Scatter my ashes here...

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Feats and Aspirations

I'm recovering nicely from my 50+ mile impulse the other day. My feet seemed to take it hardest, my toes were sore all day Sunday. Monday the muscle soreness set in but it was surprisingly mild. Today I don't feel bad at all, and I think I might go for a run tomorrow.

The past few days I've been fairly productive. I guess it took 50 miles to unplug the system and get the pipes cleaned out, get everything working again. If that's all it takes, I'll gladly throw in a 50 miler every so often for productivity.

This place is getting crazier all the time. On Saturday Dale and I were talking politics as we circled the lake. About cronyism and corruption and how damn bad it needs to get before people WTFU.

I woke up this morning and almost choked on my coffee when I saw that beautiful red white and blue front page picture of Ted Cruz announcing his candidacy for Republican presidential hopeful. Rah, Rah. USA! Oh, wait. He wasn't born here. Where's Donald Trump when you need him?

Then I was out walking Iris this morning and came across a yard sign, and it inspired me to write this post on Fighting Dinosaurs. I thought I'd share it.

That's all I have to say for now. I'm still coughing up coffee.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Here Comes The Sun Fat Ass Therapy Run

Yesterday I went to Arvada, a suburb of Denver, and ran the Here Comes the Sun Lake Arbor 12 hour and 9 minute Fat Ass. March 21 was the first day after spring equinox, and the time from sunrise to sunset was 12 hours and 9 minutes.

My goal was to stay on my feet the whole time, I didn't care how many miles I got. I didn't expect much.

My friends Marissa DeMercurio and Pete Kardassis held the Fat Ass gathering in a park, on a 1.15 mile walking path around Lake Arbor. It was mostly flat with a couple of small, almost imperceptible hills. The park has a view of Longs Peak and the Indian Peaks.

It was one of those perfect spring days, it was sunny and warm but there was enough of a breeze to cool things off without making it difficult to run in the wind.

Driving down from Fort Collins in the morning I got lost for about 10 minutes once I got into Westminster. It was dark so I couldn't see the mountains, and I ended up going in the opposite direction that I was supposed to go. I pulled over and realized I didn't have my reading glasses and I couldn't see my phone to look at the map. Last week I got my first pair of progressive lenses and now I can't see $&@#!

Finally I found Lake Arbor. It was dark and no one was there except for a lone figure with a headlamp in the dark unloading stuff from a car. I pulled over, put my window down, and said, "Marissa?".

I set up my table in the freezing cold and dark, placing my Peeps on sticks all around.

Soon more people started to show up, and my running buddy Dale Perry, aka Sasquatch, arrived. He set up his stuff next to mine in the Peep garden.

At 7:00 we started, about 15 people were there at the start. Every time we completed a lap, we would take a stone out of a big jar and place one in our own jar. The stones looked like marbles. At the end of the run we would count the marbles and see how many laps we did. My friend Cat always talks about how you keep track of your miles by dropping a marble every time, and whoever loses their marbles first, wins.

I started out super slow, walking a lot, with a little running here and there. I only ran 5 full laps by noon. Dale and I stuck together for a long time, walking and talking. My friend Connie, Marissa's mom, was there early in the day, and Eddie Metro showed up later for a few hours.

There were a few speedsters accumulating laps but by mid-day most of them had disappeared. A few people would come and go, do a few laps, and leave. After a while it seemed like there weren't many of us left. Pete was out there doing fast laps in between helping Marissa with the event, and as far as I could tell, Dale and I were pretty much the only ones left. The two old farts, Ratched and Sasquatch. photo credit: Vince Gerber

Our friend Vince Gerber showed up and did a few laps, I walked with Vince and Dale for a while and then I started to run more. Vince and Dale continued on together. Later on Matt and Anne Watts showed up, they saw the pictures I posted on Facebook and decided to check it out. Matt joined me for a couple of laps. And Danie, an old friend from Western State College, showed up and did a lap with me.

Early in the day I had my iPod and stuck it in my bra for a lap because I had nothing on me to anchor it. I forgot to bring my pack on that lap. By the time I got around the lake to get my pack, I pulled my iPod out, and it was all sweaty. Then the stupid thing wouldn't work. It would start and play for a few seconds, then shut off. I thought maybe it got too much moisture in it, and it might dry out. Later on it started working again, but it would cut out every so often. I finally got frustrated with it and grabbed my old MP3 player with all the trance music on it, and listened to that.

My legs felt slow and tired but not too bad. I've only run 120 miles so far this year, an average of 12 miles a week. I have done a lot of walking, though. I think that helped. I was surprised that I had as much energy as I did, and I actually did more running in the last 3 hours of the race than I did all day. My back didn't hurt, either, that was the other thing I was concerned about.

In the last hour Dale was sitting in the aid station talking with Matt, Anne, and Vince, and every time I went through they would give me a hard time. Vince ate the butts off my Peeps and left the buttless Peeps on the sticks.

Late in the afternoon Marissa joined me for a lap and she told me how many miles I had. I was already at 40 miles, which I never expected. I realized I had enough time, if I did a decent amount of running, to hit 50 miles. photo credit: Eddie Metro

As the laps progressed, I found the motivation to run a few minutes each lap, and it was enough to get me just over 50. I finished with 50.6 miles at about 12 hours and 2 minutes, not enough time to do another lap. I had time to take pictures of the sunset, too.

Pete took a picture of me with a bouquet of buttless Peeps at the end. Looks like the Peeps ran their asses off. Fat Ass runs are not competitive, but I had lost more marbles than anyone, so I guess I got the official "lost the most marbles" award. I got to keep my jar with the stones in it.
It was the most fun event I've attended in a long time. A day with lots of sunshine, running in circles, and the company of many friends. It doesn't get much better than that. Marissa and Pete did a great job. I hope they'll do it again. photo credit: Pete Kardassis

I love Fat Ass runs, no pressure, no big deal, you just show up and have fun. And I was really surprised I whipped out 50 miles without too much effort or discomfort. That was encouraging. Maybe, finally, I'll be motivated to lose the 12 extra pounds I'm still carrying and be more consistent with running now. photo credit: Pete Kardassis

I gave away most of my remaining Peeps with the intact butts to a group of kids who walked by on one of my last few laps.

I drove home, and Dennis went to Whole Foods and got a pizza, and brought home some Corona beer. It was awesome.

I'm not moving too bad this morning, not sore or stiff except my toes hurt. My shoes were pretty worn out, so that might explain it. Sometimes it takes a couple of days before I feel it. I have some interesting tan lines, a stripe around my ankles between the compression sleeves and my socks. And a farmers tan on top, raccoon eyes, and the beginning of my annual watch tan.

I feel "normal" again.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

SpongeBob Strikes Again!

Things have been looking up the past few days.

Isabelle is doing well with recovering from surgery. I've had to hold her back several times because she wanted to chase squirrels, go out the doggie door, try the stairs, and fence fight with Iris. She's not supposed to do any of those things for 2 weeks after her surgery, and it's only been 5 days.

Saturday I went for my longest run in two months, I ran 10 miles on the Power Trail and felt decent. Not great, and I was slow, but it was a nice morning and I decided to get out before my motivation failed and I did it. I didn't have to stop, didn't have to walk, didn't get down over struggling with my lack of fitness. I went out 6 miles and came back 4, and walked the final 2 miles, on purpose, because I planned no more than 10 miles. I didn't want to be sore or tired, and it was a good strategy because this morning I feel fine.

I need to save something for next weekend too, when I'll be on my feet for 12 hours.

The BEST news of all is that my dad's bone marrow biopsy results came back and it was good news, it is the same thing he's been dealing with for years, it hasn't transformed into something worse. He's in his third week of chemo and other than being tired, he's doing well. When he told me that on the phone yesterday I felt all the tension in my body release. Like a giant body sigh...

If you're not familiar with the SpongeBob story, you can reference it here. You can scroll down toward the end of the post, to Visitor in the Shadows. After residing in our garage for the past several months, I kicked SpongeBob out, made him change out of his Halloween clothes into something more appropriate, and dropped him off at Felix's house. SpongeBob is a notorious couch surfer and I thought it was time he moved out for a while. We're tired of feeding him. Who knows when he might reappear, but for now, that's one less mouth to feed.

The weather has finally turned for the better. I planted some lettuce and spinach in the boxes to see if we can get away with growing anything yet.

I heard from my longtime ultra running buddy Dr. Andy Lovy, U.S. national ultra team physician, the other day and he told me he will be in Oklahoma this fall, and I am considering trying to get myself in shape to at least run the 12 hour there. I don't have any big expectations but it would be a good way to start my comeback. We'll see what happens. It's more about seeing Andy than the race. As my favorite ultrarunning icons get older, it's more important to me to see them when I can.

And Bob is in Badwater, so the double is on, and I plan to be there at least to crew for the return trip. I'm also considering a Grand Canyon double this fall. It all depends on how things go and how my fitness returns. The most important thing is that I am looking forward to things again, I didn't realize how much some of these stressors, mostly my dad's health, were weighing on me.

Relief...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Life Lately...

This week was a busy one. I started out trying to cheer myself up by getting some Peeps, now that they are out in the stores. I set them up for the girls and of course Iris the peep snatcher got almost all of them. Isabelle wasn't all that interested. I think she knew something was up.


We scheduled Isabelle's surgery on the 10th, to have a huge lipoma removed from her right hind leg. The 10th also happened to be my birthday, number 51, and I knew we'd be busy taking care of Isabelle, so on the evening of the 9th, we decided to go out to the Rio and get some margaritas. It was a last minute decision after dinner. I had one regular margarita which is normally more than enough to do me in, but they had blood orange margaritas as a special and I had to try that. So I did.

It was sweet, didn't taste all that good. But by the time I went to bed that night my was head spinning, knowing I had to get up in the morning to take Isabelle to the vet.

Isabelle's surgery went well. She's been comfortable. Dennis and I have taken turns sleeping on the futon, which we dragged into the living room, so we could be with Isabelle all night. She can't do stairs for a couple of weeks.

That has resulted in sleep deprivation for both of us. My brain has been gone. I went to the store yesterday, forgot the most important thing on my list, and realized I had my shirt on backwards.

Running has taken a back seat to everything, once again. I guess it's just not time to start coming back yet. When things settle down and I can think again, then I'll be able to enjoy running. I take Iris for walks and that's about it.

Isabelle got used to the collar, she only needs it when I can't watch her. She hasn't tried licking yet, but she's still pretty doped up from the pain meds. I will start weaning her off those later today, it's been two days now.

As far as running goes, I am just looking forward to the 12 hour run next weekend. No matter what, it will be good for me to get out and stretch my legs, cover some distance, listen to music, and lose myself. I need it for therapy so bad!

The exciting thing this week is that the Empowered Nurses book, in which I wrote a chapter, is due to be released on March 16th. there is also a telesummit that shows the interviews with me and the other 10 authors. I am going to write a separate post about that and the book soon. Check it out. There's a link to purchase the book in the right-hand column of this blog.

The premise behind the book is to show how nurses can rise above the problems in the profession and find a more fulfilling path in nursing.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

"Hey Rocky, Watch Me Pull A Rabbit Out of My Hat!"

I'm still dragging. I wish I had some new and exciting news. Trying to explain this to my husband is impossible, I shouldn't even bother.

I ran 6 miles Monday, a little over 7 with Cat yesterday, and 6 today. That is the most I've run in over a month. I have put some walking miles in, there were two weeks where I walked over 40 miles a week. But I averaged 12 miles a week of running in February.

It felt like crap today, That same elephant leg feeling. Every step is an effort. It's the same way I was feeling last summer and all through the fall. Maybe it's vitamin D deficiency, or I've lost so much fitness that back to back hour runs make me tired. Not to mention the extra blobs of fat, I am so bloated even my fat pants are getting tight. My butt is so big I can feel the extra lard when I sit on it. I have the bike tire in front which is fast approaching a motorcycle tire.

Yesterday when Cat and I were running we talked about lack of motivation to run, eating too much, and drinking too much. If I could just get two of those three things fixed I'd be doing better. But when my legs feel like lead, it makes running not very enjoyable and I don't look forward to going out. I am not kidding, my legs have felt better after ALL of my 100+ mile races. It's bad.

I went to a cocktail party the other night, and at this point I only have two dresses that fit me. One was not appropriate for a cocktail party, the other is my funeral dress. So I wore the black funeral dress and there were bulges everywhere: Kardashian butt, muffin top, back boobs, I had to wear a cardigan over it because it was so obvious that I've packed on the pounds.

I'm not motivated to get on the bike, I haven't been lifting weights because of my back, but I know I need to avoid getting weaker muscles. I am not going anywhere near the pool since I can't even fit into my swimsuit right now, and I would be embarrassed to be seen in public.

If Runner's Roost in Fort Collins ever goes under, it's probably my fault. I just noticed that the date on my shoes is 11/2. November 2nd of 2014 I broke into this pair of shoes and I'm still using them. That NEVER happens, I've never gotten 4 months out of a pair of shoes probably since I started running 30+ years ago.

My dad is doing well so far with the chemo, one week in. We'll see how things progress. So far he feels tired but he's been tired for a while, so it's good that there are no other problems. Isabelle is scheduled for surgery to remove the lipoma on Tuesday, which also happens to be my birthday. I feel like it's a good decision to do this, she will probably move a lot better once she heals in a few weeks. But I'm still going to worry, which is what a mom does.

Last year I was feeling so good for my 50th birthday. It was great for a few months, then everything went to hell in time for 51...maybe 52 will be good. I know it will take a long time for me to bounce back from where I am now. I need something to push me forward, because I am not doing it on my own. Maybe it's around the corner...

I'm looking forward to the 12 hour run in two weeks. I need that much more for my head than my body. It will be my therapy. I might just waddle in circles and cry.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Another Monday, Where is the Sun?

I have pretty much given up on trying to get going with running. The motivation just has not been there. I still plan on going to the Fat Ass 12 hour and change at Lake Arbor in Arvada later this month to enjoy running in circles. Maybe that will be what finally motivates me.

When I woke up at 6:30 this morning, it was light out, but the sky was completely overcast. I don't know where the sun is, but it seems to have left Colorado. I can't get myself motivated to get out and run when it's so gloomy and cold. No running goals currently appeal to me.

Life has been fairly exciting lately, a lot of good projects happening. Fighting Dinosaurs launched this weekend and things went smoothly, I got a guest blogpost in time for the launch and plenty of comments on the initial posts. Today the Empowered Nurses book is scheduled for release, I have a chapter in there. I am just waiting for the official word and I will be adding links to it on my blogs and websites.

There are the worrisome things too. My dad took his first dose of chemo yesterday, he seemed to be doing fine when I talked with him later in the day. I'll be going down to visit again in a couple of weeks.

Isabelle has a big lipoma on her right hind leg. Being 13 1/2 years old I hesitate to do any surgery but I trust our vet and he understands my philosophy about my dogs. We did pre-op labs just to see if she's healthy enough for anesthesia, just in case, and everything looked great. She's limping and yesterday she didn't even want to go to Starbucks with Dennis and Iris. That's not like Isabelle. The vet seems to think she would be able to move a lot easier if it's just a lipoma and we took it out, he said it's usually pretty simple to get it out without having to cut any muscles or connective tissue. So we are considering it. I'm talking with him later today about what the whole process would be.

I want her to have good quality of life, and she has plenty of energy and still eats like a pig, so I'm inclined to give it a try. If for some reason it turns out to be something more serious than a simple lipoma, then we'll have to make other decisions. None of us are ready to part with any members of the Buffalo Family, and we're hoping to get good news, but getting prepared otherwise just in case. It's sad and scary. We love our Bella.

I am going to make myself run 30 minutes at least today, and take Iris for a walk if The Bella doesn't want to go. I am such a pile of mush. But I will get there, somehow. Maybe when the sun comes out again...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Confusion

Someone forgot to tell the meteorologists what season it is. They keep telling us we're in for a week of snow. That is soooo not fair. It's been spring for almost two months and we keep getting dumped on with white stuff.

Today I got out while it was still in the 40s but windy, before the snow moved in, and did a little over 6 miles. First I took Iris walking for a couple of miles, then I brought her home and went out, determined to get MY workout in. Even if it was only an hour. I woke up with no pain in my back today, as I have the past three days.

I'm afraid to start any weight workouts or even any core work without weights, because it seems like everything has been aggravating it. After I am pain free for a few weeks then I will start. I am getting so tired of feeling like a flabby limp noodle.

I wish I had more to report. I am planning to run/walk for 12 hours and 9 minutes on March 21 in Arvada at a Fat Ass event. Ready or not, I'm going down there and plan to stay out all day. I don't care how many miles I get in, either. I'm taking my music and dancing around the lake all day. Catch up on my vitamin D, hopefully, if it's a nice day.

My dad is starting on oral chemo, even though they don't have all the results back from the bone marrow biopsy. His hematologist thinks it's the same leukemia that he's had for years and is starting him on methotrexate. I guess it won't hurt him even if it turns out to be something else because it's the same class of drugs they give in the thing we're hoping it isn't. We'll know in about a week or less. What drives me crazy is the lack of thorough education that they do with patients, even at the big name hospitals that are supposed to be the top cancer clinics. They're all the same as far as I can tell. All trying to make a buck and not paying attention to the needs of the entire person and family members. I always want to bang my head against the wall... but thankfully I can give him the information he needs to know. I hope he does well on this stuff, it won't make him lose his hair but it can cause diarrhea and nausea and mouth sores, and making him more susceptible to infections.

I always wish I could tell people in public they should be more considerate of the fact that there are people among us who have weak immune systems so please keep your boogers to yourselves. Like the guy at the airport last week. Dennis and I were waiting for our flight out of Phoenix to come home, and this guy sat down next to me, blew his nose into a paper napkin, then deposited the napkin on the seat next to me. GROSS! Or people who cough or sneeze and don't attempt to cover it or wash their hands.

I am much more of a germophobe ever since I became a nurse. Watching people is really interesting, and disgusting. People don't realize how filthy their hands are, and what they touch. Cell phones are gross. Did you know that E. coli are found on cell phones? People take them to the bathroom, and those surfaces are full of E. coli, and who knows if they ever wash their hands, but if it gets on the cell phone and you don't disinfect the cell phone, might as well not wash your hands because it's all going back on your hands. And then you shake someone else's hands after touching your E. coli-infested cell phone. Computer keyboards are the worst. I always used to freak out when I'd see a nurse typing on the computer and not washing their hands before touching the patient again. And these days the way nurses have so much more documentation to do on the computers and so much more work to do in an understaffed setting, there's even more likelihood of contamination. Just FYI. Always make sure the person taking care of you is keeping their hands clean.

I am excited about launching Fighting Dinosaurs. Nursing evolves March 1. I can't wait to see what kinds of stories will come out.