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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Nice surprise

Have you ever seen flowers this big? They're enormous! A huge basket full of orchids and tropical plants was delivered to my pharmacy yesterday - from a customer! It was a patient with a tough prior authorization - lots of steps, lots of denials, lots of appeals. Her use of the drug was off-label, but in order to be eligible to participate in a clinical trial, she had to have been treated with at least one month of the drug in question. So whether or not she got a chance to receive a life-changing trial treatment depended on if she got this drug. My pharmacist and I worked hard to get it covered, and finally, we did!

That is one sweet, grateful customer!

Monday, June 27, 2016

That's a wrap, again

Suddenly, semester #2 is done, and I'm four classes into my MBA. That went fast! The two classes I took this session were employment law and managerial use of accounting data. I was totally into employment law, and accounting Accounting is fine. I know I need it. I know how to use it. It just doesn't excite me (however, people who can't balance their books fill me with cold horror alternating with hot rage).
Both classes were very easy this time. Almost all of employment law was either doing cases from the text or applying learning to recent cases in the news, both of which allowed a lot of creativity and leeway. I have always liked law (I also love rules!) and the course was interesting, especially finding recent news stories that I could apply class topics to. The only drawback was that the textbook was outdated (even though it was just two years old: it's been an eventful past two years in employment law, however!) and our professor did nothing to update the course. For example, one chapter discussed sexual discrimination under Title VII and stated that sexual orientation was not protected unless the harassment could be interpreted as sexual discrimination, i.e., related to gender stereotypes. This would be the case if a lesbian worker was harassed at work because she did not wear feminine clothing, for example. However, last year the EEOC specifically stated that it would pursue sexual orientation claims under Title VII, and several cases are currently pending. That's a kind of huge development to omit!
Managerial use of accounting data was just easy, no two ways about it. It was, therefore, a snooze-fest. I learned exactly zero new things. Oh well, easy A. I needed ELEVEN POINTS on the final to KEEP AN A.
Meanwhile, back on the GI front, I've added two more items to my tiny vitamin arsenal:
And things are starting to improve. Thank goodness. I'm really ready to feel better!

Friday, June 24, 2016

I might as well give up

Well, things have sucked lately.
First, I had a terrible flu-like illness for nearly a month. I kept up a semblance of running, but the quality (distance, speed) plummeted. Work wasn't fun, either: in addition to being very sick, I had several employees out and a big conference, all while super ill. 
I was well for about one day. Then David and I had a weekend date to see a play put on by Southern Rep Theater. Before the play, we tried an upscale Mexican place known for their margaritas. It happened to be their "ceviche week", and I love ceviche, so we split an order. We also both had a margarita and split our entrees. Yet I was incredibly sick the next morning, and David was fine! So I don't know if I can blame the ceviche, or if I just got sick - but I had horrible stomach problems and weakness and even fever for TEN DAYS.
At least David got me flowers. 
 I still dragged myself to work, because my poor tech got in a car accident that very same week and had to have stitches on her mouth, greatly limiting her ability to work, so she stayed home for five days. I hate going to work sick, because most of my patients are immunocompromised, but I had no choice. I just made sure I didn't actually interact with any of them. What I did not do was run - I tried to run about a week ago, but for some reason, that is the most painful thing ever right now. As soon as I get moving, it feels like knives in my stomach! And that has not gone away! I took many days completely off because I felt so bad, but now I am a little stronger, so I am trying to get my strength training in at least, and hoping the stomach pain finally goes away soon. 
In the meantime, marathon training has NOT started, and may very well go on the back shelf. I have to get well first! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Race review: RNR NOLA 2016

I've reviewed this race several times, but they keep making changes to it, so I have to keep updating my reviews.
I won't go super in-depth, but here are some changes that Competitor Group made this time and observations from me:
I'm so totally ready and excited to run this race. 

Expo: This race has gotten large recently, with over 22,000 runners registered. That made the expo incredibly crowded - like, claustrophobically so. RNR recommends that local runners attend on Friday to reduce crowds, but the expo is open from 10am to 5pm only! So maybe that would work for local runners who are unemployed? The line for a beer wristband was over 100 people long by dead reckoning, so I skipped that.
Start: Since RNR added a 10k, the full and half marathon started later: 7:30 am. No big deal, except it is. That's another half hour later to be out in the sun. I preferred the 7am start.
Course: This course keeps changing! In general, it's been the same; you start at Lafayette Square in the CBD, run down St. Charles, turn around at Audubon Park (it used to loop through the park, but Audubon put the kibosh on that), run back up St. Charles, run down Decatur, down Esplanade to City Park, up Marconi to the Lakefront, back to the park for the finish. The differences this time were:
- They tried at the Lakefront. They really tried. Everyone knows these miles suck: they're hot, sunny, windy, hilly (bridges), and lonely. RnR set up these empty booths playing music along the lake! It sort of worked. They didn't take the place of spectators, but at least it wasn't just silence punctuated with sighs and groans.
- You ran down Wisner to the finish, on the other side of the park, which had some blessed shade (finally). I liked that, even though it was very empty of spectators, as well.
One big complaint I had about this course was the placement of Gatorade. They started serving it at MILE ONE, which is dumb, and had none on the Lakefront, which was a hot and sunny area where it was much-needed. Thankfully for me, one of the only people out there had a table of Coke, which was hard to get down but really helped.
Price: I actually think it's easier to get a good price on this race now. I registered the week of the race, right at the last minute, for $130 (plus I had a $10 coupon code that said it expired in December, but still worked). Post-race, I preregistered for 2017 for $57! That's amazing! And even the $130 was less than I paid for the Louisiana Marathon HALF the week of the race!
Shirt I will never wear.
Swag: I don't know why they keep making black shirts. Who, in New Orleans, runs in a black T-shirt? But it's cute.

And I actually like the finisher's jacket. It's super thin and flimsy, but perfect for balling up and stuffing in your purse or luggage!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Feels like 101F

Eight O'clock am with a feels like of 101...sounds like I should do a tempo, right? Ha! I finished three miles and almost passed out. I'm not sure how this summer marathon training is going to play out, but I do admit that today was tougher coming off several days of illness and no running. Maybe it will get easier. Or maybe I need to wake up earlier - at least beat the sun, if I can't beat the humidity.

Monday, June 13, 2016

My immune system has given up

AND I'm sick again. Nausea, stomach pain, high fever, the whole bit. What a great way to kick off marathon training - missing all your first runs!
I think I really need to dial things back in my life. I just keep getting sick. Maybe I need to rest a little - I mean, this is before I even start longer, harder runs as I ramp up for the marathon. I'll just go tell my boss that I can't do that presentation this week and finish those projects he assigned that someone else dropped the ball on. Ha Ha. We'll see how that goes over.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Good habits

I'm marginally more alive now. For the first time in weeks, I didn't have to stop mid-run for a massive coughing attack! And good thing, because I'm about to get really busy.
In a few weeks, I will be starting marathon training, hiring a new technician, hiring a new bedside delivery tech, hiring a new pharmacist, and starting a new session of school (two weeks left in this one!). There will be a lot going on, and I want to make sure I don't let the good habits slide.

I was looking for an app to help me remember to do those basic, everyday tasks - like taking out my contacts and doing my Myrtles hip routine - and I downloaded Productive. It lets you put in day-to-day tasks, and as you check them off, it records habit streaks and other data. Mostly it's just a memory aid for me!
Some daily habits I added:

  • Floss
  • Do planks
  • Take vitamins. After getting so sick a few weeks ago, I added probiotics and a vitamin C/antioxidant/immune booster to my Bone Up supplement. 
  • Read Bible
  • Do strength. This marathon training cycle, I want to try adding some kind of strength in every single day. I don't want to get injured, and my once a week Iron Strength workouts were not enough! 

Weekly habits include:

  • Remove contacts (they're extended-wear, but if I had it my way I'd wear them until they dissolved on my eyeball)
  • Foam roll
  • Do PT. Even though I'm doing some kind of strength training every day and Myrtles each morning, I want to make sure I go through a full round of hip PT moves every week. I can't do too much to protect my hips!

I'm only a few days into the program, and so far it is a good reminder of those little tasks. Have you ever used a habit app? How do you keep up with those little everyday things we tend to skip?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New New Balance

Faced with two super clearance sales and indecision, I bought two pairs of New Balance last week.

The first pair, in orange, were the Vazee pace. I was excited to see that they were shaped on a curved last and offered a wide, so fit should be fine for my wide feet and bunions!
But actually, they were too large. It was odd - they were significantly longer than the other pair of New Balance I'd bought, and it wasn't just toe length - the arch, heel, etc were all longer. I'd say they were at least a half size too big (despite what Shoefitr, which by the way Amazon bought, said).
However. I did not return these for a smaller size, because when I stood in them, they were obviously too firm for my tastes. I like cushioned shoes. So I sent them back.
The other pair I bought were the bright yellow Zante Fresh Foam. They felt a lot softer, but with most of the cushion in the heel. They also have a 6mm drop rather than the Kinvara's 4mm - not a big difference, but you can tell the heel is bulked up. Compared to the Vazee Pace, these felt much smaller and tighter, and I figured out why when I read the tag. They were not wides. I ordered wides, but these were mediums. I exchanged them for the correct size, but the ones they sent are gray, not yellow.
When comparing to the Kinvara, the Zante is firmer and less flexible with a lower-to-the-ground feel. The toe box is roomy and the arch is narrow, but the low ankle collar might seem loose to some (not me. My whole foot is pretty wide). They're comfortable and, while you feel the foam under your foot, you don't feel it squish under foot like you do in the Kinvara. I wasn't sure about that - I did want a shoe that lasted longer, and firmer foam should last longer, but I also like my squishy cushion. Still, the shoe is as similar to the Kinvara as any other I'd tried, so  I got a pair in the correct width (and by the way, sizing for the Zante was accurate, unlike the Vazee Pace, so I got my usual men's 8.5) and decided to give them a try. More on that later.
For now - a bit about price. Both shoes were the old model and were on clearance. The Vazee Pace was $59 from The Zante was initially $54, but when I returned it for the wrong width, I found a coupon code and got the second pair for $42 (why I did a return and re-purchase instead of an exchange!). Current pricing is $100 for the new model of the Zante - still cheaper than the Kinvara - and the Vazee Pace, which must be being redesigned, is between $89 and $109 on the New Balance site. I also noticed that the Vazee Rush, advertised as a cushioning shoe, is just $79 right now (but I passed because the upper overlay would constrict my bunion). Conclusion? New Balance makes cheaper shoes than most brands. If these New Balance shoes work out, that will be a nice perk - especially if they last longer than the Kinvaras!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Next marathon, on the books!

A few texts, some concerned calls, a scouting of plane tickets...
and I registered for the Twin Cities Marathon this October. Why? Well, it's supposed to be an excellent race in a lovely city, but it's mostly so I can see my brother and his family! An excuse to visit!
After my brother's health scare this spring (he had a pulmonary embolism, which, for those who might be wondering, remains categorized as unprovoked - at least nothing familial!), I wanted to make sure to visit sooner rather than later, but our schedules were a mess until the fall. I happened to see an add for the race, mentioned it to my brother, and before long we'd talked each other into it. It's in eighteen weeks, so training through the long, hot summer will start soon!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Very super sick

I'm not at all well. This is some really strange version of the flu, with a lot of chest congestion, an inflamed throat, weakness, and light sensitivity. I can't even have the lights on in the house, which was fine, since we lost power Sunday morning. I had not been planning to go to church sick, but I went and sat in the back rather than swelter without A/C at home (summer's finally here - it was 90F).
I got this way worse than David had it, I think just because I'm under some stress right now. We're having guests next weekend, so I am trying to get ahead on schoolwork, but I am also attending a three-day work conference from 7 am to whatever time at night (dinner events the whole time) and I won't even have time for current schoolwork. And no assignments are posted early or open for viewing before they can be submitted in my program, so you can't really work ahead. Add to that the fact that I'm down a pharmacist - who basically just left without permission following a suspension for a license renewal violation - and I've just got a lot on my plate.

BUT! When I am not overwhelmed and sick, I will be reviewing some new shoe options. Yes, I am trying new shoes, even though I promised myself to stick to a shoe I know works. But I'm a cheapskate, and my last kinvaras started to hurt my knees just 400 miles in. That I cannot handle! Just 400! So I'm looking for more cost-effective options and I bought two pairs of New Balance. They come in wide! So exciting!

As you can see, not much is going on here. I'm excited about wide shoes.