Thursday, February 27, 2014

Say Wha'?

For years I had the most wonderful running companion.  She's black (shhh) and we have a language barrier.  She understands more than she speaks...  but she was a great runner until she aged into a senior age bracket and I had to hang up her leash.  Walking Only, the vet said.  And that worked out Ok for Desi.

She likes walking.  But this week she had to have some minor surgery, so I dropped her at the vet this morning.

This afternoon, I had a conversation that went like this:  "Mrs GBA, this is Dr Evans from Wellesley Animal Hospital.  I have some bad news.  We’ve discovered a mass growing in Desi’s ear, and (blah blah blah news I don’t need to share) which has likely resulted in some hearing changes.”

“Oh... I know she can’t hear 80% of the time.  It’s ok.  We love her anyways.”

Of course, what’s mystifying is which 20% she can hear....

To the dog:  GET OFF THE COUCH.  (no response)

To the dog:  SIT DOWN.  (no response)

To the dog:  STAY.  (no response)

To the dog:  COME HERE DESI!  (no response)

To a child:  Did anyone feed the dog?  (Dog arrival in 3...2...)

Yep.  She’s just like a child....

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pace is Overrated

“I’d love to run with you ladies some time, but I probably can’t hold your pace.”

These are words I hear often.
These are words I DREAD.

Pace is overrated.  Pace should not be the END ALL deciding factor in whether or not you are able to join a group.  The fact is, if someone wants to run with someone else badly enough, they’ll make it work, regardless of pace.  Pace is overrated.

In my group we run a variety of paces.  We are all training for different things.  Our lives are all at different places, and that does not matter.

We aren’t fast.  We aren’t slow.  We are runners.

A running coach of mine told me that he overheard Olympic medalist Frank Shorter say his group always just runs "the pace of the slowest runner who shows up that day."

I agree with Frank. Pace is overrated. The long run is about time with friends.

Success is not measured in pace for me these days.  When in nursing school, just lacing on shoes & walking out the door is a success.  Anything else is a bonus. 

Are their times when a run is about pace?  Sure thing.   But if I invite you to run with me, and you show up:  then that run is not about pace.

Can anyone who wants come run with us? 

We are an exclusive group.

The people we discriminate against are mean people, folks who enjoy gossip, and individuals who drop cutting remarks.

Beyond that, we're pretty flexible.  We run together.  We take the periodic walk break as needed.  We offer to share TP.  And GU.  We add on the extra .2 because one runner needs the .2 to make her goal of the week.

We aren't fast or slow.  We are runners.  Pace is negotiable.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Episode 70.3: The Phantom Training Plan

Confused and hungry, I stumbled into my kitchen.  My hair was still dripping, and the clothing I had hastily pulled over my still damp skin was sticking in unmentionable places.  Aside from a tablespoon of peanut butter, I hadn't eaten in 7 or so hours, and my focus was on the red in my peripheral vision. Shiny, red... must be an apple.  I grabbed it out of the fruit bowl and sank my teeth into a delightful crunch of sweet-tart melody.

When I opened my eyes a Pink Lady later, I was standing in the middle of my kitchen, an apple core in my hand, and a training plan at the end of my nose.  It appeared I had carefully taped it to the fridge at some time in the recent past.

The training plan had been lovingly made, and promptly forgotten in the chaos of my semester.

Holy wow.  It's Feb 18 today.

I'm supposed to have built to a 2000M swim.
a 60 min bike 2 X a week
3 Runs a week totaling 20+ miles.

I haven't been in the pool since I made it.  I'm only getting on the bike every other week. and let's not talk about the non-running that's been going on.

The plan with 6 well thought out workouts designed to see me to race day is seeing very little action.

It's like a movie script with an all star cast and no director.

I set out on Mondays with good intentions, and by Tuesday at 8pm I'm like, "I can swim next year... I just want to go to bed now."

And as much as I want to get it together and change things ASAP... I just can't find the time/motivation/energy.

So my new thought is that I should write down everything I do, and if I don't actually drop dead on race day, I'll tell you all the bare minimum of what you *can* do and still cross the finish-line of a 70.3...

It's the training plan that isn't.

My actual training the last two weeks went something like this:
Monday Run 2-3 miles as fast as I can in the amount of time that I have.
Tuesday 12 hour shift - about 8-10 of which are standing, walking or lifting. 
(it counts as something, right?)
Wednesday 8 hour shift - about 6 of which are standing, walking or lifting. 
(again - right?)
Thursday 8 hour shift - 7.5 of which are standing, walking or lifting.
(really, I'm being serious, someone measured and it's close to 5 miles of walking)
Friday - Hot Yoga & 6 mile Run
Saturday Ride 30 - 60 min Ride
Sunday Run 10 miles

Also - many of the work days are glycogen depleting 'workouts'... meaning, I do not always get lunch.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

1029 non-regrets.

“Have you always wanted to be a nurse? I mean, was it your life long dream to be a nurse?”

I stood before the woman and looked at her.  We had stabilized her relative by that point, and it was appropriate to chat, so I took a minute and prepared to give an honest answer.

How do you answer that honestly, without sounding like it’s about the money... because it’s not about the money.  There are 1029 jobs I can think of off the top of my head that make more than a nurse.  It’s not about the money.  I wanted a job that had security.

But that sounds a bit mercenary, and besides, it might not be entirely true.

She wanted a long story, it was serving to distract her from her relative’s illness, I could tell.  My gut instinct was to tell it.  She needed the human connection.

And, it was a quiet moment in the department.  I had time to gift it to her.

“I wanted to be a nurse in high school, but my life took me in a different direction.  I ended up in Retail Management with ¾ of a business degree.  I loved the human connection that retail afforded me, but I hated the hours. 

Once I had children, I became a stay at home mom.  Being a mother is really messy.  And you deal with gross stuff all the time.  And those things didn’t bother me a bit.”

Everyone laughed, included my sweet sick patient.  His eyes were engaged, and he was actively tuned into the story.

“And then, I realized at some point in my motherhood that my life was changing, and I needed to reinvent myself.  I needed a job that could combine my skill sets.  As far as I could tell, my skill set included: 


Nursing allows me to do both of these things.”

And there you go.  There were 1029 other things I could have been good at, and I don't regret turning my back on any of them because every day on this path is an amazing experience.

And, I love this, even when I'm exhausted and starving and there is no break in sight.  My mother always told me, if you love something, you’ll be successful.  I believe her.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Measurement ISSUES

Local news states we will get "snow amounts between 2 and 16 inches overnight on weds". Now, I'm not trying to criticize the way anyone does their job or anything, but c'mon man!

Another local guy is showing a map with a model predicting 20 inches, even though he "doesn't think we will get that much, maybe closer to 15".

Does anyone else see an issue with this?

Upon reflecting on the source of ALL these forecast, I have just ONE question:


Certainly, they at least know the difference between inches and centimeters....  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Moving to make Everyday the Best

I can't tell you much about my patient.  She was (__) years old, and had lived a good and full life in her opinion.  She was, sadly, dying a rather bloody and messy death.

I pulled the soiled gown and blankets back to expose her body and saw a rather beautiful woman before me.  Her skin was parchment thin, with blue veins under the surface that ran like a map of tiny rivers over her thin frame.  There were islands of tan, where age spots had settled in clumps, and a few suspicious moles that stuck out like black tags.  And yet there was tone, under all that.

"Do you know I'm (__)?", she asked as I washed her with a crisp white washcloth.  "I lived so much in my years.  I raised a family, and watched them raise families, and have great grand children who are growing up and almost grown.  I'm (__) years old."  This last sentence was said with conviction.  A statement of fact.  She said it with firmness and determination in an attempt to convince me, a mere 30somethingalmost40, that she was in fact at the end of a very long and happy life.

And she was fine with it.

"I'm (__) years old.  I'm supposed to have a stroke, and die in my sleep.  There isn't supposed to be all this messy hospital business going on here."

"Sorry," I mumbled when I adjusted her in the bed.

"Oh no you don't apologize.  I can handle it.  I can handle anything.  I have lived a great long life.  So you just do what you need to do to get me clean so my children are ok with how I look.  And please, understand, it isn't that I'm complaining about my age."

I gingerly slid a sheet from under her body, rolling her left and then right as I pulled and tucked a clean sheet under her.  I finished up with a clean gown and a pile of warm blankets.

All while listening to her clear soft voice.

"I led a very good life.  My husband went a while back, you know?  I went on without him, and I did a lot.  I lived every day to the best.  Make sure you can say that, okay?  Be sure that you can get to be my age, and be healthy, and walk every single day if you can, and crawl if you can't, because that is the key.  You have to keep moving to make every day the best."

I looked at her watery blue eyes and wondered just then, how it could be that I was hearing my own heart, spirit, and personal song from this perfect stranger?

But I was.

The universe put her here, in my path, to hear those words.

So Mrs. Whateveryournameis, I will.  I will be grateful for the beautiful people who grace my life.  I will work with what I'm blessed with and make every day a best day ever.  I will pay it forward.  I will.  I promise.  Because you gave me a glimpse of what my future could be, and as strange as it is to say...

I hope I'm just like you when I'm your age.

I hope I can look back and say, "I did a lot with my life.  And that I lived every day to the best it could be."


Thursday, February 6, 2014

On Brussels Sprouts.

I spent my whole life convinced that I hated Brussels sprouts.  As it turns out, that's not true.  When roasted in a stoneware pan with a little olive oil and garlic they're pretty good.  And on that note, I decided to see if I could change B'nut's perception on these little green super foods.

“B’nut, why don’t you come over here and try a roasted Brussels sprout?”


“It’s ok, I tasted them. They’re really good.”

B’nut looks over toward the stove in obvious alarm.  “I don’t like them.”

“Oh?  Are you sure?  Because I’m a better cook than anyone else, so I bet you’ll like these.  You like pretty much everything I make.”

“Ok.”  She chews thoughtfully on a bite.  “You are right.  You are the best cook in the world.  These are good.”


You heard it here:

Best Salesman Cook in the World.