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Sunday, December 30, 2012

I love this: my Weber-Costello globe

One day, on a whim, I bought this old globe on Ebay. It's a Weber-Costello model with a wood base (probably not original) and a heavy, cast-iron meridian. It's a little scratched and faded, but that's half the charm!
What I love about this globe:
1. It has steam-ship routes marked in the oceans
2. It has a beautiful 1940's san-serif font
3. The colors have faded to muted neutrals
4. Louisiana is much larger than it is now (we're shrinking!)
5. Germany is unified
6. Ireland and Scotland aren't even marked: it's all Britain.
7. The United States is more faded than any other area
8. spelled like that
9. "The Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic" is how Russia is labeled
10. Africa is still divided into "French" this and "British" that

How old is my globe? It's a little ambiguous. I'd say late-40's, based on country names. There are several good references to assist with globe dating; this one is good since it's created by a globe manufacturer.
Globes aren't dated, so the first step in determining age is to look at the manufacturer. Weber Costello stopped making globes in 1960, so that narrowed things down quite a bit.
Next, look for known series - for example, were embossed mountain ranges only made between 1975 and 1990?
Then start looking for tell-tale country names.
I can't definitively date my globe, because some of the dates conflict.

For example: 
My globe still lists Indo-China, so it should be prior to 1949. It also says Thailand instead of Siam. Thailand replaced Siam in 1939, but reverted back in 1945...then back to Thailand in 1949. So maybe this globe was made smack dab in the middle of 1949?
But then, it also is labeled Trans-Jordan instead of Jordan, and that change should have occurred back in 1946.
Israel is listed as a country, so that puts us after 1948: another vote for 1949. But the font is slightly different for the country name, as if it were added as an afterthought!

I paid less than $20 for this globe including shipping, but studying old names and borders has provided hours of entertainment. Plus, it adds a wonderful touch to my living room. It reminds me a little of Christmas when I was seven, when we got a globe as a family gift (my parents were big on gifts for us all to share, since there were about 17 million of us). Unexpectedly, the globe stole the show that year, and we kids surrounded it for hours that day, even skipping lunch lest we give up our coveted corner of the world!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012: a year of injury

2012 was a bad, bad running year for me. The funny thing is, I kicked it off with a bang  - I had several good races early in the year, followed by hell and horror for the rest. Slight exaggeration, there.

The good stuff:
January: I came in 3rd female at The Louisiana Marathon, and despite crashing full force into the dreaded wall, I feel like this was one of my best-run races. That or it was just one of the few with good weather all year!
Having a rare good race, despite being surrounded by slower half marathoners thanks to the course design.
February: A few weeks later I won for the women at The Wall 30k, which was my first race longer than a half marathon back in 2010. I took 42 minutes off my time in two years! This year it was a tough race, since we were on top of the levee right on the river and the wind was brutal that day.
This picture is hilarious - and could be used for blackmail - since I am so confused by the finish line tape. I almost look scared of it. 
March: My current marathon PR: RnR New Orleans. I missed my goal of 3:05 by more than a minute and felt like I lost touch with the race in the last ten miles. I was miscalculating pace and off on nutrition and water - just not a well-run race. And my groin was really bothering me.
I'm trying to escape The Loud Breather behind me.  And I don't look happy.
Also in March? My Boston training run: a free entry into the hilly Publix marathon. I nailed my pace on that one despite the uncomfortable heat.
Publix: training race or not, still intent on ruining my finish line picture by messing with my Garmin
Things start falling apart:
April: Ah, Boston. The morning we flew out I fell running (tripped on nothing) and my knee filled with fluid and blood. Then the race itself turned into yet ANOTHER "marathon for fun". What else can you do when you run yet another marathon in the 80s? No 3:05 there...ran  a 3:24ish!
Not hard to run like this at all. In high 80's weather. 
May: With my million marathons behind me, I finally addressed this annoying groin pain. I was diagnosed with osteitis pubis, and was cheerily told I should be out of the woods in just a few weeks.

Crash and burn:
June: Pain, appointments, PT.
July: A sad and miserable 4 mile race on the 4th of July demonstrated my complete lack of fitness and my persistent pain.
These men look better in bikinis than I do, hateful little creeps.
August: Pain now includes adductor tendons, not just joint space.

Short rally:
September: I read a Runner's World thread addressing training with osteitis pubis. To my surprise, more than one runner said regular high mileage helped the problem. Another runner detailed exercises that helped her, so I dropped any PT that caused pain and started doing the bridges, planks, and clamshells that she recommended. I spent September working up to a 45 mile week.
October: I started a Brad Hudson marathon plan and averaged around 65 miles a week. The osteitis pain did, indeed, lessen! But my fitness was lagging. My first race back was uncomfortable and slow.
Nothing wrong with my form can't be why I keep getting injured....
I suck at running:
November: I woke up one day and looked at my Garmin. I was slow. And slowing further. Slower than a year before. What was I doing wrong? I felt tired and everything was an effort. I quit on a few runs. My calf felt strained. So what did I do? Ran a 5-miler on it. I felt sore and achy later, but it wasn't until I tried to run again that I realized I had hurt something badly on the other leg.
December: A chiro diagnosed me with a hamstring tear (pretty obvious based on the striated lines of blood under the skin!) and cracked my joints a few times. Then his coworker did some ART and Graston. Now that helped!
I'm limping back to the starting line.
What does 2013 hold? Hopefully for me it will be recovery from injury, discovery (why am I getting injured?) and victory - a good race or two and maybe a PR as well!
What was your favorite running moment this year? Goals for 2013?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Working Christmas Eve

I'm working today. My little pharmacy is very quiet, but I wanted to be here in case people were trying to get discharged in time for Christmas and needed prescriptions filled. Plus I have a lot to do.

Empty out the drama box. YEAH! Totally empty! That never happens!

Get this stupid recall done.

Return all these narcotics that expired.

Bring cookies to all the floors that are still open!

Divide up these gigantic boxes of Tamiflu, since on top of everything else I do I am also the distribution hub for emergency short supply in our district. 
Oh, and then there is this bomb that went off on my counter. Ugh. I sort of made a dent in this.  I can't believe I let it get so messy! 

I hope if you worked today that you had a lovely day and no one was rude to you. And if you were off, you were able to enjoy time with loved ones. Merry Christmas and God bless you!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Getting Graston

Since I last left you I've been off running, off reading about running, off thinking about running, and basically not even interested in running.
But I've also been to the chiropractor, who has been robbing me blind while creating a symphony with my joints.
My first visit was mostly diagnostic. On my second visit I had all my joints cracked and my back hurt all week. On the bright side, my left SI joint actually moved for the first time in forever. I didn't even realize it was supposed to move.
On my third visit, I had Graston done on the offending hamstring and tendon. The rest of the day I couldn't tell if anything was different, but I woke up the next morning considerably improved. I was able to do stairs normally for the first time since the injury!

More at the Graston website

Graston is a technique in which the chiropractor uses steel tools to warm the muscle and break up scar tissue. I didn't have a terribly large amount of scar tissue, but the difference was enormous! I went from limping to just nagging pain by the next day.
I've heard that Graston should hurt, but it really didn't. There is some minor discomfort, but I wouldn't really call it pain (but then, I ignore pain like an idiot, so maybe you shouldn't listen to me). I did bruise, though - quite a lot, actually. I'm glad the weather cooled down and ruled out shorts for this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend, I did something bad.
I ran.
Ten miles.

Oops. What happened was that my darling husband and I were out late partying like 20-somethings on Friday, when actually we are both in our thirties (and David's practically 40). After happy hour at The American Sector at the WWII museum, I washed my sazarac down with an Amstel light and a Christmas shot (which tasted like cinnamon Coke, barf) courtesy of our neighbors who own a bar.
Sometimes we decide to irresponsibly enjoy the childlessness of our life and do things like get home at midnight - and for us that's like 5 am. We don't do that stuff much.

This morning David was feeling less than chipper. He was tired (and we both slept in) and a little dehydrated. He didn't want to run. He needed more than encouragement: he needed company. Right? I mean, what was I supposed to do? I dragged him out, planning to get him started with 3, then let him finish his 16 on his own. But I felt fine, so I did ten, which is when I began to be aware of my hamstring. I went home and iced.

The hamstring still feels pretty good, but my osteitis pubis pain is terrible! That is one complaint I have about the chiro: He will NOT leave that joint alone (Shut up in the peanut gallery, all those jokes have already been made). Everything he's done has made that pain much worse, when before I finally had it under control. So I will have to figure out how to deal with that.

So am I back to running? Oh, no. This morning was a mistake. I will ease back and I'm still scratching all upcoming races! But a little cardio sure did feel great!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday pharmacists

Because my pharmacy is open 9 am to 6 pm every day, if I worked all the time I'd be way overtime, so I get to pick one day a week as a short day. On this day I work 6 hours instead of 9, and I have coverage at my pharmacy so I can do other tasks like marketing, sales, meetings, etc.
Right now that day is Wednesday.
I've had a lot of turnover for my once-a-week pharmacist. Initially I hired a pharmacist who had applied for my own position, and he seemed like a good fit. He was perhaps too hesitant to truly manage, but he was kind and helpful and smart. But as time passed he began to be careless and lazy. I discovered why in April when he resigned: he had opened his own pharmacy. It bothers me a little that he was doing much of the work and planning for his new store - my competitor! - while on my clock, behind my back.
When he abruptly left, I scrambled to fill his spot. I ended up without any coverage for a few weeks, then I interviewed two ladies for the position. Neither interviewed very well, but I was pressured to hire a girl whose hours had been cut from 40 to 32 (even professionals can face salary cuts in this economy!). I did, but right away we had problems. She was extremely distracted on the job and made multiple errors (once she sent a new kidney transplant home with no insulin - and the drugs one takes to prevent organ rejection cause very high blood sugar). She interrupted others constantly, making her very difficult to train. I would have to repeat instructions 7 or 8 times! And she claimed to dislike reading, so would never refer to our "Need to Know" binder I made for the store with all of our policies and procedures. Because of this, she did not complete several required processes: for example, certain high-risk drugs require extensive documentation when they are dispensed, but she skipped that step because she couldn't remember my instructions and didn't "have time" to read the guide.
But worse than that, I came in one day after she worked and she'd forgotten to log off the computer. To my chagrin I saw that she'd been online processing claims for the insurance company she works for part time! She was working for another company while on my payroll!

I was baffled as to why she'd take that risk. She should have known it was grounds for termination - unless she decided not to read THAT procedure, too! I didn't want to report her to her supervisor, because I didn't want to be the jerk who got her fired from her first pharmacy job. Instead I met with her and we talked. I made it clear that this was grounds for termination and must never occur again, and I let her go from my Wednesdays (she still gets 32 hours at her regular store).

I had to hire again. I had a temporary pharmacist in the position and I would have LOVED to keep her every week. She's fantastic. But she didn't want it. See, my job is not easy! As the only pharmacist - and the only manager - you have a lot of responsibility. Not many pharmacists welcome that kind of stress, even though it's good experience if you plan to pursue management.

Right now I'm testing out another temporary pharmacist, and she's game and has a great attitude, but in the past she's had problems with spending her time on her cell phone instead of working. So she is still on probation. And she's the type who won't make her own decision, so she calls me ALL. THE. TIME.
And that's my Wednesday situation. The question is, am I a mean boss or just bad at hiring and interviewing? And did I handle the last pharmacist the right way? The correct thing to do would be to terminate her. Was I being kind to not report her, or will that come back to bite me later?

Drama. You'd think me and my two employees wouldn't create all this drama.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sad weekend

I spent the weekend in a sort of fog of sadness after hearing the news of the killings in Connecticut. I just can't comprehend the horror. I can't stop worrying about the little kids who survived: how will this affect their lives?
The worst part is that I don't know how to help. I can give money, but it seems so empty. This is the kind of tragedy that leaves you helpless. It always relieves sorrow when you can do something actively to help. Hurricane Sandy? I can donate clothes and supplies! Cystic Fibrosis? I can support research! Homeless for the holidays? I can cook you warm food!
But your six-year-old was murdered? I can only stand numbly by and offer generic words of condolence.

I don't even know how to pray for these families.

There are some ways to help, which SUAR helpfully listed on her blog - check it out if you can.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Letting my snark flag fly

There was a girl I knew in college who was the object of every guy's crush. She was a flirtatious Southern belle, fully aware of her power over men. I have nothing against her.
Yet it does gratify me somewhat to observe via Facebook that she has aged less gracefully than anyone I've ever met.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Visit to the chiopractor

So I went to see a quack last week. I mean, a chiropractor. I am so squeamish about chiropractors. I have a red flag rule for healthcare providers: If they sell supplements in their office, I question their integrity. 
Red flags were all over the place last Wednesday. I could even join a buying and selling scheme to get some sort of mineral pill.
However, I'm withholding judgment for now until I actually get some treatment done. I went to a sports chiropractor my Varsity group recommends. I know I have a mild hamstring tear and some crazy damage in my knee and hip (how I did this I do not know. I raced slowly and poorly on Thanksgiving, yet somehow inflicted damage on five distinct areas of my left leg. Talent). But what I want to find out is why these injuries keep occurring and what I can do to prevent them. I thought a sports chiropractor could help with that.
The first visit was basically just diagnostic because the hamstring tear is too fresh to do a lot of treatment. It's still in the rest and ice phase (bruising is subsiding though). The chiro did just two things that could be considered treatment:
1. Ultrasound to injured hamstring. Wonderful results. The next day I had a 90% decrease in pain.
2. A casual mention of, "Wow, tight lower back" accompanied by pressure from one hand resulted in soreness, spasms, and pain all week. Um, thanks. My back has never hurt me in my life until now!

So, the diagnostic part:
1. First, looking at the legs/pelvic area, I have some hip-locking. This I knew. We will try some hip-popping once I have healed muscles in that area to keep the popped hip where it should be. Fine, that makes sense.
2. Once acute damage subsides, will look into tightness in calf that is leading to pain and damage (probably contributing to knee pain too).
3. Supposedly I have no mobility in the SI joint. Whatevs.
4. And of course, the most obvious. I have scoliosis. But this is my first actual diagnosis or look into it. I had my first x-ray of the area and I was appalled. I have this giant spinal curve and pretty severe rotation. I find this hard to believe because to me my spine LOOKS straight. But there it is.
Of course I knew/guessed I had scoliosis since I was a little kid. The reason is that my rib cage is uneven: my left ribs are normal, but my right ribs actually bend inward. So my right ribcage is concave!   This is, of course, on the side that is compressed.

The scoliosis part is the one I'm most worried about because I don't see how that can be treated. I know it is affecting my gait, balance, pelvic rotation, hip mobility, etc. The chiropractor I saw treats many runners, but he was a little hesitant to recommend a return to the sport. He actually referred me to an orthopedist for the spine issues as a precaution (I'm not going). He's realistic enough to admit that this is a problem that won't ever go away and will always affect running.

Take-aways from the visit?
1. I'm pretty awesome for running, walking, and functioning well/normally for 30 years with a big fat curved and rotated spine. And I have good posture. So there.
2. I have good strength in all my muscles; poor function in most joints.
3. I will need to maintain flexibility if I ever do run again.

I'll report back once I have some good old-fashioned bone cracking done!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thank you for your advice!

Everyone had something helpful to say on my last post (everyone except the anonymous porn ad - I don't know why this is, but I have been getting a huge amount of spam lately, and Google didn't catch that one).

So many strong runners commented here and gave smart advice. My running future is still pretty uncertain to me (and a return seems far off right now unless I undergo a miraculous healing, which would be fine with me) but I do know that I will be scratching the half marathon I was registered for next week. I'm 99% sure I'm also scratching the Louisiana Marathon in January, unless I'm able to return to jogging by then and run the race with my husband.

Yep, David's still running, and on track for his first marathon in January! I made him a training schedule and he has been killing it, In fact, he's off running 20 miles this morning while I sit here drinking coffee. When he agreed to run a marathon, he set a goal for himself of breaking 4 hours, and I made him a training plan. He has three races as part of his training: a ten-miler a few weeks ago in which he beat his Mcmillan projected pace by several minutes, a five-miler on Thanksgiving in which he nailed his finishing time even though I made it a little harder based on his last race, and the upcoming half marathon. So far he's been getting faster and stronger every day. For illustration, he ran a 10k in April in over an hour, but his five mile race was completed in 38:33. I'm so proud of his improvement!

As for me, I do still have a marathon in late February (RnR New Orleans), and this is the one that I originally thought could be under 3 hours way  back last year. No chance of that now; now the question is only will I be back to running at all, and will I be back to that distance? I'm leaving that up in the air for now, because I still don't know if I even want to continue running! I even cancelled an order for a second pair of running leggings I was buying to stock up!

As I make these decisions I will be thinking about all the comments you guys left. Thank you! Thanks for taking the time to leave a thoughtful, caring comment to someone you only know over a computer! The kindness and camaraderie of the running community is one reason why I'd hate to leave it.

And now I'm off to do a Bob Harper workout. Because these calories aren't going to burn themselves.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Doubts and discouragement

This year has been a very discouraging one on the running front. I developed an injury that is clearly chronic (osteitis pubis) and that will have to be carefully managed ... forever.
I returned to running feeling slow and out of shape. I've been unable to improve my times.
Then I developed not one, but two additional injuries one on top of the other: first a nasty calf strain that feels like sharper shin splints (but along the side); then a mild muscle tear in the opposite leg that originates deep in the hamstring area but affects the back of the knee and hip as well.

Time off hasn't helped yet. My test run after two weeks didn't show much improvement, although the "I can't step on it at all" pain was gone from both legs.

But to say I'm discouraged is an understatement. I'm really considering dropping running altogether. It just seems that lately it only causes me pain, and continual bad performances negate any cheering effect of exercise. If I can get my endorphins without pain and failure with some other form of exercise, why choose running?

This level of frustration just shows how many doubts have crept into my thinking. Will I ever have a pain-free run? Can I run a marathon again, or is that all history? Am I going to be able to run any of the races I registered for this year?  Is 3:06 my marathon PR for life? Did I overestimate my fitness and ability?

After last year's improbable improvements, I started to think that I could still get faster. I'd long had reservations about my running: I knew I had a funny gait, an awkward build, a non-athletic history. But when I dropped 20 minutes from my marathon time in a year, I persuaded myself that I could do more than I thought. I half-set an ambitious goal: Run a marathon under three hours.

At first, I thought it was doable. If I dropped 20 minutes last year, couldn't I drop 6 this year? Then, after injury this summer, I thought it was doable - but would require more work to make up fitness. But then my fall training got tougher and less and less productive: and I thought I would push the goal back. Now that I'm totally sidelined, slow, and discouraged, I am wavering on letting that goal go forever. In fact, I'm wavering on letting competing go forever. Even letting running go forever, and just jogging to warm up for other activities.  Part of me thinks, "It's only six minutes! Go get this goal no matter the cost!" But the rest of me thinks, "I'm wincing with every step. I'll break my body this way. It is no longer enjoyable for me. Resting for weeks to heal up will make marathon training impossible. Give it up." And I think things like, "You got to this point by training past your ability. Who do you think you are?! Three hour marathon?! You couldn't break four hours until marathon #3! You have bunions! Your knees make funny sounds and you are heavier than any other marathoner out there! You can barely break 20 minutes in a 5k!"

I'm really at a cross-roads. I don't like to quit things, but here I am ready to quit everything about running. What worries me is that when I doubt myself, it's usually with very good reason. It means I shouldn't be attempting what I'm attempting. If I don't think I can run, I'm afraid I might be right. I almost never prove myself wrong. I guess I usually know myself pretty well.

What to do? What to do next? How to graciously fade out of the running world, or graciously creep back in, no longer as a potential age-grouper, but now as the back-of-the-pack occasional jogger? What do my next months of fitness look like?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas with cranes

This year's decorating theme is paper cranes.
I bought jewel tone foil origami paper and we're incorporating the cranes both on the tree:

And on our advent calendar - or rather, advent branch.

David and I wrote Christmas Bible verses on the backs of the origami paper; every day we choose a paper, read the verse, then fold a paper crane and hang it on our advent branch.

Along with paper cranes, we decorated around blues and silvers, including silver snowflake ribbon on the mantles.

The tree also has the glass ornaments that David and I made when we were dating.

What's your tree look like this year?