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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Death of a Garmin

I know I claimed that my Garmin died before. That's why I frantically bought a 220 as a replacement for my five year old 305 - only to return it as defective after just a few uses. It was refurbished, and it kept changing to German unbidden.
Luckily, right after that, my old Garmin miraculously turned on again! And that lasted for a few weeks. But now it's become too unreliable: half the time, the screen remains blank after it turns on, and if I do get a readout, it doesn't matter, because the unit shuts down in a few minutes. This week at track I couldn't get the screen to come on before I left the house, so I planned to use a stopwatch instead. But then the Garmin came on after the third try. However, in lap two of the warmup, it shut off. So back to the watch I went! Since then, I've gotten it to turn on again once, but again, it shut off in a few minutes.
Here's what I decided to do:
- Stick with the Garmin brand for ease of learning
- I really want the 230 or 235 for the sake of the seven available data screens, so I won't have to reset them based on track vs. race vs. long run.
- But since both are new models, I want to wait until I can get a cheaper used or refurbished one. In the meantime, I can use an old Ebay GPS.
So that's what I did. I bought a used 305 off Ebay for $20, and now I'm waiting for it to come in. Unfortunately, it probably won't be here in time for my Saturday 5k, so I might have to run that by feel.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hip flare

The last few days I've been experiencing a hip pain flare - pain around the left hip after sitting or running. It's surprising how easily I am handling it now: last year (almost exactly a year ago) my left hip hurt after the Crescent City Classic, and I panicked. Now I know what to expect: pain for a little while, then it slowly calms down. I have found that when I lose my balance between strength and mobility,  I can irritate my hips. Too much mobility causes hip pain, while too much strength causes tightness and reduced speeds. I need to come to grips with the fact that, while I enjoy a short yoga session post-run to force me to stretch, it's not the best choice for me. Anything that breathes, "hip opening floooow" during the opening panpipes (or dulcimer, choose your hippie instrument) is not healthy for my repaired hips.

I haven't really been taking time off running (I took off Sunday and Monday, but Monday is my regular off day), but I am adding in some strength. Lately, I like this Nike Training Club workout for an easy post-run routine. I should (but don't always) pair it with harder/heavier stuff.
I have a 5k on Saturday, so I hope I can work some strength magic by the end of the week!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tutor gifts


It's nearly the end of the school year, and tutoring is coming to an end.

I tutor at this local school, and I'm kind of sad that I probably won't be coming back next year. I am thinking about taking a break from tutoring while I'm finishing my own school. Plus, a break would allow me a fresh start at another school: while I like and appreciate the director of the volunteer program at this school, I disagree with her on some program points.
She's oriented to program completion, while I'm oriented to actual reading improvement. She would prefer students complete four workbook levels by the end of the school year and improve test scores by 15%, whereas I'd prefer they only do two or three workbooks if that allows me time to coach them to improve by 50%. A big piece of that improvement has to do with time actually spent reading, and a development of an enjoyment of reading. Under the previous director, we'd start the session reading a book aloud to each other, and the kids starting to really like to read. They finally got it that reading is fun! But now we've cut that portion out to ensure that we have time to finish the lesson. I miss the reading time, so when I get back to the program, I will discreetly ask to be assigned to another school.
Meanwhile, we were given these hilarious tutor appreciation gifts for their graduation...it's a T-shirt with MY OWN PICTURE ON IT. Yeah, I don't get it either (even weirder: my student is in the picture too, and I'm pretty positive her mom didn't give permission for this!)








Wednesday, April 20, 2016

On the track

So, I'm back to Harrell track. After briefly joining the Varsity track group on Monday nights, I reverted to Tuesday mornings. Monday track shifted to Audubon Park - not a track at all! - at 6:15, and as I close my downtown store at 6pm, that just isn't possible. So I am back to Tuesdays.

Sometimes our Tuesday track workouts are too short for me: the group is great, but they're mostly older than I am and have started cutting mileage (most are in their 50s. And I don't mean to disparage, because they're awesome runners in their 50s: in fact one in my group was first grandmasters female at the Crescent City Classic this year!). When we have a short workout (anything under 3 miles worth of speed), I usually branch out and add to or change the workout.
But today I didn't need to, because Sometimes Coach (he sends our workouts out...sometimes) prescribed Yasso 800's! Except I don't think he Googled that first, because as I recall, Yassos have active rest, and he had us do 1:30 to 2:00 standing rest - whichever was closest to half our 800 time. I did 1:30s rest with the exception of one rest in which Joe, the artist of the group, was trying to take a picture of the glorious sunset right on the start line. So that rest was more like 2 minutes.
Anyway, Sometimes Coach said that the best way to do this workout was to aim for a time you wanted to run, not a current race pace, so I ran 3:10's - and I hit it every time except the first lap. I wandered down to 3:08 or 3:06 a few times, but mostly I was at 3:10 for ten laps.

At the end of the workout I was DRAINED. Exhausted. I did my usual 1-mile cool-down, and the other people using the track were like, "You look like death" as I passed. Not even joking. And then I did my post-workout stuff: strap stretching, myrtles, form drills. But I still felt exhausted. THEN I went home and did a strength workout from Runner's World. I like this workout - I'll do ten reps of each exercise and a few rounds. This workout is very, very hard and gives me very, very huge muscles.
What do you mean, no muscles?! 

Just kidding. It's not hard at all. It's a good easy, cool-down sort of exercise. Just right for after a workout that almost killed me dead.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Surviving

It's finals week already! My first two accelerated classes are wrapping up, and I should have A's in both unless my crazy professor gives our group project a bad grade. Her grading is very nonintuitive. She gives points for doing the most basic thing - "Great background in your proposal video" - who cares about the background?! - and takes points off for things unrelated to communication at all - "Your email scheduled a meeting at 7:00 am. Who meets at 7:00 am?" So if we fail the final project, my grade could be anything. My accounting grade is pretty solid - I have something like a 98.99 (I've already taken accounting in undergrad, so this class was not hard).

I've been surviving the whole work-45+-hours-a-week-plus-accelerated-classes thing. In fact, I still have my little bit of free time. Saturday night David and I went out for cocktails at Cure, where we took a selfie.
Hm, this really doesn't show up that well blown up like this. 

Ha ha. BTW, you should follow me on Instagram! I'm doodlesduringrounds, because that's what I do...I doodle during rounds using my iPhone notes app.

And then today we went to our church crawfish boil, which was fun despite the dark and stormy weather.

After this week of finals, I have a week off before my next classes start, so I can get some big projects done. Ah, free time! And then it's back to the old grind with the next two classes, Managerial use of accounting and Managerial law. I'm looking forward to that one.
Now back to my accounting homework!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Born to Run 5k

After a week of funk - wondering why the Crescent City Classic was so slow, dealing with allergies, and falling flat running - I wasn't really looking forward to the Born to Run 5k. It was in Audubon park at 9 am, which means a late start for my Saturday, but it's for a good cause - it is a fundraiser for the Women's New Life Center, a crisis pregnancy center in the city. We were on a team put together my David's sister's friend, so we had matching shirts and everything!
This was actually taken from a concert at the park last week, but -
same weather! It was a gorgeous weekend for a race! 

I warmed up by running to the start with David. It's a little under two miles, but I added enough jogging to make two miles. The way over told me right away that the course was going to be long: I know exactly where the turnaround points are for races in Audubon, and this was too far; I guessed it would be close to 0.1 off. Oddly, this took pressure off! I lined up, we started, and I was immediately second female. The other girl in front of me was fast, and I never even got close to her, but the weather was beautiful and I felt great. I started too fast in a group of super fast little kids (like, under ten - and almost none of them dropped out, although some walked after a mile or two). The park was super crowded - because the weather was so nice! - but I had no problem running perfect tangents and keeping my goal pace. Actually, I was well under - mile one was 6:20 (my goal was 6:30). I still felt good at the turnaround point, skipped the water, and managed to not run into anyone making the tight U-turn. I glanced at my Garmin and saw 1.6 at the turn...as expected. The way back was not as easy: I was facing crowds of the slower runners and walkers, and not all of them were paying attention. I clung to the inside of the track and couldn't run tangents anymore, but I managed to avoid any collisions, so that's a win. I could still see the first female ahead, but I was totally unable to run any faster than I was. Mile two - with the U-turn - was 6:36. The last mile cleared up a little, and I finally got back to my goal pace! 6:30. I actually had enough to sort of sprint at the end, and finished with 20:36. Not bad at all! Except I was way off my pace by gun. I was disappointed until I remembered that the course was a little long: not that that really matters, and I normally don't point that sort of thing out, but in this case I was paying attention to my actual pace, after missing it so badly at the Crescent City Classic. The pace I was able to run is a lot more like my current fitness, and I'm happy with that (I'm also happy with a 20:36, honestly; that's not a bad 5k time for me at all!).
Race shoes only - I changed to my Kinvaras for the rest of the run.
 Post-race, I ran home and changed shoes, then continued on my Saturday long run for a total of 13 miles with some hill repeats built in. And I didn't get injured. Hurray! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Taking deep breaths after a big scare

Last week, I got a very scary and unexpected text from my older brother: he was being admitted to the hospital with a pulmonary embolism. I was flabbergasted: he's two years my senior, no prior significant medical history, healthy and fit as a horse.
He'd actually had chest pain for two days before it became unbearable. One car was in the shop, so he drove their minivan to the emergency room. He was desatting to the 70's on room air, and they admitted him with a suspected PE. Later, they confirmed multiple emboli and a pulmonary infarct.
I'm very grateful that he went to the emergency room when he did - otherwise, he may (probably) have died. But I'm really uncomfortable that there seems to be no cause behind the blood clots. He'll have further testing at his follow-up appointment, but for now, it seems to be unprovoked. That is so unusual.
Luckily, I deal with this scenario all the time - a patient discharged on blood thinners unexpectedly - and could determine which agent his insurance covered and apply a coupon to it. He lives in Minneapolis, but I called his closest Walgreens and befriended them to make sure he got superb care. I also spoke to his doctor, just to give my therapy recommendations, and he was very nice and concerned. It is somehow vaguely comforting that this is a common problem I see at work, and that there was something I could do: I think it's just human nature to want a role to play in an emergency; nothing is worse than feeling useless.
Meanwhile, my brother's poor wife was home with two babies (ages 1 and 2) and no car! She was a little panicked and not thinking clearly. I told her to call her church - they just moved recently, but what church wouldn't help in this situation? Sure enough, right away they sent a babysitter and someone to drive her to the hospital. It's so sweet when people reach out like this, and I know they were so appreciative!
My brother is home now, but as confused as I am (and exhausted. He's now at 3/4 lung function). We're hoping to know more after a more extensive workup, but for now we're just relieved that he is still alive!