Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I ran Redstone Canyon, 13 miles slow and easy with my friend Katy last Saturday, she is recovering from knee surgery. We had a good run and it was great to see her. Then I had a kickass workout last Sunday in the cemetery, I did 18 miles and was hitting splits I haven't run in several years.
Tonight I'm about to wrap it up but thought I'd post a quick one to let you know I'm still here.
It got cold again, snowed, blew, froze our asses off, and now we're in a short warming trend, which promises to turn cold and windy again in time for March and my 40 mile run. March will come in like a lion, that's for sure, I will be the lion. I'm taking it easy this week with my running but plan to get a good workout in with the long run.
I also had my annual physical exam and my eye exam and I am apparently getting younger. My eyes are young, still I can get away without reading glasses and my prescription didn't change. It could any day, but I have young eyes. I am doing much better than I was a few months ago, overall physically. No stress-related issues.
I'll have more to report on soon, I have another busy week ahead but things will start to get more exciting once I get through a few projects I need to finish. I already feel a rant building up and I'll have some carbon to blow out this weekend! The following weekend I have my birthday run coming up. Should have some good stuff to report on soon...
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Right now the wind is at about 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. It's cold, too, but sunny. This morning I went out for a quick 7 miler before I met with the accountant. Glad to have dumped that pile in her lap so I can forget about it. We'll see what the damage is when she finishes our returns. But I'm not going to stress about it.
It took me several days to move through the emotions stirred up by that experience with the taxes on Monday. I've been super emotional and irritable, I had dreams each night, very confusing dreams about people from my past and having a hard time moving forward to where I wanted to go. There were all these obstacles in my way. I don't worry much about interpreting dreams, they're like a random mess of brain residue. But I could see where the frustration was coming out.
I know I still need to resolve some feelings about my experiences with my former employer. I plan to have a discussion with a certain key individual there eventually, once I have sorted through my emotions and more time has gone by.
But for now, I'm training, I'm studying, and I'm about to launch into a busy time of marketing my services and hitting the pavement. I'm looking forward to all that.
Running is going well and I've felt good this week despite the distractions. It helps to be pissed off, too, because I had a great run in the wind fighting the demons in my head. The wind was nothing!
This weekend I'm very excited to be running with my old running partner and crew member from Badwater 2008, Katy. We used to run trails and Rock Repeats together a lot, a few years ago, and then life happened, injuries happened, and so on. We're finally getting it together this weekend. I've missed her company, and sometimes those runs were like therapy for both of us.
Between that run and a 20 miler this weekend, I should be close to 70 miles for the week, and feeling good. This week feels easy, none of my runs are very long. Next week I need to find a 40 mile route to keep me entertained. I hope the wind lets up at least a little by then. I'm ready for 70 degrees and shorts weather.
Monday, February 17, 2014
I decided to take the day off from running because I hit it hard over the past 4 days and I plan to get some good miles in this week. I needed time to get some work done, I'm meeting with our accountant later this week and I want to have all the papers and numbers organized to give to her.
The way I do my taxes is organized chaos. All year I save the necessary hardcopy receipts and papers in a folder and by the end of the year it's overflowing onto the floor in the corner of the office. I take one day and I go through everything, organize it into piles and go through every single item and write down the numbers, then discard or shred the unnecessary stuff and place the important receipts in a neater, more organized form into the folder to store.
This year it's a little more complicated having started a business, but I was much more organized with the business stuff than I was with our personal stuff. I whipped through the business tax items in about 30 minutes, and then was ready to dive into the messy pile of everything else.
It started out okay, a few utility bill receipts, mortgage and real estate taxes, W-2s, you know, routine stuff. But as I got deeper into the pile I started finding things.
Continuing education receipts for classes I took. Donations to charitable organizations. Okay, I can deal with that.
Receipts from rollovers of my retirement funds.
But then: continuing education classes required for my job that I wasn't reimbursed for, in-kind and other donations I made to the hospital's foundation and payroll deductions for the same, supporting the Cancer Center. That reminded me of all the speaking engagements, marketing pitches, cheerleading and other support I gave, only to be treated with cold indifference by people running the show in the end.
A receipt for the ACLS class they wouldn't pay for (never mind that I was doing moderate sedation, chemotherapy, and infusing other IV meds like Rituxan and blood transfusions...that people commonly react to). I kept up my skills anyway, just paid for it out of my own pocket. Reminded me of the patient who had the transfusion reaction and I called a code and we started CPR and he had a good outcome. And the other patient who had a medication reaction when I was working alone at night and I had to deal with that all by myself. She had a good outcome too. And the safety presentations I did for my unit for emergency preparedness.
Then I came across the receipts for health care expenses I had that are directly attributable to the stress of my old job. Reminders of the distress, being in a doctor's appointment and having a total meltdown when she asked what was going on. Receipts for antidepressant medication. Measuring my blood pressure at 160/100. Labs to rule out other things. It cost me big.
And then when they switched our health insurance over, we had even less coverage so I had more out of pocket expenses. Yeah, mergers are great for the employees.
It's all had the effect of giving me flashbacks and it feels horrible. I feel the old anger bubbling up and the resentment, of feeling discarded, unappreciated, disrespected, used, etc. It makes me mad that nurses, as professionals, are treated like this: they expect you to give your life up for them for such low pay and dwindling benefits, yet they won't support you in your professional development.
I posted about it in a nursing support group on Facebook, asking, Has anyone experienced this while working on their taxes after they quit their nursing job?
The dozens of responses I got were filled with fire, bitterness, resentment, and echoes of similar PTSD experiences. So many nurses experience these things, wrong on so many levels. People who have suffered from the destructive, bullying, mean-spirited behavior of the minions of those corporations claiming to be about patient care.
Minions who will do anything to boost their patient satisfaction scores so they get more reimbursement, but the things to boost patient satisfaction in their eyes have nothing to do with providing more quality nursing care. No, they'd rather spend money on decorations in the patient rooms or bigger TV screens. That's what six and seven figure administrative salaries will do for patients. Meanwhile, the nurses and other staff are reduced, being forced to exhaustion and stress, and PTSD-like experiences.
That is neither health nor care. It's wrong and it shouldn't be happening to people who bust their asses daily and are expected to go without meeting their own personal, human needs to care for other people. One nurse on Facebook wrote about how two things saved her: her dog, and quitting her job. I can relate to the dog therapy. Iris and Isabelle did a lot of licking my tears during the time I worked at the hospital.
On the bright side, I'm out of there. But it doesn't feel very good having all these reminders today.
Neither health nor care, I tell you...
We can do much better than this. I'd rather make a difference for a few individuals in my own practice, than do things half-assed for thousands and let things slip through the cracks, which is all our current health care model allows.
Onward and upward.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
The weather was a lot nicer, but it was still cold this morning. Not quite so bad though.
I only needed about 12 miles to get my 60 mile goal for the week, but somehow that didn't seem like enough of a challenge. My arms were tired from carrying the pogo stick while running in the beer tour!
I ended up with a little over 17 miles today and somewhere around 2000 feet of ascent, and the same of descent. But I did the same workout a month ago and today I was a lot faster! Somewhere around 40 seconds per mile faster. I didn't have to push hard on the hills, just a steady pace that challenged me without really pushing hard. That tells me I recovered well from Pemberton.
I ran down the A hill, over Maniac and back, then back north on the A and down to the Lory State Park turnoff, up almost to the park entrance, then back down and up over Dam Hill, and then one more time down and then up A hill and back to Rotary Park. About two hours and 50 minutes. Ten minute mile average on those hills is a good pace.
I ended up with 65 miles for the week, without any long runs. I guess I consider 20 miles + a long run.
This next week, actually the next 2 1/2 weeks, are super busy for me. I'm going to shoot for getting a 70 mile week or two before the end of the month, and I should be able to do that despite my insane schedule. It's all good insanity, well, mostly. Except the taxes part. But hopefully that won't turn out too bad either. Finishing up my Cancer Exercise Trainer course this week, and lots and lots of meetings, all business-related. Exciting stuff.
I am giving a presentation to the Aspen Club on March 5th. This will be the first time back at the hospital since I quit. I'm looking forward to it though. It's a community group to promote health and well-being in people over 50. Hey, I could almost be a member. My talk will be 5 days too early, I guess.
I do plan to make it an interesting running tour of some of my favorite spots in Fort Collins, though, including some breweries. There will be Buffaloes. Spongebob might show up. I'm expecting Sasquatch, too. There might even be some pogo sticking. The distance will be more like 20 miles, though, not 50.
Don't worry, I'll make up for it later.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
There were hippie chicks, leisure suits and hot pink pants suits, Bobby Riggs tennis attire, Andy Warhol and Mr. Green Jeans, dangling beads and bangles, big hair, afros, flower power, and 70s culture everywhere. The only giveaway was the frequent use of iphones, very un 70s like, but after a few beers, no one notices.
The only time I ditched the pogo stick was on the way to Funkwerks from Fort Collins Brewery, I tucked it behind a tree off the shoulder along Lincoln Drive and it was safe there until I came back to get it on the way to Odell.
The other cool thing that happened was getting carded, being asked for my ID in two of the breweries was a big deal to me. Of course my gray hair was all covered up by my headscarf.
I got home around 3:30, starving. I ate leftovers and took a shower, and called it a day. Tomorrow, Maniac hills and more at Horsetooth. Gotta put all those carbs to work. Catch you on the flip side!
Friday, February 14, 2014
Appropriate for spring, and the giant thaw. Halfway through February now, we can get serious about spring fever.
Today wasn't such a warm day, either, the morning stayed cool. I went to the track to do 10 miles and get used to the curves again, and I froze the whole time I was running. It was cloudy and there was a breeze.
Tomorrow, hippie beer tour. Mr. Bill is too much work, I don't feel like having gunk on my face. I found some big dangling beaded earrings, a bandana I can wear as a headscarf, some beaded necklaces, a miniskirt, and some wild colors. That should be 70s enough. After a couple of beer stops, no one will notice. No one will notice anyway! We all blend in as a bunch of freaks running down the streets of the brewery district of Fort Collins.
Between the beer tour and my Sunday run, the weather forecast looks good. It was supposed to hit 90 degrees in Phoenix this week. February is too soon for that kind of heat down there. I'll take 50s, sunshine and slush for now. And beer. Don't forget the beer.
You could almost go snorkeling out there in our neighborhood. It does feel like spring. The snow pile in the back yard has melted from the tops of the boxes almost down to the bottom.
This is almost gone now, and by the end of the day Friday, we will be able to see the grass, hedgehogs, tennis balls, snakes, ducks, and the never ending freezing-melting dog poop cycle that you have to wait for the conditions to dry out...
Saturday is the Human Powered Brewery Tour. The only change is that it starts at 11 am now instead of 10. The late start is a good thing, because the ice will have a chance to melt. This is what it looks like on our street, from sidewalk to sidewalk. Too early in the day, you risk your life.
As much as I like living in Fort Collins, it would be nice if they used some of their budget to plow the small streets once a year. They go around citing people for not shoveling their sidewalks, but it would be nice if the city would take a look at this, the effects of never plowing. Citizens can't easily remove the ice chunks that accumulate on the sidewalks from the cars throwing this stuff while they fishtail down the foot-deep slush on the streets. When you have an extra several million dollars in tax revenue as they did this past year, it might be a thought.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Monday morning I felt like running. I went out on the canal in the direction of Phoenix, ran 5 miles out and then turned around. The short section of the canal near where my parents live goes along the part of the Arizona canal that has been oxymoroned, upscaled and affluenza-ed to the "Scottsdale Waterfront" is enjoyable for me because of the agaves, cacti, and flowering plants along there.
The tourists in old town Scottsdale are the same as I remember them, old people who weave in and out of overpriced trinket shops and there are just not enough art galleries anymore in this section of town. It's fun to watch the mix of tourists north and south of shin dagger alley.
My ten miles went well. It took about 3 miles to warm up and then I felt great. Tomorrow I have to go back to Fort Collins, which I'm not thrilled about only because the weather here is promising to hit the 80s with sunshine. I wish I could stay one more week. But the weather is supposed to improve at home, and this Saturday is the beer tour, and the theme is the 1970s and I can't think of a costume so I am planning to go as Mr. Bill. Ooooooh, Nooooooooo!
Gotta go, important business to take care of by the pool again this afternoon...
Saturday, February 8, 2014
This morning I ran the Pemberton Trail 50K, the race that my friend Brian Wieck has held in McDowell Mountain Regional park near Fountain Hills, AZ, for what seems like the gazillionth time.
Pink, orange and red streaks across the sky. The next photo I borrowed, thanks to Mary Laibe, one of the runners. It really was spectacular, you had to be there of course to experience it.
Being 11 pounds lighter and 3000 feet lower in altitude, it was hard to judge my pace, but I do know the trail and landmarks well, and I hit the one mile mark at a decent pace, faster than I usually start. This being the first ultra since my injury and my last ultra being in the 40-49 year old age group, I wanted to at least run better than last year. Last year I ran 5:06.
I ate a huge breakfast before I left my dad and stepmom's house, so I really didn't feel hungry for the longest time, I didn't even take a gel during the race. All I had was water and some S-caps, and a couple of small cups of Coke. That is unusual for me, I usually eat, but I just didn't need it today. Still burning off the nursing fat, I guess.
I ran in my Pearl Izumi H3s, this is the first time I've run a trail ultra in them. It seems like they worked very well for me, I will know for sure in the next day or two as I feel any sore spots after the race. But I had no problems with blisters or any issues with the surfaces. I did wear my gaiters, which I'm glad I did, the trail was dry and loose, they haven't had much rain.
Once we got on the new section of the Pemberton heading east I felt so good, it feels like a roller coaster with those curves and rolling hills.
I finished the first loop in 2:20, and ran over to the truck to dump my extra clothes and pick up an icy water bottle and gels. I decided to start listening to music at that point, grabbed my ancient MP3 with the trance tunes on it. I might actually upgrade to an ipod this year...
It took me 3 minutes at the truck then I had to pee again soon after I hit the trail. I struggled a little but was able to maintain a decent running pace up the hill again. At the first aid station I grabbed a ltitle cup of coke and slammed it. Then I regretted it, I felt like it was going to come back up. Fortunately it did not. I couldn't believe I still wasn't hungry!
I was running, but dragging ass a bit in the middle section across the park, but once I saw Penis Rock, yes, that is a landmark on the course, I knew I was almost to the turnoff to the roller coaster again. Once I turned back on to the roller coaster section I got a second wind and maintained the same splits from the first loop. I felt great running down that section.
The other boost I got was in the second aid station, both loops, seeing James Bonnett working there. His dad Paul used to be director of Across the Years before Aravaipa Running took it over. I have watched James grow up from when he was a little kid. It's always great to see him and I'm glad he's still involved with the ultra community. They're sort of like family, after all these years.
James told me I looked a lot better than the 4 people ahead of me. Incentive.
I got passed by very few people in the entire event, I think only 3 or 4 men passed me after the first hour, and on the way down toward the finish I passed about 10 people. All men. It was only in the last hour that I started to feel the warm air, I knew I needed to get done before it got really warm. I think my Badwater sauna training might have finally worn off.
I must have been going pretty fast down that trail as it straightens out toward the end. At one point I almost bit it, but caught myself, I did feel a good yank on my left hamstring, yes, the one I injured last year. But so far it seems to be fine. If I didn't catch myself, I would have done a major faceplant and probably some damage to my wrists, face, knees, or who knows what. Lucky.
I saw lots of old running buddies down there, it was fun to hang out at the finish and see everyone and catch up. I also met a new Colorado Team Pearl Izumi member, Mike, who was down here from Leadville.
It was 66 degrees at the finish. A little change from 13 below, that it was when I left Denver on Thursday.
But I was happy with my evenly paced race and my strong improvement over last year, in my first race back. It's a good way to exit my age group in ultras. I'm not sure if I'll do anything short before my birthday, but my next ultra is March 29th in Kansas. And by then I will be officially 50.
I'll be here for another few days, I plan to soak up the warmth like an iguana. I just hope my body survived today intact. Look out, Sally O'Malley!
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Last night Dennis was surfing around on You Tube, since there wasn't much to do and it was starting to snow again.
He found this video of the 1990 World Cross Country Championships in Aix-les-Bains, France, he was on the U.S. team that year.
From 7:28 to 7:30 on the You Tube timeline Dennis runs by in his USA uniform, tall runner, dark curly hair with mustache. I think he finished somewhere around 130th to 150th place. He was the 5th finisher on the US Team. He ran something like a 28 and a half minute 10K split in that race. Crazy fast!
So cool. I never got to see the race at the time, that was the year he was racing all over the place and I was stuck here in Fort Collins, in graduate school. Now, 24 years later, I get to see it!
Yesterday I had a decent run on the bike path and threw in a little faster paced effort. Today the weather sucks, it's still snowing, and I've decided to spend a couple of hours on the bike, indoors today. I'm tired of fighting the ice and snowdrifts, but mostly I'm tried of getting splashed with slush. Just looking forward to running on dry ground, or at least something that isn't covered with white.
I did launch my business Facebook page for World Cancer Day and you can visit it here and "Like" it. More info to come.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
The backyard is buried, our raised beds are almost submerged in the snow. It seems like there isn't much out there when you look at flat surfaces or the roof of the woman cave, but when you go out in the streets that haven't been plowed, like ours, it's almost knee deep in some places. And it's still coming down.
But it was another nice day for a run. Time alone, to think about things. Sunday is Superbowl, which is of course a bigger deal here because of the Broncos. I am very proud of my nephew Jim, he's a freshman at Cal State Long Beach and he is a bassist. The Walmart commercial during the Superbowl will feature his bass playing in the background music. Even if it is Walmart, hey, it's pretty cool.
Next week when I'm in Arizona I will also be going to see a play the night after running Pemberton and my niece Jenny has the leading role. I'm very excited about my niece and nephew and their success in their artistic pursuits. My youngest nephews, Matteo and Luca, are turning out to be amazing athletes, great at soccer, basketball, and whatever else they pick up.
I'm not much of a football fan but I can tolerate watching a game every once in a while. I will be watching the Superbowl. Especially the Walmart commercials. Ha!
Running today brought me an incredibly happy feeling. I was thinking about things I'm looking forward to, like the races I've signed up for, and being able to actually watch the Superbowl with Dennis- I always had to work on Superbowl weekend. And this morning I just spoke to a running buddy of mine, Beth, in Georgia. She might want to run in Ohio again next fall at North Coast and we would share a hotel room, which would be fun, and it would be great to hang out and run some with her, she's a lot faster than I am though. And it would also save money on my limited budget this year.
I've had a solid week of running, and next week I get to go to Arizona. I am not tapering for this race, I intend to go into it tired. I hope to run well even on tired legs. First race back you never know. But it will be fun, I always see so many of my old friends there in the Arizona races.
Just feeling so relieved, so much less of a burden to carry around now that I don't have to deal with the toxicity of my old workplace. It's a great feeling. I am working probably more hours now than I was at my nursing job but the hours I put in are doing things that are moving me forward. The opportunities are unlimited.
Finally I feel like what I'm doing is going to make a positive difference and really improve someone's health, rather than having to do it in a way that is limited and restricted, forcing me to check little boxes instead of being able to focus on the person I'm working with.
But first...Omaha! It's the year of the prairie.
Bronco Bella, aka Isabelle, aka The Prairie Princess, is wearing her Broncos shirt. Go Broncos!