2018 is rapidly approaching

2017 wasn’t that great, honestly. I don’t know that I’d call it an entire “tire fire”  but it definitely kind of seemed like one.

Unknown-1.jpeg I don’t even think I made any goals for 2017. I was just starting to run again, and was very stressed out at work.

Well.  Here we are with a bunch of 2017 accomplishments behind me:

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2017 was a crazy crazy year.  We had Joint Commission Prep, and then the big Joint Commission visit.  I had running, and ran for most of the year without any coaching.  I didn’t enjoy that much, and I was not good at coaching myself. I “ran”  or shall we say “completed” a half marathon in November, which I really regret.  Now in 2018 I am better set up for a good year.  We do not have any massive inspections scheduled this year, I am back with coach Skeletor, my job seems to be pretty stable for the moment, so I should probably make some goals.

So… Here goes. I feel like my goals are almost always identical, so common, but… I don’t know, I guess a lot of us struggle with the same things.

  1. Lose the surgery weight.  I have really been challenged to lose this weight. I didn’t think I’d be able to run again, and then all of a sudden I was, but with all this extra weight.  Now, I’m not fat-shaming, but being overweight is awful for running. It puts extra stress on joints, and slows a person down. In addition, there are several forms of cancer linked to being overweight, so why would I NOT want to put this as a goal.  I did very well in October and November, and then kind of fell into a wagon of Christmas Cookies in December.  So… Modest goal is to lose about 2-3 pounds a month.
  2. Run a half marathon with a fairly ok time.  My idea of a fairly ok time is 2:20.  It’s not very fast, however, it is not so slow that the sweepers will catch me. Consider the Marathon again.  I am thinking about Route 66 Half Marathon. It’s one of those large events, were a slower runner can blend in and not feel very obvious.
  3. Improve my strength. I have not been doing much weight lifting and I want that to change.
  4. Improve my ability to perform Executive Function Tasks. I struggle with some very basic things at times, and lately this has led to me being late, not having the tools I need for the task at hand, and in general wasting a lot of time.  I actually set up an appointment with a physician to see if there is anything they can do to assist with this.  I’m capable and do generally get things done “on time” but often I waste a lot of time “futzing” around, and there are things that get “forgotten”.  If I can master some improved organization skills, I think I’ll be less stressed on a daily basis.
  5. Consider another long distance swim event.  There are several.  It might be worth it.
  6. Complete the research study I started at work.  (Man do I hate it).
  7. Keep clothing off the bedroom floor.  Kind of a basic one here, but for some reason this is not hardwired in me and it can become like a jungle.
  8. Visit the Dentist.
  9. Read a few more books in 2018….

So…. Those are the initial goals.  Usually by February, they change!

What are you goals?  When you’ve been successful what was the key to your success???

 

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Reindeer Run!

This morning I ran the Reindeer Run with some friends from run group.  It was a really interesting run, there was a lot to love about it and some things to really dislike.

Firstly, we had our “Winter Storm Benji” remnants arrive last night.  High winds, colder temperatures and lots and lots of rain, because after all, it’s Florida and not Flori-bama, so we do not get snow.

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It was pouring down a cold ran at 6 am, I was not amused.  I had somewhat unrealistic expectations for this race.  I was sure that with cooler temperatures that I would take some time off the time I ran at the Turkey Trot.  I forgot to take into account that I had run an INSANE hill training session on Thursday, and then swam two miles on Friday.  So I went into the race a little tired.

I picked up my packet yesterday. I had a free registration as I was representing my organization.  Our organization nicely provided an extra shirt for all employees to wear. This is part of our new campaign to raise more awareness of our organization, and I like it. It is a great organization to work for, and while I sometimes feel extremely stressed, I am appreciative of the fact that I have a great boss, flexibility, and good benefits.  in addition, I am proud of the care we provide. So I slapped on that shirt with pride.

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 5.28.03 PM.pngThe Bib for the race was also the most ADORABLE BIB I’ve ever seen….

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I was a little sad because it got totally ruined in the rain.

The race started and I knew it was loops around a parking lot at a large shopping center. This is when I realized that my legs were not cooperating.  Nothing really hurt, but the effort I was putting out was not reflective of the pace I was running. My legs were still really really tired from running the hills. I kept trying to pick up the pace, but my body was not having it. So…it became a bit of a run through parking lots, puddles.  I freely admit I was a little frustrated, because things just didn’t go that well.

I have never been so glad to finish a race! I came in 6th out of 19 in my age group, and finished in the top half of the finishers so all is not lost. Plus we had some fun seeing each other!

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When I finished, I was handed a medal which I think I will remove from the ribbon and make into a Christmas ornament.  Much to my surprise this amazing goodie bag was also handed to me., making this one of the schwaggiest races of the year.

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For a free race, I sure lucked out. Inside this bag was all of these delightful little doo-dads. Most exciting is a race belt that expands to hold a phone.. I’m going to be trying that out tomorrow.

Sooooooooo:

Fun with Friends!  YES!

Super Schwag!  YES!  especially for a 5K.

Organized event!  YES!!!

Easy Parking…YES!!!!

Boo to the race being run in a parking lot, but I think the other stuff makes up for it all… and lessons learned about “racing” when not really on plan…. learned.  My expectations…are tempered.

Happy Holidays everyone!  What is your favorite Holiday activity or race????

 

Being Crew…and more.

This weekend I chose to be the crew for a distant friend who was running her first ultra marathon.  (a race longer than a marathon) in her case, she was running a trail 50K.

It may or may not have been the best idea so soon after the spine repair, but I’ve been feeling pretty good and most importantly I had agreed to do it.  Having experienced the support of a wonderful kayaker when I raced at Alligator Lighthouse this September, I felt like being crew for this woman was a way to give back. It was also a way to be part of the running community I miss.

It was a fairly fun experience.  My whole role essentially was to hang around the start/finish area, and wait for my runner who made 2 passes through the area during her run.  One the first pass I helped her change shoes and socks, get a drink and some pain control. On ether second I provided cool towels, more food/drink and encouragement. It was a little difficult for me; not to help her but to wait and wait in the hot sun.  For the rest of the time I did a number of thins.  I read a little bit.  I’ve been reading a collection of short stories my Dad sent me, Joy Williams, the Visiting Privilege. She is a good writer, but I’m not so sure I like her style, and her topics… SO DEPRESSING.  I snacked on a variety of things, took some short walks, taking a few pics of the lay of the land.

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I got to cheer all the finishers and talk to all sorts of people, other crew, other runners.  With little wifi and cell reception, people really spoke to each other.  This was a lot of fun. We all need to do this more often.  Post race, I drove 2 hours to return said runner home and take myself home.  It was a HUGE day for me, and when I got home I was so tired, I actually left the keys in the car with the car unlocked. Seriously. In the aftermath, I really want to run again. I want to spend time on those dusty roads, I want to see the things that she saw, rather than just the finish.. I want the hills and ruts and mud to reveal themselves to me…. but this is the big question… can that happen for me. I suspect lately that it will, but who knows.

Today was ok, I woke up tired and napped throughout the day.  I then embarked on some cleaning and cookie making… and maybe just maybe overdid it as I find that several neurological symptoms are returning.  I am moving more towards acceptance of the ongoing come and go of the nerve symptoms, though I have a small bit of hope that next year at this time, the come and go nerve irritation will be a thing of the past, I mean, the nerve is now unrestricted, and one would hope it might eventually calm down with a rare, occasional flare, rather than a frequent aggravation.

As part of attempting to deal with my on going symptoms I listened to  this radio cast.  In general I have found most of the resources on the web to be somewhat helpful, but this one didn’t do it for me.  I suspect that while this last year has been really difficult for me as far as pain and dealing with it, next year, may be a lot more difficult.  last year I spent the year chasing something that would “Fix” my spine… So, it was easy to have hope…. that I’d find the “cure all” or the perfect fix.

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Now it’s pretty much as repaired as it is going to get. So now, it’s sort of a wait and see how much it can improve, and learn to cope with what won’t.  If things really really improve and I only have to deal with nerve pain once in a while then I will probably go back to my old life with minor adjustments and feel much better.  If they don’t and I’m not able to return to some things, I’m going to really have to pretty much reinvent myself.  I have not really been able to come up wth anything I’d like to explore more.  I have to admit, I really really LOVED my life.  If I had really had a desire to do other things, I would have done them, so there is this moment.. of severe questioning of what will make me experience Joy again…and I suspect, but , I don’t know, that it is not crochet.  Even with all the swimming I did, it just did’t really “do it” for me.. The one thing I don’t want to do is to seek physician after physician in hopes of attaining something that may not occur, become the chronic patient.  so… I suspect that 2016 may be a year of watchful waiting… and listening to a lot ore TED talks…I have a feeling that it will be a deeply revealing year, and I’m not so sure I’m ready for all that reveal of emotions, thoughts, physical sensations etc…

Just Keep Swimming…

Wow, I’ve been so busy and physically tired, I have not had time to update my dear 3 readers!  (How I love you my three readers!)

Things are coming along pretty well now,   I closed on the house today.  The actual closing was not a big deal.  My poor realtor showed up at the wrong time…we had rescheduled because of the holiday and the wire transfer, and I didn’t think to tell her.  She made a pretty penny off of her one time showing me the property!  That said, she left me a card with a gift card in it, so that was a nice gesture, and I think if I had needed more she would have done more for me.  I did the walk through the other day and seeing the home in it’s finished state did make me eager to MOVE in!  It’s so nice and clean and with tile through 95% of it, it will be easy to keep clean!    So It has been a few weeks of feeling very adult. It also involves a great deal of things that essentially are one time things, that are throwing my regular routine off.  Usually I have one or two of these things each week, but with the house closing it is about 20…and so for a moment there after signing all the papers, I actually felt a bit like hyperventilating when I thought about hooking up the power, trying to move, meeting the neighbours etc.  I did get over that with some deep breaths…I will probably not feel 100% comfortable until the entire move is complete and I’m done with the apartment.

Training is going better than I could have expected.  I think new coach and I have kind of figured out what works for each other and it seems to be working.  I am getting stronger and can see progress.  He really has been able to provide the right balance.  He is always willing to acknowledge my frustration with starting over, but he somehow moves me past that so I don’t wallow in it.  He also seems to have a similar sense of humor, and so there is actually more fun than I imagined when I started to work with him.  He gets me!  He really gets me! I never actually knew there was a side of humor in him before, so a delightful discovery.

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We both noted today that we were being observed by my old coach today.  Apparently he noted it first and ignored it.  I of course… had to react.  Interestingly, A few words from the new coach seemed to allow me to brush that off.  So, making progress through my situation there.  I think this could be very successful.  I’m glad I took a chance on a new person, it felt very risky after being with Coach Skeletor for years.  I had no idea how much more fun it could be.  The kids swim coach also continues to help out and provide pointers and advice, so it’s nice to feel that there are people on my team who are interested in success.  That said, I am still struggling with speed.

Work is also coming along; it remains my biggest challenge at this point in time. Things are starting to fall together, and I am starting to make key connections with the right people.  Our organization is a bit of an “old boys network” people are open and accepting, but at a slow pace sometimes.  For someone like me who is a bit of a “Sheldon”  anyway, this can feel like an eternity. I just keep finding supporters and trying to avoid the haters.

All that said.  I am getting there. I enjoy going to work, for the most part, and the people I work with.  One of the pitfalls in my work is that it can be easy to make an error, and all of our data is very public.

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Many times I discover that an area wants certain data or benchmarks later rather than prior to a date that they wanted it.  This is so frustrating.  The demand for data is never ending.  I’m appreciative on the one manager I have that does not make such demands….would that they were all that relaxed.

So by the end of June I expect to be fully out of the apartment hovel.  Wahoo!

 

Progress

Wow, I learned so much in one day of International Travel.  I am Still in Florida, but headed to Atlanta.  In Atlanta…I will step off the plane, go to Baggage Claim and meet Marvelous Valeria, and she will hand me my much needed Passport.  Whew.

I can not describe how hard it is to board for Atlanta when your final destination is Lagos, Nigeria.  it has a reputation. 

Luckily, I do not look like a dangerous sort.  I had a letter from the Elizabeth R. Griffin Foundation describing the work we want to undertake.

And One Hour and a half later, due much to hard work of Valeria, again, I was rewarded with a boarding pass to Atlanta.

And an introduction to the man in the middle, who apparently like me…is…. still single.

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I’m in the orange.  I sincerely hope that my teeth really aren’t that yellow looking in person.

Delta Airlines Rocks and Rolls.  I am thrilled with the service, though exhausted.

Now we hope and pray for the passport exchange in Atlanta to go very well and for me to make my 11pm night flight out to Lagos.

Reassurring- I got FB communication from Iko Ibanga the Wonderful MD I worked with in Nigeria last time I was there.  We may be meeting up. I feel a bit safer and cared for.

It is amazing how many times this trip should have been cancelled and wasn’t.  As I told a friend, this is when a belief in God really helps.  I’m forging ahead, assuming this is a completely blessed trip.

We will see.  I am also remembering my past Nigerian experiences, and well.. I feel slightly cautious.

Plug problems and other…

Tough day today.  I awoke to the email announcing my plane tickets.

I did note that I am taking essentially a tour of North America on the way home.

Our trip leader texted me:  “Did you see the tickets”

Me: Yes, I am touring the USA on the way home”

TL:  sorry it was the way the budget did it

Me; It’s ok, it was kind of funny.

TL: It’s just stupid.

ME: well, ok, it is stupid.

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I did my regular Wednesday workout.  Swim, run swim, getting out for my second run, I realized I had once again been a late Lucy and didn’t really have time for the run. I devised a plan to do it this afternoon and then ran smack into Coach.

He is all excited about my project.  I am churning through the things to worry about.  He is poo-pooing them all.  And eventually towards the end we actually had an interaction that resembled an argument.  So unpleasant.  He was displeased too that I had failed to execute the workout.

Work went pretty well.  I took care of business.  I was essentially focused on the external business of the trip, but…I did take care of the hospital’s business.

People are really responding with mixed emotions.  Most of them do not really have an understanding of how difficult the work will be, and thus are looking at this as a holiday trip for me or something. So they are either jealous, or just annoyed.  My Boss…really has been wonderful in bending over backwards to get things done for me and allowing me to go.

So I just kind of muddled through the day.

At exactly 5 pm, as I was chatting with the boss, my phone went off.  I had an email from my coach.  he was telling me he was super excited for me.  All the situation of the morning came back and I felt the immediate need to rush over there.  Which is essentially what I did. After stopping for a few things.

When I got there, I rushed into Physical Therapy still in my work clothes.  He looked a bit alarmed, and then immediately cut me the thera bands.

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I went and changed and was putting on my shoes when he started to gesture to me.  I walked over and he had 4 sheets of exercises for me.  Yeah..Going to be a fun trip..working out with the therabands.

I told him I needed to run my 2 miles…and he added, “which you failed to do this morning”  and I hit the treadmill. My legs are tired.

After..I went to say goodbye and we both relaxed a bit.  Started to talk and talk about things.  His wife showed up and he and his wife prayed over me.  He was very specific even praying for my QL strain. She prays in a different style, but the gesture was so real and genuine that I appreciated it.  She and I chatted a bit for real for the first time, probably EVER.  She told me that “He can’t shut up about your trip”…I for the first time asked about the upcoming baby.  It was a good moment.

I left the gym and my phone beeped…coach sending me another message.  Good people in ones corner.

As we prayed, I received a message from the foundation’s board president.  The email was so welcoming and loving that I really started to feel good about this trip.

Of course, small problem…

I have not packed yet, and I can’t find my Nigerian plugs.  I really need to get organized, I am probably overrelaxed.

Now just Hurry up

The project is on.  I fly out Thursday night.

Admit I’m a bit nervous as I have not been in Nigeria for about 10 years.  (Man, I am old..I actually feel old.) In addition, I travel alone for most of the first part of the journey. Not so thrilled about hitting Lagos all by myself lonesome, but having done it before I can do it again.

This is particularly good timing, as my coach examined my back last night. He poked and prodded and threw me up on the table and pulled and pushed on it and said, Yes, you have strained your QL.

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Exactly “how” I did it is a bit of a mystery.  It really isn’t that bad a strain but it is noticable when I do certain things, like sit-ups.  He did actually work on it a bit and this morning it feels a bit better.

That said. I will be resting and not doing a ton of running while over there.  Or Maybe I will be doing treadmill running.  The hotel states we will have access to the “Triple A fitness center”  but what that is, is always a bit of a mystery.  Chances are, given the location, that it will possibly be nicer than my home gym.

There has been some criticism of the entire project…of all projects, People stating that there are “too many people on the ground”  but in reality, there really are not that many people on the ground doing this work, and in my defense, we are going as a pre-emptive measure to teach the proper use of this protective gear.  I myself did not think I was very knowledgable, until i spent monday on a hospital systems wide conference call and realized that I do know a few things.  And well…maybe there are too many people.  Some times good intentions are just that.

So we will see…