Scatter my ashes here...

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

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Visit From SpongeBob

No I wasn't still hallucinating from some anesthetic from the colonoscopy.

I walked outside this afternoon, I'd been mesmerized by the computer for hours, working on some promotional stuff, so my eyes were a bit glazed over. There was something yellow stuck under my windshield wipers.

Felix is back from his trip to China, and SpongeBob followed him.

It was a bamboo SpongeBob, something soft and absorbent that I could use to clean my car.

Felix acquired the curse of SpongeBob in the Owens Valley late one night in July of 2011. SpongeBob jumped out of the shadows in the desert and he never left. He stalks Felix everywhere, halfway around the earth.

As soon as I was sure I wasn't hallucinating, I sent Felix a message on Facebook to see if he had anything to do with this...

I've been feeling pretty good today, though Thursday, which was the day after, I wasn't so sure. I'm not sure if I got so dehydrated that I felt funny, but I did try to run Thursday and after about a tenth of a mile I gave it up. I didn't feel right. So I walked, did about 5 miles of walking, and that was good. I felt like I needed to catch up on fluids more than anything. I ate a lot, too, and felt better after I ate.

Even a colonoscopy is an adventure.

This morning I went out for a run and felt so good I decided to push the pace for about 30 minutes of it. Ended up running under 8 minute pace without pushing too hard. I got a little over 12 miles today. Next week it's back to the cemetery with Wheaties Boy for mile repeats.

I signed up for the Estes Park Half Marathon today. Finally, after all these years of running that damn marathon and suffering, I got wise. I will get a good hard training run without it killing me.

I'll run hills tomorrow at Horsetooth and get some easy miles in over the weekend, and then Monday, as Wheaties Boy would say, shit gets serious.

At least this time I won't have to drink the mag citrate!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Done and Sparkling Clean...

You have GOT to experience this!

Anyone over 50 still hesitating on getting their colonoscopy done, I chicked you.

Yes the prep sucks. But the procedure itself, no problem.

I was scheduled for a 1 pm procedure and they told me to check in at noon. We planned for Morgan to pick me up at 11:45. She lives on the north side of town, and of course the noon train that goes along Vine Street held up traffic. I got a frantic text from her telling me she was stuck behind the train. I wrote back, no worries. It's fine.

Iris was pissed off all morning, She sat at the bottom of the stairs, giving me that look...the guilt look.

Morgan got here just a few minutes after noon and we arrived at the surgery center at 12:08. As it turned out, they were running behind too, so we sat out in the waiting area, talking, until after 1:00 when they took me back.

They weighed me and took me to a little prep area with a chair, gurney and curtain. They asked me a gazillion questions about allergies and then I changed into a gown. The nurse came back in and started my IV, and as we talked, I found out she works with one of my old coworkers. She did a good job with my IV, one poke, and started running some fluid into me, which was great because I was so dehydrated.
I waited for a while and then the anesthesiologist came in and talked with me, asked more questions, and then I asked him some questions about propofol.

One of the nurses I used to work with was there but she wasn't assigned to me, but I asked her to stop by so we talked for a little while, she seems a lot happier there at the surgery center. Later it turned out she was my recovery nurse.

The doctor came by and apologized for running behind, I didn't get taken into the procedure room until about 2 pm, but it seemed like the time went by fast.

When the nurse anesthetist came in, I knew we would be going soon. He asked me more questions and then wheeled me down to the room. He hooked me up to the monitor and put a nasal cannula on me. The doctor came over and talked with me, had me sign the consent, I rolled onto my left side and then the nurse anesthetist told me he would give me some lidocaine first to numb the vein because the propofol burns going in. I saw him attach the lidocaine, then I saw him attach the little syringe filled with the milky propofol. I said, "Good night" and watched his fingers push the syringe. Suddenly everything went fuzzy and gray, and that was it.

Next thing I knew, they were waking me up in the recovery area. The nurse brought me some crackers and juice, and once I was awake enough, she brought Morgan in.

I had a good prep, my colon was really clean. Damn, it should be! They did find one small (4 millimeter) polyp that the doctor said appeared benign and of course they completely removed it and send it off to pathology, so I won't have the results for a week or so. But everything else was perfectly clean and smooth. I got pictures, too.

It was amazing how fast I recovered and felt lucid. I got up with the nurse standing next to me to make sure I wouldn't fall over, and then I got dressed, she took out my IV, and I was sprung. Morgan drove me home and I came in the house to a vocal Buffalo greeting, and after hugs, headed for the food. I scarfed. I was so hungry. Then I took a shower.

Soon Dennis came home and we ate more.

I am hoping that the pathology results allow me to not have to come back for 10 years. I don't want to do this prep again anytime soon, and 5 years goes by FAST. But it was only the prep that is dreadful, not the colonoscopy itself. Someone has got to come up with a better way to clean out your gut.

Beer flavored'd think one of the local breweries would get on that already...Fort Collins is the ideal place for that to happen. I can just see it now: New Belgium selling six packs of colonoscopy prep beer. What would we name it? Gut blaster? Butt blaster? Roto RootBeer?

I need a ton of sleep and probably a lot of fluids, and I'll be ready to go before the weekend. Looking forward to next week, hitting the speed again with Wheaties Boy.

This has been a public service announcement from Alene Gone Bad.

We now resume our regularly scheduled programming...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Doomsday Arrives...

The caption should say: "Runner grimaces anticipating tomorrow's colonoscopy prep."


This morning Dennis pointed out this picture of me in the paper from running the Houska Houska yesterday. It shows my Feed Your Crazy shirt really well, and I do look a little crazy in the picture.

You would too if you knew what awaits you in the 24 to 48 hours after you reach the finish line.

It's Tuesday, doomsday. First thing this morning I enjoyed my last cup of coffee, yes, that alone is a crisis for tomorrow morning.

Then I ate breakfast, tried to get some protein in before I went to clear liquids. I had some egg whites and turkey, two of the foods that were okay on the list for the day before breakfast.

Then I had a work appointment this morning. When that was done, I came home and did my run, a little over 12 miles.

Now I'm drinking clear, sugar free soda and Gatorade with sugar in it for a few calories. I'm planning on eating jello, chicken broth, gatorade, and nothing red, blue or purple all night. I was thinking about other possible things that might be on a clear liquid diet. What about gels? Like banana or vanilla? They are liquid and clear and if you wash them down with plenty of water, they would count. Give you a few calories, too.

Ultrarunners are well equipped for a colonoscopy. Most of us have baby wipes, Gatorade, butt grease, gels, and toilet paper anyway.

Knowing that you can't eat is worse than not eating. Plus I was brave enough to get on the scale the other day and my weight is still at 120 pounds. The lowest I got to was 118 before Cornbelt. I really haven't gained much as a result of not running but eating tons of food for several weeks. So it's not like I need to not eat.

I want to. Eat. Everything. Because I can't.

The instructions said to take 2 Dulcolax tablets at 4 pm the day before. The laxative kind, not the stool softener kind. Then at 6 pm the fun begins, drink one and a half bottles of magnesium citrate, which I've had chilling in the fridge. I've heard it tastes better cold, we used to give it to patients on ice. Or maybe it's just easier to choke down that way.

They warn you to be close to the toilet. It must work fast.

At 4 pm I took those pills, so I was officially prepping, and waiting for results...things shouldn't start really moving until I drink the mag citrate at 6 pm.

I have the baby wipes, A & D ointment, and plenty of toilet paper waiting for me next to the toilet. Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to go commando, either! Skirts are great for that. I just hope I get most of the stuff out of me by a reasonable hour so I can sleep. I do have to make sure I wake up by 8 to drink the other half of the mag citrate 4 hours before the procedure.

The reason they have you do half the prep the day before and the other half the morning of the procedure is that the GI tract starts to get icky again if you finish the prep too many hours before the procedure. Your colon secretes mucus which makes it harder for them to see polyps, especially ones which have more tendency to be cancerous.

It's in your best interest to get the best prep possible so they can see everything they are looking for. Why go through all this if you're not going to get the full benefit of the procedure?

So they clean you out the night before and then clean you out again the morning of, and it works well that way.

It's always a little scary going through these screening things because you wonder if they're going to find something. Now that I've had probably a dozen mammograms in my life, I am used to the anticipation of waiting for the results. Not fun. Especially when you've had a family history of something. I've had no symptoms or anything to be worried about, so I am just being positive and hoping that everything turns out good, and if they find anything concerning, that it all works out for the best. That is all I can do. But I'd rather know than not know. To me, putting something off and not knowing is stressful.

The procedure is at 1 pm and my responsible adult friend Morgan is picking me up, waiting, and taking me home.

22 hours to food...

I'm wondering what it will be like by Friday, trying to run. I'm hoping I'll have all that nasty propofol out of my system and I feel okay. The key will be repletion of electrolytes before then. You lose a lot of potassium from your GI tract, not to mention all the fluids I'll be consuming, that will deplete my sodium and other minerals. I'm adding salt to the chicken broth, because I only had low sodium broth.

Probably not a bad idea to eat some yogurt after the procedure to add some probiotics back to the GI tract, too. That means I'll have to do some eating on Thursday to put everything back...too bad. Absolutely breaks my heart.

This week I have about 60 miles on the agenda, and then next week it's full-on training again. I'll be ready to recover and start hammering. After food.

But Wait...It Gets Better...

I took a short nap from about 5:30 to 6. I needed to wake up because it was time to drink the Mag Citrate. I opened the first bottle and poured a little into a glass. First sip.
Good thing Dennis was ready with the camera. At 6:08 pm I took the first sip.

This is THE nastiest crap. I swear, I don't know how the label on the bottle could say "In case of overdose..." Who in the hell would ever drink this stuff intentionally? I can think of much better things to drink to kill yourself.

7:09 pm: It took me a full hour to force 15 ounces down. I drank water and chased it with Gatorade with it because the taste was so nasty. Like paint. My advice- use clothespins for your nose, you wouldn't want to be able to smell this stuff. I don't think drinking it cold matters one bit. It tastes horrible.

Even the dogs looked worried.

I just hope this stuff works, fast and furious. Right now it is sitting in my stomach and not going anywhere, and I just hope it does it's job and goes in the right direction. Drinking this is the ultimate torture. It sure took care of the urge to eat anything. Barf me out of town!
Dennis got some pictures, and videos. Since you probably wouldn't want me to share what will be happening later on, enjoy these classics (below) of me drinking the prep...and leave the rest to your imagination, or not. I'm just imagining being done. What I can't imagine at this point, is how I'm going to gag the other 15 ounces of this crap down in the morning.

8:12 pm: Excuse me...things are starting to gurgle...gotta RUN!!!
Enjoy the videos...I'm expecting an Oscar for the drama.

Colonoscopy morning notes: As I sit here waiting for my responsible adult to pick me up and take me to the Roto-Rooter place, I did survive the overnight prep, but it wasn't fun. I spent much of the time in the bathroom until about 11 pm and then I went to sleep in the extra bedroom so I wouldn't wake Dennis up with my frequent trips to the bathroom. I woke up at midnight, and again at 2:40 am, and spent some time sitting there...there is no butt grease that is sufficient for this. Baby wipes and A & D ointment are a little more soothing than toilet paper, but by this morning, the most uncomfortable place on my body is the exact same portal to where they will place that endoscope. At least I'll be out of it when they do that.

I woke up at 6:47 am and started drinking the remaining prep, chasing it with clear soda. It was disgusting. I didn't breathe, just took multiple sips and then drank the soda, so I wouldn't taste or smell the nasty stuff. And then from about 8 to 9 am I hung out in the bathroom. Once things settled down, I took a nap with Iris. She gave me this look..."I guess this means we're not going for a walk this morning..."

They know something's up with mom. I'll look forward to coming home afterwards. I want a Buffalo hugs, a shower, food, and a nap. In that order.

I'll post about it after I recover from the propofol...hope I'm not too goofy and irresponsible to write a blogpost! I probably won't remember anything!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Almost a Chickin': Houska Houska 2014

Why did the chicken cross the road in front of the Truck?

Because the bike path was flooded.

The Houska Houska 5K, annual Memorial Day fundraiser 5K was held again this year. Always known for creative themes, this year creativity turned out to be necessity. Cooler than average temperatures this year along with recent flash flooding and storms have made the Poudre River hit flood stage just in time for this event.

Yesterday I ran along Spring Creek and I figured we wouldn't be running our usual riverside route along the Poudre today.

Quick thinking on the part of the race organizers resulted in an altered course, up above the river, along the frontage road paralleling the railroad tracks and overlooking the high water.

The course was short, but then the Houska Houska never is accurate, it's not a certified course, and even the normal route is somewhere just a hair short of 5K.

The other creative twist to the race was a spinoff on the rival Bolder Boulder race about 50 miles south of here: wave starts.

Yes, the Houska Houska had wave starts this year, because we were forced to start and finish on a narrow strip of sidewalk adjacent to Lemay Avenue, which is one of the busiest streets in town. The start and finish line were literally on the railroad tracks.

Dennis and I ran out for a warmup to preview the alternate course, and it looked like mostly rough asphalt with a few puddles, and the far end was dirt, with the potential for mud. We never ran past the asphalt so we didn't get a chance to see the dirt stretch. Two little hills each way, and an out and back. The exact distance was 2.44 miles, quite a bit short of a 5K, more like 4K.

I had to rethink my original chicking strategy, but I sharpened my elbows and decided to just get out there and run hard, and see what happened.

The plan was to walk everyone down Riverside Avenue the few blocks to the start. The waves would be based on the traffic lights, so as each group got across Lemay, they started while the next wave waited for the light to change. Brilliant, creative, and simple.

Dennis and I headed over to the start early, and so we found ourselves several rows back in the "elite" wave, behind a lot of kids and dogs and baby strollers. The first half block was the only tricky part, from the railroad tracks to the corner, and then it was all a wide street.

The gun went off and I tiptoed carefully over the railroad tracks and in between baby strollers, and once we made the turn, I could run. I looked around and couldn't see Dennis. I kept going. When we got up the hill to Nix Farm, we took a right and headed onto a dirt road that was soft but not muddy. We headed slightly downhill to a gate near Timberline Road. Then we turned around and headed back. My watch said 8:32 at the turnaround, and as I did my 180 I saw Dennis The Truck, barreling down on me, just a few yards behind. My only hope was that he'd tire out by the finish...

Heading back up the hill, he passed me, and gained a little distance on me. I thought maybe I'd recover a bit and eventually have the strength or speed to pass him. There was a little downhill grade past Nix Farm but my legs just wouldn't go any faster.

As we approached the finish line it would have taken more than I had in me. I didn't have the leg turnover. I knew he didn't have a watch so I looked at my watch as I saw him cross the finish line, 17:23. When I finished my watch said 17:38. Fifteen seconds. I looked around for him again. A woman was asking me to spell my name, as I'd finished second among women (in our wave). I had no idea they were keeping track, or why.

I saw Dennis leaning against a metal utility box by the tracks, recovering. He looked beat. I felt fine. I wished I had a little more distance to run, maybe it would have happened if we'd had another kilometer to go. Or maybe not. Regardless, 15 seconds in 4 kilometers is not far behind.

I almost chicked the Truck. Not quite. Maybe next year...or maybe at another race, if I can get him to do one.

I figured this is probably like doing a 22 1/2 minute 5K, which is okay right now.

Afterwards we hung out with friends, talked to a few people we never see except for at the Houska Houska, I talked business with a few people, and I had a root beer float this year, which I didn't allow myself to have last year.

Dennis celebrated his narrow victory with a hot dog and a Bloody Mary.

After we came home, I figured out the route distance and told Dennis the statistics. Then I started hinting at another 5K. He was already comfortable on the couch, about to doze off, as I left the house for my 7 mile cooldown.

Never give up...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Year Later: Enjoying the Moment and A Chicking Strategy

I was looking back on what I wrote last year at this time, around Memorial Day, when Dennis and I ran the Houska Houska. I was feeling pretty run down and stressed. I was bordering on overweight, fighting a hamstring strain that was about to get a lot worse, and miserable in my job.

A year later I was working, but my day was a bit started out in my office looking at the sunshine and blooming delphinium out the window, with my dogs at my feet.

This month I find myself spending the majority of my time working on marketing strategies, writing, creating ad copy and promotional materials, and preparing for speaking engagements, photo shoots, and interviews. I get to do creative and artistic work, I get to think, and best of all, I can eat, drink, pee, and take breaks whenever I want to!

After spending the morning in the office, I had an appointment with a client.

Part of our appointment involved going for a hike. So this is what I was doing while working. Not bad.

I'm so thankful to be where I am now. Things aren't perfect and there's a lot of work to be done. It takes patience and a steel gut to start a business, and you have to be able to put certain fears, especially about money, on the back burner while you grow the business at the beginning. But I am happy and enjoying it and I am so glad to be where I am today, with unlimited possibilities. No longer do I inhabit a box with it's walls defined by other people's ambitions.

We're running the Houska Houska again on Monday. This year could be the year I chick Dennis in the race. I'm not counting on it, but if he's slowed down from last year, it could happen. I know that would be the ultimate motivation for him to get back in shape, to get him to start running with me again. He wants to but he hasn't made it a priority. I'm sort of hoping to beat him, for that reason alone.

In order to do it, I'll have to make a plan.

Sneaking up quietly and sprinting past him at the end is not an option, he has too much strength in his legs and especially on that last quarter mile in the dirt along the railroad tracks. He's a cross-country runner with natural speed and I have almost no chance of beating him on a stretch like that.

The only realistic strategy that will work is to use an early to mid-race chicking technique, where I get out there and use my endurance to my advantage by passing him in the first mile and watching carefully to make sure he doesn't gain on me.

I'll let you know what happens...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Things Dogs Do: Random Thought For The Day

I wonder what would happen if I replaced it with one that said, "YES!"

Do these people really think that dogs read those little signs and understand them? Have you ever tried to stop a dog from doing what it needs to do at the exact time and place that it wants to? It's not easy to find the right spot.

If you're a dog, you have to sniff it out, just the right spot, and go around in a circle a few times, before you actually deliver the goods.

The person who came up with the idea for these signs obviously doesn't know dogs. Only a dog expert should be able to design yard ornaments.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Obesification: A Suicide Mission

Kevin Pho's blogpost on the proportion of executive and administrative salaries in our sick health care system, along with the VA scandal, got me fired up again.

Conservatives and liberals alike are mad as hell...oh, the outrage.The light on the VA scandal made public the problems of power and corruption, mistreatment of employees and whistleblowers. Again. The shameful treatment of veterans whom the agency was supposed to be helping. Again.

Obama knew about this problem when he took office. The problem was already there when Bush was in office. Obama caused it by promoting big government. Bush caused it by starting wars we couldn't pay for. It’s the Republicans. It’s the Democrats. It’s Bush. It’s Obama. It’s Fox News. It’s MSNBC.


It's us, all of us. We have our voices, we have our votes, most of us have two legs, two arms, two hands, a mouth, and a brain. We can be cognizant of our world and act in it. Use the damn resources you've got instead of sitting on your fat ass texting.

When you look at problems such as the VA’s actions that do come to light, it’s really just another day, another dollar, another power broker. Bullies and greed run the show. The government has acted no differently than private industry or nonprofits.

Apparently it’s okay to bully people who point out injustices, or who criticize the status quo, no matter what sector you work in. Wouldn’t want someone to have an independent thought. Talk out of one side of the mouth about providing value for the patient, while stealing value blind?

The value they talk about is only about how well it serves the interests at the top.

We approved it, yes we did.

Is it because we are working ourselves to death, doing the jobs of two or more people, working longer hours with less pay, fewer benefits, and less compassion than ever before? Auto-piloting through our jam-packed workdays, stacked together into a blur. Stuck in our self-imposed commutes, bound to our inflated mortgages, reliant on our vehicles, ruled by our electronic gadgets.

Whose fault is that?

We were complicit in underfunding public education, we didn’t provide physical or health education that prepares kids to be healthy, informed and functionally literate adults. We succumbed to our reliance on processed, fast, convenience foods laden with sugar, simple carbohydrates and salt to seduce our tastebuds, drain our wallets, and addict our minds.

We approved of the behavior of executives and those with power who run public, private, and so-called not-for-profit companies, corporations, agencies and health care systems, who siphon off financial resources into their own pockets, personally risking little as they have a golden parachute to back them up.

Where’s the golden parachute for the rest of us? What if we are all forced to jump into thin air, and no one will rescue us. We’re being taken by gravity, and no one will be there to pick up the pieces when we go SPLAT!

Instead, we think our golden parachute is the next weight loss drug, the next diabetes drug, or the next New York Times Bestseller Diet Fad.

Will we not stop until every single citizen of this country is impoverished, obese and Type II diabetic?

Eventually there will be a breaking point where the people will no longer have the resources to passively support this system. We’ll be too old, sick, fat, exhausted, and poor. Only when we’re dead will we cease to support the system.

Except for the unfortunate recipients of our stupid genes, if we passed them along to the next generation. But the way things are going, they won’t have to suffer as long as we do.

They won't live as long.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bumper Sticker Giveaway

The first run of bumperstickers came back from the printer and I have 3 left I'm saving for a giveaway for readers of this blog.

If you're interested, they are about 5" x 3" and are weatherproof. All you have to do is send me a U.S. snail mail address to my email at sherunnoft at gmaildotcom and tell me three additional details: how long you've been reading this blog, how you first found the blog, and what keeps you coming back to read it, and I'll drop one in the mail to you. That's all you have to do. First three complete requests win.

I won't tell anyone your name or personal information, and I'm not keeping it or selling it to the NSA, either. Later on I will be printing more and might end up selling them for a small amount- just to cover printing costs and postage but for now these are giveaways.


Not really roasting, it's been freezing here. It's roasting in Death Valley, Phoenix, and LA. It was only today that we got warm enough that I wasn't wearing long sleeves and tights. I got back to running this week, only about 21 miles, and walked an equal amount. I've been doing a lot of cooking the past few days. Getting away from the garbage I was letting myself eat after the race.

Next week I'll bump the miles to 40, and the following week it will all depend on how quickly I feel recovered from the propofol. It's funny that to me, getting that stuff in my body is more of an issue than the colonoscopy itself. I want to be able to resume full training by that first week in June.

I wish I had a lot of exciting stuff to write about, I feel excited about a lot of happenings in my life right now, mostly to do with my business. I just don't have a lot of running news at this time. I am very excited about training for NorthCoast and seeing what I can do on a road course. And then I have another race in mind, down the road, that I am thinking about, on the track. One thing at a time, though.

I'm looking forward to those speed workouts again, tempo runs, and running a few short races too. We have quite a few 5Ks, 10Ks, and half-marathons around here in the summer and I'll do some. I'm also looking for another marathon to do in July.

I'm enjoying the small number of clients I have now, it's always a challenge to come up with new ideas based on whatever their situations are, to help them. I'm going to do a small amount of print advertising in one particular local publication because it will target the clients I want. I am going to be doing a radio show on a local public radio station, and it will be available as a podcast after the show airs live. Then there are a few other things on the horizon that might result in some publicity for my business. That makes me happy.

Right now I am sipping a new concoction that I threw together and I don't know why I never thought of this before. I heated up a cup of unsweetened almond milk in the microwave until it foamed on top, for about a minute and a half, then added a packet of instant Starbucks decaf French roast coffee to it, and a couple of teaspoons of sugar-free vanilla syrup. It's a decaf skinny vanilla almond latte. And it's awesome. Costs less than $1.50 to make at home and costs over $3.00 at Starbucks with regular skim milk. Plus it only has about 40 calories and a tall Starbucks skinny latte has 100. But who's counting calories?

I am watching what I eat over the next two weeks. I ate everything in sight for about a week and I could feel a little of it creeping back onto my midsection, it's more noticeable when you start with less. And pretty amazing how fast it comes back. I don't want to go back anywhere near where I was before. So I'm back in the habit of cutting out the crap, and by the time June rolls around, I should be good to go.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Word of Mouth: Fun Stuff

Let's move on to the fun stuff!

I've been working on a lot of fun stuff for my own business lately, doing the marketing and talking to people is something I really enjoy. My biggest frustration so far has been figuring out how to get in to talk to doctors. They are so busy, and getting past the secretary or office manager sometimes can take earthmoving equipment...might have to get out the tank.

But I'm not in a hurry and I will eventually speak with them, right now my focus is on the clients and word of mouth in the community.

This is the fun part and some of the creative part of what I do, other than developing individual programs and ideas for clients. Radio shows, talking to people, getting the word out, is what's fun, plus spreading what I feel is an important message about taking care of yourself and prioritizing your health.

But the best fun stuff is about running and play...

Wheaties Boy, Bard, Eddie and Chris went down the Grand Canyon and ran the rim to rim to rim a few weeks ago. They got some kickstarter money to make a documentary of their experience. Here is the preview. The scenery alone is enough to make me want to drop everything and get in the car and drive to the Grand Canyon and run off the edge.

Bard started this concept a few years back called "Feed Your Crazy".

I was playing around with a bumper sticker idea I've had for a while and decided to make one, and see if people like it. I only made a small number, they are not back from the printer yet, and they are a little expensive to produce in small numbers. But if there is interest I will print more.

I plan on doing a giveaway soon. More about that later.

Word of Mouth: Top to Bottom

I have started running again, just a little. I've been working on doing about 8 to 10 miles on my feet each day, some dog walking, and then running small amounts. I feel great when I run. I'm a little slow but my legs don't feel bad. Yesterday I did 5 miles and wanted to keep going but stopped myself. The plan is 20 miles this week, 40 next, and see how it goes from there.

I plan to run the Houska Houska on May 26, which is a fun 5K. That week I will also do my first speed session again. I'm not going to push hard, it will just be interesting to see where I am 3 or 4 weeks post-race. And as of the first week of June I'd like to be back into training for this fall. I can't wait to get going again!

So the rest of this post is my public service announcement. If you're squeamish and can't bring yourself to put your big boy or big girl panties on, then by all means, move on to another post. If you think it's TMI, then I'm calling you a wimp.

I'm a 50 year old athlete, I run ultras, I've been mostly healthy all my life. I hope to continue that way. Some things you just never know if they're going to happen, but to the extent that you can prevent some awful thing from happening, I think you should. My opinion on this, and you might not agree, is that you have a social responsibility to control health care costs in your own life for the benefit of society in general.

By avoiding preventive care, your chances of having a serious health condition that needs expensive and drawn-out treatment result in increased costs that are spread to everyone. That's not fair. I'm not saying that everything can be detected early, because it can't. And no test, no screening procedure is ever fool-proof and 100% accurate.

Yes there are many tumors that go undetected, some cancers that often can't be caught early like pancreatic and ovarian, and I can't even tell you the number of women who had a mammogram come out "normal" and then within a short period of time later, found a lump that was beyond stage I. But those are generally the exceptions.

And if you are diagnosed with cancer or some chronic disease, it is not your fault (almost never! the exception would be if you willfully and knowingly allowed it to progress and then decided to wait to obtain treatment) and you deserve the best care that is available to restore your health, regardless of where you fall on the socioeconomic ladder. Knowledge is power and I am just saying that you have a responsibility to your fellow citizens not to bury your head in the sand if you have the knowledge and are able to access preventive care.

Having seen and administered the treatment for many types of cancer, I can tell you almost without exception, you are much better off detecting a disease, especially cancer, early, because the outcome and treatment are so much more favorable.

Yesterday I had an appointment with a dermatologist to check out my skin and lips because at my checkup this spring my dentist thought I had some sun damage on my lower lip that should be looked at. The dermatologist thought things looked pretty good, and advised against freezing off the few small spots on my cheeks, nose, and upper lip that are little pre-cancers until later on in the year, when I'm not having so much sun exposure, because it would leave white scars right now.

There were a few little rough spots on the edge of my upper lip, again, not too concerning, these are tiny little precancer areas. And the area of my lower lip that the dentist was concerned about, the dermatologist felt that there was nothing concerning at all there.

So I took care of the top half as far as cancer surveillance. Went to the dermatologist, had my mammogram, and now the not as much fun part: I scheduled the Roto-Rooter for the last week of May.

As an oncology nurse, I have to set a good example for readers. So I'm writing about colonoscopies. This won't be the last post, either. This is the PRE-colonoscopy blogpost. There might be a during the prep blogpost if I can get away from the can long enough, and yes I promise you I will wash my hands before I come back to the computer, there will be no virtual spread of disease and E. coli by reading my blog...and I also promise you, there will most definitely be a post-colonoscopy blogpost even though I anticipate I will have no memory of the entire procedure.

My intention is not to post graphic pictures or gross you out. The appearance of my inferior-most orifice will remain a secret between me and the gastroenterologist. But as far as the details of the procedure, if you're freaked out by the "EW" factor, then it's time to re-condition yourself.

I didn't get to have the colonoscopy appointment as soon as I wanted to, but I got it a week later, and still in May, with the doctor I wanted, so I'm content with that.

I wanted to get it done before Memorial Day because I want to return to full training but one more week won't hurt anything. I'm a little concerned about getting the anesthetic out of my system. They use propofol (yes that's the Michael Jackson drug) and from what I can tell about the pharmacokinetics (how the drug works, moves through your body, and is eliminated) it looks like it will be a good 48 hours before it's cleared. Until that time is over I'm not taking any chances. Two years ago when Dennis had his colonoscopy he broke his foot the day after, by slipping off the stairs. I'm convinced it happened because he was still affected by the propofol.

It kind of freaks me out to have them putting propofol in my system. We used that all the time for sedation for patients on ventilators in ICU. It's pretty freaky stuff. It wears off quickly, and it's this thick milky-looking liquid. I don't want it in my body. That is more of an issue for me than the scope itself. But I also know I don't want to be aware of or remember what they're doing with the endoscope, so I'll compromise.

What are the biggest fears people have around getting a colonoscopy that keeps them from doing it?

1. Embarrassment: exposing your butt hole to other people. Seriously. Everybody has one. (Some more than others)

Believe me, I don't remember the faces or other parts of any of the patients I ever was present with during their scope, and there were a lot. Even less so with your doctor, they do these day in and day out, they are busy watching the video screen of the inside of your colon, not paying attention to any personalized markings on your body. You won't run into your gastroenterologist in the grocery store and they'll think...oh yeah that was the one with the hairy butthole...

Now if you have a tattoo on your right butt cheek that says "Scope Me" or has the doctor's name, well, maybe they would remember that...but the room is dark so they might not even see it.

As far as the outside parts go, seen one, seen 'em all. Some have hemorrhoids, some don't. Unless you tattoo your hemorrhoids, they won't remember. That's about it...

What if you pass gas during the procedure? You might, but it's more likely to do that afterwards. But you'll be in your little recovery area and everyone else is out of it with anesthesia too. They won't know where it's coming from. Sort of like farting in a crowded, loud room full of people. And during the procedure, there is noise in the room and they aren't very close to the offending part anyway, they are focused on moving the scope and the video screen. You won't know, and won't remember. Everyone farts, you, your dog, your grandmother. Even gastroenterologists fart.

2. Afraid of pain: It's highly unlikely that it will be painful unless you already have some sort of serious GI disorder, and in that case they would medicate you. You will be lightly sedated, and the doctor can even talk to you during the procedure. Afterwards you will not remember it. But you will be able to let the doctor know during the procedure if you're having any pain. They can give pain medication if necessary, but usually it is not needed.

3. Afraid they'll find "something": If they find a polyp, they will remove it during the procedure. You won't even know. They'll slip this little wire around it and cut it off, take it out and send it off to the pathologist. It's done. Most of the time the polyps are benign and if they are suspicious, the nice thing is that they are out of there. Unless they find a major tumor, they are not likely to have to do anything else.

Sometimes they find a polyp that upon examination by a pathologist, needs to be followed up on with a repeat colonoscopy in 5 years, instead of 10 years. But since they took it out already, at least you have the peace of mind knowing that you've stopped the growth of a potential cancer and set it back. That alone is better than not knowing there is something growing in there, and finding it when it's already spread.

Wouldn't you rather know that you had a precancerous polyp removed and out of your body? At least you'll know you can do something about it in the future. And you'll know that the colonoscopy procedure wasn't that bad. It's a lot easier than waiting until there's a huge tumor that has spread to your liver and you need chemotherapy and surgery and possibly living afterwards with a colostomy bag attached to your abdomen. Believe me, a quick colonoscopy that you won't even remember is much more favorable.

4. Fear of complications: Unless you are in poor health, have advanced cancer, or already have some kind of advanced GI tract disease, it is very unlikely that anything can go wrong in a healthy colon. The scopes don't have sharp edges, the little tools they use are retracted inside the endoscope, and they are watching the entire procedure on video the whole time.

The doc I chose is one I actually know, and have conversations with if I run into him somewhere in the hallway or in town, and I know his wife too. But I feel totally comfortable because I've worked with him doing the procedure before and I know he does a thorough job. He's got a nice personality and you feel at ease around him. I won't be freaked out after the procedure if I run into him in the grocery store.

So that's my public service announcement for the day. I admit that yes I do feel a little icky about it. It's not something I look forward to. But I also know that it's better to get it over with, so I'm looking forward to being done.

The important thing to remember, other than GET YOUR COLONOSCOPY is, make sure you choose a doctor whose name you haven't tattooed on your butt.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Starts With Mother...

The word I used this morning when I first looked out the window and saw this.

Yes it's pretty, but this is the suck of all suck...cold, wet, heavy, white, relentless crap coming down all day without stopping. All over the blooming peonies and delphinium, and everything else that is just barely turning green. Will this winter EVER end?

I did get a project partially done, at least the worst of it. All the garbage that was in the closet of the extra bedroom has been piling up and collecting dust for 7 years and I pulled it out, got rid of some of it, and took most of it to the garage, where Dennis helped me stash it out of the way. Mostly art supplies, a lot of things I will want later on when I do have time to take up painting again.

The room feels so much bigger without that pile of crap. I have a lot of old paintings and other stuff that needs to be gone through, organized and discarded, but I can do it in manageable chunks now. I needed to clear the big bulky stuff out of the way.

Iris was patient all day and then I asked her what she wanted. She went down to the closet where we keep the leashes. So I got dressed and found my Sorels, and took her out for a walk. Isabelle didn't want to go.

It was wet, cold, and windy enough to make it unpleasant once my clothes soaked through. The streets were full of slush and puddles. After a mile it was more than enough. It's nearly 40 degrees but the way the stuff is coming down, I'm sure we'll get some heavy snow tonight.

I walked every day this week, today was the only day I didn't do some distance on my feet. My legs still feel tired, but I jogged a little a few times and it felt fine. Next week I'll start doing some short easy running and start working the weights back into the schedule. I anticipate a lot of walking this coming week, too.

I'm trying to get that colonoscopy scheduled in the next two weeks. I want it done and over with before I start training again. I know the GI docs from working with them in ICU, having been present during many, many colonoscopies and other endoscopic procedures. I know which ones I'll feel comfortable with.

And I'm seeing a dermatologist on Wednesday about the sun damage on my lower lip. I really need to find out what's the best thing to use for sunscreen on my lips, because it would be nice to find something that lasts longer than most lip balms. Maybe it's just a habit that I need to get into, reapplying it much more frequently. I couldn't even get an appointment with a physician for 3 months, but I can see the PA this week. I guess that's okay, experienced PAs are good, I'll see what this one does.

Iris's birthday is Tuesday. She'll be 13. She was born on Mother's Day in 2001, she's my Mother's Day baby. Of course we'll have a party for her. Isabelle has her birthday in two months.

I hope this snow stops and goes away soon. Even though I don't have to run in it much yet, I am OVER IT! Ready to hop on the next flight to Phoenix, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Hell, whatever. Anyplace that is above 80 degrees.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Best Advice and Support...

Just got back from the gazillionth walk around the neighborhood with Iris. It's my way of multitasking. I'm trying to walk it off in my recovery, and I've been needing to think. Walking is great for thinking.

It's thundering now, and sprinkling lightly. I wish we'd get some real rain out of these clouds. The backyard finally has color and looks like spring.

I'm definitely feeling it now, my legs are still sore and my feet and ankles are a little puffy, still. Sleep has been coming back slowly, but I don't know if I'll repay the sleep bank from naps anytime soon. That's okay, I'm sleeping 9 hours a night and that works well.

I've been getting things organized in my life and I need to get focused on work again this week, which I will, but for now I've been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on my race and what I want to do for the rest of the year.

Last night I had a great talk on the phone with Joe Fejes, we discussed my results from Cornbelt and how I could improve on efficiency, training, or strategy. I got some great ideas from him, and some suggestions, and it helped to state my thoughts to see what he thought.

I was totally pumped when I got off the phone with him. We had a pretty mellow conversation but it got me thinking about prioritizing things, what I want to accomplish, and for some reason, it made my brain kick in all at once. I was suddenly excited about all these different things at once. I went for another walk with Dennis and the girls after I talked with Joe, and I told Dennis what we talked about and what I was thinking.

Dennis helped me untangle the thoughts in my head and make sense out of my plans and goals. It's great to be able to talk nonsense and have someone interpret and straighten out your thoughts to help you make sense. Dennis understands my babble when it comes to running and knows how to weed out the garbage, which is so helpful. It's great to hear his perspective as someone who has been there, knows me, and knows what's realistic for me.

And I am so thankful to Joe for his guidance, we've only had a couple of conversations but they've been so helpful as I move forward in my pursuit of better performances. It helps to bounce your ideas and questions off another athlete. He was amazed when I told him how much I ate during Cornbelt. He gave me some great insight to what I'm doing regarding that. Plus he's been trying to work on some stomach issues, so I'm hoping that maybe what I told him about how I do it might help him in some of his longer events.

This morning I started digging around in travel plans. I have several trips coming up that are not related to racing, and I needed to start looking at those, and then I decided that it's time to sign up for NorthCoast 24 Hour, so I did that and made hotel reservations in Cleveland, found a screaming deal at a good hotel where I stayed last time, for about half the price I paid last time. That's always nice especially when it's the 24 hour event and you won't be using the room on the middle night, but keeping it anyway for convenience.

I'm very excited about the rest of the year. I plan to do a few marathons and half marathons this summer, nothing big, just for some good workouts and training runs. I was trying to find a 50 miler or 12 hour race in late July or early August but there were very few that were either the right terrain, dates, not conflicting with other travel plans, or reasonably affordable to get to. So I'll just stick to the shorter road races and focus on good quality training, and that will work just as well. Maybe even better.

It's weird to live in Colorado and say you can't find any ultras to run. There are a ton, but they are all on trails and up in the mountains. Am I the only road and track ultra person in Colorado? I know I can't be, but sometimes it feels like that. What, no one else in Colorado likes to run around in circles?

I made some airline reservations for our trip to LA this summer when we visit my parents at Manhattan Beach, and I made reservations in Spearfish for the Leading Ladies Marathon, which I will do in August. That's a fast one, and I really want it as a fitness test. I don't care about running a certain time, it's still a training run, but I am looking to make some progress toward being able to hold a certain pace in ultras, and this will be a great way to measure that.

I'll be going off to Badwater to work medical there in July, and I looked into the possibility of doing a marathon either before or after that trip but both marathons were cutting it too close and the travel arrangements were too complicated. So I opted to find something else, that doesn't conflict with having a relaxing and fun time around Badwater.

Wheaties Boy (Shannon Price) has been super encouraging about going for my goals. It's so important to have a buddy, someone who backs you up and supports you, even if they aren't there all the time, because we rarely run together, and for the next month I won't even be doing workouts with him. But even when we don't get to run together, in spirit, it's awesome support, and it helps so much to verbalize my goals and have someone to keep me honest, and even more, someone who believes in your vision as much as you do.

Between Dennis, Wheaties Boy, and Joe, I'm so thankful, so lucky they all have my back! Three incredible athletes, and great human beings. Thank you all.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Date With A Porn Star...

Curiosity killed the cat. Or maybe it was a raccoon. I saw dozens of dead raccoons, roadkill along I-80, like the official roadkill of the Midwest.

I had to check out this Maid-Rite thing. I had a sadistic fascination with anything as bizarre and porno-esque as a "loose meat sandwich" and I was in post-race repletion mode, so why not?

Conveniently, as I needed to stop for gas in Grimes, Iowa, there happened to be a Maid Rite place just behind the gas station off the exit.

I ordered a basic Maid-Rite basket, just a plain sandwich and fries, and a drink. They give you a spoon, too, in case you have some stray loose meat that falls out of the bun. I was impressed by the fact that they had hand sanitizer by the register and by the trash cans. How often do you see that in restaurants? Actually they should have that in all restaurants, and all hotel rooms for housekeeping staff to use between rooms. What a concept.

Anyway the plain old boring Maid-Rite sandwich wasn't too bad, it wasn't exciting or anything, but it was palatable. And a small, reasonably sized dose of French fries tasted pretty good too at that time.

The other thing was the portions were like normal food, not supersized like everything else in the world. I drank the iced tea for the caffeine, and hit the road again. I did a few laps around the parking lot before leaving, it felt so good to walk the stiffness off.

I lucked out again, the wind shifted yesterday from east to west, so I had a tailwind going home too! Nice for saving money on gas, and it made the trip a bit faster.

After a while I needed to stop again at a rest area just to walk and stretch out my legs. So I did that.

And then half an hour later I was starving again. I stopped in Kearney and for some reason I was craving Taco Bell, so I found one, and ordered one taco supreme and some beans, and that wasn't enough so I went back and ordered two more tacos. There I was, living out my Taco Bell fantasy.
Before I got back on the road, I felt sorry for Dennis tonight, after all this horrible road food.

I stopped one last time for gas and being hungry again, in Sidney, Nebraska. This time it was a McDonald's salad.

Then a couple of hours later I was home, with a beautiful sunset over the mountains.

It was so nice to be home to Dennis and the girls, I got the dramatic greeting from the Buffaloes, and we took them for a walk around the block to help me stretch my legs.

I feel pretty good despite the long hours on the road, I'm sure Tuesday I will be sore from sitting in the car, and I cannot wait to get back to eating salads and my other normal foods.

Maybe this would be a good time to get that colonoscopy over with...