Wednesday, May 22, 2013
We're finally getting some beautiful spring weather. I'm hoping to get a few days to enjoy it here, before it goes into an all-out heat wave.
I wrapped up last week with an 8 mile elephant legs run followed by a 29 mile bike ride with Troy in the afternoon. We had a killer cross wind on the ride, but we made good time for the distance. My legs were burning as I fought the wind.
I got 40 miles of running in for the week, all at a painfully slow pace. Then I started my work week, which consists of two 8 hour days of computer training, then a few days off, followed by two 12 hour shifts on the weekend. So I'm headed into the days off segment now. The reason why it's an Epic hangover is that the name of the computer system we are training for is Epic. All of our documentation will be in this Epic system, which actually is not so bad, once you get used to it...
but sitting on my butt for two days in a classroom in front of a computer was about the most exhausting thing I can imagine. I got home both days after class and all I could do was take a two hour nap. I was zonked. It sucked the life out of me.
I was so pathetically wimpy that I didn't run on the computer training days, even though the weather was perfect, cloudy one day, then nice and cool and breezy with sunshine. I figured since I have been feeling so sluggish, another two days off won't hurt me. If anything it will give me more rest if that's what I need, and if not, it will just make me more sluggish, which can only be overcome by running, which I will do for these next 3 days before I go back to work again.
And then I have three weeks of a more normal schedule, which will give me a chance to get back into my running routine. Elephant legs B-GON!
I might even hit the track this week on one of the three days, just to do some 200s or something to get a little turnover without having a serious speed workout. That might be what I really need.
My all-out frustration with things going on in healthcare and in the nursing profession in general have led me to an existential crisis of sorts regarding my future in healthcare, but more specifically, nursing. It makes me sad that I love what I do on a daily basis in my job, really, even when it makes me crazy and exhausted and burned out because of the WAY WE WORK, not because of the THINGS WE DO.
Just the past two days of being in computer training with a small group of the nurses I work with most often, reminds me again that we're all dealing with the same set of circumstances, and we feel the same pressure, and have the same thoughts, questions, frustrations, and fears. And it's not just us. It's EVERYWHERE. I hear the same things from nurses all over the country, and out of the U.S. too. Despite the numbers, something like 3 million registered nurses in the U.S., we have not been able to advocate for changes that would improve not only patient outcomes, but our own working conditions and environments.
I've been torn between a few things, I have so much to say on the topic that it's enough for another blog, easily, but I don't want to start another blog. It would take too much time and energy to commit to another regular blog when I need to start channeling the energy of frustration into something constructive.
Writing, for me, is so therapeutic, and I have a lot to say. I need a lot of therapy! My friend Geri Kilgariff has been after me for years to write a book, so has Dennis, and I think I'm finally at the point where I have accumulated enough material that I could discipline myself into refining and shaping it into something other than a blog. So that's one project I need to get going on. I might have close to 1000 pages of written material on nursing alone over the past 8 years since I started nursing school.
The other project is to figure out a way to move myself forward despite the lack of anything but lateral opportunities in nursing, unless I wanted to become a nurse practitioner, which I don't, or go into management, which is about as appealing as dog poop. Actually I think dog poop is much more appealing and I would rather roll in it than go into management of anything.
So I am in the process of exploring how to expand on my current skills, knowledge, and interests to give me some opportunities while the profession of nursing stays inert and stagnant, choking as healthcare reform swallows it up and the vicious cycle begins again. Between my two projects, maybe I can help myself and do something to impact nursing in a positive way. My snarky side wants to say I could do something to disimpact nursing, which is really part of nursing's problem.
So, that said, I'm ready to get on with it. I've been a slacker for almost 5 weeks. Tomorrow, no excuses, it's back to running, and a more structured schedule. I have the Casper Marathon coming up in 11 days!
Saturday, May 18, 2013
This morning I felt like a blimp. I haven't been eating poorly, I'm not stuffing my face with anything bad, but somehow I've packed on a few pounds since Cleveland and I can feel it.
At 9 am I went out to run 6 or 7 miles and I felt like crap. I actually felt like puking during the first 2 miles. Then it passed and I felt slightly better. I figure it will go away once I pick up the miles again, but I really feel like a bloated cow today. Even my clothes feel tight.
I thought, maybe it's all the salt in the soy sauce from sushi the other day. We went out for sushi on Thursday evening. Or maybe I'm just exhausted, sluggish, and in need of a nap. I hadn't even consumed any beer. Yet.
So to celebrate my bovinity, I met Dennis and our friend Mark at Odell Brewing Company at 11:30 am and we began consuming beer. Living in Fort Collins has it's advantages. First thing was the new Celestrina saison, followed by St. Lupulin, my hoppy, grapefruity favorite from Odell. The Celestrina was okay, but I preferred the Funkwerks Saison by a long shot. Celestrina was dull gray in flavor compared to Funkwerks bright neon magenta. At least I thought so.
Dennis always looks so much more alive than I do. Maybe it's because he just works and doesn't run much. Or maybe it's because I feel like crap after four shifts in six days. Regardless, the three of us sat and drank beer and discussed politics, whispering words like "Republican" while we watched the place gradually fill up with locals and people in town for CSU graduation weekend.
I'm really not too concerned about the bloat, or the blimp. I know that once I get back to my running mileage I'll drop these temporary pounds. This summer the speedwork emphasis should help me destroy those extra few pounds of lard. Tomorrow, more easy running miles and a bike ride with Troy. Looks like reaching 40 miles this week will be no problem. Next week I'm bumping it up again, I'll get back to the hills. I know it will make me sore but I have to do it.
Next week the plan is to shoot for 60 miles, but 50 will be okay, too, since I don't have a lot of days to run, with 4 days of work. Two of those days will be sitting on my butt for 8 hours in a classroom doing computer training though, but that's exhausting in itself. I do plan to hit the hills once and maybe one tempo-ish run if I can catch Wheaties Boy before he takes off for the Bryce 100. I work next weekend,then the Houska Houska is Memorial Day. And then Casper Marathon six days later.
I'll be back at it before I realize it. I'm even considering Estes Park marathon depending on how I feel after Casper, even though I swore I'd retire from Estes Park after 2010. I want to run! Plus my mind is itching to get to the track, but my legs are not ready at all.
This cross-training is a necessary evil. Gotta stay "in shape" in my off-season, right?
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
This morning I got out early because it was so hot! I hosed the girls down, and since it was watering day I got the yard watered in the process, and then took them both out for a run. A half mile into it, Isabelle decided to lie down in the grass under the trees by the Mormon church. She dug in and REFUSED to go. I took a water bottle with me so I offered her a drink, and I said, let's go home. Then she jumped up and got excited. Iris was barking at me, at the top of her lungs, "Come on mom, let's GO!"
I had to convince Isabelle that we really were going home, not trying to fake her out into going longer. By the time we were a block from home the sun was blasting us and it felt like a summer afternoon.
I took the girls in the house, filled their water bowl with ice cubes, and did a few little things around the house. I told myself it was heat training time, it's going to get worse. So I went out for another 9 miles, hit the Power Trail, and dragged butt the whole time. I was doing 11 and a half minute miles, and even when I tried to pick it up, there was nothing to pick up, except elephant legs.
Elephant legs hanging on for weeks after a race is nothing new. I definitely pushed my season out too long and this is my payback. I know this will go away over the next few weeks but right now it feels like long slow torture to run at this pace. Plus the heat and humidity so early in the season didn't help. I did sort of forget what I was doing out there, because it never occurred to me to turn around and shorten my run. I was happily lost in my own world the whole time, even though I was aware of the forever pace.
This afternoon, 2 more miles for breaking in the H3s. Actually I'm not breaking the shoes in, but really my legs. It's a completely different kind of shoe than the heavy duty Brooks I usually run in, so it's going to take some time to be able to run in them safely. The H3s do feel good,and they are lighter. The clouds moved in, but no sign of rain. It did cool things off a bit, down to 73 degrees instead of the 75 it was this morning.
Over the next week and a half I will spend more time at work than not at work, which is unusual for me. On two of those days, computer training starts, but there is a silver lining. I'll be close to the lakes, so I will bring my running gear and enjoy the opportunity to run after work. I'm sure my butt and brain will be numb after sitting in a classroom all day, but I can shake out the legs and move, and revive myself. Maybe by then they won't belong to an elephant.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
This morning I woke up to the leaves. The trees are finally leafing out. Yesterday's hot temperatures brought out the apple blossoms, lilacs, and cottonwood leaves.
We did go from winter to summer in a week. I guess it's summer now.
Two exciting things happened in my own leave of absence from home yesterday. First, I got an e-mail from the St. George Marathon that I got in with the lottery! First try! I don't know how hard it is to get in, usually. but it was my lucky day, Monday the 13th.
The other thing that happened was the check came in the mail from North Coast, so I can apply that toward the racing budget.
I am toast this morning. I have a wicked work hangover, I worked two long days Saturday and Monday, nonstop busy. The computer training and a nasty human virus that's going around has limited the number of people available to work. So we hustled all day. By the end of the day I could barely keep my eyes open. This month I have so many odd shifts and days that I have to look at the calendar every day to make sure I know where I have to be and when.
It was in the 80s yesterday and that dried up a lot of the moisture that was hanging out in the soil. My allergies are also killing me. I hope we continue to get some regular rain because if we keep going on this dry streak for very long, it won't matter that we got all that snow. We'll be burning up. For runners, that means having to go out of town to run trails and mountains, because the air gets so bad here.
For some reason the hot flashes I was having all winter and early this spring have mostly gone away and left me alone. I'm sure this is temporary, but I'm enjoying it. Ever since I got back from Cleveland I've been much more comfortable. I hope it lasts because our house is HOT.
I'll be spending some time in the woman cave today, until it gets too hot. Time to get out for a run, but I'm sure I'll need a nap before I can feel human.
On Sunday we celebrated Iris's birthday with dog cookie cupcakes.
First Iris sang happy birthday to herself, drowning out all of our voices, then it was a race between the girls to see who could finish their cookie fastest.
Even after our party, I still felt enormous guilt going to work Monday morning, on Iris's actual birthday.
This morning I'm breaking in a pair of Pearl Izumi H3s, they are road shoes with rearfoot stability, actually through the midfoot. Nice and cushiony and comfortable. I took Iris for a short walk but I had a few errands to run early this morning so I only got a short run in. I will finish up with a longer run this evening, after a nap. Iris is expecting to go longer, so I need to make it up to her.
This morning I spent about a half hour trying to figure out where to stay in St. George and fortunately I was able to get a reservation at the same hotel where my friends Kirk and Keith are staying. I need to get my butt on some hills. I've been seriously neglecting hill training for too long.
Now that I know about St. George, I can start planning where to tuck the other marathons in throughout the summer. Finding them, close to home and on days when it is reasonable to travel to them in between work is the challenge. It's already the middle of May. I have a feeling October will be here soon. Makes me want to go over to the track now, but I have to recover from work first. I don't think I could concentrate long enough to make through one lap at this point.
I do have a 12 year old Australian Shepherd who is staring holes through me, letting me know it's time to get started on my day, with the first order of business.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Twenty miles easy this week, somewhat sore at the beginning.
I did 10 miles Thursday, 4 in the morning and 6 in the evening with Wheaties Boy, pushing it a little. I could feel the soreness again after that. Friday I did a slow, easy 5, and another easy 5 Sunday with Jen.
Next week I'll bump it to 40 and see how that goes. There are some races next weekend, I might jump into a 5K again, we'll see how it's going.
The leaves on the maples, oaks and cottonwoods are just about coming out, I'm sure by the end of this week the winterscape will be gone and we'll be green everywhere.
I worked all day Saturday and it was a long day, nonstop busy, loud and crazy all the way through.
When I took my lunch break I forgot my phone and couldn't check on the progress of the USA team at Worlds- the 24 Hour championships- but I was sitting outside and heard a voice calling down to me. I looked up and it was one of my old ICU co-workers. I got up and ran up the stairs to see him.
We walked over to the therapeutic garden that is being built between the parking lots. Most of the plants haven't leafed out yet, so it's not exactly what I'd call therapeutic, maybe once the leaves come out it will block more of the traffic noises. We walked around for a few minutes and talked and listened to each other. He expressed the same feelings I've been having. I keep hearing the same theme. Grief.
I finished out my day at 7:30 pm. By 5 pm my head was pounding from the noise. I rarely go home hearing alarms and equipment noise since I stopped working in ICU, but Saturday I could still hear the IV pumps chirping after I got home.
I checked on the U.S. team. They were doing well, and it looked like their pack placing in the fixed-time event would yield some good results.
I was so tired, though, that I couldn't look at the numbers too long or think about any details. I'd have to wake up in the morning and check on how they did. My mind went back to the events of the day.
People need to be listened to, they need to know they aren't alone, because alone you think you're going crazy, but when you put people together, they echo, and their echoes provide support for each other. Change is hard for people, especially when it involves loss, it needs to be acknowledged as a process in the people who are suffering the loss. They will go through some anger in the process.
When there is a lot of anger, it means that the grieving process is not being acknowledged in a healthy way. Going on the defensive and telling people who are grieving to shut up is not productive or humane.
I woke up this morning and was thrilled to see that both the men's and women's USA teams had taken gold at the World 24 Hour Championships! An American record of 152 miles by Sabrina Little, 2nd and 3rd place women were from the U.S, and 1st, 2nd, and 10th place men were from the US. Joe Fejes was 10th, so happy to see him up there. Great job to everyone, lots of strong performances!
I'm generally thought of as a quiet person. When something is important to me, like running, and seeing the joy and satisfaction of a hard-earned running performance, I can be loud and I can be vocal. I love running. There are other things I care about too. Like being true to myself and my own values. When it's something I care about, I will not be silenced. I am a creative person and I will find a way to express myself.
And for every person who wants me to shut up, there are hundreds who want me to scream louder.
Friday, May 10, 2013
I'm spending a lot of time in the woman cave, disciplining myself to get my work done out there. I have a big project I'm starting.
Yesterday after my drowned rat episode in my morning run, I got out and did 6 miles with Wheaties Boy last night just so we could catch up on the latest stuff in our lives. It's therapeutic for me to blow off steam while running just fast enough that I'm winded, but I can still get mostly full sentences out. I was sore again after our run, but that was gone by the time I woke up in the morning.
So this morning I went out for 5 miles easy and slow, and that didn't bother me, except for the feeling of being in slow motion on wood blocks again. I decided that I'm going to run the Casper Marathon on June 2, it's an easy drive from here and will be a good first long training run.
I was thankful I only needed to get about 5 miles in, because I needed to get back to the cave. I had a productive morning.
After I ate lunch I got a wonderful surprise visit from my friend Morgan, who stopped by the house as I was paying bills, and she brought me a nice little gift that I will enjoy, some herbs that can be used for aromatherapy. We talked about our aging dogs, aging Buffaloes, aging people, running, and various things.
I work tomorrow, just one day, and then I have Sunday off. We're going to celebrate Iris's 12th birthday, and Mother's Day.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Finally got out for a run, the sky was clouding up around 11 am and I thought I could sneak out for an hour before it would rain.
Wrong! I got out and 10 minutes into my run it started raining. I came home and got rid of my sunglasses and put a hat on, and went back out. The rain had stopped. I went back along the same route and another mile into it, almost at the same place, it started dumping rain! I turned around and started heading home, thinking 45 minutes would be enough. I got home in the downpour, and within minutes it was hailing.
That's okay, I wasn't feeling great on the run, given my lack of activity recently, my legs felt like wood blocks. I know they'll feel better after a few more days, but that first run is always tough.
Typical Fort Collins spring weather. I thought we were done with the white stuff, but I forgot about hail.
You never know, by 3 pm it could be 70 degrees and sunny.