Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tire Time

Today I woke up early and needed to get out and run. It was cold and cloudy. I had an appointment to meet with Andrea, who does our taxes, at 9:00. I planned to do my run after our appointment, but I asked the girls if they wanted to go first and of course, Iris did, but Isabelle wasn't so sure. Iris went, and Iz stayed home.

I took Iris for about 3.5 miles and then I had to get into some warm dry clothes to go meet Andrea. I did that, and on my way over to her office I noticed white flakes starting to fall. Within 5 minutes it was a blizzard. By the time I got out of my car in the parking lot it was dumping and blowing.

By the time I left her office 20 minutes later, it was slushy everywhere but no more snow coming down. Everything was wet, but the wind calmed down and I adjusted my clothes for damp cold conditions, and went out again. I felt slow and tired. I ran until I had a little over 10 miles and then I had to go home to shower and then be over at the hospital cafeteria where I was meeting Grace to promote the employee campaign for the Cancer Center during lunch time.

When I got home around 1:30, it was still gray, cool and calm but no more flakes. I changed into more running clothes and drove toward the stadium with the tire, and started running hill repeats on the county road. By the time I got out of the car it was starting to get windy again and the sky looked nasty.

I shot the video in my ongoing quest to become more proficient with the video feature of the iPhone. Sorry about the heavy breathing and scraping noises. Not a pretty picture, I know, but that's what it sounds like.

I ran with the tire for an hour. I ended up with nearly 15 miles for the day, not bad for someone who was whining two days ago about how much my training sucks.

So here I am back at home, eating hot soup and drinking one of my very cold 3.2 girl beers. I go back to work tomorrow, and this weekend is my work weekend again. The time goes by so fast! My personal challenge is to figure out a way to get to either Florida or Arizona before the end of March for a quick visit, otherwise I might go totally bonkers from this weather.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Shred 'Em

Just got back from a redemption run. I literally ran until I was bleeding!

Actually I took advantage of this calm morning, almost no wind at all, even though it was 18 degrees when I started. I got out and ran 16.3 miles, 4 of those miles with the girls. After I brought the girls home, I went out and was still feeling frustrated with my training and lack of motivation to push myself these past two weeks. I went out the Spring Creek and Poudre Trails again, and was plodding along at a slow pace, until I got almost to Orthopedic Center of the Rockies on the way home, and then something crawled under my skin. For some reason as I rounded the corner to go west I decided it was time to make something worthwhile out of my run. So I resolved to run hard for 25 minutes. That was the amount of fartlek I wanted to do in a workout last week, which I never did.

So I did it, pushing myself at a hard pace until I was only about a half mile from home, when my 25 minutes were up and I was toast. Somewhere out there, I managed to chafe the crap out of myself, and when I got home and took off my bra, there was blood from the spots where I chafed. Whatever it was that made me want to run hard must have crawled under my bra.

I don't know how many of my female readers experience killer bra chafing but sometimes when those running bras get old, or the weather conditions are just right and the moisture stays in there it can shred your skin off. Good for screaming in the shower! I was wearing a lot of clothing, more layers than I needed, but it was cold when I started. The wind didn't pick up and keep me cold today, so I was soaking wet by the time I got home.

Yesterday I was feeling so frustrated, this year my training has felt like it's off to the slowest start, and here it is almost March. It's not that anything is wrong, but it seems like the weather has been a huge influence on my motivation. That's an excuse. I was feeling full of excuses last night and rather irritable at the state of affairs in the world and life in general because things aren't proceeding along as smoothly as I would like. Wah Wah Wah.

Dennis took pity on me last night and offered to take me out for sushi, which always helps. Things are really not bad. Not bad at all. He gave me some advice about getting my hard efforts in once a week. If I can do nothing else all winter, just making one of those runs a hard effort will pay off. I guess I must have been listening.

I need to get some serious $&@#! done around here today. Two orders of business:
1. Get all of our tax stuff together since I'm meeting with the tax chick tomorrow who does our taxes.
2. Pick up dog poop before it snows again, which is predicted for tomorrow.

Hmmmm...not sure where to start, it's all so exciting.

Oh yeah, and a few other things like doing my weight training routine and my core/abs routine. I need to do that more than once a week, which is all I've managed to do this month. Pathetic.

And maybe, just maybe, late this afternoon if the wind doesn't pick up too bad and I have time for a nap, go out with the tire.

And I think I'm seriously going to lose my mind unless I go somewhere warm in March. Time to come up with a plan.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gone with the Wind!

I forgot to bring my Wind-B-Gon. It has been howling, or just enough of a cold breeze to keep you chilled all the time, and in every direction. In Colorado the wind blows in 360 degrees at all times. I normally don't mind running in the wind, but it's just been so damn cold.

The days I was home sick, it was so windy and nasty that I didn't mind not being out there. I felt better by Thursday and got out for a 5 miler with the girls, and it felt so good to run. I hadn't moved since last Saturday and if I waited one more day I would have needed a spray of WD-40 in my joints.

Friday I was ready for action, and my long runs have been close to nonexistent for so long that I thought I'd do some back to back longish runs if I felt up to it the rest of the week. So I went out for a run on the Spring Creek Trail and just as I got on the trail, I ran into Ron Michaels and Jonathan Zeif, two of my fellow long time Fort Collins Running Club members. Turned out we were all doing 20 that day, and I planned to do 15 and then go home and get my tire to finish up. So I ran with them until we got to Old Town and then I turned around and ran home.

I took the girls for a couple of miles and they were happy about that. My legs started to cramp up so I took a break at home, drank a smoothie with two S caps added, and changed into warm dry clothes. Then I drove out to the stadium with the tire and ran up the hill above Dixon Reservoir twice. I felt good and no more muscle cramps, so the smoothie must have been perfect fuel. I ended up with a little over 21 miles for the day.

After I got back home from my run there was a panicked message from one of my coworkers who is about to have her first grandchild, and labor is being induced on Saturday. I could hear the desperation in her voice, she couldn't find anyone to work for her. So I called her back and told her I could work the second half of her shift Saturday. The problem was someone else had called in sick for Saturday- with the same bug I had. So she was extra thankful and relieved. I went out Saturday morning before work in the freezing cold breeze and ran 14 miles and was still feeling good, but decided to call it good for the day and do another 20 on Sunday.

So then this morning Dennis and I woke up too late to meet the running club at 7:30, which was okay because it was freezing and windy. I wore my Arizona race garb underneath my shell layer, hoping it might keep me warmer.

By the time we got up to Horsetooth at 9:15 it was a little warmer but still blowing. Hard. The kind of wind that picks you up off your feet and you use more energy trying to stay anchored to the ground than you do moving forward. Sometimes the gusts blow the breath out of your mouth before you can inhale, and the headwind is so strong that you're literally standing still, running in place, making no forward progress whatsoever.

The amazing thing is that every time I thought I'd have a tailwind, it turned out to be no better than a crosswind, again, blowing me either off the shoulder or into traffic. I ended up calling it a day after 10 miles, one full out and back on Horsetooth. I got the workout I needed, and that was enough. No sense in being miserable. Frankly my dear, I didn't give a dam. At least, not another dam.

So here's what it looked like, please forgive me for indulging, I have a new iPhone and I had to try out the video feature. I promise my movies will improve with time. Here they are. I'll update the links to go directly to video as soon as I get them to work through YouTube. I'm still figuring out how to be as smart as my new phone.

Soldier Canyon Dam

Dixon Dam

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Banished to the Cave

Yesterday I read the excitement in multiple posts on Facebook and some e-mails I got about people getting into this year's Badwater race. That is such a great feeling, and I had just a tiny bit of envy, because I truly wish I could run it every year. There are so many races and adventure runs out there to do, and I will do as many as I possibly can find the time, money, and energy to do.

My friend Paul Grimm got in, he was delirious when he e-mailed about it. He has what is shaping up to be a dream team of a crew.

I've been home the past couple of days not doing much of anything. I have some kind of upper respiratory thing going on. I did my long run on Saturday and then Sunday I had a sore throat going into the evening. I wondered if I was getting sick. Dennis was starting to get the sniffles and was coughing, he said he didn't feel so great. I considered calling off work for Monday but I wasn't sure if I really was sick. So I went to work Monday.

That was a mistake. It was a busy, crazy, chaotic day and I ended up staying late because we were so busy- we still had 6 patients at 8 pm and several of them were far from being done when I was supposed to go home at 8:30. By then I still had a sore throat and I was trashed. So I called in sick for Tuesday. Tuesday I slept most of the day. I slept until 8 am and then napped from 2 to 5 pm. Funny how you can feel worse after sleeping so much. My voice was a little raspy and soup and tea felt pretty good, but my brain was nonfunctional.

Wednesday I was still tired, snotty, and raspy. More napping, though I did get a little writing done. Just as well, we had killer winds, with gusts being reported up to 80 mph. Not a nice day for running anyway.

Today I feel pretty decent but just a little extra snot, a sore nose from blowing it. It snowed a bit overnight and it's cold and windy this morning. Good day to hang out in the woman cave. I'll go out later bundled up and take the girls for a few miles.

The big news is this morning I just took a jump in phone technology. I've been increasingly annoyed with my old Blackberry and have been envying the smartphones everyone has. I also needed something that was capable of taking decent pictures and videos on the run, and the Blackberry can't do that. The pictures were grainy, and there's no video feature. I got tired of lugging both my camera and Blackberry along on runs when I wanted both.

I went to the phone store and looked at different phones. I had a hard time deciding between the iPhone 4 and 4S, there was a $100 difference in price and the thing that annoyed me about the 4s was the Siri feature, which talks to you. Cell phones should be seen and not heard, as far as I'm concerned. I don't really use mine as a phone anyway, except when I'm out of town. It's more of an e-mail, camera, occasional texting or browsing device. But the thought of having something yakking at me, even if I can turn it off, seemed excessive. I'd be saying "Shut up" all the time. I don't like to be around TVs, and I get annoyed with anything that talks excessively.

The 4S did have very nice video and photo capability, and that was the only place where I hesitated. I think I'll be satisfied with the iPhone 4 for now. I figured if I really want to upgrade I will just do it in the future. I am so bad at upgrading to new technology, I always wait to see what else comes along. It took me forever to get this new laptop, and I've been cussing at my Blackberry for too long. Eventually it's time to give up the old coal-fired technology with the 8 track drive in it.

The only running news I have for today is that tonight I'm going to be talking with Skortman Ed about our plans for adventure running this summer, and then I'll post more about it soon.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Brilliant Birthday Idea

I always like to do something creative with running on my birthday. It doesn't always happen, and more often than not, it snows on my birthday. But three years ago, when I turned 45, I invited some friends to join me for a 45K birthday celebration called "One Foot in the Grave", celebrating being halfway to 90. We ran around the cemetery for 45 kilometers, or 28 times around the one mile loop.

This year I have a different idea. Tonight, after my thirty miler, and after a homecooked dinner of caesar salad and grilled salmon, Dennis and I went out to Walmart. Big date night for us. I used to avoid Walmart at all costs, but since I discovered its virtues as an ideal pre-running supply store, I do occasionally find myself there, once or twice a year before a big race. Then my neighbor had to get me hooked on this girl beer, Michelob Ultra (3.2) with pomegranate and raspberry flavor. I can't find it anywhere else in town but Walmart. It's a great recovery drink after a long run. So now I go to Walmart to stock up on 3.2 beer.

OMG, what has happened to me?

So we made our excursion over to the Timnath Walmart, closest to our house. It was an adventure, as Walmart always is. We got my stash of girl beer, then we got a couple of other items. I was trying to find some inexpensive kitchen towels, since I just threw two of them away that were gross and disgusting. I asked a Walmart associate who was busy scanning items in the shampoo section. He enthusiastically offered to walk me over to the kitchen towels, even though I told him he could just tell me where it is. I was impressed with his customer service.

With Dennis following behind pushing the XXL shopping cart, the associate led me across the store, past the incontinence section, and down the main east-west aisle, past the displays of interesting clothing. Walmart fashion is so eye-catching, I couldn't help but do a double take at this sports bra. Purple camo. They also had matching tank tops. Very cool. I also noticed that the associate had rather large love handles flopping over his waistband, but I could barely keep up with him, with my post-long run stiff old lady limp.

After we picked out a few towels, I led Dennis back over to the purple camo bras. They were only $8.00, but they didn't have any smalls left. Bummer. In the adjacent aisle there was a display of animal print "extreme push-up" bras. They weren't sports bras, though. There is nothing quite like Walmart fashion.

Then the lightbulb went on in my head. I hadn't used my brain all day, apparently it was recharging for five hours while I ran. I was ready to go, gears grinding at full speed.

"I know what I want to do for my birthday this year," I announced to Dennis.

He rolled his eyes.

"I want to do an Extreme Running Tour de Walmart: Shop 'Til You Drop. I want to hit all four Walmarts and buy an article of clothing at each one, and wear it."

We have four Walmarts within reasonable running distance of my house. Two are in Loveland, one is in Fort Collins, and this one in Timnath.

Now that I am older, I need to run more miles. I could do 48K, but I wouldn't be able to make it to all four Walmarts, so I think I need to get tough. I can do 48 miles, and it would be a good workout for me at that point in time. I need a fifty-ish run soon, so this is perfect.

Dennis agreed to be my mobile aid station, he'll be my crew at each of the Walmarts, I can re-fuel along the way.

Now I just have to figure out the route, and invite anyone who wants to tag along for all or part. My birthday is March 10th, which is just three weeks away.

What a fantastic idea! I amaze myself...

Thoughtless Thirty

I debated whether to call this post Frozen Ass 50K. I finally did my 30 miler today, and it really wasn't bad at all. I did feel tired in the last 7 miles but didn't slow the pace, I picked it up for the last mile to come home strong. It took me five hours and a little change, almost perfectly even pace the whole time, not bad.

I froze my butt off the whole time. It almost got into the 40s while I was out, but there was a breeze, and I saw people on the bike path running in shorts and tank tops. I thought there might be something wrong with me. I was freezing! I came back to the house twice to change into dry clothes, my hands, ears, and upper body were so cold. I wore three layers the first time out, it was only 19 degrees. But you'd think I would warm up. The sun came out, but I was still shivering. Maybe I am permanently adjusted to Death Valley temperatures.

I ran the whole thing doing out and backs on the Power Trail and a short stretch on Spring Creek. Nice, rolling hills, but nothing major. Just enough to challenge me to keep my pace going.

I didn't listen to any music on the run, and I don't know where my mind was, because I don't think I had any thoughts. It seems like I was completely zoned out the whole time. Usually I remember what I thought about on the run, but this time, I don't know where I was. That's probably a good thing, because I think too much most of the time.

It's definitely not spring yet, but there is a change. Mud. It's the beginning of mud season, which is very exciting because that means spring weather is just around the corner.

Now it's time for some hot soup and a nap with The Buffaloes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wake up and Whine

Easy recovery day, a little over 10 miles. Isabelle didn't want to go, so Iris went. I worked hard on my run yesterday and I'm tired today, I want to do 30 tomorrow. So I took a "little nap".

I crawled into bed at 2 pm and woke up to the girls barking their familiar bark: UPS. They sound vicious. I was awake before the doorbell rang, but had to find my robe and shoes. I ran downstairs hoping I wouldn't miss the delivery, because it was wine and I had to sign for it. I scooted the snarling girls out of the way and signed for the box through the cracked door. I was squinting because I didn't have my contact lenses in, and my hair was wild. I'm sure the UPS driver wondered what kind of afternoon delight I was up to...

Anyway I dropped the box on the table and went back upstairs and got back into bed. I thought for sure I'd fall asleep again. After a little while I realized I wasn't going back to sleep and wondered what time it was. I looked. 5:00! I slept almost 3 hours! It was a good thing I woke up, otherwise who knows how long I would have slept.

We belong to a wine club and we get wine sent to us four times a year. If I'm not home it's a pain having to go pick up from UPS. So I was glad to be home when it arrived. We are not big wine drinkers but we really enjoy this winery, it's in Salida and we spend a lot of time in that area in the summers, because it's near our cabin. Definitely worth checking out for a tasting if you're in the area.

It's so gray outside, no sunshine, just blah. It hasn't helped my grumpy mood. I've been so exhausted. I think I'm just tired from getting little sleep earlier in the week, and sometimes I underestimate just how tired I can get in two days at work. Everyone's been sick, too, so I wonder if I'm fighting something off. I've been needing serious naps over the past three days.

The other day I got "you have young eyes" from my eye doctor. Very funny. I don't need reading glasses, except with small, small print. When I got out of there, it was a nice sunny afternoon but I was so tired that I went home and took a nap, hoping that when I woke up, I'd be able to see.

Well, I woke up at 6 pm and looked like I had a head injury, my right pupil was almost back to normal size, but my left pupil was still huge. And I had a headache, plus a sore throat on one side from my sinuses draining. By 8 pm I still wasn't back to normal size pupils and I was ready for more sleep, so I just went to bed. Certain medications always seem to take a long time to go away, especially at the dentist and eye doctor. They always say 4 hours and it takes 8 or longer.

Yesterday it was sunny and cool, and I felt better when I woke up. I got out for 15 1/2 miles, got 4 with the Buffaloes, 8 on my own with strides, then came home, got the tire, and went out for another 3 1/2. Pulling the tire is fun. I need to find some better places to go with it, because I'm running long enough now that the neighborhood doesn't offer enough of a challenge. The hills are too gradual. One of the things I don't like to do is drive somewhere to run, especially for less than an hour. But I'll have to.

I was totally wiped out afterwards, so I took another nap yesterday, before I went to the cancer support group. When I woke up I didn't feel like going because I felt like I could sleep a few more hours. But I got up, went out and I was glad I did. Then I came home afterwards and was in bed by 9. Toast.

On the run today I stopped a woman running with a bike trailer/stroller. She was pushing it as a stroller, but it can be used to hitch to a bike, as a trailer. It looked much better than the baby jogger setup. I think if I can attach something like that to my belt, like I do with the tire, it will be better. The other nice thing is that I have the option of pushing it, and the handles are much lower. The thing I didn't like was the tire size- small. I'll have to find a way to adapt it. But first I have to find one.

I am getting very excited about my adventure run this summer, even though the logistics are a challenge right now. I'll figure it out. Looks like my buddy Skortman Ed will be joining me for part of it, so I'll need to build my abdominal muscles to prevent a hernia from laughing.

I hope I'll feel good when I wake up tomorrow, because that 30 miler is calling my name. No excuses.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Work Hangover Wednesday

It's a Wednesday, after I worked two long days back to back with very little sleep before or in between. So I'm feeling a bit cantankerous today.

I've been able to write, my head isn't completely fogged, but it took me until 10 am to take a shower and eat something. I don't have much motivation for anything. This morning I made a mammogram appointment for next month and paid some bills. Ouch. Of course I probably don't need that appointment now, since I woke up this morning at 5:15 to Iris's paw stomping on my boob. Thanks for the mammogram, Iris.

I have an appointment to get my eyes checked this afternoon and I'm hoping to fit a nap in somewhere, preferably after the eye appointment, since my pupils will be as big as saucers and running in the snow glare of daylight won't be good for them. I hope to get out for a nice evening run once I get more rested.

This truly beautiful classic piece was written in 1999 by Larry Gassan. It was just re-posted on Facebook and has made the rounds of the ultra discussion lists again. Some ultrarunners are saying it should be required reading for newbies.

I don't know if that's totally necessary, because I think people come to most things in life with a base of common sense, or not. In some people it takes maturity and experience to develop it. Being a "smart" person on the surface, as supposedly evidenced by a high level of education, long professional career, having raised kids, etc. does not mean you have common sense. Still, I think it is excellent reading material even though it will be completely lost on a lot of people.

Some people just can't get past themselves, they stand as the biggest hurdle to their own success. Waaah, waaah, waaah. Caught with yer pants down and ya can't pull 'em up because yer big fat head is stuck in yer butt.

The pogey bait comment reminds me of what I always try to drive home to people. Being mesmerized by shiny things takes your focus off the important basics. There is so much glitter and glitz out there especially with the Internet and Facebook. Stick to the basics, and you're better off. Don't waste your time, money, or energy being seduced by every new thing that comes along. Even my dogs know to stay focused despite distractions. Eyes on the prize, but the prize is not the thing that sparkles. The sparkles are there to keep you from reaching the prize. The prize is already in you, you just have to reach for it.

And last but not least, the thing that drives home the totality of Larry's masterpiece, is the part about fun and enjoyment. It is about fun. Running hundreds of miles is enjoyable, if it's what you truly want to do and use your brain to do it.

None of this quien es mas macho crap. It ain't about suffering, folks. Or quien es mas loco. It's not about being crazy. If you're in it because you want people to think you're crazy or to prove to others how much you can suffer, you're not only crazy, you're just plain stupid. Life is too short to not enjoy what you're doing. So there you have it.

Every single one of the 12 statements is a gem. If you haven't read it, I highly, highly, recommend reading it right now.


Photo credit: Nathan Nitzky

Fat Tax

Happiness is priceless, and so is good health.

Recently I was running with someone who told me about his family history of cancer. Because of his high risk status, he had his first colonoscopy at age 40. Everything was okay so he ignored the doctor's advice to repeat it in 5 years. After one of his friends died from colon cancer as a result of it being detected too late, he went for another colonoscopy. That time, the gastroenterologist found several pre-cancerous polyps and removed them. He gets regular colonscopies now and is aware of just how risky it would be to miss one.

No matter how healthy we try to be, no one is immune to cancer. Or if anyone is, we don't know about it and haven't figured out what genetic mechanism gives them immunity. There are a lot of things we can do to prevent cancer, or detect it before it becomes invasive.

All around us there are bad influences on our behavior. Advertising is a huge influence. Back in the days when cigarette smoking was glamorized, and there were no warning labels or high taxes on tobacco products, a higher proportion of people smoked.

I'm going to preface the remainder of this post with this warning: The Surgeon General has determined that reading this post will make people with a certain political philosophy apoplectic. Not a political party, but specifically, the anti-tax, anti-government mindset. Not naming names here, because it's not fair to generalize. But you individuals know who you are. You speak Palinese. (Sorry, let that slip out, I must have eaten too many beans last night)

You hear the word "tax" or "government", and you poop your pants. So if you're that much of a "Red" blooded American, take your Xanax now, put your diaper on, pop that mask on and crank up the oxygen, and strap yourself into the autopulse, 'cause you're gonna need it if you keep reading. I can think of a certain politician running a losing campaign for the Republican nomination who would have ear steam launching his big fat head up into space by the end of this post.

I get mad when I see people do stupid things that affect large numbers of people in a bad way. I've tried to stay away from politics but I also want to eradicate apathy. Running, any type of exercise, as well as health promotion, is political in our current state of obeseification. People need fresh air and aerobic activity, pumping blood with oxygen through your body helps your brain, heart, lungs, muscles, and every cell in your body.

If we don't start controlling advertising and marketing of all this bad stuff, young people are going to start out their adult lives with chronic diseases that will reduce their quality of life and years of healthy living. Not to mention making health care costs unmanageable.

I think we need more warning labels and fat taxes. I think we should tax television and bad food, to start. Electronic gadgets and TVs should come with a warning label: Too many hours of sitting on your butt watching this object can lead to obesity and premature death. Cell phones should come with a warning label: Use of this object can lead to sore neck muscles, obesity, motor vehicle accidents, traumatic injuries and premature death. Soda and snack foods: Too much intake of this product can lead to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature death. Schools without physical education: The Surgeon General has determined that attendance at this school may cause obesity, diabetes, and early cardiovascular disease.

I don't watch television, but I catch snippets of it while I'm working, usually as I'm flushing someone's PICC line at work, they have the little TVs on while they sit and get their infusions. The advertisements for cars, especially big 4 wheel drive pickups, always show people driving a little too aggressively, just a bit too fast. So people think that is how they are supposed to drive on the streets, and through neighborhoods where the speed limit is 25 mph and there are young kids who play outside. Add a cell phone to that and you have a disaster waiting to happen.

I happen to love the idea of taxes to discourage people from spending money on things that are bad for them and drive health care costs upward. Cigarette taxes are great. But we should tax bad food at the same rate. You know the CEO of Nabisco or Kraft Foods doesn't have to lay out nearly as high a percentage of his or her income on health care as the average working person does. They are raking in the bucks from unregulated gluttony.

Every time you take a bite of those chocolate covered Oreo cookies or Ritz crackers, you are not only buying someone's next vacation home, you're also reserving yourself a future place in the dialysis unit, cardiac cath lab, or chemotherapy chair. And when health care costs and insurance premiums rise because of higher rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, the average working person feels it a lot more. Fat is metabolically active tissue, it produces hormones like estrogen that can promote cancer growth. Insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 are cancer promoters. Sugar causes us to release insulin. Obesity and metabolic syndrome can lead to insulin resistance, resulting in high levels of insulin in the blood.

And guess what? The CEOs of drug companies will be all too happy to take your money on the far end, too. And if they don't make enough profit off the drug you need, they might just stop making it (e.g. the current methotrexate shortage for treating leukemia in children, who didn't even have enough time to develop bad habits that contribute to cancer development over a lifetime). You don't think that's important? Go see Gab. I wonder what would happen if the drug company executives' children had cancer.

I don't know if my readers are aware, but there are quite a few serious drug shortages going on right now, for various reasons (e.g. "manufacturing and quality concerns") but mostly they seem to be coming down to greed. If the drug companies would invest instead of cutting back in these areas, there wouldn't be an issue.

Government regulation does help to prevent bad behavors from being promoted. People need real food and real exercise. People don't know about the benefits unless they are taught. Government is great at health promotion and education efforts. Efforts to prevent taxes and warning labels, and actions that strangle government across the board end up promoting greed. Greed is just another cancer, but it grows on our way of life. Look at the mess we're in, tell me that has nothing to do with greed.

Sounds like a job for a new government agency? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Greed. Might want to get the U.N. involved, too.

Greed is a crime against humanity.

Monday, February 13, 2012

And On The Days When I'm Not Running...

Some days are off the charts.

I can't really write much about work because of patient privacy, but I can tell you about the emotions. Most days pass with little blips on the radar screen, small tremors, nothing earthshattering. Today was one of those days that registered big on the Richter scale, up and down, all day long. None of the things that happened were new to me, it's just that they all converged on this one paticular day and happened together.

My coworkers and I were commenting to each other about how insignificant our little problems are, something that we do a lot, given the patients we see.

It's hard to watch when people don't do well, and they have few options, and life becomes boxed into a narrow time frame and they have no control over their decline. Meanwhile, someone else, similar age, similar type of cancer, does well, is cured, and goes on with their life. Then a family member of the person not doing well interacts with the person who is doing well. I found myself wiping tears after listening to my patient talk about her feelings of guilt over being the one who got the lucky break. The tears were mine.

I also watched someone experience joy of finishing their first chemo treatment, because they are so thrilled they made it through a quarter of their treatment, and they have no idea how rough things are about to become, but they are so happy to have made it through the first day with no nausea, no adverse effects. So excited that they give you a big hug before going home for the night, after a 10 hour day of chemo. Give them a couple of weeks, and they might think something different, or maybe not, but for now, they feel like they can do this, they can make it through chemo.

Sometimes people you never expect to make it very far surprise you. Some of it is luck, some of it is attitude, some is determination and stubbornness, support and love. I find myself blown away by seeing them smile because they just found out there is another option that will keep them comfortable longer, when other people faced with the same options would have said long ago, forget it, it's not worth it to live like that.

Sometimes people you love have to deal with very difficult situations and there is nothing you can do for them, all you can do is watch from a distance, and be there, and let them know that you are there.

I got to experience all of this today in one day.

One thing I have learned is don't hesitate to go see someone if there is ever a doubt that you might get another chance. If someone is important to you, make sure they know it. That was what I said to my patient who felt guilty about her good outcome when the other patient her age was facing a short time to say goodbye.

Sometimes, I can't believe I'm doing this. Sometimes I can't believe they're paying me to do this. Sometimes I can't believe it took me almost 50 years to begin.

Sometimes at the end of the day, when I leave work at 9 pm after a 13 hour day and walk toward the parking garage, I take a deep breath. That breath speaks a language of prayer and thanks and gratitude and love.

And I know I will be back there at 8:00 tomorrow ready to do it again, and be better, for what I experienced today.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cold Day, Warm Tire

After wimping out yesterday, I made myself go out and run. The added incentive was that the Fort Collins Running Club was having it's first group run for Horsetooth Half Marathon training, and I needed a hill run, so I decided I would join them despite the 7:30 am start.
Driving across town the thermometers registered anywhere from 6 to 13 degrees. It was 9 degrees at our house when I left. I woke up early anyway so there was no excuse. I dressed warm, three layers, including 3 layers on my head plus my old kelly green Javelina 100 neck gaiter around my face thanks to my Arizona friend Geri Kilgariff...I bet she never thought that would be so useful on a bone chilling day in Colorado!

I kept my water bottles inside the cooler so they wouldn't freeze in the car. I was whining about the cold yesterday, but it was warmer than today! The lessons will be repeated until they are learned...

When I got there at 7:10, several other people drove up but I needed to go warm up before we started up the big hill. I ran down the road and came back, and then Connie DeMercurio drove up with Dan, and they went to warm up. Eventually all seven of us congregated near the parking area at Maxwell Trailhead and we took off up the hill.

I had my camera and snapped some pictures but then couldn't catch anyone until halfway up the first hill, when I caught up to the always fashionable Jen Sajbel. We ended up running most of the way together, the first time we've ever run together, so that was fun getting to know her a little better. It wasn't too bad once we climbed the first big hill and our feet and hands warmed up. There was ice on Horsetooth Reservoir, which didn't exist in January. That's how cold it's been over the past week or so.

We ran out to the north dam and before we turned around we each used the park outhouse, and sorry if this is TMI but when I pulled my windpants down, I had frost inside my windpants- on the outside of my super thick tights! That's REALLY cold if you're running with frost in your crotch!

We lucked out because the wind never picked up so we didn't have to deal with much of a breeze at all. It was cold enough. At the top of the big hill I took off ahead of Jen, I wanted to get back to the car and get my tire. I ate a yogurt, and then dragged the tire up and down County Road 42 twice, from Overland Trail to a little past the curve by Maxwell. I dragged the tire for a total of 30 minutes, and going up that slight grade was tough! I was having to use my arms and really dig in for power. I was warm in no time. I got some strange looks from people driving by, but I got another thumbs up from somebody, and a small group of runners watched me with curiosity as they headed down the road in the opposite direction.

I finished up a total of three hours of running, which was good. I never did a long run this week, but the combination of hills at Horsetooth followed by 30 minutes of tire dragging was a great workout in a three hour run. Next week it's supposed to warm up so I will save my long run for then.

I'm looking forward to my next hot date with the tire this week for Valentine's Day. Don't tell Dennis.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Isabelle's advice for a cold day

Twelve degrees. That's what it was this morning. What happened to our spring? The weather gods are making us pay for our sunny warm January. Isabelle was not too happy about it. She didn't want to do anything, and neither did I.

When I woke up it had been snowing all night and was still snowing lightly, and it was 9 degrees. We were supposed to run a race in Loveland this morning but we never signed up, and it was icy and freezing, and it wasn't worth the risk of injury. Dennis wasn't interested in running in those conditions either, so we had coffee and then decided to go out for breakfast at the Silver Grill, something we rarely do.

After breakfast I went over to Dennis Vanderheiden's house (a different Dennis) to look at a couple of baby jogger and trailer options, he's going to let me borrow those to figure out what will work best and how I can get them adapted to my needs. Dennis uses the baby joggers for Athletes in Tandem, which is a pretty cool organization. That was really nice of him to let me borrow them and figure out my plans, I will definitely be making a donation to AiT.

He was going to bring one of the joggers to me this morning at the race, but the weather changed a lot of people's plans. Since he wasn't going to the race either, I went over there. Standing outside looking at the strollers and talking, it was absolutely freeeeeeeeezing! We were outside about 10 minutes and then all the way home my hands and toes were thawing- that hurts!

Later it warmed up a little after I got home and Dennis (back to my husband, Dennis) took the girls for a short walk. They got ice balls between their toes.

So next time you feel like this,

take the day off from running, go out for breakfast, hang around the house, take a nap, and find someone to scratch your ears.

I'm hoping tomorrow I'll have the motivation to go out and run 30 miles, as I planned to do sometime this week, and it hasn't happened yet. A good ear scratching will do the trick.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

How I Trained for my 2011 Badwater Double

This is a re-post of a page I kept on my blog in 2011. I took it down a few months ago but decided to re-post it. I think it would be helpful to anyone looking to finish the Badwater race.

As you read it, keep in mind I was training for a double crossing, not just the race. As a result I did a lot more long consecutive (back-to-back-to-back) days than would be necessary for just the race itself. And my strategy in the race was to take care of my feet and hydration, and get enough rest so that I had something left over to do another 135 miles afterward, so I didn't push myself anywhere near my limit in the race.

If you're training for the race only, you'd want to add a bit more intensity and perhaps not so many long days. My goal was to finish in under the 48 hour time cutoff. So this would be a good guideline for someone who is a first-timer, and solely interested in finishing. If you're a speedster, there are lots of other places to look for guidelines on training.

Feel free to comment, or write me at sherunnoftatgmaildotcom if you have questions. I can't put a lot of time into answering specific training questions and I DO NOT coach, so please do not ask me to give you specific advice on your training routine. I will try to answer your general questions about Badwater as time permits.

2011 Badwater Training Notes

People ask me how I train for the races I do. They think I do mega-miles, which is not true at all. When I'm approaching a big race, I do a lot of miles on some weeks, but I don't sustain a high mileage routine week after week, all year. I probably do a lot less than many ultrarunners who are running shorter races.

I consider myself an athlete, not an addict, which means I respect my body and treat it well, as I ask a lot of it, so I do not overdo it. I'll be 48 years old this year, I have been running for 28 years, and I hope to be running into the future for at least another 28 years.

Keep in mind that at Badwater I am not going for any records or places. I am not running this race in competition with others, I am only trying to do the best I can so essentially I am competing with myself.

I won't put my entire training log in here but I will put the basics in, as the weeks go by.

When training for Badwater, you have to be ready to do the race distance before you even put your application in.

By the time you get notification that you're accepted into the race, you have less than 5 months until race day. So if you're not already seriously fit, you're going to be in trouble.

Fortunately the Badwater application process takes that into account. If you haven't done the equivalent of at least a couple or three serious (100 mile+) ultras in the year leading up to your application for the race, you won't get in.

A Little History

Let's backtrack for a bit: I ran Badwater for the first time in 2008. After that I took it pretty easy for over a year. I needed a break from training so hard, plus I had other things going on in my life, like a miserably stressful job, that made it hard for me to train well and consistently. So I basically took 2009 off from doing ultras. I ran a few 50K-ish runs and kept a base of 30-40 miles a week all year just for fitness, but that's all.

In 2010 I began to train again, with running Badwater in 2011 in mind. I changed jobs, which helped more than anything. I knew I was going to have to do a few long runs. I planned for 3 races: the Keys 100, the Lean Horse Hundred, and Across the Years 48 hour. I ran a few other short races (Old Pueblo 50 and Leadville Marathon) but that was it.

Racing can often set you back, if you work really hard, you will need a break from training. I try not to race too many long ultras each year, which keeps my training more consistent. My goal for the year was to set a PR at Across the Years, I wanted to go over 150 miles.

I unexpectedly set a PR at the Keys. I had no idea I was going to feel so good in the heat and humidity. I ran Lean Horse as a training run for Across the Years, in a relaxed 28 hours. And then I did get a PR at ATY, with 151.3 miles, even though I feel like if the weather had been warmer, I would have done better.

January 2011
After ATY, I took a couple of weeks off completely. I did not exercise except for a few very short walks with the dogs, ike a mile or two, and not even every day. Two weeks after ATY I began riding the bike on the trainer indoors. I rode two hours a day for about a week, then I was sidelined with a cold for a week, so I cut back to an hour a day.

In February I began running easy, short runs. I also resumed my three times a week weightlifting and core strength exercises on the exercise ball, and five days a week situps. The longest run I did in the month of February was 11 miles. My total mileage for each week went from 30 to 50 miles the week before Florida. I went to Florida the last week of February and ran the LOST 118. I DNFed at 114 only because a bout of diarrhea had caused electrolyte problems, causing me to cramp and slow down. So I ended up with a 114 mile training run, in a 125 mile week.

I took an easy week after LOST and ran a total of 7 miles, including a 4 mile run at Horsetooth on the big hill 6 days after the race, where I felt great!

I was tired for a few weeks after LOST. I kept my mileage low, wanting to make a full recovery. I started my Rock Repeat workouts, which are multiple repeats running a trail up and down Horsetooth Rock, minus the rock part. Each week I added another repeat and each week my legs got sore. I tried running fast for an hour on Wednesday nights with a group of faster runners, which is always difficult for me, but I managed to keep up. I call it my speedwork.

Three weeks later I did a 90 mile week. After that I was toast. I could feel that I wasn't quite ready to bump the mileage up consistently, so I took a 30 mile week afterward.

My strategy in March must have paid off because the next week I did 107 miles and felt good, like I could have done more.

I followed that with an 85 mile week, then a 101 mile week. For three weeks in a row I increased the mileage I did on consecutive days. 70 in 3 days, then 80 in three days, then 96 in 3 days. Still feeling good, I decided to force a rest week.

The 96 miles in 3 days consisted of an easy 20 mile run with a lot of walking, a 50 mile run in 10:12 in stiff wind and a lot of running, then a 26 mile day with 6600 feet of vertical gain and the same of descent, which was six Horsetooth Rock Repeats.

The rest week felt great. I did 17 miles throughout the week and that was all! I got caught up on life, organized a presentation I'm giving twice on May 5th, and did a lot of Badwater planning, a necessity. I also took several long naps each afternoon when I wasn't at work. Two of those naps lasted 3 hours each! I guess I needed it! I kept up the weight training and sauna time during my rest week, too. As of the end of May I'd be hitting the sauna three days a week.

I followed my rest week with a solid 120 mile week. Two runs of 30 and 34 miles where I felt strong, a 22 miler on Horsetooth Centennial Drive, a few shorter days, then a short three-Rock Repeat run to wrap up the week. I can feel how much stronger I am with sustaining a running pace and being able to pick up the pace when I want to, even at the end of the run.

After that I had a busy week between work and other things so I cut back drastically on my miles, did only one long run up at Carter Lake and Pinewood Reservoir climbing the hill that is like the Portal Road. The following week I went to Arizona hoping for heat training. The temperature only reached 91 but I did get some solid miles in. Got a 122 mile week with 3 back to back days. Followed that by a total rest week, because I was so tired from the drive on top of everything else, and had an extra work day, taking me up to Memorial Day weekend, when I worked Saturday and Sunday.

The week starting with Memorial Day I ran the Houska Houska 5K at a steady pace, and did 3 long runs of 32, 34, and 40 miles, for a total of 126 miles for the week and nearly 10,000 feet of vertical gain and descent. I also increased my sauna time to a full hour each day, and the sauna is 175 degrees these days. I have to get out and take a couple of 2 minute breaks, but I go back in until I have spent a total of one hour in there.

The following week was a rest week, except I did one 40 mile run of nearly 10 Rock Repeats, until I ran out of daylight, giving me 10,350 feet of vertical gain and descent. I continued in the sauna, an hour every day I wasn't working.

I followed that with a week in Arizona where I ran only a little over 50 miles for the week but did a 16 miler and a 34 miler in 103 degree temperatures, which felt relatively cool.

The week after Arizona, I worked three days, and took it as a rest week, only got about 20 miles in. I was back in the sauna, hard core.

I aggravated the tendinitis in my right leg with the 10 Rock Repeats training run, but the road miles in Arizona didn't bother it. After Arizona I backed off a little earlier than I planned, but I still ran 40-50 miles a week each week until the full week before Badwater. A week of careful stretching and icing seemed to do the trick.

The last full week of June and the week at the end of June/beginning of July, I did a couple of hill workouts on Centennial Drive, just 10 and 20 miles each and a Rock Repeat session of just three repeats. The tendon was fine. The full week before Badwater I ran only 3 miles a day for four days with the Buffaloes.

I did my last run on July 7th, 4 days before the race. Four miles easy.

Badwater 2011 finishing time: 45:30

For a recap of the return trip of my Badwater double, see the July 2011 posts in the archives.

photo credit: Nathan Nitzky

Rantin' N Raven

Another chilling day, it was in the mid-twenties all morning and I was going to go to the track, but then changed my mind and decided to do fartlek instead. That was a good choice because I ended up doing a little more work than I would have on the track. I took the girls for 2 miles first. Isabelle wanted to lie down in the snow and eat it more than she wanted to run. Iris barked at me when I went out the door again on my own, but she got over it.

It's been so gray lately. Our sunshine has gone away. It makes people grumpy. Just in time for another rant on my favorite rant topic of all: cell phones.

How many times have I been trying to cross an intersection while running and some bozo is clueless about their surroundings, and makes a one-handed left turn while jabbering on the phone in their other hand, and doesn't even bother to see that the pedestrian crosswalk sign is activated and their left turn arrow is no longer green, but decides to go ahead anyway and nearly runs me over...then some of them act like it's my fault and get pissed off at ME!!?

More times than I can count, and it happened twice on Tuesday at the same intersection- going each direction. Harmony & McMurry.

I'm still trying to figure out why so many people seem to think driving a thousand pound piece of metal at any speed warrants multitasking.

I read with amusement the article appearing in our local paper, the Coloradoan, this morning, an article on how to make pedestrian crossings safer. I laughed because on Tuesday of this week, I was thinking the exact same thing myself. Mr. Fort Collins Traffic Engineer, are you listening? The crosswalks are only as safe as the people who are using them. I think he had it right with the three "E"s: education, engineering, and enforcement.

As far as education goes, I'll tell you what I think. I think every able-bodied person who applies for a driver's license and renewal should spend some time outdoors, on foot, or on a bicycle, crossing these intersections and crosswalks. Then maybe they'd get it. Maybe they'd finally get it through their thick multitasking skulls that it's dangerous to be out there as a pedestrian or cyclist when you have motorists who don't pay attention, don't adhere to the rules of the road, and are at an advantage with the size and speed of their vehicle. Maybe then they'd be more considerate of people who are not in cars.

I'm not saying that pedestrians and cyclists always follow the rules themselves, but sometimes it's more dangerous to cross an intersection legally than it is to find some random place in the middle of the road to cross when there's a break in traffic. Harmony & McMurry is a perfect example. That's where I typically cross to connect from the north part of the Power Trail to the south end, there's a gap of about 3/4 mile through the neighborhoods south of there unless you go cross country by the power line, where there is no safe pedestrian crossing.

We have pedestrian-activated crosswalks at other crossings along the Power Trail and it's pretty common to see most of the cars stop, but there's always some idiot who is either distracted on the phone, or wants to be jerk, and plows through anyway. You can never assume that just because one lane of cars stopped, that the adjacent lane doesn't contain one of these bozos.

As they said in the article, if everyone were paying attention, there wouldn't be a problem. That's why the cell phone issue irks me so much. There are other distractions, sure, like playing with a car radio or rubbernecking, but from what I see on the roads, cell phones are the major distraction.

Did I ever tell you how much I hate cell phones?

Monday, February 6, 2012

A perfect day

About twelve miles this morning. Three miles with Iris, seven miles on my own with strides, and two with the tire. Plus some core work and some upper body work, too. I'm finally getting motivated to weight train again.

This is not bad for my first post-work weekend day, usually I'm exhausted. Plus we are definitely paying for our mild January. Today wasn't too bad, it's in the 30s and a bit breezy but not terribly cold. Not enough to keep me indoors.

Isabelle didn't want to go today. The girls did 4 miles with their dad before Superbowl yesterday, but Isabelle takes every other day off. That's HER decision, not mine. Yes, my Australian Shepherd is smarter than your honor student, and most runners!

I tried to buy a really cool purple baby jogger with 20 inch wheels on E-Bay the other day but someone outbid me at the last minute. I am looking for other possibilities. I need to find one soon so I can start training with it.

It was busy this weekend at work, and I had the best patients! People never cease to amaze me with their gracious and positive attitudes despite so many things seemingly going against them. Funny, last week I was listening to one of the local oncologists speak and she was saying how when people find out she is an oncologist, they say "I'm sorry." Just like people do to us nurses. When they find out I'm an oncology nurse, they say, "That must be depressing."

Well, it's the best job in the world. I am never sorry to be doing what I'm doing now. It's not depressing. There isn't a day that goes by when I am not blown away by something one of my patients does or says. Like bringing homemade cookies to their oncologist who is about to do a painful procedure on them. Or being excited about making wedding plans for their kid and buying a wig for the occasion while they are sitting in the chair getting their chemotherapy.

So when it's a less than nice day, and I'm tired from work, and I'm not feeling too motivated, I can look back at the recent days I had at work and think of these people. And suddenly it turns into a perfect day, like today.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Weighing in on Komen

I have to comment on the Susan G. Komen fiasco. I debated with myself whether to say anything. This isn't a political blog, but I am so tired of the divisive politics in this country. What happens is the most disadvantaged people get hurt. They are the ones who suffer the collateral damage of nasty politicking.

I care about cancer. I care about what it does to people's lives. And I care about the fact that there are millions of people in this country who cannot afford to protect themselves from being diagnosed with these diseases at a point where treatment is less effective, more costly, and more devastating.

I've never been much of pink ribbon fan. I'm the kind of person who, if I see a lot of people doing something, I am going to do something different. If everybody's doing it, I won't. I'm not a rah-rah flag waver or a magnetic ribbon wielder. You won't see me wearing pink or participating in events like Race for the Cure. I have no objection to other people doing it, as it has supported good causes. It's just that, I prefer to support these things in a different way, my own way.

Personally, I support all sorts of cancer research, support, and screening, for men and women. Men and women are affected breast cancer. But there's more than just breast cancer that deserves attention and money. When I see pink-wrapped candy and other garbage being sold in support of breast cancer, it turns my stomach. What message does that send? That gluttony is acceptable, as long as it's for a cause?

Susan G. Komen screwed up. Maybe they can save face, maybe they can come clean and pull themselves out of the toilet, but I wonder if public trust will ever be restored in this organization.

Our health care system is broken, along with our economic, taxation, political and legal systems. We need leaders who can work with each other for SOLUTIONS despite their ideologies. We all need to let go of our death grips on how we think things MUST BE and start working toward changing WHAT IS. Because WHAT IS is not working.

Unless, of course, you have endless buttloads of money and zero social conscience, then it suits you perfectly.

Fortunately many wealthy people do have a social conscience, but it sure seems these days that they are outnumbered and outpowered by those who don't feel any obligation to their fellow human beings who share this planet. I believe we all end up in the same place. And I also believe that no one greets you at the pearly gates to let you in preferentially just because you made more money than someone else.

Isn't it time we evolved as a society? This isn't the wild west anymore. We have over 300 million people to take care of.

We all have seen the civil rights movement, the womens' movement, the ongoing battle for gay rights. None of these movements are finished, there remains work to be done on all these fronts. The disparity of wealth, power, and resources is sparking a movement too. We need to change the way things are done. It's incremental, and it takes generations. Things don't happen without a lot of resistance and bloodshed by the powers-that-be.

That's where we're headed, folks. It's only a matter of time. When it hurts more to avoid action than it does to take action, things will change. We're getting awfully close.

Groundhog Day: What a Drag!

This is my new toy, just started playing with it this week.

Dennis and I put this tire drag together using Marshall's instructions, and it took all of an hour and a half to do it, including gathering the supplies. I used a free old tire from a junkyard, got about 10 feet of climbing rope and a carabiner from REI, a bungee cord, and a padded weight belt for $20 from Sports Authority. Total cost less than $30.

First, the inspector had to check it out, for quality control.

Once it met Isabelle's approval, I tried it out.

It works. It's awesome! Now I have to figure out some good places to play, with a nice grade, where there isn't much traffic and there won't be too many gawkers.

I'll be using this to help me prepare for my little adventure this summer. I'm still looking into used baby joggers on e-Bay and other places. I'll be making reservations this month, and once I have things fairly well-organized, I'll blog about it.

Fourteen miles this morning, two with the buffs, one with the tire, and 11 more unattached. I ran the Power Trail. It's sort of a gloomy morning, the clouds are hanging out and the breeze is starting to pick up. It wasn't too cold, maybe 35 degrees, but I wore three layers on top and my thickest tights anyway. This is my work weekend so I don't have a lot of days to run this week. That's okay, as long as I get my quality workouts in. I need to do hills and I hope it's not brutally cold and windy tomorrow for that. But if it is, I'll tough it out anyway.

It is February and the days are noticeably longer. It was still light at 5 pm. Another 5 weeks and we change the clocks again. Can that be possible? Spring is on its way, even if we get hit with a snowy month or two this year.

If you follow the famous rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, he saw his shadow this morning, so it looks like 6 more weeks of winter. Judging by our weather forecast, that is true. We've lost our sunny 50+ degree days for at least the next week. But the forecast isn't too bad, just a bit colder with a little snow, nothing major expected. I'm not a big fan of Phil. I say it's just a brief reprieve from spring, which has already been here for a month. Positive thoughts.

Whitewalls up!