Friday, February 18, 2011

That kind of day

What is the point of having a blog if you can't post embarrassing stuff like this...I was in a super hurry this morning and picked up a pair of socks off the floor. This is what the bottom looks like. Pathetic. I admit it....

Oh what a night...

Let me start by saying, I have the most sensitive stomach of anyone I know. I always have some sort of issue that involves the inner workings of my digestive system. I've been to many doctors, have come up with some answers that involve food intolerances. I think I am more in tune with myself than most and when something is off, I am acutely aware of it. I usually know what has caused the issue. Yesterday, that was not the case.

I was feeling fine in the morning, went about my usual schedule. Had lunch at a networking meeting - ate what I have eaten the last 4 Thursdays for lunch, then had my daily soy latte. A few hours later, my stomach started going nuts. I haven't had a baby, but I felt like I was in labor. I was having contractions that hurt so badly in my upper abdomen. It got so bad that I went to the emergency room at Legacy Salmon Creek. The wait was 3 hours.

As I sat in the waiting room, my stomach eased up a bit and I thought whatever was happening was passing. Plus, I didn't want to wait 3 hours to be seen. So we went home. By midnight, I was in even worse pain and we went back to the ER, where the wait was now just two hours. My pain level was a 9. I could not get comfortable and the idea of waiting so long to be seen was really upsetting.

Trevor and I settled into our seats among the masses. As I sat there, for hours, I watched the people around me. I noticed that I was the only one who was not obese. I saw many of those people wander outside for a smoke. Most were drinking sodas and on my way to the bathroom, I passed the vending machine full of candy and junk food.

I became increasing annoyed at the state of people in general and the hospital. When I was finally called back, another man was called back too. He was 79 years old, had been smoking since he was 16 and his wife was carrying a gallon sized ziplock bag of medications while she pushed him in his wheelchair.

I laid in my bed, listening to them in the room next to me. They had arrived at the ER at least an hour after me and they were seen first because of his condition. I was at a 9 on the pain scale for over 3 hours and they saw him first. This is a tough situation, because I don't want to sound like I think my life is more important or that others don't deserve medical care. But it infuriated me that I take good care of myself, I eat well and exercise. I have my scheduled check ups and do all I can to stay healthy. Then, when I am really in need of urgent care, I am pushed down the list by someone who has done nothing to keep themselves healthy.

Add to that, Trevor was starving and the only food available was from a vending machine full of candy and chips. I think that is so irresponsible in a hospital. It was just not a good night.

We eventually made our way back to the patient rooms. They hooked up an IV and took some blood, then told me it would be a while. About an hour later, the pain was so bad that I threw up. They gave me some medicine to stop that and I tried to explain that it wasn't the vomiting that was the problem, it was the pain.

About half an hour later, the pain started to subside. It was around 5 am, we had been at the hospital for 5 hours and still had not seen a doctor. I was really scared at one point - if I got worse, there was no one to help me. It was an awful feeling.

Around 5:30 am, my pain was about a 3. I told that to the nurse and then realized that I had just moved down on the priority list and would never see the dr. If I wasn't high enough on the list when my pain was a 9, I would certainly not be high on the list when my pain was a 3. So we left. Without ever seeing the dr. The nurse took out my IV, apologized and watched me leave.

I figured that if I got worse, I could get to my actual dr's office when he opened at 8. I did not get worse. I've been at a 3 all day long. I had the lab work sent to my doctor who believes I was having a gallbladder attack and is going to treat me accordingly.

I emailed the hospital today about my experience. I got an email back and tonight I received a call from the medical director of the hospital. He was nice enough, but really, how can you make up for what happened? You can't. He said he was sorry and I appreciated that, but it didn't take away the hours of pain or the amount of time I spent worrying.

This experience was another reminder of how important it is to take care of myself. I know that if something goes wrong, if I get sick with something, that my body is in the best shape possible to fight it. Because I take care of myself, I know my body and I know when something is really not right. It is hard to know exactly what caused my pain because I wasn't examined by the doctor when it was actually happening. I can only move forward and do the things my doctor suggests in the hopes that this doesn't occur again.

In the meantime, I took a few rest days from my training. After a night of no sleep and lots of pain, this body needs some recovery time!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Run less, Run Faster.

The name of the book where I found training program I am following: Run less, Run Faster. I have to tell you, I disagree with the running less part. I am running faster, I'll give you that...but I feel like I am running so much more.

The book is actually aimed at those people who run 5 or 6 days a week. Hence the "run less". This training program calls for only 3 days of running, then cross training on the other days. This is how I run all the time. I have never been a run every day kind of girl.

I had fallen into a routine of running the same routes two times a week - 3.5 miles and 4.5 miles, then a long run on the weekend. I never did speed work or tempo runs, I just ran. I really want to get faster and improve my marathon time so I chose this program.

Its a 16 week plan that includes 4 long runs of 20 miles and all other long runs are over 13 miles. The weekday runs are all between 5 and 10 miles. So my weekly mileage has gone up quite a bit and I am really struggling to hang on.

I have been fighting a sinus infection the last two weeks and I am pretty sure my struggle is coming from that added bonus. I ran 18 miles this morning and felt pretty good. I mean, 18 miles is always a long ways and its always tough, but today wasn't quite the mental battle it was last weekend. I only thought of quitting a few times instead of constantly!

I mixed up my route a bit and ran on a path that I didn't even know existed. It parallels another path that I have run about 1000 times, it is just on the other side of some trees and I never knew it was there. I got to see both mountains - St. Helens and Hood. I saw the sun rise right before it went behind the clouds. I realized that I am lucky to be able to do this and that running 18 miles is a blessing.

I also had a lot of things on my mind and running really helps me process my thoughts. I did a lot of thinking today and the time actually went pretty quick, before I knew it I was done. Next week is another 20 miler, then the week after is only 13...can't wait for that!!!

In the meantime, I'm calling my plan "run more, run faster!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Heading for a heartbreak....

The last 12 months have been tough, we lost two of our pets - Wookie and Gus. Both to cancer. Wookie was 14, Gus was 12. They had good long lives, just not long enough. Opal, the last of the original 3 pets (the ones Trevor and I had when we met) was doing just fine until about 6 months ago. She started going downhill and has gone downhill fast. She is 13.

We believe Opal is in the final weeks and as you can imagine, we are terribly sad. Opal has a combination of arthritis, spinal degeneration and possibly (probably) a tumor on her spine. Her back legs don't work much of the time. It started with some stumbling and has progressed to a point where she sometimes just drags her legs behind her. She doesn't have full control of her bowels and we have to help her out to do her business.

As with all our pets, we will do anything we need to as long as she seems happy and gets joy in her life. A couple months ago, we got her a magnetic blanket to help with the arthritis. I don't know if it does, but she lays on it all the time. She's on some medicine that knocks her out and she snores like a freight train.

She still loves to be pet and cleans Maggie and Buster's eyes and ears, just like she used to do with Wookie. Sometimes she seems just fine, but eventually those legs just shut off. It is sad to watch her get old.

Opal used to run the yard, all day long. She was on patrol and actually wore a path in the grass. She will still chase a ball until you stop throwing it. She never says "enough".

Trevor has had Opal since she was a puppy. She is totally in love with him. She follows him everywhere. If he isn't there, she will follow me. She loves us both, but she is daddy's girl. There were many times that Trevor worked late or was away from home for days at a time, that is really when Opal and I bonded.

In the last few days, I have started having the talk with Opal. Telling her that when its time to go she needs to just go to sleep. I tell her that Wookie and Gus are waiting for her.

Something I did with the other two was sing to them. They each had their own song that I sang them in their last weeks. I don't have a good singing voice, but they always looked up at me like I had the best voice in the world. It was comforting to me and I believe to them as well. I didn't know the right song for Opal, then the other night in the car I was listening to a Bruce Springsteen CD and a line in a song hit me and I realized that was Opal's song. The line: When our young faces grow sad and old and hearts of fire grow cold, we swore blood brothers against the wind, now I'm ready to grow young again. I think this is actually Opal and Wookie's song. Bruce sings it best...

Here are some of my favorite pictures:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What a week.

Its been a tough week. Last Friday, I ran 17 miles and it was a struggle, I just didn't feel right. Sunday, the head cold set in. By the end of the week it had blossomed into a sinus infection, like every head cold I ever get does. Ugh.

Finally, on Friday, I was able to get in to see the doctor and got an antibiotic. It is always amazing to me how fast that works. I felt much better this morning. I had planned a 20 mile run for Friday. Trevor and I agreed it would be best to take Friday as a rest day from working out, get some medicine in me and give it my best shot on Saturday morning.

I got up at 5:30 this morning and headed out around 6:30. What a long, tough run!! There were many times I thought about taking a short cut and just going home. Every time I passed a store, I thought about calling Trevor to come get me. But I just kept plugging along.

I don't like to deviate from my schedule. I am especially this way with working out. Trevor always says he can tell when I am REALLY sick, because I don't work out. Luckily, I got the medicine before it got that bad.

It took all I had to finish up my run and I ran the entire way. My pace was actually 7 seconds faster per mile than was scheduled! I figure that pushing through these tough ones will make the good ones even that much better!!

I feel okay, just exhausted. I can't wait for pizza later tonight and falling asleep on the couch. I am proud of myself and looking forward to a rest day tomorrow.

I was out on the run for 3 and a half hours. During that time, I did a lot of self talk. I was certainly wondering why the hell I was running, why I cared so much about this goal I have set for myself. Then I remembered one of my new favorite quotes: "I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it". That got me through.

Later today,I got an email from a friend asking how my run went and when my first marathon was this year. I loved that he said "first marathon", as if it goes without saying that there will be more than one. Who is this person I have become?? I don't know, but she sure needs some sleep!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A day I never thought would come....

Debt. I think just about everyone has some sort of it. There are many debts that seem so overwhelming, like they will never be paid off. My student loan was one of those debts. I graduated college in 1996. I deferred my loan for several years (I wish I hadn't done that) until I felt that I was able to start paying it back.

Just over 10 years ago, I started making monthly payments. These payments were automatically debited from my bank account on the 7th of every month. It was a good chunk of money. I would always dream about the day, many years into the future, when those payments were done and that money was freed up. That day is today...I paid off my student loan.

I remember making that first payment and looking at the scheduled date of my last payment. I remember thinking that 2010 was about a million years away and that I would be SO OLD when that time came!

Looking back, I think that incurring this kind of debt was not the right thing to do. I wouldn't change it now because if I had gone to a different college, the course of my life would have changed and I really love my life. However, I think I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a college education that I could have gotten for far less of an investment. Education doesn't need to put anyone into 15 years of debt, especially not a liberal arts degree in Communication and Psychology. Maybe Astro Physics or Engineering.

All the same, I feel like a weight has been lifted, a milestone has been met. I can't wait to spend that money other places!