Scatter my ashes here...

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

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Down With the Crud...

The past week I have been pretty much out of it. On Sunday afternoon after my run with Josh I started to feel a scratchy throat and was hoping it was allergies, but by bedtime it was becoming undeniable. Monday I spent most of the morning making a huge pot of green chile, and that was it for me. I went to bed after that. Tuesday I was completely worthless, worse than Monday.

Wednesday I could only manage a one mile walk with Iris, which was pushing it. Thursday I did 3 miles of walking with Iris, my best day yet. Friday I had no energy but my sinuses were draining and the cough wasn't quite as annoying. And today I had to get out for some obligations, which I did, but still no exercise. I feel wiped out. I will give it until Monday and then attempt to run at least a few steps.

It's not the flu, no fever and it is really all above my neck. I have an annoying cough more like a tickle in my throat, but it's not in my chest. I hope it doesn't go there. I don't want to be hacking up lung cookies for the next 3 weeks like everyone else seems to be doing. I usually get one cold or 24 hour puking episode every year and this was it for 2014.

The sad part is that it was a beautiful week, the weather was incredible, temperatures near 60. Iris got to work on her GPA, I really think she's gunning for an Ivy League scholarship. So many good nuggets to sniff now that geese are back!

I didn't get a lot of work done this week, either. My brain didn't want to do much work. I did catch up on some reading though. I finished Clifton Leaf's The Truth in Small Doses and Atul Gawande's Being Mortal. One more health policy-related book on the agenda before the end of the year and I will be looking for more. Gawande's book was excellent. Everyone who might ever die should read it.

I have a chapter due January 15th in the upcoming book Empowered Nurses, so I need to get my head clear and working again to finish it. Then I can finally move on to my big fat writing goal for 2015.

Friday I did also get a major project done, it took 7 hours. I had piles of miscellaneous papers, class notes, unread journals, paperwork from starting up my business, and garbage from stuff I've been reading and researching about cancer-related programs for the past 6 years. The stack was taller than me and spilling over onto the floor of the woman cave. So I decided to organize it by going through every single paper and journal to see what I could get rid of and what I could use.

Isabelle slept the whole time, through all the ruckus.

I stopped by Office Max and K-Mart Friday afternoon, yes we still have one of those relics in town, about a mile from my house. I bought about a dozen binders on sale and a 3-hole punch, then at K-Mart I found a cheap set of wooden pre-cut bookshelves that just needed to be screwed together and brought them home. Now I have a 5 foot tall shelving unit in the woman cave with a much less intimidating pile of stuff, divided up into categories. It feels so much better. I can't work surrounded by clutter.

I finally got my sense of taste back and decided to have a beer this afternoon. Fort Collins Brewery came up with a beer I like, 1020 Pale Ale. I always feel bad that we have a local brewery that I have never liked their beer, but I keep trying. It's hoppy and bitter and really good.

I really have nothing to add on the running front. Today is Desert Solstice 24 hour in Phoenix. I was on the fence about it ever since last spring and would have been there today if I didn't have such a frustrating summer of training. But I'm glad I didn't. If my motivation comes back, there's a good chance I will go there next year for a good track race. But we'll see what happens. I think my body has had it for a while.

I will be happy to run 3 miles on Monday at the rate I'm going.

Stay healthy, everyone.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Six

My friend Josh was in town visiting his kids and I found out about it just before I went to bed Saturday night. So we quickly arranged to meet at the Horsetooth trailhead at 8 Sunday morning. I was supposed to run the 6K Tortoise & Hare with the Running Club, but a trail run with Josh sounded like a lot more fun.

So I drove up past the reservoir this morning, and the parking lot was surprisingly empty. Guess it was too early for most people.

We ran Southridge, Audra Culver, hit the summit, down the Wathan, to Spring Creek and back. Nice 6 1/2 mile loop at an easy pace with some decent vertical. It was great to catch up, we haven't seen each other since he left last spring and moved to Colorado Springs.

Longs Peak was emerging from behind the clouds all lit up, it was hard to catch in a photograph but glowing in real life.

It's been years since I ran these trails but it all looked familiar once we started hitting the intersections and the landmarks I remember from my days of training for Leadville. I am so thrilled to be able to run trails. It doesn't hurt except for the really loose rocky stuff, but there wasn't much of that today. Remembering how to run on different surfaces and how things move under your feet, different sizes and shapes of rocks, pine needles on the trail, it's like riding a bike. You remember where to place your feet and how likely your feet are to slide out from under you on different objects.

We're supposed to have nice weather all this coming week. I got 44 miles in this past week, again about half on trails. Not tired, not wiped out at all. So nice to feel refreshed after my runs and have the energy to do other things.

We are so lucky to live here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tires and Trails

I'm having another consistent week of running. Nothing big, again, the longest run was 9 miles, but I managed to get out with the tire twice this week, and did some trail running.

I can't say for sure if I'm out of the woods yet, with the low motivation. I still struggle to get out each day, but I've been successful, even when I'm running by myself. Things are better. Except every time I see someone I know, they ask me, "Any races coming up?"

I need to come up with a good recreationally-themed run to keep it fun this winter. Something even crazier than the Walmart run.

Friday morning I had a block of time to get away and I went up to Coyote Ridge and ran over the ridge to the Blue Sky Trail, went north about a mile, then turned around. Good, technical, rocky sections. I did it. It took me two hours to run 9 miles, but I ran every step, even the gnarliest rocky ascents. That's real progress for my ankles.

Today I went to the Power Trail and stuck to the dirt sections, to make it feel different, even though scenery is the same. It was a gray and cloudy morning. I actually ran a decent pace today, even though I thought I'd be tired. I wasn't. Tomorrow is the Tortoise and Hare 6K with the running club, I guess that will be my "speedwork" for the week. I already went to the track once. I could live with this schedule.

I have three busy months ahead. My schedule is getting full, there's so much to do. I'll stick to my promise, no racing or long training runs. I need my brain to work...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Haute Hubris Hits the 'Hood

We certainly shoot for the moon around here in Fort Collins. Sometimes we go over the moon and miss our target.

What a week it's been in northern Colorado. The arrogance of power, profit, and politics, pomposity on steroids.

We've been so juiced up in the executive departments that we don't even know where we started, and we sure don't know how to stop.

This week alone, we've discovered:

1. CSU football coach Jim McElwain is leaving to coach University of Florida. (We suspected it all along despite the adamant public denial from everyone at CSU).
2. Tony Frank, president of CSU, saw his wet dreams come true, he got approval to build his on-campus stadium.

3. To keep up with the newbies across the street, University of Colorado Health is proposing to build yet another emergency department on Harmony Road, just down the street from the new emergency department going in at the new Banner Health facility that will open this spring. That's on top of the emergency room renovation at Poudre Valley Hospital.

The other night I was at an event with some people in the community who were familiar with the goings-on in the competing health systems in town. And they asked, "I see they're building a new emergency room. Why did it take so long to raise money to build the cancer center?"

Good question.

I don't think they'll be begging the community with emotional appeals to support them in this capital expenditure.

Why are we paying a football coach a huge sum of money- his original buyout was $7.5 million dollars, which I hear has been reduced, to the tune of $5 million. Couldn't they put that toward the multimillion dollar cost of the stadium? We know they won't put it toward academics.

Why do we have three emergency departments within 4 miles of each other in a city of 150,000, two of which belong to the same hospital system? Wasn't Obamacare supposed to reduce the need for emergency services because people would have health insurance and get preventive care so they didn't end up in the ER? (Hint: follow the money)

Meanwhile, this area is in desperate need of a mental health facility. Hello?

Ask executives at any of these institutions and they will issue the same platitudes and excuses. But these are both really unnecessary expenditures at a time when we ought to re-think our original purpose, and whether it truly benefits the community, or just a few. Those who are so hypersensitive to criticism might want to explain themselves to the public, who are asking good questions.

What are we doing in this country? Does this make any sense? Do we need another college football stadium and hospital emergency department? Haven't the costs of higher education and health care already gone over the moon?

Where are the grownups? These children who are too big for their business suits need a time-out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

GPS 2015: Enjoying Normal

It's goose poop season again, and again, Iris is working on her GPA: her goose poop average. She saw the geese were back for the winter in the schoolyard today, for the first time this year, and she was sniffing for vegetables in the grass...

The past two days I was successful in getting my butt out the door to run. Isabelle has been slacking for a while but the past two days she got her motivation back and walked. Her sister must have told her about the geese. Mmm...tasty treats.

Tuesday was the group track workout with the running club at noon, I got there early and ran a few miles to warm up and then dragged the tire on some dirt bike trails for a mile or so before going over to the track to meet the group.

While I was there I ran four 400s, not fast at all, but just for some leg turnover. I could barely crack 7 minute pace. But I wasn't doing it for speed. More like long strides. It was different to make myself work hard. At the end of each quarter I was done. Not ready for anything more intense than that.

Today I got my butt out for a little over 7 miles around noon. I have had such a hard time getting out in the morning. I start doing work things and get sidetracked and then by midday I have low motivation.

I am enjoying the shorter runs, though. It feels more refreshing, it doesn't wipe me out for the rest of the day. Instead of doing 20 miles, 7 or 8 is a nice start to the day. I think I'll be sticking to this average for a while, too. I am happy to keep a low GPA this winter. Unlike some people around here:


Sunday, November 30, 2014

One More Month of Winter...

One more month left of this year. Three weeks to solstice, and the days will be getting longer again. And only 4 1/2 weeks until spring.

I got 40 miles of running this week with about half of that on trails. It's been my most consistent week since early September, when I started tapering for North Coast.

This morning when I woke up it was 51 degrees outside, then the wind picked up before 8 am and by the time I arrived at the parking lot by the trail behind the stadium, it was 25 degrees. We had 30 mph winds last night and whatever blew in is now threatening to drop snow on us. It's not supposed to last long, though.

On Saturday I ran two times up and down the A trail behind the stadium, and this morning I ran up it again but then ran over the other side by Horsetooth reservoir. Felt pretty good both days.

I ran into a longtime running acquaintance on the trails yesterday. We talked for a few minutes. He asked me about my latest ultra endeavors and I told him about the end of my year and my uncertainty about the future, and he said, "You've had a hell of a running career."

He's right. I have. I don't know what will happen over the next several months or years, but I am not disappointed in where I am now. I have that awareness, nagging at me, that time is running out for certain goals to be met, but they aren't the most important things to me. I am happy with what I've been able to do and I know there are opportunities in the future if I want to pursue other running goals.

There's that fear that if I take a break now, will I still be able to come back to the level where I was? I can't worry about that. I know that these days the only thing that is motivating me to get off my butt is to go up to the trails. I can't seem to get myself to look at the Power Trail or bike paths at all.

I have a busy week ahead of me, a lot of business-related matters, all of which I am very much looking forward to. I didn't have any idea that I'd be doing the things I am doing when I started this a year ago, it's nice to have the freedom to make tweaks and adjustments as needed, as opportunities present themselves. That's the great thing about being in business for yourself, there is no bureaucratic wet cement to wade through.

I was just talking with someone else I know who is on the verge of breaking free from her toxic health care job, and pursuing the dream she has. We're doing a small project together this winter. I feel for her, it's no fun being in the place where she is now, but once she makes the leap, she won't look back. Leaving those boneheaded dinosaurs behind will be the best thing she ever did.

Tomorrow is Monday, and I'm looking forward to going to work in the morning!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Beating The Black Friday Blues

If anyone asks me what I did on Black Friday, I will tell them I did all the things I'd prefer to do over shopping with crowds.

I ran in the foothills dragging a tire behind me, and I picked up dog poop in the yard, including some warm fresh ones that Isabelle contributed while I was in the process of picking up the other piles, trying to stay ahead of it before the next snowstorm hits.

I'd rather do those things any day than camp out in front of an electronic gadget store all night with a bunch of other crazed people carrying baseball bats, ready to draw blood in competition for the last iPhone 6, or whatever.

It was a cool morning in the foothills, I ran on the trails around Dixon Reservoir, and saw a lot of other runners and hikers out, an unusual amount of people for a Friday, but it is the holiday weekend, and maybe last night's gluttony convinced them that they should do something physical.

We went over to our friends Melissa and Austin's house again, all of Melissa's family was in, mostly from the East Coast, and it was a low-key and relaxing evening with great food. They had some technical issues with their oven and stove not working so Melissa and I devised creative ways to finish cooking the green bean casserole and potatoes. They live on the north end of town, so we got to see this sunset looking east toward the Budweiser plant, that's the picture at the beginning of this post.

Yesterday I went out for about an hour run and it was torture every step of the way. I went out the Power Trail and I thought I would pop my eyeballs out from the mental strain of feeling like it would never end. I just cannot get myself to run the bike paths and streets right now.

Then this morning I went to the foothills trails and I was fine, almost. I did have a slight problem with the time out there, it did seem like forever in the middle of the run, but at the end it was okay and I didn't mind getting the tire out and doing an extra mile and a quarter with it on the hill.

And I kept stopping to take pictures of the leaves in the water and under the ice at the reservoir. I'm hoping I can motivate myself to run both days this weekend. Early this week I managed to run on Monday but couldn't get motivated on Tuesday or Wednesday at all.

I wish I knew what the magic formula is right now to keep me going. I don't like to drive anywhere to run if I can avoid it. But I have exhausted all my usual running places here on the east side of town, it's all sidewalks, streets, and bike paths in every direction, with a few short exceptions. Looks like I'll have to start doing some driving to get myself excited to run anywhere for a while.

I just cracked open a VERY cold Odell Isolation Ale. And there's a VERY warm hot tub waiting for me.

Cheers. To Black Friday...