Scatter my ashes here...

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Recipe for a Tailwind

This entire week so far has been nothing but WIND. Constant blowing and cold. We got a few sprinkles one day but no more moisture, just a steady howling with a few extra strong gusts, the kind that split trees in half, blow trash cans over, and generally make a run down any street lined with trees into Russian Roulette.

I went out anyway, just for a few miles each day, 4 or 6 miles at a time. It really wasn't that bad, even running into the headwind. Probably because I knew I'd be out there for such a short time. I've been following the forecasts for Iowa and it doesn't look much better there, actually worse because of rain, but it looks like this storm system is headed east, so I might have a strong tailwind blowing me across Nebraska. Could save money on gas that way.

I waited until tonight to run because the wind was super gusty today. Once the sun went down, the wind died down quite a bit and there was a sliver of a moon out, and there was still light in the sky until almost 8:30.

Iris has been following me around, every time I go to the bathroom she follows me and stares at me. Isabelle is more subtle about it but she's been watching me, too.

The bags are packed, reservations made, I have a plan for the race. I was talking with a running friend from Georgia the other day, Beth McCurdy, and we were laughing about last spring in Cleveland. She was telling me the story of when we were running North Coast in that heinous windstorm last year, and Beth decided to drop out and she told me, I said to her, "Oh, no! Why?" She tells people, "Because I'm not from freaking Colorado!"

Beth runs with Joe Fejes, and according to Joe, running a 24 hour is like baking a cake, following the recipe. I have my own recipe for this one and I think it has plenty of wiggle room for bathroom breaks, changing clothes, and any quick stops that are needed.

I'm ready as usual, overpacked, for whatever the weather gods throw my way. All I can do now is let the wind blow and follow the recipe.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Oil Change, Crack Dealer, and Errands for the Guilt Trip

After working all weekend I finally have a day to concentrate on packing and getting ready for the race. I did some errands this morning- got the oil changed, bought some race drinks and food that aren't perishable, and packed the table, chair, and coolers into the back of the car.

I started packing my clothes and running gear, with Iris's supervision, of course. Packing for a guilt trip.

Going through my running supplies, I have so much crap that accumulates in my foot box, first aid kit, and the other stuff that I bring to the table in my 24 hour races, that I have to go through it all and replace stuff. I also find the gels that expired in 2009, along with some old, leaky, sticky things that I can't identify.

Going through the gels, I realized my supply of double caffeine chocolate cherry Clif Shots was dwindling, so I had to make a trip to the crack dealer this morning. I went over to Runners' Roost and topped off my stash. There was a new guy there, looked like a college student, I'd never seen him before, and he didn't know me. I think I freaked him out a little when I asked him for crack.

I'm getting the evil eye while I organize all my stuff into bags. It's windy outside today, and cool. We probably haven't had more than 5 days where it got into the 70s yet this spring. It has been consistently cool. No rain, though. The leaves on the cottonwood trees are just starting to open, and there are a few lilac blooms.

With the weather the way it has been, I'm preparing for cold, wet conditions. Who knows what we'll get. Wheaties Boy and the Cereal Killas completed their R2R2R in cold, windy, rainy, muddy conditions, with a little snow. No problems with the heat for them. They did great, and it sounds like the weather made the adventure even more exciting.

The pictures they got were amazing, and they made a video, which I hope to be able to share or link to from this blog in the near future.

Back to packing...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Just Say No to the Taper Worm...

The taper is going as well as can be expected. I've been busy with work and other things so it's a welcome distraction from feeling like I need to bounce off the ceiling.

We took a trip up to the cabin this weekend to clear stuff out. We've decided to sell it, we aren't using it enough. We took the girls, they got a chance to hang out at their cabin hopefully before it sells. It's one of those "taper projects".

Iris knows where she is, as soon as we get over Kenosha Pass, she always goes crazy. We think it's the smell of cows, but it could be the scenery. This time there were no cows, probably too early for them to be grazing out there since the snow is not completely gone. As soon as we dropped down into South Park, she started getting excited.

On the way back the girls had to ride with all the junk we brought back from the cabin.

I was greeted by this nice piece of mail when I got home. One of those nice things about turning 50. Thanks for the pleasant reminder. Talk about the ultimate taper worm! I will have this done sometime this year, but I'm putting it off until AFTER the race.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Wannabe Cereal Killa...

I am so envious right now my eyes could pop out.

This weekend Wheaties Boy and three other friends are off to the Grand Canyon to run rim to rim to rim. I haven't been down the Grand Canyon since 2003 and these days it is looking like a far off dream because of the state of my ankles. I would love to do that run again someday.

I sent them all a little note with Grand Canyon tips, from what I can remember from over 10 years ago. I addressed it to "Wheaties Boy and the Cereal Killas".

This morning I was forced to get my own butt out the door and run my mile repeats alone. The good thing was that I slept in, I didn't need a headlamp, and I wasn't freezing my butt off dressing in three layers. I am just at the beginning of my taper and I took yesterday off, and I'm feeling pretty good. I missed running yesterday, which is a good sign.

I did my two mile warmup and then jumped right into it. The first mile was hard, I started out a little fast and had to let up after the first quarter mile so I could survive it. I could not believe my eyes when I saw my watch.
I thought, it will be really bad if my next two are over 7 minutes because I blew out all the carbon on this one. I took my mile recovery jog and sipped some water, then took off for mile # 2. It seemed a little easier and I didn't go out quite so hard. I felt strong at the end but it was an effort. I guessed I would be right around 7 minutes.

Holy bat guano, this is what my watch said for number 2.

Again, I did my recovery jog, sipped a little water again, and psyched myself up. I was hoping I could hang on through one more sub 7 and I'd be thrilled.

This one felt even easier. I pushed a little harder in the last 200 meters or so because I was afraid I'd slacked off.

I guess not.

I felt so good, I wanted to do another one, but it's taper time and three one mile repeats 10 days before my race is plenty. I cooled down with an easy mile and went home. Holy crap, three sub 7s in a row and not 6:59.99s either.

I have a busy weekend ahead of me. Not from running, but for work! Yes, I am actually getting busy. I have real work to do! It's awesome!

I'm taking the day with Dennis and the girls Friday to do some family things, and then Saturday and Sunday I will do some short easy runs and get my work done. Next week is already getting busy before my trip to Iowa.

Today's workout was very encouraging. I've got my race strategy figured out, all I can do now is plan and prepare what's left and trust that I am ready for hundreds of laps around Lancer Stadium.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Can't Fix Stupid...

A gaggle of goslings...

On run number two, I met Emma at River Bluffs Open Space and we did a quick 6 miles at a good pace on the bike path. We had a great talk. I always appreciate being able to share our perspectives on all things. On the way out we saw these geese with their babies.

I stopped to take a picture but I couldn't get too close, sorry about the unclear photo, I didn't want to upset the mother, who started to hiss at me. Having been attacked by geese before while running the Mad Dog 50K in Arizona, I wasn't about to risk it...

On run number three I took Iris through the neighborhood for a short one after I got home from the run with Emma. Thirteen miles today, and now it's time to back off.

Time heals, and time reveals. I am learning that quickly, the universe is showing me that I have made the right decision on a daily basis, sometimes more often than daily. Sometimes the revelations are shocking, amusing, appalling, or just an affirmation that you can't fix stupid. Just a simple run last weekend on the bike path and running into someone, and listening to what they had to say, opened my eyes even further to this.

Where things seemed very fuzzy and cloudy initially when I left traditional health care last fall, it seems like on a regular basis now, both through face-to-face conversations, people who have contacted me both in response to my inquiries or unprompted by me, and occasionally in written form such as the link that follows, I am getting insight and validation into the types of decisions and uncritical thinking that guide modern health care. It's really scary.

Nurses' Week is coming right up. I am the queen of snark when it comes to Nurses' Week. Can't wait!

A Meteor-less Earth Day

I woke up at 3 am for no particular reason today. I tried to go back to sleep, but at 3:50 I gave up and got up, remembering that the Lyrid meteor showers were supposed to be visible in early morning. I asked the Buffaloes for permission to leave, they were not thrilled about it, but I got dressed and went for a run. Unfortunately it was cloudy and there was a bright moon that the clouds kept obscured most of the time. The moon was pretty when it was visible, but no meteor showers.

It was cooler this morning than it has been the past few days, I bundled up in my winter running clothes again. I ran 6 miles and came back, ran over to Starbucks and got a coffee so I wouldn't wake Dennis up, and came home again. Later this morning I am running with Emma. After today I will be entering a serious taper, having managed to get 70 miles in the past 7 days. It happened while I wasn't paying attention.

I wonder if this year it will go directly from winter to summer, we've had few warm days so far. The green foliage seems to be behind, and our lilacs are late, they haven't bloomed yet.

I started out yesterday morning feeling a bit down, it's odd being so isolated, when you're in this transition period of starting your business but not really out there yet talking to a lot of people. But I did talk to a few people yesterday, and got one major project out of the way. Then in the evening suddenly everything started happening, texts, e-mails, people interested in work-related things. As a result, today I have my work cut out for me.

After my run with Emma I will be putting in at least an 8 hour day. Keeping the momentum going is hard sometimes, you can have stretches where nothing happens and then suddenly you get bombarded with things to do. Keeps me on my toes and it's always a challenge. It's good to be busy, plus I can't start thinking about Cornbelt yet, or I'll drive myself crazy.

Happy Earth Day.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Frogs on Maniac Hill

Not the Easter bunnies. Easter is one of those holidays that I don't really notice. The other day I saw one of my neighbors and she asked me what we were doing for Easter. I asked her, "When is Easter?"

She laughed. "It's this Sunday!"

Better get going, slacker...time is running out!

Not having been raised Christian I don't ever think about Easter and I'm barely aware of it. Sort of blends into spring. I don't even associate Peeps with Easter, only with spring. So when people wish me Happy Easter it always takes me by surprise. I just wish them a Happy Easter back, and move on.

So what are we doing for Easter? Dennis is in the garage taking the window air conditioning unit apart and cleaning it out before he installs it in the window again. We don't have central AC, good for heat training.

He took the girls to Starbucks while I was out on my run. I went for a short run with Iris this morning, and then went up to Horsetooth Reservoir to do a 15 mile hill run. I waited until 10:30 to get started, it was supposed to warm up to the 70s, which it did. I felt good and ran a good pace up and down those hills, feeling very strong on the climbs. It rained for about 10 minutes when I was coming down the big hill. Not very much, and it didn't really cool things down once it passed. I need whatever heat training I can get in these next 2 weeks.

I noticed this pond at the top of Maniac Hill, it usually is dried up, but now it's green and has water in it, and the sound of the frogs was deafening. You know it's loud when motorcycles and cars are going by and you can still hear the frogs! I guess frogs are sort of like Easter bunnies, they hop...

Yesterday I had a hard time getting my run in. I procrastinated until early afternoon, which is never a good thing for me. I am not an afternoon person. When I finally got out, I was unmotivated and ended up running into someone I know, and we talked for about an hour out there on the Power Trail, and by the time we were done I was even less motivated, so I finished 5 miles and went home and played darts in the garage with Dennis after he helped me pull all my stuff for Cornbelt out from behind all the junk that's accumulated over the past year.

It's a lazy day, Isabelle is in her usual spot in the grass in the front yard, and Iris is here at my feet. Pretty boring, and it's nice to have boring sometimes. Happy Easter.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Under the Wire!

Another morning in the cemetery. Wheaties Boy decided we should start a little earlier to get more miles in. Not a bad idea.

This week I've been tired, trying to give my body the rest it needs. I didn't realize how much last week took out of me. Other than having a hard time with the 3:15 am alarm, I felt decent getting out of bed this morning, and made my way over to the cemetery.

I got a new headlamp this past week, I finally invested in a decent one, the Black Diamond Sprinter. I like it, it's a little on the heavy side on my head, and I still have to get the straps adjusted right, but it gives great light. It made it much easier to see the little rocks and pine cones in the dark on the cemetery road.

After a warmup we got going. I ran my first mile in 7:05, not bad for a first one, after being so tired and last week's disappointing workout. On the second one I dug in a bit more on the home stretch and didn't look when I shut my watch off, but hoping I'd get the result I wanted. When I looked at my watch, I let out a WHOOP! Got my sub-7! Finally, after all this time, and last year barely being able to crack 8s, I made it under the 7 minute mark. We high-fived and did our easy lap, then I did my last mile, which was a bit tougher and slower, in 7:19. Still faster than I would have done if I just went out to jog.

Wheaties Boy opted for a fourth mile repeat but I started my cooldown. Three was enough for me. I have one more speed session before my race at Cornbelt, and I'll have to do it without Wheaties Boy. I'll give myself the luxury of sleeping in next week. He'll be in the Grand Canyon next weekend, with Eddie, Bard and Chris. Lucky dudes. I wish I could run there again but my ankles would not allow that, not yet anyway. I would love to be able to go back there again.

Humbling and exhilarating. Even though it was just under the wire and long ago 6:59 would be a relatively easy pace for me, I was happy to see progress, a digit makes all the difference. After I recover from Cornbelt I'll be doing speed all summer, and I can't wait to see how far down I can take those mile splits.

The sunrise was awesome and we still had most of the full moon. The sky turned pink during my cooldown and I could take pictures.

The temperature got up to nearly 80 today. I took a short nap and then met a friend for lunch. After lunch I went out for another 5 miles just to experience the heat. I might have to do a few quick sauna sessions in my car in the next couple of weeks to prepare myself for any hot weather at Cornbelt, we haven't had any hot days yet.

Easy running this weekend with a few hills, and I should be taper-ready. Now the hard part begins.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Old and New

Halfway through the week and it's been a rough one. Just feeling sort of blah ever since the week began. I'm probably tired from last week's training but it's just been a weird week in general. Ever have those days where everything goes weird? That's what today was like.

I took two days off from running after the Horsetooth Half, and went for a short easy one today. I had plenty of energy but I just didn't feel motivated. I took a nap and spent some time with the Buffaloes, that always makes me feel better. It was cold outside today, there was a cold wind and not a lot of sunshine this afternoon. I've been freezing lately. I got in the hot tub for a while and that helped.

I've been hanging out close to home this week. I got this nasty cold sore on my lip that suddenly blossomed in the middle of last week and it's probably the worst one I've ever had. I think it was from a combination of my workouts- probably the sun exposure to some extent, but also stress. Not just physical stress of the workouts but the emotional stress of last week. Anyway it looks like a crater on my lip, like a meteor crashed there. I could probably charge admission and let people see the 8th wonder of the world.

I'm waiting until it heals before I go out and start talking to more people about my business, I'd hate for somebody to fall into the crater. I have liability insurance, but still...

But seriously, I didn't realize how much it would stick with me, my little encounter last week with one of the HMFICs from my old workplace. All the emotions of anger, frustration, and resentment that I was living with for the year before I quit came bubbling up after that day last week and I was pretty upset for several days afterward, and then some.

I feel better about it all now, and I'm really glad I got a chance to spew some of that to the appropriate individual, but I also realized how important it is to get away from it, and how much it still affects me.

It was funny, though, today I got this email newsletter talking about another impending nursing shortage. I rolled my eyes. Really, they ought to just replace them all with robots and be done with it. Robots don't talk back.

So that's the old.

Then the new: today I was contacted by this creeper on Facebook about my business, it was like he was trying to solicit sex. Totally inappropriate, weird, and creepy. First I went to find out who he was and his profile said he is married and has a kid, and lives in Colorado, but not here in Fort Collins. I blocked him and reported him to Facebook. Who knows if that does anything. But really? That's sick and pathetic. If I ever run into this creep in the ultra world I will warn other women about him, and will let them know what he did.

Yesterday I realized that the check I wrote for the Cornbelt entry has never come through the bank. I don't know if they wait until the end to deposit all the entry checks, or what, but I thought I'd better make sure they received it since the entry deadline was April 15th. I called and they did have my entry, whew!

I am very excited about Cornbelt. I was out in the garage wanting to start packing all my stuff, my table, coolers, chair, and other things I'll need for my 24 hours on the track. But it's still 2 1/2 weeks away. Too soon to pack.

I did get brave and planted some cold season veggies in the raised beds. I'm not sure if it's too soon but I planted some lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and carrots. We had to cover the new fruit trees the other night when it got cold, but the apricot and apple trees seem to have survived the winter and are looking good.

The weather is supposed to improve and hopefully the wind will blow all the weirdness out of here and things will get back to normal. I'm ready for spring.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

2014 Horsetooth Half Marathon: Hell Freezes Over

About 1500 runners paid their dues today. There should be a new rule for running in bad weather: you should only have to run in crappy conditions once a year, and then you're done, the rest of your races will be on nice days.

This morning's race was everything you hope you'll never have to run in: rain/snow mix, face dermabrasion from sandblasting sleet, cold temperatures, damp, wind, puddles, mud, slush, and icy bridges where you almost wipe out and risk tearing your groin muscles out of the attachments.

But it was fun anyway. I ran my slowest time ever at this race, I'm pretty sure of that. Even two years ago when I was slow and heavy I ran faster. But that wasn't at the end of a 100 mile week.

I actually didn't do so bad, considering I powerwalked up all the hills and averaged faster and faster average splits for each segment of the race. The course does get faster as you go along, but if you're tired, that doesn't matter. I didn't slow down, and I ran my last 5K at a faster pace than I was able to run some of those mile repeats the other day!

It's not your average half-marathon. You start near Hughes stadium and immediately start going uphill, climbing 500 feet in about the first 1.8 miles. Then you go up and down big rolling screaming hills until 5 miles, slightly downhill to flat until mile 7, then you climb two more hills, a big long hill and a small hill, on Bingham Hill road. Then you turn down Overland Trail briefly and get on the Poudre Trail bike path going east toward Old Town, for a flat to ever so slightly downhill last 4 miles. It finishes by New Belgium brewing.

First thing this morning I was texting with my friend Jen, who needed a ride to the start. She already had her number, so she was happy to get there at the last minute. I stopped by and picked her up and we made it to the start just in time. The gun went off and I was happy to not be standing around in the cold.

Today was not the kind of day people wanted to stand around and drink beer. When I got done all I wanted to do was find Dennis and go home to take a hot shower. All those volunteers who stood out there in the cold and wet conditions should get beer for life.

I finished in 1:54:27 and my final 5K split was 25:32. 9:02 pace for the first 5 hilly miles, 8:44 pace overall and 8:14 pace for the last 5K. It was tough, I pushed hard with everything I had left. I would say after 7 miles I was feeling it...but somehow I got a small second wind around mile 10. At that point all I could do was watch for the milemarkers, gasp for air, and think about how many miles I had left: 97, 98, reach 100.

It wasn't too bad in the first 5 hilly miles, it wasn't until we turned east onto Bingham Hill Road that I started to notice the cold wind.

I have no idea how I did relative to other people, I really wasn't concerned about that, since this was one of those survival training runs. Hearing everyone else, it sounds like a lot of people had slower times this year. All I know is that when I run ultras, I never want the race to end. In these shorter races, I can't wait for it to end. Those last 4 miles took forever....

In true Fort Collins tradition, we got beer glasses, and a poster with a print by my friend and local running artist Tom Riggs.

So now it's taper time. I will do a fairly high mileage week coming up, something between 70 and 80, and then really taper for the two weeks leading up to Cornbelt. I've been hitting it hard and I want to get some good rest.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Rule of Twos for Tomorrow

Sixteen miles today, a loop around the south part of town, finishing up on the Power Trail. I saw this fox crossing the railroad tracks. I saw the same fox in the same place earlier this week. He's a deep red color, but his long gray tail looks rough and broken.

I didn't push it at all, did some fast walking during the run, and realized I haven't been doing much walking. Walking always saved me in the past on my longer runs, but I haven't been doing it except as breaks on the track. I think that's a good thing, but I feel like my walking pace has suffered as a result. I won't worry about it, I'll see how it all comes together at Cornbelt.

I felt crabby and annoyed today, I didn't feel like interacting with people. I was trying to find the route that would keep me away from the places where there would be a lot of traffic. I just felt irritable. When I got home Dennis took me out for lunch to try to cheer me up. I did laundry and took a long nap.

We have this one neighbor, every neighborhood has one, who thinks he's the only person who lives here. He decided to do some project in his back yard, I think he got a friend to help him. They had one of those really loud annoying ditch witch mini-backhoe things with a backup horn. Nobody would be doing this on a Friday night except for this guy.

I'm not sure what they were doing, but they started Friday around 5 pm and were doing it maybe until 8:30- it was such a beautiful evening and it would have been nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the warm spring air before mosquitoes take over. But instead there was this jerk and his friend- they sounded drunk the way they were hooting back there, and driving that thing like a maniac, even after it got dark.

It was annoying. And then today when I got back from my run, they were at it again. This is the same A-hole who shoots off fireworks for nearly a month leading up to the Fourth of July and scares Isabelle and the other neighborhood dogs.

This afternoon I was so irritated when he started it again. I closed all the windows and doors to the back of the house, turned on a fan, and piled pillows over my head to block the noise so I could sleep.

Tomorrow morning is the Horsetooth Half Marathon, and it's supposed to be cold and snowing. I plan to get up there shortly before the start, do very little for a warmup, use the first big hill as a warmup, and then take off when we get over the top of the first big hill at 2 miles. I'll run with whatever I have left in my legs, which will be a surprise if I have anything! And when the race is over, I'm done for the week. I'm not doing anything else. If it's not too nasty I'll go in the hot tub when I get home.

The sky is getting dark and the wind is blowing. It mirrors my mood. I hope there isn't too much snow in the morning. But whatever it is, I'll deal with it. I'll dress in warm clothes, and run for less than two hours of whatever the weather gods dump on us, and I should be done. Rule of twos: I can deal with anything for two hours.

Animals in the Dark

Yesterday was speed day with Wheaties Boy. After taking the day off on Thursday I wasn't sure how I'd feel for speed having done 50 miles in the prior two days before the rest day. My legs felt fine on Thursday but my brain was fatigued. So Friday morning I woke up at 3:27 am when my alarm was set for 3:30 and I was ready to get some miles in.

At the cemetery we got our warmup in and then started on our mile repeats. My first one was a huge struggle in about 7:30 and about halfway in I knew it was rough. Wheaties Boy is so much faster than me that he had plenty of time to recover from his first one, and I went right into the rest jog with him as soon as I finished. When we completed that mile, I started on my next one, and was gasping and wheezing by 400 meters. Then it was all I could do to keep pushing myself to run fast. It was taking forever and Wheaties Boy was about halfway around the cemetery ahead of me. I crossed the finish line gasping and said, "I don't want to see the time" but I looked anyway and it was 8:33!

So I said, "I'll just jog easy the rest of the time. He finished his last mile as I ran easy and then he had to go to work, so I stayed and ran until I had 10 miles in. I did push myself on one more mile and did that one in 7:53. I needed to recover a bit more, but those miles didn't really help my speed at all. I did run faster than I would have if I just jogged easy the whole way, but I am hoping by next week I'll see some faster splits.

We were joined by three deer and some big birds. It was too dark to see what kind of birds they were. I've seen skunks and raccoons, owls, deer and foxes in the cemetery.

I wanted to get at least 20 miles in for the day but I was hungry so I went home and ate, took Iris for a few miles, and then ran out the Power Trail for a final 8 miles which gave me 21 for the day. I had a small amount of work to do so I got that done and then I was ready for more food and a nap.

After my nap it was almost 4 pm and I was hungry again. I thought about what sounded good. I wanted to eat everything in sight. I decided on something different, burgers, French fries and beer. I went to the store to get all the ingredients and stopped by the liquor store for some beer. I found this ginger beer from Left Hand Brewery in Longmont. I love it. You have to like ginger, but it is good! Also has lower alcohol content than most beers, about 4.5%.

When Dennis got home we inhaled all the food. I felt like the bottomless pit.

Today I will run an easy 15 or so and then tomorrow is the Horsetooth Half Marathon. It's supposed to be cold and snowing. Nice. I guess I'll savor what I hope is my last opportunity this year to run in nasty stuff. I wish.

This is Colorado.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Thirty miles on the track this morning in 5:10, with a 400 meter walk after every 8 laps. I ran in lane 2, mostly, except I had to switch to lane 4 for about an hour while the sprinters and hurdlers from the CSU track team worked out. They usually aren't out that early but it was so hot yesterday and warm again today, I wonder if they held their workout earlier on purpose.

I arrived at the track at 6:30 and this huge colorful cloud was hanging out. It was cool, I started in shorts but had my jacket on until nearly 9:00. I parked my stuff on the bleachers including a cooler full of drinks and ice water, and got going.

I wasn't sure how I'd feel since it's only been 10 days since my race and I did 20 miles yesterday. But the pace was easy and I felt stronger throughout the run and gradually picked it up all the way through the end. We're talking 9 minute pace at the fastest, by the end, but I felt so strong. I felt like a machine. I wasn't tired after the workout either and was able to get some work done this afternoon.

As the sun came up a few people came out to the track. Then the hammer and discus throwers were out there, practicing. There was this one hammer thrower who was amazing. At least it looked like that to me. He heaved that thing way across the field and it looked like it was headed to Loveland, before it came down with a "thud". Maybe that was what caused the earthquake in California.

It was pretty quiet until 10:30 or so, when the rest of the track team suddenly showed up. It wasn't too bad even with all the athletes because they were using certain lanes and I just moved over during the time when they had their actual workout. Most of the time they were warming up. I'm sure they were wondering what this crazy gray haired runner was doing, I was there when they arrived and I was still running when they left.

I took some S caps in my drinks, and ate a few gels and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I felt like I could have stayed out there for 24 hours. I was glad for the warmth, since Iowa is likely to be warm in early May. The rest of the week I plan to get another 50 miles in to total 100, and I'll do speedwork Friday with Wheaties Boy and the Horsetooth Half Marathon Sunday rain, snow, sleet, hail, or blazing sun.

I can't wait for race day in Iowa. I feel so ready to go. Three and a half weeks!


Off to the track this morning after I drink my coffee and eat something. Spring officially arrived yesterday. It was my first day in shorts and a t-shirt with no other layers.

The temperature got into the low 70s and is expected to approach 80 today. It's supposed to be cold and snowing with a high of 39 on Sunday, just in time for the Horsetooth Half Marathon. If all goes well I'll be wrapping up my 100 mile week and I won't care.

Yesterday I was running 20 miles around town and saw this sign. I was thinking about getting some vitamin D being out in the sun, but then I learned that I had the wrong idea and the wrong vitamin. There are two churches near where I live and they seem to be competing for slogans on their marquees. This week the other church says something like "Just because you're on the beaten path doesn't mean it's the right one".

Yesterday I wandered onto the scale, something I haven't done in several weeks. I haven't been trying to lose any more weight but I am down to 118. I dropped another pound since last time I got on the scale. My original goal was 15 pounds and I have lost 14. Awesome. The workouts will take care of what's left.

As soon as it gets light I'll be doing my decreasing pace 2 mile repeats on the track until I've had enough. Once I'm done, I have some work to do this afternoon.

I'm sure I'll be in this kind of a mood at the end of the day. These are my Vitamin B.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


It's still cold and sleeting on and off today but the green leaves and flowers are insisting on spring. The green leaves are ready to burst open any day, by the end of this week it will look like spring.

I got a good 60 mile recovery week in, with a speed session, and I feel like I came through the 50 mile race well. That is what I hoped to do, not having to back off on the training too much. I'm planning on a couple more weeks of good miles and then I will do a two week taper for Cornbelt.

I'm starting to get excited for running Cornbelt, I need to figure out my trip. I am thinking I will drive out there in 2 days like I did with Kansas, go to Omaha or somewhere near there the first night and then drive the rest of the way the next day. I'll need to figure out what else to add to my visit. I've been to the Omaha Zoo, I'm sure there are some other things worth seeing in that area.

I have been freezing my butt off all week. I finally got in the hot tub after my run and that helped somewhat, but now I'm cold again. Dennis is making green chile, which should help. I'm ready for warm weather!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Peeling Onions

Act I. Speak.

What would you say to the people who hold the cards if you got a chance to bend their ears?

I've said plenty. I don't take to the six walls of a box very kindly. I'm just not that kind of girl. I don't believe in blind loyalty to anything, either. I will not kiss the ass of someone who abuses me. You can't piss on my head and tell me it's raining. I know the difference. (I'm a nurse.)

The other day I had a chance to speak. I definitely said my piece and followed up with more information after I talked. Serendipitously I was walking out a door and there was the receiver of my message, walking by. It was a conversation that was long, long overdue.

Leadership is a funny thing. It requires superhuman vigilance. When there are not enough people watching, underlings get away with things that are self-serving, but often short-sighted. Or just plain stupid. Being a leader also means you need to remember that while you are out in front, you're not above.

At conferences where corporate executives meet, like the insurance industry and the health care industry (btw the acronym for the American College of Health Executives is ACHE. Yeah, cute.), I wonder, do they ever have any sessions where they discuss moral and ethical obligations to the public they serve? I doubt it.

From what I've seen, they seem to have lost their sense of service. It's a disservice, what they do most of the time. It often seems like they have a pretty good sense of entitlement though.

Like the other day, someone I know needed surgery for complications from cancer treatment and they had already paid for their insurance, but the insurance company denied coverage, saying the policy had been cancelled, which it had not been, and it was paid in full. The person who was the unlucky recipient of the insurance company's incompetence was on the phone for hours. It still wasn't resolved, the surgery was cancelled, and if this procedure doesn't get done soon it could be a major health threat. As if it's not stressful enough going through all the hassles of cancer treatment.

Speaking with the insurance company, they shrugged it off at first until some attention was called to it on social media. When the company was called on their indifference, suddenly their tone changed. Big companies hate bad PR. They are terrified of it.

When you have that sense of entitlement, it's easy to sit on your throne and say, smile, don't ask questions, say yes, and swing your ponytail. Everything is wonderful. Why is a four letter word. Even when we fuck with you.

That event, plus my opportunity to speak, reminded me again that realistic attitudes are healthier than false positives. That's a lesson that leaders need to remember.

I'm all for having a positive attitude, because I think it does help. But there are times when a dose of reality is healthier, and if it carries some negative weight, well, that's a good thing. It helps balance things out and correct the course. If you never look at yourself critically, you're not being realistic.

If I didn't believe in myself and think in a positive light, I wouldn't be able to do all the things that I do. You have to maintain a basically positive outlook in order to achieve anything. At the same time, you have to be realistic, or you'll miss your mark most of the time.

When someone loses something significant, whatever it is, their good health, their ability to see the future, the promise of opportunity, a relationship, or the life of someone important to them, they experience grief. It's important to acknowledge all feelings. Denying that there are problems, that things are wrong, leads to continuation of the conditions that are heading downward.

Denying shock, disbelief, hurt, and anger at injustice is additional injury on top of the one that occurred in the first place. Eventually it all crashes at the bottom.

When you read about healing from trauma, of any kind- serious illness, abuse, adverse events, the healing is often described as layers of an onion. That's how it feels, you peel back a layer and discard it, but then there are others underneath. And it keeps going, there are many thin and thick layers to be discarded before you get the core, and many people never do completely heal.

It's amazing the amount of healing that needs to be done after you repress grief. It's only been 5 months since I left my old job and the triggers still take me by complete surprise.

So when I had my opportunity to speak my mind, I said some of what I needed to say, but I'm finding that there's more, so much more, an onion.

After that happened, I went for a run. My route took me past a memorial to one of my former patients, and I always stop by and say hi.

Well by that time I had processed quite a bit and had found plenty more to say and instead of the usual high five and run on by, I stopped to talk. Like a crazy person, there I was, talking to the air, blurting out my thoughts to my dead patient. The emotions were bubbling over, and then I started to cry, just as if I were talking to an actual person there. That's because he would have understood how I felt. This isn't usual behavior for me, but this one particular person supported me and would have been outraged by what led to my feelings.

It looked crazy on the outside, if anyone had seen me speaking, but it was necessary for me to process my feelings and emotions that came up, in another peeling of a layer of the onion.

Act II. Science is Awesome.

I got this mug at the Sternberg museum in Hays, Kansas. I don't know why, I am rarely into trinkets, but I thought this was cool.

I'm an old-fashioned scientist. I like reasoned and critical thinking, and reality. I don't like falsified data, biased results, or undue influence/corruption of money. The world has changed, or maybe we're just unable to hide things like we could before the advent of the Internet and widespread availability of information. There's also much more acceptance of the influence of money in all sorts of things. It's mainstream and acceptable to be on the take. That's why we're in so much trouble, because we've allowed it to get to the point where the haves have too much and the have nots have nothing.

I have learned not to accept or believe anything on it's face. You have to weigh the pros, cons, different sides. You have to listen to all the sides, you can't just rely on your own opinion or the opinions of those you think are on your side. At the same time, it's important and affirming to express your opinion. Hiding your opinion is repressive and oppressive.

But before you can say the earth is round you have to make reasonably sure you're not looking at it through curved lenses. Science reporting in the mainstream media drives me crazy for that reason, as does drug advertising on TV.

I've said a lot about corporations and their abuse of power. I don't care if someone makes a lot of money, it's what they do with it and for it that is important to me. If you have the resources and power, then do good with it. There's nothing wrong with living a comfortable lifestyle. But if you've accomplished that by stepping on people's heads and have a total disregard for the plight of people who are just trying to get through each day, I don't like that. The lack of acknowledgement and disregard of that is injurious. I think that having power and resources at your disposal carries with it a lot of responsibility to your fellow human beings.

The insurance companies don't have enough competition and they are going to be raising rates next year, and many people are going to find themselves paying a lot more money for very little ROI, to use a corporate term (return on investment). While in theory the ACA was supposed to lower insurance rates because of a competitive market, those insurance company execs and their lobbyists knew better. They have almost a monopoly in some markets.

I think we're moving backward in terms of civil rights, and people's rights. I grew up in a time where people were just getting used to things like Title IX and the EEOC and were realizing that there were consequences if they didn't heed the law. Not that they still didn't find ways to get around it. But people were more sensitive and awkward about it. Now, it seems like corporations hold all the power and make new rules, because no one can challenge them. Average income people can't afford to, and there are so few decent-paying jobs out there that they are afraid to make noise.

It's amazing, some of the shenanigans used in order to get rid of the people corporations don't like (who question things) and bring in people they do like (the ones who went to the right church or college, or show other promise of being a good ole' boy or gal). If you're the wrong color or your partner is the wrong gender, or you showed an aptitude for critical thinking, forget it. If you ever use the dreaded four letter word Why. It's not uncommon to see the collusion to sneak people into positions without providing fair opportunities for other people. It's like bad science, it hurts us all. The results are biased. The end result is myopia. Important ideas and viewpoints get missed, and the organization loses in the long run.

So I laugh sardonically when people accuse the poor of being on "entitlement" programs, because whatever they receive is so miniscule compared to the people in positions of power and influence. Like those insurance company execs who can not only afford half a dozen homes and yachts, but can afford to buy lobbyists and politicians, and buy their comfort into perpetuity. While someone needing cancer surgery to avoid a life-threatening infection can't even get the services delivered that they paid a significant chunk of their hard-earned income for.

These things happen with a sense of entitlement, that you're above the law, and above your fellow human beings. I've taken care of some big wealthy powerful men who are afraid of needles and can't look when they get stuck, and need someone to hold their hand. Their eyes get big and round and they look like a child. I don't care who you are, we all bleed the same stuff and we're all made of the same flesh. THAT is science.

Dancing with the Stars

At 3 am I woke up without my alarm. The coffee was set. I had my coffee, waking up before I met Wheaties Boy over at the cemetery at 4:30 so we could do our speedwork. It's still super dark in the early mornings, but this morning there was a hint of light in the sky at 5:40. It was clear, cold, and the stars were out. Still we needed headlamps in the darker stretches of the cemetery.

It was freezing, we could see our breath, and after we warmed up I tried to run in just one thick shirt layer and before we were done I needed to put on a pair of fleece sleeves. I froze my butt off on the way home driving with the heater cranked.

We did three one mile repeats and I didn't quite make it into the 6 minute range but damn close, missed it just by a hair, and not bad for running in poor light and a week after a race. I'll get there. It was great to run with Wheaties Boy again. I need to finish my workout later, that will be some easy miles with Iris.

Right now I would love to go back to sleep, but I have a busy day ahead, meeting with one new client at mid-morning and then another later. I've been getting some calls and things are starting to pick up for me. It's exciting. Chipping away each day.

I am sure I will need a nap this afternoon, I've been up early almost every day this week but I get busy and don't get to my run until afternoon, and then it's too late to take a nap. Okay by me, because the busier I get, the better.

Yesterday I did 13 miles. I felt great, and tried to hold myself back because I wanted to do speed today. It was cool and windy yesterday but nothing came down from the sky. I wish it would warm up and feel like spring. It's taking forever!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Relentless Forward...


photo credit: Kristi Mayo/mile 90 photography

I felt remarkably good after the race. Driving home was the hardest part, getting stiff driving the 10 hours home. But it was peaceful driving across Kansas, and I got a chance to do some thinking about my upcoming week. Lots of appointments, both business and personal, this week. I need to get a lot done, as next week is a big training week for me, planning on a lot of miles, my last chance for a high mileage week before Cornbelt.

I did have some swelling in my left ankle on Sunday night after the drive. I put ice on it and it had a chance to be elevated all night as I slept. I rode the bike for 2 hours Monday and then Tuesday was such a busy day I skipped my workout all together, not on purpose, either. I was just too busy. I ran 12 miles today and felt great. I don't feel like I ran a hard effort 4 days ago. We'll see what happens Friday, I'm supposed to get up and run speedwork with Wheaties Boy at 4:30 am. That's when he always runs these days, and it's why I haven't been running with him. But I need to.

I woke up this morning at 3 and could not get back to sleep, finally at 4 I just got up and started working. I had a busy day and hoped to take a nap if I got things done, but no luck. I kept getting things piled on. It was okay though.

It was a weird day all around. The weather was strange, somewhere between sunny and cold and cloudy, then rain. And I kept inadvertently running into people I needed to run into. Taking care of loose ends, without even trying. I guess the universe was helping me out today.

I had my annual appointment with the boob smasher at noon, I'm hoping that all goes well. I should find out in a week. I'll try not to worry and forget about it. I also went to the dentist before that to get my teeth cleaned. I do all the torture things together in one day and get them over with.

When I was at the dentist he noticed something about my lower lip- that it's got sun damage and he thinks it looks different than when I was there six months ago. He recommended I see a dermatologist. I'm not surprised, with all the years I've been out in the sun, and how hard it is to keep sunscreen on your lips. So I will do that, I need to get a referral for my insurance. I can just see them having to scrape off layers of my lower lip or something awful. But I'd rather get it taken care of now, get it over with, whatever I need to do, if anything.

Speaking of fun things, this year is the year for my first colonoscopy too. I'm putting that off until after Cornbelt though. I really don't want to do that either. I kept hoping they'd have a less invasive method by the time I turned 50, but no luck. I was also hoping they'd change the screening guidelines to age 55 for women. But no luck there either. With a family history of several different cancers, I need to stay on top of this screening stuff.

I'm just plugging away, each day, doing a few errands that take me in the direction of where I need to be. Some days I'm flying, some days my feet are stuck in cement. Even on the days I feel stuck, I'm still moving forward. But as long as I'm running, I'll be okay.