Olympic Angst.

Sooo.

The Winter Olympics, which for whatever reason I Love…are being held in Sochi, Russia in February 2014.

When Russia was announced, I was fairly neutral about it. I actually thought it might be a good thing, as Russia’s economy has not really been that great.

Then a few weeks ago I started to see unusual and surprising to me news articles posted on Facebook.   Yes, Facebook.  It’s not exactly always a good place to get news, but…I’m not a news whore.  I’m actually kind of a news avoider.  I mostly do my job which takes up a lot of brain capacity, and train at the gym.  Time left over, I attempt to clean my house- and I do read Facebook voraciously.  I LIKE to see other people’s kids, promotions, piano recitals, vacations to Aruba.  It doesn’t irritate me like it seems to some others.

Here are some links to the new law passed in Russia.  It is benignly called a “Family Values Law” Except that it is more of a “Hate Law” than anything resembling family values.

Passing such a law is one thing.  But what has been occurring in Russia is another.  From what I have read it appears that this is now a fairly regular occurrence.  THis is really unacceptable.

And I’m torn.  People are calling for a Boycott of the Olympics.  It makes sense.

And then there are other statements, saying to ban Russia from it’s own games..etc…

Realizing that the Olympics are in 2014….I say it’s just time to have the IOC grow some Balls…or a Uterus… And MOVE the Olympics to somewhere more acceptable.  There is absolutely no reason why they have to have it in Sochi.  Sure they have been preparing, but…frankly….I just wish the IOC would act like adults.  Human Rights are being violated.  Sport is never just Sport.  I’ve got to agree with Stephen Fry (who I actually was blissfully unaware of).  Move them.  There are many many places that are capable of handling the games, that need the financial boost that the games provide, and would be able to welcome ALL athletes in a manner which they deserve.

What do you think?

Olympic Fever

Golly I really adore the Olympics!

I just love all the stories and performances and the surprises and upsets.

One thing that I think some people do not understand is how much some of these events, most of them, I think, are really decided by chance on that day.  In many of the sprints, for example, you have a field of people who have all run about the same speed give or take a few hundreths of seconds.  Throughout a year if they race each other, they will have differing outcomes…but then as they hit the Olympic stage…the person who has the best day ON THAT DAY…is suddenly crowned “The Best of all time”  It definitely showed in the Womens Gymnastics with Poor Jordyn Weiber.  She was the Champion coming in and then on qualifying night..she was just a few points short of her teammates.  Then we watched as her team mates had some difficulties on events on some days.  Would Weiber have had the same trouble, well, we won’t know, and we do know on other days, Douglas has hit that routine cold.

On top of it all, I keep having this thought in the back of my head when the announcer is saying, “Usain Bolt is the fastest sprinter of all time”    That there are people out there, probably running faster than any of those guys- who either don’t care to be clocked, or are entirely unaware of or unable to participate.

So, while we have seen some really great performances, I have to admit, I like to celebrate some of the participants that are not that well known, ones who do not have a medal chance, and ones who have taught me some lessons.

Much has been made of The Blade Runner…Oscar Pistorius.    I really think he is one of the coolest people on the planet.  I’ve been impressed at his positive mental state and his athleticism.  But as great as he is, he’s not the one I want to highlight.

It’s all about the Marathon!

And the Athlete without a country.

With unrest in the world, there have been a few changing countries over time, and when countries become independent, it takes some time to get things together.  Infrastructure, like roads, power, schools tend to be priorities, rather than sending out an Olympic team.  This year there were 4 athletes competing under the Olympic flag.  one of them lives in the US. and He is a Really REALLY incredible. young man.

Guor Mariel is from South Sudan.  This of course hit me right in the heart.  Given the time I spent in South Sudan, I of course was instantly curious about this guy when I saw the name, it’s really a very S. Sudanese name…obviously not American.

He lives in the US now.  He has for several years, completed High school here and ran for Iowa state.  For whatever reason, he does not qualify for US citizenship.  So he is still a citizen of South Sudan.

While at Iowa State Marial got a BS in Chemistry, not exactly a “Jock Subject”.   He then moved out to Flagstaff and has been training without a coach, and running some really nice fast times, and ENJOYING it.

After running one Marathon in a nice fast pace, he met a California attorney Brad Poore.  Brad  is a wonderful person who followed through after meeting Marial.  he wrote letters upon letters.  Without Brad, none of us could have the experience of “knowing Marial”.  So Shout out to Brad!

When Marial posted the super fast times…Sudan….not South Sudan, reached out and offered Marial a spot to represent Sudan at the Olympics.   This to me was astounding.   As Noted in the Miami Herald….

The offer was particularly strange because the Sudanese government is in the process of trying to expel hundreds of thousands of southern refugees from its land on the grounds that the war is over. Many of them left the south decades ago and are uncertain about returning. If the Khartoum government follows through on its threat, these refugees could become stateless.

Seems a little strange to me.

Guor Marial really had a choice to make.  He had an opportunity to run in the Olympic games, and to possibly be celebrated as a hero…in Sudan.  Some people might have taken that opportunity, hoping for the opportunities that the games can bring.  If he had done this, I really think it would have been like selling his soul.  But we have seen SO MANY do just that in sport.  (There are so many stories of athletes moving to different countries for a better chance at competing in the Olympics) He instead refused, and apparently refused very gracefully.  As graceful as it was, he still stood up for what he knows is right (I am biased here, but I’ve been there, right smack in the middle of the war, so I have a bit of a right to my bias), and I love that he gave the North a nice, firm, polite slap in the face.

Handily, the IOC decided that it was acceptable to allow him to compete under the IOC flag.     Marial did not even know of the approval until a few days before the games…not exactly the way to prepare for a LONG 26.2 mile race.  He was held up and unable to attend the Opening Ceremonies…But he is there now…

I know someone is going to win the Men’s Marathon.  It probably won’t be Guor Marial.  But I don’t care.  He’s the athlete that most inspires me this time around.

And here is the quote from him…(from the Twin Cities Star Tribune)  that really sealed the deal for me.

 

He explained that he used to hate running. It was connected with violence and danger when he was growing up.

Running “is something I used to do to escape for my life,” he said.

“But now if you tell me not to run one day, it’s impossible for me. I have to run. Maybe when I’m 80, I’ll stop running,” Marial added.

I can’t wait to cheer him on.

 

 

Updates…

I’ve been ignoring this little blog for another….mostly been posting in my training blog, which is a bit Boring as it is often just a recitation of running, and how my body feels.

There is so much I want to put an opinion to and so little time.

So….I probably won’t.

Work has done a big flip-flop 

I had felt things easing off, but…I was not sure if that was my imagination, or just tiredness.  The intensivist Physician who made my life extremely difficult when I first started came by the office yesterday ( at my request). I showed him the “quality board”  we have  that has the measures we are measuring on it and he was thrilled with how nice it looked.  We then sat for a bit and talked about the upcoming critical care meeting, and discussed one particularly “buggy” patient that has us concerned.  After looking at one of the sensitivities we jointly decided that we needed further isolation for that patient…so beyond gowns on to booties gowns and gloves.  At the end of our conversation he suddenly looked at me and said,” you know, you really are doing great.  I’m glad you are here.”  I could have fainted.  After all the belittling and rudeness, he comes out with this?  Like any good kid, or dog, of course I felt immensly pleased.

 

I admit, this really does not negate the fact that he was very unpleasant to begin with.  But, it is much easier to work with him, if he is accepting and supportive of me.  He is very popular in the hospital, and so his support for anything is crucial.  I was actually also able to tell him that he made things very difficult at the beginning.  He of course, being a MAN and a DOCTOR did not apologise but he did the next best thing…the half apology!  I think in the future…he may change tactics a bit.  He is still young and growing and learning as we all are.

The only thing at work that is a little unusual and probably should not bother me, but does is this.  Our office has a vacant Directors position.  Under the director would be Me, and the Risk Manager and the PI coordinator and the secretary.  There are a few staff people who do data abstracting under the PI coordinator.  Because of the vacancy, the Risk Manager who has been there for 20 years has been promoted to being my manager, which is fine with me.  THe other people in the office however, seem to think that I am on the same level as them, which is also fine, but it makes it a little hard to explain.  They don’t understand why I have the freedom to come ad go as I please (within reason)  and they do not really understand the level of responsibility I have.  So it is kind of a funny position to be in.

Teulu the wonder dog, is recovering from his shaving incident well.  I hate to admit it but as ugly as he looks, I think he is more comfortable.  He has, however scratched a very big sore spot on his face which has required copious cleaning with Peroxide, and of course the cone of shame…

I think he has about 3 days left in the cone.  I hope it is less, but..I really want this to heal.

There are so many cool things going on in the world right now, as well as some very disturbing and sad ones. I just feel overwhelmed with the  Successful landing of Curiosity on Mars… some excellent Olympic performances and some less than excellent ones…the unfairness of it all…that someone’s career as an athlete really rests solely on one or two days!  Some shows of GREAT sportsmanship and some shows of very childish behavior and poor sportsmanship.  I really want to write about it.  But I have very little time.  Maybe tonight. I have been very inspired by these Olympics…not to be more fit, but to just be a better person overall.  I think that is what I should share.

It took 4 months, not the traditional 90 days, but I seem to have survived the “Hazing” period, and come out fairly close to the top. I have adjusted better to the 9-5 type schedule..and learned all sorts of new tricks and tips for saving time.  (Apparently I can get “bedside” delivery of my Singulair, while at work, just like a patient can from Walgreens!!!)  I am learning to do my training with the 9-5 schedule.

Usually when things start to go along fairly well, some sort of crises erupts.  So…I hope it happens soon, so I can deal with it and get on with things.

 

Stuff!

So…

weirdly, stuff is better.  The big incident at work seems to have passed by easily.  I have a few new crises, but they are not ones that are caused by me, and pretty much only involve me trying to solve the crises mode.  I’m tired but OK.

I’m definitely getting more comfortable with the day to day things.   And I am finding that I am now much more used to the 8-4:30 schedule.  I had to cancel my plans to Washington due to the distance and the short time allowed. My boss noted that I didn’t go, and has been it seems, offering me more and more opportunities to take extra days off.  I think she may have just realise how hard it can be to do typical things on this schedule.

I’ve also realised I’m now in so deep that I can not just leave.  There are so many little projects that I am involved in, if I were to leave, it would take at least 2 weeks of working with everyone to explain what I’ve been up to!

So for today.. Job is status quo.  I am hoping I get through August without any fireworks.

I’m finally also concentrating on stuff that does not involve bugs and germs.

I tried very hard to find another race to run with my friend from out west.  After some hemming and hawing he finally said he usually runs this one race.  I was all about it…but then after sleeping on it, I realised  “He’s just not that into you”.   I have a lot of friends, and of course some are closer than others.  I just realised that I would rather be with people who wanted to see me.  So..

Abrupt change of course.  I’m going to Raleigh NC in November.  I get to see many of the people I used to work with!  I get to run a very scary hilly half Marathon….The City of Oaks Half Marathon… and to top off all the fun,  my friend Jim P. and I have decided to have an Operation Christmas Child Packing Party!

He and I have been collecting “stuff”  for children for months now.  We Think we might have enough for 50-60 boxes!

This is my Stash.  I have found almost everything on sale.  Anything with a heart on it was half price or less after Valentines day, the Rabbits- after Easter, the crayons and pencils are the great back to school deals.  The most expensive thing I have purchased was the snowflake necklace, for a teen girl.  It was on sale and cost maybe 2.50 USD.

I was really excited to find the little baby dolls for 0.50 cents each.  Last year they were 1.00 USD and we only had Caucasian ones.  I wanted the Darker dolls, given that the majority of my boxes went to Africa last year.  Yes, it doesn’t matter, but I like that the dolls will look like the recipients.

I am seriously considering re-learning to knit because I just want to make These puppets!

I just love elephants!  If you also love them…here is a link to the patterms! 

My only worry now is how we will cover the cost of sending about 50 boxes.  I am hoping people come to the packing party with a few bucks!

I know that people in Raleigh is going to be interested in seeing me- and I won’t have to be trying to grab anyone’s attention.  Life really is too short to be trying to get someone excited about seeing you!!!  Once I made the decision, I found myself feeling less pressure about racing and about being around people in general, it will be fun! My friend is not a runner, but he is probably going to volunteer at the race, so we will have that to share as well.  The whole thing is just going to be more fun and less frustration.  I think its so odd how we spend a lot of time trying to impress people that don’t really care, and not enough spending time with people who would love to spend time with us.

My Marathon training started this past week.  I decided to put all that stuff in the blog I had set up for it. Some of (a lot) it is very boring, but it is helping me to focus a bit.   The heat is very unpleasant and body draining…but…It is almost September, when the heat remains but is not quite as bad.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Unsung “heroes”?

I’ve been pretty engrossed with the Olympic trials this past few weeks.  We have had Swimming, Track and Field, and Gymnastics.

It’s all been terribly exciting for me.   To begin with, I rub elbows with many of the Track and Field stars, so seeing them on TV was a thrill.  I really kid myself that I have any connection to them.  We do use the same gym and the same massage therapist.  But, despite that, my results are- less that Olympic-.  They know me and I know them, we nod heads at each other, sometimes say hello, occasionally have a chat about the weather-the bad music at the gym, etc.  We don’t however, go out to the movies or for spaghetti etc.

There have been some triumphant scenes.

This is a very long video,  if you look at the last minute you will see Evan Jager having a blast with his victory.

And some heartbreaking ones.

Click here to see Julia Lucas discuss how she “gave away” the 5000m race.

This year there has been many more television hours dedicated to both Track and Field and Swimming.  As I was watching one night, I noticed I was watching heat after heat of sprinters and heat after heat of women swimming the same event.  That got me wondering.  Just how many participants are at these trials?  For the Summer Games in Beijing 596 American Athletes represented their Country in a variety of sports…from Fencing to rowing, to gymnastics to Steeplechase.  At the swimming trials this year over 1500 swimmers are participating!  It is a similar amount for Track and Field, but then a paltry amount of 15 men and 15 women for the Gymnastics.

I was astounded to see the high number of participants.  Especially those who know they have no chance at making the Olympic teams.    I very much understand high performing teenagers who are at these meets- they are there to gain experience so that when the next 4 years roll round and they are no longer 14 years old, they are as ready as can be.

The USA swimming web site has really done a nice site to showcase ALL the swimmers and their various stories, and dreams.  I do find some of them very interesting.  But at the same time, I wonder why someone puts in that much physical work, and monetary expense to go to a game they can’t win.  Yes, there are occasional upsets, but in reality…there are very few, you get  on race day the combination of who you are mentally, genetically and what you put into training.  While you might run, swim, floor exercise your way to a personal best…it’s likely that you have been edging up to that Personal Best for a few weeks or months.  And in case you think that training is somehow “fun” let me clarify that it is not that fun.  Moments are fun, but a lot of it is plain hard work, hurting, and pushing yourself beyond limits.

So it’s unlikely that many are at the trials thinking they will advance through the heats to face Tyson Gay and just blow his shorts off when they have never come close before.  I’m sure though that has been a dream of many though!

Is it just to say, “I competed at the Olympic Trials?”  Possibly.  I imagine there is a bit of bragging rights associated with this.  I admit, I was super impressed when a friends brother was swimming in the trials.  Now that I know that 1500 people swam and the multiple multiple heats involved, I admit, I am less impressed.

People argue that it is for the love of the Sport.  I suppose this is also possible.  The athletes coming to the trials are all really exceptional people.  None of them are your average Joe or Jane tooling up and down the lap pool at the Y.  They have all made a commitment that goes beyond the normal to their chosen sport.

I don’t really know.  Hoping that all the Athletes take from the trials something valuable for their lives.