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…

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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…

Messages in Dream bottles….

So in the past 3-4 weeks I’ve been having an odd recurrent dream.  The circumstances change a bit but one fact remains.  I can’t get a shirt on.

The first time I had this dream, It seemed I was running in a forest, and had a shirt but hadn’t had time to put it on.  Some younger athletes were gaining on me and I was desperately trying to get the shirt on.  I just couldn’t.  This isn’t one of those “oh my God I’m naked (on in pajamas) in public.”  It was something different, plus I wasn’t naked…I just couldn’t get the darn shirt on.

I mentioned it to my coach kind of in passing.  Mostly because it had woken me up and stayed with me that day.  He said he thought I was probably trying to grow into a new season in life…a new situation, but that I was having some trouble getting there.  I was surprised, but it made sense.

I’m not big into Dream Interpretation…

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Kind of Hippy Dippy, and some dreams are so fragmented, that I think if we try to make them into messages…well…we end up basically using the fragments of the dream into a way to pursue something we wanted to pursue anyway….

But…

God came to both Solomon and Joseph in dreams.  So…anything is possible.

A week or so ago I had the dream again.  Struggling to get a shirt on, it just stuck on me every in the wrong way.  Just as if you were trying to put on a vicose shirt when wet.

I mentioned to the coach that I’d had it again…he gave me the look.

Last night I had the dream again.  Circumstances had changed, I was traveling for a run (not a race).  I ended up in a room of people, some from Ragnar in 2013 and some people I didn’t recognize.  The gal that was captain of my Ragnar team was there, but she didn’t seem to recognize me.  So I reintroduced myself.  There were tons of people in the hotel room and I was trying to get along. I wanted to change for dinner in a different room…and I could not decide what to wear, reach my travel bag, etc…again, no shirt.

This Dream dictionary says:

Changing clothes: This can be about altering your mode of behaviour, your role or mood, or even seeking a different self image. We are all capable of changing who we are, and changing clothes suggests changing the way you present yourself to other people, or how you feel about yourself. Also you change clothes as you move from one role, or one social environment to another – work to being with friends, or school to home, etc. So the dream might be indicating the shifts you make in the attitudes or ways you feel about yourself in different environments.

So I’m still left wondering.  A lot of the dreams involve running, but you know, MOST of my dreams involve running in one way or another.

I have been seriously thinking of job change, but this started before I started to look at the “want ads”

I told Mr. Coach that I had had the dream again.  He requested I email it to him. Curious to see what he thinks.  He feels it is definitely something important as it keeps coming up.  I just don’t particularly enjoy sharing my inability to put a shirt on, because it seems kind of creepy…and it isn’t….it’s just odd….

I felt a lot like this kid, though not as temper tantrum like….

 

Wrapping up the week.

This was a pretty interesting week.

We had a lot of change ups in training and also work seemed to demonstrate some changes.

Work first since it pays for all the fun!  On Wednesday we got our “records request”  from the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services.  I spent the day trying to figure out where the second half of the request was.  It was buried in the packet that the manager of “Health Information Management”  had not really looked at.  It took about 6 hours of my 8 hour work day to unravel that, but I did. I was a wee bit annoyed, but really…this is why they pay me- in part- to be sure that stuff gets done correctly.

Oddly.  CMS has asked for 2 charts to review for Surgical Site Infection, and neither of the 2 patients they chose had a surgical site infection.   Both arrived at the hospital with nasty infections due to perforated bowels, both were discharged from the hospital within 5-10 days with no further visits returns or complaints.  So, I’ll be curious as to what the chart reviews of those two cases reveals.  I think it will reveal that their system of using coding to identify things is not very accurate.  (Yes both patients had an “infection related code”  but even the coders clearly noted “Present on admission”).

To add to my anxiety: CMS is validating the Laboratory ID reporting I do to the CDC.  CDC reporting is very focused on Location based lab testing.  CMS is focused on “billing status”  As in:  was the patient considered inpatient, observational, or outpatient.  CDC just cares where the patient was physically in the building.  I have no idea how CMS will judge or validate. I could do very well, if they validate on the CDC standards, or I could fail entirely if they interpret the CDC guidelines differently.

Anyway, the rest of the week, I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy to CDAC (Clinical Data Abstraction Center) has been to work with- in comparison to both CMS and CDC.  I sent them some examples of documentation for validation and they immediately replied that this was the appropriate documentation that they wished to see.  Usually, when dealing with Government I hear…. “We can not tell you what is or is not acceptable, only you can decide what is appropriate”….But CDAC help desk was very forthcoming and honest.  I told the help desk woman in York PA that she was 20 mins from my hometown to which she replied that I should come visit any time I’m back home.  This was much friendlier and I appreciated it.  I will go visit, if only to see the building and people who have caused me such angst.

SO, looks like we will soon have the records copied and sent off, and then I sit and stew until about Mid-July when I receive an arbitrary score…based on…I mean, they are supposed to be checking how accurate I am with my reporting, but they chose 2 patients who did not even have any infections….etc.  I say this because I do feel that the reporting on websites such as “Hospital Compare”   doesn’t actually often reflect anything current or truthful about the quality of care provided at any hospital.  I know they are trying, but…current data on the website is about 1 -2 years old as it is.

So,  I may survive this validation process.  This is the tail end of round one. I have 2 more quarters to go after this.

BUT….What is life without training?  Mine would be kinda empty.

Monday I had off for Memorial Day. THis is a huge change for working out, as loads of people did not work on memorial day.

The gym and pool were closed, so I headed out to Lucky’s Lake.

I was essentially supposed to do the distance that equalled 3 crossings.  I don’t know what got into me, but I just did one.  I was tired.  Plus, I got a lot of water up my nose which gave me quite a bit of pause.    I let coach man know and he didn’t seem to care about the lack of distance. I did not bother him about my amoeba fear, I mean if I get it I’m just gonna pretty much die.  I did have the thought that if I had amoeba, I would not have to worry at all about reporting requirements, ha ha ha I think I’m out of the amoeba window for now.

Tuesday I went back to work and training.

4 mile tempo run which was WOW…really BAD!   I had one mile at projected tempo pace. Mile number 2 I could not hold pace at ALL.  Usually mile 2 is an easy fast mile, but not today.  At the end of mile 2 I regrouped and thought I would “jog home”  but actually Mile 3 ended up being quite fast.  Mile 4 has some rather large hills at the end and so it also ended up being like Mile 2. I hate hated this run.  So frustrating. Post work, I had a legs workout and a swim. The legs workout went pretty well and the swim was awesome…my own lane on a tuesday evening.  My friend was supposed to swim with me but she cancelled, which really didn’t affect me…I’m always going to get my workouts done.

Wednesday I had a Brick.

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Unlike many, I like me some brick.  This one was a simple 35 min spin and a 3 mile run.  because of Tuesday’s fail, I felt pretty hesitant.  I saw my friend in the locker room between the bike and run….(so yes transition was extended for shoe change bathroom, and chit chat.  well, I’m not really a triathlete!).  I moaned a bit and one of the professional triathletes grinned madly at me, as I was already pretty sweaty as I said, “I’m a just gonna do a little itty run out there…”  The run turned out FINE.  I think the spin loosened up my hip.  It was more of a tempo run than my tempo run.  I was definitely aware of the hot hot hot and muggy humid conditions, but somehow I just ran through them…Hope this is the start of a summer of just getting through, which would be loads and I mean LOADs better than last summers Moan and Whine festival.

Thursday:  Speed work on the treadmill.  I could have done this outside, but chose the TM for flatness and also for the air conditioning.  (No joke there.)  2 sets of 2 mile repeats.  This is a bit gentler than 800 repeats.  I had a bit of trouble deciding what speed to take them at.  I was afraid to commit to a speed that I “Should” be doing them at, because I wanted to be able to complete the repeats.  So…they may have ended up slower, but that’s what I did.  The 2 mile repeats is really a tricky workout..Start out too fast…and somewhere you fail…start too slow and you feel like a total slug that didn’t push it.  I feel Ok about these, I’m in a build period and still trying to get it together with the speed work.  Whatever.

Thursday Night I did some arms and abs and hung around with the Coach.  We had some good discussion about the repeats, and things in general. He is such a good influence on my life.  I hope we continue in the vein we have been in recently.  Coaching relationships, like any other relationship can have ups and downs and can be quite intense.

Friday I had another Brick.  50 min cycle and 7 mile run.  Yes, that is not a typical brick, but I’m not a triathlete.  The purpose of a brick for me is to get used to running on tired legs.  My legs were tired, but I was so glad to be getting it done on a Friday.  It did make for a bit of a “low motivation” day at work. This was the second switch, it was in order to get me on the run at 6 am rather than at 8 am, makes a big difference right now with the heat.

Saturday was a blast.  because of our switch- I got up late, hung around the house, piddled about…and eventually made my way over to the gym for a long long swim.  2 miles of swimming later, I inhaled some pizza, and rested, still feeling like I had done an easier workout than normal…(I did Friday’s workout, plus a few more yards.)

Today I had the “long” run.  12 miles again.  I tried out Chia seeds in my nutrition, and added in an extra salt stick cap.  I also forced myself to intake more liquid than I wanted.  I think as I get warm, my interest in drinking or eating goes down, but if I decrease my intake, well… It seems to have worked pretty well.  I did not get miserably chilled like last week after, and my run was slightly faster than last week, on the same route despite starting later.

So overall feeling pretty good.  My one current work/life balance obstacle is this exam I am supposed to be studying for.  I take it in July. I periodically pull out index cards, but honestly…I do not want to study.  So lets hope I pass it in July because if I do not, I will be studying until October when I will have to retake it and hopefully pass.

Overall a good training week.  Only 6 more hard days then I get a rest week…which is a diet week, and a study week too.

Today of course is Comrades Marathon day.  So training seems to have taken on a new appeal.