Scatter my ashes here...

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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Clear Skies!

I needed to get some miles in this week, but I didn't have a lot of time to plan something. Decided I wanted to get a long run in, but it was easier to split it up into two days. I settled on 50 miles broken up into 30 and 20. That way I didn't have to rest so much or plan- both days could be low key, just a little longer than my normal run.

I woke up super early for some reason on Wednesday and got out the door by 4:45 am to start my 30 miles. I ran for about three hours and watched the sun rise, then came back to the house, got Velcro and Gypsy, and took them for about an hour run, then brought them home so I could finish my miles. All went well, I felt good, and kept a decent pace all morning.

I ran into two people I know at the lake, one is a runner I see often over there since he lives by the lake, and the other was a surgeon who is now retired, but I used to work with him when I worked in ICU. We stopped and talked briefly looking at the lake. He said something about next time there being snow. I'm not quite ready for that, but it will happen soon enough. It sort of feels like an early fall, it's been cool in the mornings and the trees seem to be changing colors earlier than usual. The sky was so clear today, I could see the Indian Peaks south of Longs Peak, which I haven't been able to see all summer, with all the smoke from the fires everywhere.

I got done with the run feeling like it was no different than my usual 10 to 12 miles, got some things done in the afternoon, pulled 40 pounds of grapes from our vines off the stems, ate dinner and went to bed.

This morning I woke up later and took the girls for the first 6 miles of my 20. As we rounded the lake I saw two people walking, a man and a woman, and the man looked somewhat familiar. I saw him look in my direction too, but we ran by and he didn't say anything. I wracked my brain to try to figure out who he was and how I knew him, then it hit me like a lightning bolt- he worked at the hospital too. I remember talking with him as he was often working part of his day in the ICU.

As we turned around to run back toward the lake, they had turned around and were heading toward us. This time we looked at each other and stopped- and yes, it was him. We hugged each other and he introduced me to his friend, who also worked at the hospital. Now they are both retired. He introduced me as "used to be an oncology nurse" and I told him that I still am, briefly told him what I'd been doing since I left the hospital. He's been gone from there about as long as I have been. He said he was glad to see me and also said he's always happy to see people who thrive after leaving that place, and his friend nodded. He said he was really glad to leave such a toxic work environment.

It's funny because now I clearly remember the day I was so pissed off at my boss, who had terrible management skills, and I was ready to tell her to shove it up her ass. I left the hospital crying that day and that night I wrote my letter of resignation. As I was leaving work, I ran into this same person I saw at the lake today, and he gave me a hug then and wished me well. He knew at the time that there was so much bullshit going on in the hospital. I'm glad he got out, too.

I brought the girls back to the house and went out again, first stopping at the donut shop because I was hungry and it was conveniently located. I didn't plan for much running food, so I ate what was easy to find. After that I went south of where I usually run, and made a stop about three miles from home for an ice cream sandwich and cold water, as it was getting hot and my water bottle were getting warm. I felt fine, like I did any old run. I can definitely feel my fitness and endurance have improved since the beginning of the year.

After my treat, I finished my 20 miles, and spent the afternoon making tomato bisque soup from our tomatoes and putting the de-stemmed grapes into plastic bags to freeze so I can make jam in a few weeks when I have time. I'll be doing a little traveling for a while, and then There Goes the Sun 12 hour run is on the day of the Fall Equinox. After that I'll have 3 more months to get ready for Across the Years!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Eighty Miles for an Ice Cream Sandwich

After the Summer DIY mis-adventure, I was feeling a bit frustrated about my progress in running. I needed something challenging that I could do with a minimum of preparation and fuss. I wanted to get 80 miles in 24 hours that day but it was not my day. I decided to fall back on a strategy I used while getting ready for Badwater, which was back to back long days. I decided to do 80 miles split up into two days, which would give me the opportunity to recover between the runs by sleeping a full night, as well as two consecutive days of running, like the 48 hour I am training for, and to avoid worrying about a safe place to run at night, as I would be done before dark, or close to it.

I chose a Friday and Saturday so I didn't use up my whole weekend, and I'd have time to rest on Sunday. I wanted to get some work done in the garden, pick some grapes to make jelly since they were getting ripe fast, and get to the Farmer's Market for green chiles on Sunday. The plan was to run 40 miles each day, for a total of 80. I wanted to get each day's miles in under 12 hours each day if possible. I didn't know how I'd feel and it was supposed to get fairly warm, around 90 degrees. I planned to do out and backs from the house and shorten them up as the day got warmer so I could access the ice for my neck. I also wanted to get a minimum of 6 hours of actual running in for the weekend.

I woke up at 4 am on Friday and got out the door at 4:48. My first stop was at Lamar's donuts to meet the donut Friday group. I figured I'd get a few miles in before I met everyone, run a few with them, and hang out for a short time before going on to get the rest of my miles in. I ate two donuts, one before the group run, and one after. It was nice and cool in the morning and I took advantage of it.

As it got warmer I decided to stop by a convenience store I have been to many times and get an ice cream sandwich. I went in, and they had no ice cream at all! This is after 30 miles of running! I was getting close to the end of my day so I decided finish up closer to my neighborhood and I went to two more different stores, and NO ice cream sandwiches!

I finished up soon after at 2:55 pm, getting my miles in their entirety, with 5 hours of running, and the whole thing in 10:07 which included all the stops. I felt good about that, and I didn't feel tired. I felt like I could have kept going, but I didn't want to be greedy. I wanted to get some good miles in the next day.

I ate dinner, had a beer, got some sleep, and decided to save the ice cream sandwich hunt for the next day.

Saturday morning I woke up early again before my alarm went off. I left the house at 4:55 am, and ran toward the east side of town. About two miles from my house I was near Fort Collins High School, running through a park, and looked up into the sky, which was just barely getting light, and I saw a giant meteor- it looked like a comet! The Perseid meteor showers were that weekend but I had not planned my run around them. I saw a few other sparkles in the sky after that but nothing like the huge flying spectacle I was lucky enough to catch.

I ran a loop around Rigden Reservoir. Looked like someone had quite the party the night before- with fast food trash bags and syringes. The opioid epidemic is here, too. Unless they were someone's insulin syringes, but I doubt it- why would they use so many?

The morning stayed cool and I stuck to the neighborhoods on the east side of town, they had plenty of shade. I didn't even go home until 22 miles to put ice on my neck. But I did stop at the corner of Timberline and Vermont, near the high school, at 15 miles, it was only 8:47 am, but I didn't care- and they had one last ice cream sandwich, just what I was looking for, in the case. The traditional vanilla ice cream between two rectangular chocolate wafers.

I savored every bite of that sandwich and kept going. I was so excited to find the ice cream sandwich that I forgot I needed to buy more cold drinks, so after a short out & back, I had to go back to the gas station again. Good thing I ate the last ice cream sandwich or I would have probably bought another one!

The day got a little warmer than Friday, but I was still making good time. I only ran a little over two hours on Saturday, but it put me over my goal for the weekend as far as running time, by more than an hour. And, I decided to hit the gas station at Lemay and Harmony for another ice cream sandwich around 30 miles. Just as I was headed south on Lemay about a half mile before I got there, I got a text from my friend Serena.

She and her boyfriend Colin were out shopping, saw ice cream sandwiches, and thought of me, and they decided to find me and deliver one to me! They caught up with me right around 31 miles and I got to indulge in another delicious perfect treat. Serena and Colin are moving to Reno next week, which I am sad about, but very happy for them, because they have a great opportunity there.

It was warm the last few miles but I was still feeling good. I made it home at 3:17 pm, after 10:22 on my feet including all breaks. I could feel my feet a little, but I still felt good and had plenty of energy.

But mostly I was happy to have made my goals for the weekend, without any trouble, and exceeded my expectations. I was worried about being so unfit and not ready for my plans to train for the 48 hour at Across the Years, but this run put my mind at ease and I feel so much better.

I had plenty of energy left on Sunday to do all the chores- I peeled and packaged and froze a bushel of green chiles, I picked 20 pounds of grapes, and a ton of tomatoes, made a pizza with sauce from those tomatoes, and felt like the training is finally paying off.

It is really hard to come back from a break- much more so than it was even 5 or 10 years ago. I can feel the difference my age makes. But I've been persistent for a year now, and I feel I am finally getting some of the endurance back. Speed will come later as I choose to work on it- I'm not looking to get fast, I just want to do some more intense workouts to help build my strength and be able to hold a faster pace for longer. Just for ultras. And that's not really speed. It's just for running more comfortably at a little faster pace than my current 11 minute mile average.

I did go to boxing on Monday and I got so sore. I expected to bounce back from the weekend, but I don't know why I thought that. I was tired. I ended up taking Tuesday off and this morning, Wednesday, I ran the girls 6.5 miles early in the day and found my legs pretty sore afterward. I'm no spring chicken.

But I am happy now. I have Marissa's 12 hour run- There Goes The Sun- coming up next month. And then I'll have 3 more months to train for the 48 hour. I can finally say I'm looking forward to the training. And with the cooler weather, hopefully there will be more ice cream sandwiches available...

Summer Blogging Challenge

My friend Nancy Stordahl is one of my favorite bloggers and she always posts things that get me thinking. She writes a blog about breast cancer and loss. She provides the inspiration for many of my posts, here and in the oncology nursing articles I write. This time she has asked a dozen questions for a blogging challenge to share with readers and other bloggers. If you're new to this blog you can learn a little more about me and my blog.

Here are the questions and answers:
1. How long have you been blogging (or reading blogs)?

I started blogging in January 2008. I've been reading blogs since before that, but my decision to finally run Badwater after dreaming of it for years got me going on this blog, and I haven't stopped blogging since.

2. How has your blog changed?

It has changed from the main topic being running ultras to a variety of things I'm passionate about. I still blog about ultras, but I don't compete or race as often as I used to. For me it's more about getting out and enjoying being outdoors and moving, and the spiritual, mental, and physical benefits (probably in that order, too!) I get from it. I write a lot about nurse advocacy and healthcare, cancer, as well as politics and my own thought processes while I'm out there moving forward on my feet. I like speaking my mind and every so often I've pissed someone off with what I write, which tells me I'm doing it well.

3. What is your biggest blogging challenge/frustration?

Having enough time and energy to write the posts when so much of what I do for work involves writing. It's hard sometimes to want to write for fun, and often I want to write something, but I can't bring myself to sit on my butt for any more hours.

4. What is your favorite post that you’ve written (or read)?

My favorite posts that I've written have to be the series I wrote about Badwater- my first time running it, my second time running it as a double, and my experiences on the medical team and what I learned. Also, the "So ya think ya want to run Badwater" has been the most viewed post. As far as reading blogposts, the old classic from Larry Gassan about people whining at ultras has to be my favorite all time post- it's funny and timeless.

5. What are your goals for your blog?

To convey what goes on in my mind when I get out there and do long miles on my feet. To show the thought processes that result from running ultras, and how they support my mental and spiritual health, and creativity. And I hope it shows other people that it's okay to be different and think differently from the mainstream.

6. How many blogs do you read on a regular basis?

Wow. I couldn't even count them, but my favorite blogs range in content from healthcare, cancer, politics, news and current events, nursing, food, and miscellaneous interesting topics I find randomly. I read at least several blogposts a day.

7. How do you determine what to share and what not to share; in other words, do you have blog boundaries? (or comment boundaries)

I have to be careful when it comes to healthcare and cancer, just to protect the privacy of people, and I don't want to post anything embarrassing to someone when it comes to any topic. But I don't hold my feelings back.

8. When things get hard, what keeps you blogging?

Knowing there are readers who have stuck with me and do read my posts. A lot of times they comment to me personally via email or in person if they live nearby, or on Facebook, instead of in the comment section, so I know they are reading. And there are followers out there who I find out about- who don't list themselves as followers in the Google sense of the word. Sometimes it can take me months to finally catch up on a topic, but I do get around to it. While I was writing my book that was the hardest time to keep blogging, since the book was published, I have been better about keeping up with the blog.

9. What is your biggest Cancer Land pet peeve today, right now, this minute?

People who treat cancer like it's a race or sporting event. When they tell a person with cancer "you got this!" or "keep fighting" or the other cliches from CancerLand. Who are they to say these things? I know they mean well, but they sound so stupid. Like a cheerleader with pink pom-poms. How do they know the person has "got this"? How do they know "fighting" is going to help? It's like they have this back channel to a divine power who assures them that their friend with cancer is going to be okay? I am sure the person's family and oncologist would like to know that too... I hear it so often, it just gets really tiresome. That's one of the things I wish they would read my book for- to understand that there are better ways to support people with cancer, and to learn something real and useful about cancer before they are faced with it, in themselves or someone close to them, so they can be part of the solution, instead of exacerbating the problem and giving false hope because it makes them feel better about their own fears.

That probably sounds judgmental and harsh but that's how I experience that social phenomenon.

10. What one piece of advice would you offer to a new blogger?

Do it, write what you want, don't worry how you sound. Your readers will find you and you'll attract a following. Just keep at it. If people don't like it, they don't have to read it.

11. Share something most people do not know about you. A secret sort of thing.

When I'm not out running, my favorite thing to do is be home with my dogs and just hanging out. I'd rather do that than be around other people.

12. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Playing with my dogs and scratching their bellies, gardening, cooking, hanging out with Dennis (my husband) and photographing scenery and landscapes, in hopes that someday I'll get motivated to paint in pastels again.