norquist, the Grand Wizard of all Taxophobes and probably wears a white sheet when he's not on TV. But mostly, Norquist is just a fool. A fool that an entire political party would take seriously enough to have based their own platform on his juvenile ideas.
We have a system that DOES NOT WORK. It is not working for us and we are getting deeper in trouble and we need to do something about it. And no, Barack Obama isn't going to be able to fix it, and neither is Mitt Romney or Ronald Reagan or Jeb Bush or Ron Paul or Jesus Christ or any one person, or any one Congress. It just doesn't work that way! We have dug ourselves into a hole and we need to dig ourselves out. And relying on politicians to do that for us is the dumbest idea since...Grover Norquist.
It is absolutely long past time the grownups put their foot down and explained to these cognitively-impaired zealots that when you spend more money than you have, you have to borrow money, and then you're in debt. And the cost of that debt gets bigger and bigger, in addition to the amount you borrowed.
If you don't make everyone pay enough taxes, you can't raise the revenue you need to make things work. You have to borrow money. Trickle down economics does not work and cutting taxes does not work to increase economic growth. All it does is secure the rich people's fortunes at the expense of everyone else. Vouchers end up putting money in some corporate pocket, not in the U.S. Treasury where it can be distributed more equitably among citizens and our infrastructure.
And that is precisely the problem we're having, because these taxophobic morons cannot stop lying to the public, which is also cognitively impaired and unable to do simple math and has a short memory. People who would rather let those in power think for them and tell them what to think.
If Mitt Romney makes $100 million a year, and he's taxed at 14%, then he pays 14 million in taxes. If he's taxed at 50%, he'd pay 50 million in taxes. He'd still have $50 million dollars left! Whatever he does with it, please explain to me how that is conscionable when people are scraping bottom everywhere? How can you spend $50 million dollars?
If a middle class family makes $100,000, and has to pay 15% in taxes, that leaves them $85,000 for the year. And that much money will provide a fairly comfortable existence for a couple, without any extravagant spending. They can probably pay the mortgage, a car payment, save a little money, and stay out of debt, but add a kid or two and that $85,000 won't go very far. And then what about the millions who live in poverty? Don't you think that some professional athletes' contracts and CEO bonuses could be distributed among all of those people and give them maybe a few dollars to live on?
Meanwhile there are gazillions of people such as those CEOs and professional athletes, making huge sums of money and not contributing their share of the cost of running this country. Wealthy people are citizens too, they have a stake in society just as much as middle class and impoverished people do. But they're getting off too easy.
Call me Socialist, Communist, Marxist, whatever the hell you want to, but there is enough wealth to go around for everyone in this country to have a decent standard of living. Unfortunately it is being sequestered in places like the Cayman Islands by a relative handful, of a very large hand, of wealthy people who are not being good citizens. They need to pay it back.
I laugh when these barfbags of the same party call themselves patriotic and fly their little American Flag lapel pins. If you're so damn patriotic, then take your money out and put it into the US Treasury and invest in your own damn country! Why doesn't the RNC platform change to "I've got mine, fuck you."
And don't think for a second that there isn't a contingent from the Democratic Party who does the same thing. They are lying hypocrites and I expect fully to see their hypocrisy dramatized in little talking boxes at work this coming week. And I'll have my own choice words for the party for which I usually vote, unless they can start acting like grownups and start the honest conversation rolling.
As if that would ever happen...and monkeys might fly out of my butt!
I wonder if it's going to come down to outright civil war in his country. Which is pretty scary because the one side tends to be a little more enamored of guns than the other, and I belong to the other.
Maybe I feel a little better, but I'm still pissed off.
No, that's not a cheeseburger. It means a double loop of the Bacon Strip, which is a 10 mile loop on hilly, 95% dirt county roads northeast of Fort Collins, about 3 miles east of the Budweiser plant. Yes, even Fort Collins, the Napa Valley of beer, has diverse offerings of brewed beverages...
The Bacon Strip, being east of town, has a great view of the northern Front Range, and all the way north to Wyoming. It is also a butt kicker of a training run. According to local marathoners, being able to run a double Bacon means you are more than prepared for a marathon. I'm not sure, but I wonder if it might be possible to predict your marathon finish time from the time it takes to cover this 20 mile course.
I've known Tom through the running club since 1996 and we happen to be well-matched in terms of running pace. In most of the local races we finish within 30 seconds of each other. I gauge my starting position in local road races by Tom's location, he's easy to see because he's so tall.
We drove out to the Bacon Strip, and got started just before 7:00 this morning. It was a warm, windy morning. Tom suggested we run counterclockwise for the first loop, which was a good call because we had a headwind the first 5 miles, then a nice tailwind coming back to the vehicles.
I've been feeling good lately and I thought I could run 9 minute miles on the Bacon Strip. WRONG! In the first two miles my legs felt so tired I wondered if I was going to be able to complete a second 10 mile loop. We were running into a strong headwind, and we still had some cloud cover blocking the sun, but the best we could do were 10 minute miles into the wind. Eventually we warmed up a bit and it was easier to push the pace a little, but it's so hilly and some areas have loose gravel and sand that slows you down.
I started with one tall bottle of water, having downed a liter on the drive out there. I was aware that I was a little pre-dehydrated, having not taken in enough fluids on Saturday, and then drinking a STRONG margarita just before bedtime.
I regretted drinking the margarita all night. As a result I was hot flashing like crazy and kept waking up, and I only got about 4 hours of sleep before my alarm woke me at 5:30.
We were still doing well as we made the turn away from the headwind at 15 miles, but it was getting hot. The tailwind wasn't enough to cool us down anymore, and by 17 miles we were both pretty much out of water and starting to feel warm. We both took brief walking breaks. I recognized that I might be in trouble with only 3 miles left to go, I had a little bit of a headache and my stomach suddenly felt a little funny. My head felt hot under my hat.
I wondered if Tom felt the same, I knew he was low on water too. Around 16 miles we had discussed my going ahead because he thought he would be slower at the end, I told him that if I didn't see him behind me by the time I got to the cars, that I would come out and bring him water.
He seemed to be doing fine so I took off but didn't get more than a half mile ahead by the final turn at 19 miles. I alternated running and walking those last 3 miles because I kept feeling like I was getting too hot.
When I arrived at the cars, three and a half hours after we started, I could see Tom at the top of the last hill coming down to the cars, less than half a mile away, so I decided to just wait for him. By the time he got to the cars he looked pale and said he wasn't feeling good. He opened his car and sat down, I told him he should get out of the sun and he got out and opened the hatchback of his car and sat there. I had him put a frozen water bottle on his neck.
Then he started puking, I dug more small frozen water bottles out of his cooler and put them on his neck and grabbed a towel out of my car. Fortunately he didn't puke for very long but he looked white.
At the same time this triathlete couple showed up, finishing their Bacon Strip loop and they had some cold water in their car. They offered it to us and I dumped the cold water over the towel and Tom sat there and recovered, until he felt well enough to start sipping some cold coke. He bounced back pretty fast after the coke, so I'm sure he needed some sugar, too.
I was really thankful that those people were there because all I had left was warm water in my car. Usually when I do a long run I am well-stocked with ice and cold drinks in the cooler, and some oral rehydration salts, and other stuff, but I made the mistake of not taking a 20 mile run very seriously.
As it turned out, it was 82 degrees when we finished. I guess I needed a reminder to come down from my ultrarunner hubris and remember that anything can happen, even on a short run, and to always be prepared. Didn't I just blog about that a few weeks ago? My long-term memory must be going along with the hot flashes. I felt like a dumbass. I was lucky I wasn't sick, too.
As the wind dried me I could see how much salt I had on my arms. That isn't normal for me when I do my sauna training, but I haven't been doing that, either.
After Tom sat there a while he said he felt good enough to drive home, so I followed him into town, and he gave me the thumbs up when it was time for me to turn off to my house. I called him later and he's doing fine. But we both realized we hadn't planned very well.
Hopefully a lesson learned. The lessons will be repeated until they are learned...
So now I'm drinking a lot of fluids and eating some soup for the fluids and salt, and I hope I can take a nap and recover from today's Double Bacon Hog Slaughter so I can make it to my next run this coming Work Hangover Wednesday...