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Late Race Report

One week ago today, I ran a 5K. With 8000 other people. Yes, I said 8000. We weren't exactly expecting there to be so many people, and it turned out to be more of an obstacle course than a race. I PR'd for slowest race ever, with a time of around 29 minutes, but it was a blast. I ran with my sister Steph and Steve, who decided to dress up for the occasion. He wrote a great account of it on his blog. My highlights:

1. Seeing ALL those people. There were dogs, strollers, kids, families - you name it, they were running the race.

2. I totally biffed it at around mile 1. I couldn't see very far ahead of me and didn't notice a raised part of the sidewalk until it was too late. Several people commented on my instant tuck and roll. They actually described my fall as "graceful". There was no blood. Maybe those pilates classes are working!

3. Steve's crazy costume. I came out of the bathroom at one point, and he had made, like, 30 friends. Everyone was pointing and commenting. It was fun to watch.

4. The weather was beautiful. We don't get many 40 degree mornings in late November in Minnesota. It was a nice surprise.

5. The finish line was 1/2 block after we had to stop. We couldn't cross it until minutes later because so many people were filing in. It gave us an opportunity for Steve to take his picture with the giant turkey.

6. Eating all those calories back and then some. Yum! I love pumpkin pie.
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Three Days of Work in Review

Saturday: Today, I Love My Job.

The days leading up to Saturday were pretty tough for me at work. I hadn't had days like these since I was down in the trauma ICU. In the last couple of months, I have had a lot of patients. Some get better, some get worse, and some don't make it. For the most part, I've been OK with all of it, knowing that my team and I are doing the best we can for each patient. By the end of the day Thursday, I was pretty convinced that I was going to need very large doses of Prozac very soon. It was just a rough day. One of my patients died just a little over 12 hours after he came in, and even though he looked very peaceful, it was just really sad. A couple more of them got even sicker, and now they may not make it. When you've been following them for weeks to months, it's really hard not to get attached sometimes, and I start to get a little protective. I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. I just know that it means I care.

The patients I took care of Saturday on my other team were tons of fun, and they all seemed to have smiles on their faces. I just kept thinking how beautiful they all were. I was done with work in 8 hours and was home in time for a nap before church. Everything went pretty smoothly.

Sunday: Wow, This is One Crazy Job Sometimes.

My alarm clock went off around 3:10 AM, but I couldn't seem to drag myself out of bed. I finally managed to do it and still made it into work by 4:20 or so. I should still have around 3 hours and 40 minutes to get all of my work done before rounds. I checked the new patients, and there were only 3 admits from the night before. I worked them up and went upstairs to look at their charts. I no more than get to the first patient when a Code Blue was called to another unit. I stopped to think for a second. Technically, that unit is not my responsibility, but there are no other clinical pharmacists in the hospital at 5:20 AM. I didn't give it a second thought;I decided to go. It lasted about one-half hour. The patient didn't make it, even though we did everything we could. Wow. What a way to wake yourself up in the morning! My sympathetic nervous system was revved into very high gear. I should be OK, I thought. I still have plenty of time to work up my patients before rounds. I was cutting it close, but I made it back to my office in time to check for labs and get all of my work done. I logged back into the computer only to find that there were two more admits. Arrrggg! Well, kick into overdrive. You've got to get them done. I raced through checking labs, ran back upstairs to look at the new patients' charts, and made my list of med changes for the medical residents. Thankfully, the attending physician was a little late. I wrote down my last change just as he was rounding the corner. We finished rounds over 3 hours later. I wolfed down a fruit roll-up and ran to the pharmacy 15 minutes late to relive some of the inpatient pharmacists for their lunch. Funny. I had already put in an 8 hour shift at this point and had not yet eaten lunch myself.

I put in my hour of checking orders, and just as I was finishing up, they called another Code Blue in the intensive care unit. I ran up to see of my co-pharmacy resident needed any help. The patient was having breathing trouble, and she didn't need any medications. I went back to my office to finish looking at my patients for the day. I quickly realized that I wasn't going to make it a couple more hours without some lunch, so I ran over to the caf only to realize that they were mostly closed. I settled for a bag of Doritos and two cartons of chocolate milk. Two hours later, I was on my way home; it was a 12 hour day.

When I got home, I was basically nonfunctional. I took a 1 1/2 hour nap, watched TV for another 1.5 hours, vacuumed my house, and crashed into bed at 10 PM. My WONDERFUL husband offered to give me a backrub, then I passed out.

Workouts this weekend? Unless you count running to codes and walking all over the hospital, zero. None.

Monday: hopefully Back on Track

I woke up this morning at 4:30 AM with a terrible feeling that I'd overslept. A quick mental check revealed that it was Monday, and I could sleep in until 5. I did weekend sign off, and now I'm back in my office. Today is a project day, and a much needed one at that. My big residency project is hanging over my head like a huge black cloud. I'm relieved to have some time to devote to it. Tonight, I try my hand at Pilates again. I'll probably lift weights afterward to make myself feel better. Thursday is my first 5K in over a 1.5 years. More on that later :)
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Grace Is Not In My Vocabulary

Note: before any of you worry any further, I am pleased to inform you that the Ironman Wisconsin bracelet officially came off after my last post. It was ready. I was ready.

Now onto today's topic... I have never described myself as graceful. It in no way suits me. Strong, yes. Powerful, yes. Fit, yes. Able to endure, yes. Graceful, coordinated, etc, not so much. I am built more like a softball player than a dancer or a distance runner. It's OK. I learned to accept that a long time ago. No offence intended to any softball players out there. I was one for 6 years before I discovered track. I'd still love to find a summer league sometime.

This month, my goal is just to start getting back into shape. Nothing crazy, just feeling relatively fit again, building up a base for IM training. It will be starting before I know it. So this month, I decided to try something new. I signed up for a pilates class. It's once a week for 6 weeks. I feel completely out of place. I've got a fairly decent core already, but I figured this would challenge me and loosen me up at the same time. I am enjoying it for the most part, but it's not the type of workout I'm used to. I threw up during my first spinning class. That's when I knew it was for me. Pilates in a studio is just so much different than doing it watching a DVD. There's no one in my living room staring at me and telling me that I'm doing it wrong. There's no mirror in my living room to show me that I'm doing it wrong. The dancer from my undergrad does not have a mat next to me in my living room to show me what it should look like. Sure this is her second session, but she looks like she's been at this for years. No, this will not be an easy class for me, and that's exactly why I need to be there.
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A Great Day

So I lied a little. The bracelet didn't actually come off until today. I got home from work a little late last night, Steve and I watched America's Next Top Model ( a very guilty pleasure) while putting away laundry, and then I helped him pack for his trip to New York City for his big photo convention.

This morning, I woke up bright and early (3:40 to be exact) to drop Steve off at the airport and then came home for a 1 hour nap before heading to work. You'd think that with an alarm clock going off that early, I'd be crabby. For some reason, it was just the opposite today. Work went really well, and for the first time in a long time, we were not swamped with patients. It gave me some extra time to spend teaching my medical residents and pharmacy student, which I love doing. I even managed to squeeze in a noon talk by one of the physicians about her recent time in Darfur working for Doctors Without Borders. It was really interesting from both the political/world view as well as the medical view.

This afternoon, I vowed that I would be able to cut off my bracelet, so I went to a spinning class at my local Y. Dan, my instructor, just finished IMMoo this fall, too, and he always offers fairly challenging classes. He laughs just like Eddie Murphy in the Beverly Hills Cop movies. I can't explain it. You'd have to just know what I mean. Anyway, it was nice to see some familiar faces from all of the classes I took last winter. Alas, I still do not have an indoor trainer. I honestly don't know that I want one anytime soon. Class actually went pretty well. I took it a bit easy. No use going crazy on my first day back. This probably won't make sense, but the happy place I imagined during class, which used to be a flat part on my favorite trail, has turned into my 3 hardest parts of the IM bike ride. Maybe it's because those are the ones most ingrained into my memory. Maybe I was just telling myself that even if this were a difficult class, I've certainly gotten through worse, or maybe it just means that I'm rested, and I'm back - ready for the next adventure.
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Today, the Bracelet Comes Off

OK. You're probably all going to think this is weird. I am still wearing my "all access pass" bracelet from Ironman, which was nearly 2 months ago. At first, I couldn't bear to take it off, sort of like the smile on my face. It was a conversation starter, and it reminded me of what I had just accomplished. Soon the Ford Ironman Wisconsin letters started to fade as did the 2126 written on it. I couldn't say why. I just couldn't bring myself to cut it off. The past couple of weeks helped me to realize its significance. Its initial purpose was to remind me of what I had just accomplished, then it was to remind myself that even if I didn't finish the marathon in record time, I was still an Ironman. Lately, it has meant that Ironman status was attained this year, and it's the goal for next year too. In order to accomplish this goal, I need a fresh start. So... I decided that I would not work out until November 1st. It's probably an arbitrary day, and I admit I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but my OCD needed me to pick a specific date, and the first of the month seemed like a good choice. It's been just over 4 weeks since my marathon. Up until today, the bracelet has reminded me of why I am resting and why I NEED to rest to be able to start training again for next year. Today, I get to cut it off (just in time for frigid Minnesota weather!) I'm not going to go all out right away. I may start with an easy 3 mile run. I also want to get back into spinning and swimming. I've even thought about taking a pilates class at my local Y. We'll see. I'm not going to get back into shape overnight. For now, I just want to enjoy being active again.

So what have I been filling my time with lately? Well, I've been putting in my usual 55-60 hour weeks at work, and my residency project has been calling for me too. Today I got to pass off the on-call pager that I've had to carry for the last 2 weeks. Whew! No more worrying it will go off at 4 AM. I also sewed 2 quilts, one for my good friends Jess and Al who just got married and one more to go on Steve's and my bed. That makes 4 quilts that cover me at night. I know. I have a problem. I love not being able to move under their weight. I have also been serving as a big sister football fan for my high school and college brothers who play. The season is wrapping up now, but it's been so fun to be able to watch them. The pros have nothing on high school and D3 college. The tickets are cheaper, the seats are better, and you know the players personally. Along with all the games has come lots of family time, which has been really fun. I had to give some of that up during my training over the summer. Finally, Steve and I are barely, just barely, starting too look for a house. We don't anticipate having to move for at least a couple of months yet, which is probably good because I won't be making a full salary until July or so. I'll keep you posted how getting back into shape goes!