A year ago today I walked out of mercy knowing I would never return as a co-worker. It was time to figure out what I would do when I grew up. The summer was approaching and Emily was doing a travel job in Rolla and Allyson would be going away in the fall so I decided to enjoy the summer.
I had been on women’s health for almost nineteen years and during that time we had done many fundraisers with T-shirt’s. I always knew at some point I would make a quilt but I never wanted to start in case I accumulated more. So my goal was to complete the quilt by this day. I almost always accomplish my goals and this one was no different. So here’s my quilt that I love dearly with a story about each block. I’ll describe in the order you read a book. This blog is for the day I no longer remember much and I can relive the most wonderful memories. Yes, I have always been a nerd and a dork and I will be until I die.
The first block was a fundraiser for the entire women service line. That shirt was the back and I thought it was clever how the word Family was incorporated.
The next block was my all time favorite and the last one. My buddy Tiffani was in charge of creating it. I put the front left pocket area on the back. I loved the stethoscope with the words women’s health.
The top of the next block was the front of the women service shirt and the bottom was the back of another shirt which I will discuss when I reach it.
Next up was one of three trivia nights we did for SLOCA (St. Louis ovarian cancer awareness).
The next is my second favorite shirt and was also our first shirt. It is also on display in the cafeteria as part of a big quilt. (At least the quilt was there a year ago). This was designed by Kim T (now Kim K) and Kristina P. I loved it and wore it to work quite a bit until Mercy went to black uniforms.
The next two shirts are from a Marathon relay that I did with Erin, Laura, and Kim. Both my husband Brian, and our good friend Lindsay were our coaches. They hung out with the three not running and jumped the metro link with us to get to the next exchange stop. That race was so much fun. The nurses running wild was on the back.
My third favorite shirt is up next. That was a SLOCA fundraiser but will always make me think of patient SH. She had ovarian cancer and I took care of her the night of her surgery. Her daughter told me I’d have to light a fire under her butt to get her moving. Several months later I was her nurse when she left this world to meet Jesus. That fall I would run the ovarian cancer run wearing that shirt with Laura and run into her daughters. Such amazing memories.
The next shirt and the one below were front and back from trivia night. I am always reminded of Vickie who was my boss when I left and Lindsay. Lindsay was the most fun tech I ever worked with and she left to become an athletic trainer. Brian always called her wangster Willy which cracked her up.
The top of the next square was from the night Women’s Health went to a cardinals game. I was at Big Stuf camp the night of the game. So although I didn’t go to the game, I still bought a shirt. I would wear it at camp on jersey day.
I think the last shirt was also a fundraiser but I am not sure. I never wore it much but it is a great reminder of my years on women’s health.
I cannot believe a year has passed. After I left, I really thought I would work at a surgery center. Then my friend Tiffani from my favorite shirt started in the butt hut and told me to apply she thought I would like it. I told her I can’t do IV’s and I’m not working full time. Well wouldn’t you know, they had a part time position and the patients come to the room with an IV. Then a pandemic occurred and I ended up back in ICU where I hadn’t been for almost twenty years. Who would have guessed!!
Mole moral ~ Follow your path no matter how scary or unknown, you may just end in a wonderful place.
I believe I started running about ten years ago. I met Meg Barry nine years ago when she transferred to Women’s Heath after her sixth child. She has vivid memories of her first shift with me that involved the Mercy Heartprints’s program but as usual I have zero memory. She was a lot of fun and we hit it off instantly.
Over the years I learned she played soccer in college and that is where she met her husband Dan. He played baseball and was being scouted until he tore his Achilles’ tendon. It’s just as well because if he were pro, I would have never met Meg. My crazy friend ended up having eleven children (six boys, five girls) before she closed up shop. She then decided to get back into shape. I had heard all these years bad knees, no way can she ever run again. So she started walking then tried running but jumped up mileage way too fast and swore her knees were shot. I talked to her about slowing it down and soon she was not only running but super fast. She swears she is not fast but anyone in the eight minute mile pace range is super fast for me. I was jealous for a while but I finally got over it. This is not a competition and my running is more slow but endurance. I’d rather run six hours than super fast over a short distance. She tells me I’m crazy she could never run a full marathon. I think I said that before too.
So we signed up for the 7k St Patrick’s Day run at Creve Coeur Lake. I did this race right after my headache two years ago and have zero memory of it. I do have the shirt and the pint glass. I did it last year as well so this year was a no brainer. The pint glass is awesome. Since Meg and Dan live close they had me drive over to ride together.
The race was supposed to be on Saturday but was postponed until Sunday due to weather. This made it on daylight savings time so we all lost an hour of sleep. I had been deathly sick all week and finally climbed out of bed Friday evening. I had also been put on steroids so sleep was not my friend. I show up to the Barry’s at 7:30 (really 6:30) and Meg has always told me she’s not a morning person. She’s not kidding. She asked me why the hell was I so chipper. I said well I’ve been awake for over an hour and on steroids. She and Dan then proceed to tell me today is not going to go well. Dan swears he’s hung over and Meg said she had too much sleep.
So we ran it and by the time I finished they were moving the car closer and exchanging Dans shirt. Since I know how to look results up I do that for them. I discover Dan finished third for his age group and Meg missed third by nine-tenths of a second! I made Dan pick up his medal. I was so excited for him and so annoyed for meg that she barely missed it. I shall live placing in races through them and they can live endurance through me.
Later on Meg looks at her Fitbit to see how much she slept. It said she didn’t wake up until 8:10. By that time we were walking around the park. I thought she looked half asleep but I guess she really was. We have already agreed we are doing it again next year because it was so much fun.
Mole Moral ~ Never say never! Meg said she would never be a runner and yet here she is!!
Today was my very most favorite 5K that I have done almost every year for the past seven. I only missed one because I was on a cruise with my mom in Scandinavia. This run was very emotional at the beginning and the end and this blog really isn’t about running or how I ran because that is irrelevant.
Anyhow before the race started they named off all the survivors that were present. I heard Kimberly Wright’s name, who is a girl I went to high school with. I then started thinking about the special ovarian cancer girls that have touched my life. I thanked God for keeping Cathy cancer free for fourteen years. I prayed for the gal I am going to Christmas Angel this year as she has just finished chemo and will be having the surgery in the next month. This was during The Star Spangled Banner and then I almost started crying. I pulled it together and took off running. My goal was to run the entire thing without taking walk breaks. It’s a mental thing with me.
After I finished mile 2, I had passed the dog, lady and dude I had been pacing off of. I came upon a boy who was between ten and twelve. His parents were up ahead of both of us. They were turning around yelling at him to run. He said he couldn’t run anymore and was walking. They were obviously very annoyed and making comments to each other about how he should not be walking etc. They kept on running and he tried once to catch up to them to no avail. He yelled he couldn’t catch them and they told him yes he could to start running. They would turn around every so often to see he was farther and farther behind. He was getting pretty upset at this point and I was in between him and his parents. I heard a man say kid you are doing good, keep moving. His parents certainly did not slow down AT ALL. The last time I saw them turn around and look for him was about a half a mile from the finish. He was barely in their site. I was furious!
If you want to run a personal best, or run the entire time DO NOT bring younger children with you and then get mad when they cannot keep up. I am not a believer in children that age running three miles to start with. Their legs are half the size of ours so it’s more like they are running ten miles to our three. If you do bring your child, you should do it as enjoyment for a family, not a let’s see how fast we can run and then get mad at your child. Leave your child at home. I have severe anxiety when I don’t know where I am going. (I have zero GPS skills and get lost all the time.) If my parents would have done that to me, I would have NEVER ran again.
I don’t understand the big push to have kids under the age of sixteen doing distance running. They are still growing and I am not sure if this is good on their joints. Maybe because I had zero athletic ability and didn’t start running until my forties I am jaded. If a kid really enjoys it and it is his idea it might be ok. This is not the first race I have witnessed this. I have seen kids crying in the past that they couldn’t go any further and their parents basically telling them to shut up, quit being babies and push on. It makes me wonder whose dream running really is?
As some of you know my youngest daughter is a fantastic artist. This is what people tell me, I try not to be jaded. I always tell her she should work for PIXAR to which she responds “mom that is your dream, not mine”. This is the truth. I would love to be able to draw and make PIXAR movies but I can’t and she’s not interested. It would be a waste of time for me to attempt to push her into it and she could end up hating drawing all together. I did tell Allyson yesterday that she should design my tattoo to commemorate my fifty mile run from last year. She said “it’s about time you asked me”. Ok so I’m a little slow in combing her dream with mine. I know whatever she comes up with, it will be super cool.
Mole Moral ~ One of my parenting goals has been to let my kids do what they want to do, not what I think they should do. I pray I have achieved that.
A few weeks back my music switched to cycling through everything on iTunes, instead of just my play list. I usually tolerate this until one of the kids nasty worded rap songs comes on and I switch it back to my Christian music. After I saw Rob Bell two years ago I downloaded some of his first pod casts and it so happened number seven popped on. I had heard it before but I had a feeling I should listen again. I believe he called it the tapes in your head. The word tape kind of shows our age since I’m pretty sure they no longer exist.
He was talking about the way you talk about yourself in your head. So he launches into a scenario where he is playing kickball with you and you catch his ball but you trip and fall and run a spike through your chest. So he cuts the spike loose and halls you to ER. I had a hard time getting past playing kickball with Rob and not calling 911. Anyway you arrive to ER and they stat page a doctor to your room. Do you want your doctor to play this in her head? I’m not really sure about this. I graduated last in my class. There are so many doctors that are better than me. Or would you want her tape to say I’ve got this. I know exactly what needs to be done. I have the skills and the team to accomplish this. Another thing he spoke about is not owning compliments but rather dismissing them or downplaying them.
Three hours after I listened to this I walked into work and my boss was talking with another gal I had never met. The unknown called me high energy and my first thought was no I’m not. And then it was if my head shook and cleared my brain and I was like I think she’s right. So I’ve been thinking about how my life does indeed reflect high energy.
For starters my job reflects this. I am scheduled eleven am until seven-thirty pm to come in and take all the new admits. They include surgeries, direct admits (straight from home or doctors office) ER patients and moms who just had a baby that ends up in NICU. This shift originally started because for a few years the hospital did away with having people on call and we were not allowed to staff for patients who weren’t there at the start of the day. On big surgery days (10 or more) this could be a nightmare with every nurse being at max capacity and yet more surgeries needing to come. I worked three to eleven back then so a lot of times they would call me to work early. So anyway I now come in at whatever time they need me. This may be as early as eight thirty or as late as three. I sometimes have all five patients within three hours. The recovery room loves me because I almost always take report when they call and have taken back to back and say send at same time I’ll make it work. The only time this is a nightmare for me is when the patients were not given adequate pain medicine during surgery and are out of control upon arrival. This keeps me running for the first few hours. Our unit is huge and really spread out so on a crazy day I can easily hit ten thousand steps in eight hours. And to think my husband likes to harass me and say all nurses do is sit around and eat chips and dip.
My activity level screams high energy too. I walk almost three miles every day for my coffee and then around the back neighborhood. It’s also my time to play Pokémon. I’m still running and always training for something. Last years fifty mile run
alone says either high energy or belongs in an insane asylum.
At the end of the same day I had a patient and her husband thank me for being the kindest nurse and person they ever met. My first reaction was to dismiss the entire compliment and then Rob popped into my head and the love dare. I remembered one of the three things Brian said he admired about me was my willingness to do whatever I could to help others. And I must admit they were right. They were of a different culture and I respected that and incorporated it into my plan of care. Plus they were Heartprint
patients which will always have a special place in my heart.
So over the past three weeks I’ve been trying to own it, instead of dismissing it. I must say this is a lot harder than I thought it would be. My head tape likes to go immediately to the negative and the worst case scenario. I guess I have something to work on.
Mole Moral ~ If the tape is negative, eject it, and replace with a positive one, you deserve it!
I just realized it’s been a month since I posted anything. I have had four blog posts in my head and yet have not bothered to write any. I think I will start with a running one to be super annoying. I try not to post on Facebook about running too much because I don’t want to be that girl.
After completing the big ultra marathon I decided I wanted to work some on speed. The entire time I trained for the ultra I did not push myself because I didn’t want to get injured and have to delay the race again. Starting training over once because of the headache was more than enough. My goal is not to be the fastest, win a race or even beat my personal best. I have had two major foot surgeries since a personal best. I did decide I would like to finish a full in under six hours so the next step was finding a training plan.
I have used the Nike+ app since I first started running. Almost everyone I know switched to Garmin but I refused to lose the thousand miles I had already logged. I decided to use the coach section on the app for the marathon training plan. I had just come off of running five days a week with the shortest run being four miles. I looked at the schedule and thought how in the world will this work.
For starters it’s only four days a week which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. And sometimes it’s only mileage two of those days with a 15 minute benchmark run and a cross training day. Sometimes I get to do speed workouts where I run as fast as I can for either 200, 400, 800 or 1600 meters and then walk for a set amount of time and repeat. Anyway I was really thinking this was all bull hockey till a couple of weeks ago when my speed workout splits were this.
My marathon is the end of April and I’m now starting to believe under six hours is totally doable. However I have to quiet the voice in my head that says how about a PR. That would be under 5:25:00 to which I tell that voice to shut the hell up…….for now.
Mole moral ~ Following a new plan may allow you to see or do things you never thought you were capable of.
Today I went to Seckman High school’s track to do speed work. For this years marathon training I decided to use my Nike plus running app coach. This is a totally free coach and since I’m pretty self motivated it works for me. So today was run 400 meters (one lap) and then walk for two and a half minutes and then repeat ten times. It gave me a projected pace of 10:37 which as usual triggered my anxiety for no reason. My pace for the running portion was 9:35.
When I first arrived I realized it’s been a long time since I was there. When I trained for my first half back in 2005 l did almost all my runs there and counted laps. So as I looked at the football field and admired the AstroTurf I thought about all the changes.
My very first time at the track I was still smoking. So I would smoke all the way there, do my miles, and smoke all the way home. I listened to a portable CD player and headphones and was there a lot of times when the kids were out for gym.
Another four years passed before I did my next half. By this time I had quit smoking and iPods had been invented and I owned one. Nike invented a chip that went in your shoe and correlated with your iPod to keep track of distance. I would soon ditch the track because it was monotonous running in circles.
The following year I invested in an iPhone and upgraded to Nike+ running app and ditched the chip. I also no longer had to carry my phone and my iPod. I then started running on the road and convinced myself I am invisible and no one can see my running. It was the only way I survived running without having major anxiety that people were laughing at me.
I seriously cannot remember the last time I was at the track. Most likely the summer I was supposed to run a race to benefit Seckman track club and had the start time wrong and missed the race. I thought about the guy that took care of the football field grass and would mark it for football games. I wonder what he is doing now. He would always say hi to me even though I was invisible at the track as well.
Mole moral~No matter how hard one tries, it is impossible to slow down both time and the change that comes with it.
As I begin to type this I want to clarify something first. The best place to run is outside. I would rather be out there any given time. However, when the heat index is over 100 or the wind chill is less than twenty then running outdoors is not a safe option. Saint Louis has been stupid cold for the past two weeks, just in time for me to start full marathon training. The holidays were also factored in so that made me stuck on the treadmill for the past week and a half but today I managed to make it to the Arnold Rec Center.
I love the rec center. I would rather do thirteen laps per mile than run on a treadmill not really moving. Everyone is like just watch TV. No matter what I put on, I am staring at how long I have been on the stupid thing just waiting for it to be over. At the indoor track I can people watch. Usually there are boys playing basketball below me, or girls practicing baton or couples playing pickle ball. Also on the track, I recognize people who I see from time to time. Although I don’t talk to any of them, I have names for them and know if they are there, then they are well. There is a couple that walk together all the time and they are fast walkers. They probably pull a thirteen minute mile. I like to follow them when I am not running but walking. Last year when I was training for the fifty mile a guy asked me what I was training for. So I told him about the race. He lives close to me and told me he saw me on the outer road all the time as well. One day in September he was driving and saw me and pulled over and asked how the race was. So I told him all about it. He was there today and stopped me because he was telling his friend about me and wanted to know how long it took me. I said 13:57. They asked me if I was going to do it again this year. I said hell no, one and done. They both started laughing.
There was a guy named Ron who use to be there all the time. I haven’t seen him in almost a year. I need to ask a couple of the regulars what happened to him. Today a gal was wearing an Oak Bridge Church shirt and I almost said to her, best church ever! She might have thought I was crazy. However running 10 miles there today was totally normal! Although ten miles on a treadmill is total insanity. I would go to the indoor track any time any day when the weather is uncooperative.
Mole Moral~ Find an exercise you enjoy and stick to it. You never know who you might meet or who you might encourage!
I often get asked why I do so many races and there are two simple reasons. The first one is practical and the second one is just crazy. I have found that if I don’t have a race coming up then I find every excuse not to run and can go three weeks without running at all. However, if I have a distance race in the future I will stick to the training plan and run all of them so I am well prepared. I recently signed up for a full marathon in April so that I will keep on running. It is my me time, my God time and my keep me from killing people time.
The second and real reason I do races is for the medals. Disney by far had the best medals and I have them in a shadow box. The rest of my medals are hanging on a curtain rod in my room. Recently I was thinking that when I die my kids will have to throw them all away because seriously who wants them besides me. Today was the Santa’s North Pole Dash. This is my favorite 5K and you get a medal as well. Todays medal did not disappoint. The shirt choices were either a Santa shirt or this my favorite Christmas movie.
I have three Santa shirts so I picked the Christmas Story shirt instead. I wasn’t even thinking that the medal might be related to the shirt so I was in for a real treat.
I was thinking that after I died my kids could use this as a Christmas ornament to remember me by. Then my friend Theresa’s husband told me to put my face in the opening and that was the best idea ever. So after at least twenty minutes of finding a picture, running out of ink, and cutting it wrong twice it is all finished.
Mole Moral ~ I found the way to be immortal, live on as a Christmas ornament so everyone can remember their insane crazy mother, grandmother, great-grandmother etc.
The Mo Cowbell half marathon replaced the Lewis and Clark marathon back in 2011. I ran the last Lewis and Clark half marathon and then the first Cowbell marathon. Four years ago the full marathon was added as an option. That year I had plantar fascia release on my right foot and the next year on my left. The third year it was two weeks before my fifty kilometer race so it was out once again. I decided I was running it in 2017 no matter what. I had originally planned to run the fifty in April but due to the headache from Hell I had to postpone it until August. This meant I had six weeks between races.
I had decided to do the ultimate reset and took three weeks off from exercise. I had a hard time having enough energy to walk much less consider running. And the next three weeks I just kind of ran but not super hard. I have done the half marathon three times so I remembered the course well. The second half was much tougher. I thought it was an out and back on the Katy trail but it wasn’t exactly. We somehow hooked up to a connector trail or something and I ran past one of the cake locations that Allyson and I only found by seeing the bridge in the picture and driving to it. It was close to the Family Arena. I felt great until mile 15 and then not so much. The same thing happened during the fifty mile. By mile twenty I was pretty sick of running. I only got through it by reminding myself I only had six more miles instead of thirty.
Around mile sixteen I started receiving texts from Emily. She was at urgent care with a massive kidney infection. They gave her three shots, one was an antibiotic, one was anti-nausea and the other an anti-inflammatory. They also checked her for strep and felt she most likely had viral strep and put her on an oral antibiotic as well. They were considering sending her to the ER. I think I finished the marathon about the time they decided to send her home and told her to come back the next day for another antibiotic shot.
I could blame my time on texting while running but it’s really because all summer I did not train for speed at all. I trained for endurance to make it through the fifty without dropping dead. I also didn’t want to push it too hard and injure myself and not be able to run the fifty. So this winter I plan to work on running a lot more and walking a lot less. I don’t plan to be super fast or win a race but I would like to beat my very first marathon time which was 5:25:00. We shall see if I can actually not have something else happen to make me start all over with running for the fourth or fifth time.
Mole Moral~ The faster I run, the sooner I’m done!
I can’t believe the race is finally over and I finished it and can still walk. I was up at five in the morning as check in was at five forty-five and the race started right at six. There were around three hundred runners but it was not a chip event so everyone started at the same time. The interesting thing about ultra events is most of the people are not about sprinting and speed but finishing it. Those that come in first are super fast but the majority are just normal people like me.
The first fifteen miles went by pretty fast and I felt great and then the uphill climb started and lasted eight miles. The course was on the Mickelson trail and was an old railroad track so the grade was between 1-4%. I had run hills all summer but not one continuous uphill thing for eight straight miles. So pretty much mile fifteen until twenty-three was awful. When I finally reached the check station before the turn around Brian asked if I wanted him to come down with me and take my picture. I said yes of course.
When the aid station asked if there was anything they could do for me I said “please kill me!” They asked me how I wanted it done and I said quick and fast. At least I knew that in two miles I would be headed downhill for eight miles. I was slowing down a bit as the temperature reached a maximum of 88 degrees with full sun on most of the trail. I realized around mile thirty I would not make the twelve-hour mark I had in my head.
The next difficult section was mile forty to forty-five because it was another straight climb up. I was about ready to off myself and questioning why I ever opened my mouth and said I want to run fifty miles for my fiftieth. I also realized that the cutoff was sixteen hours because this course was tough. The original run I had planned to do back in April was pretty much flat and had a twelve-hour cutoff. I thought I was never going to reach mile forty-five and see Brian but I did and he was drinking beer with a buddy he had gotten to know over the day. His brother was running ahead of me. His new friend said its all down hill and I said again just kill me but I took off for the most mentally challenging section.
I was tired and I wanted to die. I had three huge blisters on my feet. My music died with one mile left but I dug deep. I thought about all the ridiculous things I had done to prepare for this race. Back when I was training for the 50K, I did my 26 mile training run on a cruise ship in the dining area because it was raining. I ran 28 miles at the Arnold Recreation Center because it was going to be over 100 with the heat index. I got up and ran when I didn’t want to. I had made it to twenty-four miles of long runs when I came down with the five-week headache and then picked out a new race and started the training over again. I told myself if you can do all this five miles is just from your house to Imperial main street where you get a drink and use the bathroom.
Finally I saw the track that I was going to finish on and I started crying. This made running impossible, not that I could run even if I tried. I just thought back to how this all started over a year ago on fourth of July weekend when I remembered I said I wanted to run fifty and my birthday was the next year. I found the training plans and wrote it out and didn’t look back. And now I can say I finished the beast in 13:57:38. There were 10 gals in my age group 50-59 and I came in third! I really thought I would be more like second to last so then I start thinking maybe I should do another one. Then I smacked myself upside the head and came back to reality.
Mole Moral ~ When you set a goal and achieve it, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.