Monday Memories, part three

click here for part one
click here for part two

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t remember the hospital. Some people have asked me if I had dreams while I was in my coma. If I did, I don’t remember them. Some people have asked me what it felt like to wake up from my coma. I don’t know any more about that than you.

My first few days in the hospital were stressful for everyone except me. I was blissfully unconscious and did not know that there were doctors and nurses around me every day, injecting me with this or that medicine, putting tubes in just about every orifice in my body, adding another IV line. I got some pretty hard-core drugs – painkillers, anesthetics, the kind of prescription drugs you can only get if you’re really sick.

At this time, my only sister was living in Southeast Asia and working with a nonprofit organization. My mother convinced her not to drop everything and board the next flight home, but she was only able to get information through periodic emails from my parents. I cannot imagine how helpless she felt.

My condition improved and worsened like a yo-yo. It changed on a daily and sometimes even hourly basis. After a few days, I was diagnosed with a bad case of pneumonia – a little-known side effect of the ventilator. Antibiotics were added to my IV.

My mother sat with me during the day, and my father sat with me at night. Between their “shifts”, they would send email updates to my sister and to my extended family, none of whom lived in the same city as us. (Remember, this was before Facebook!)

The doctors tried, numerous times, to wean me off the ventilator, but without success. After eleven days, they told my parents that they would try one last time to wean me off the ventilator, but if they were unsuccessful, they would need to perform a tracheotomy – that is, they would have to cut a hole in my neck to provide long-term access to my airway.

The stars aligned, so to speak. Withdrawing the ventilator provided just the right amount of stimulation to wake me from my coma. It was NOT a “Hollywood” scene. According to my mother, I opened my eyes, looked around the room, and appeared to be very confused. I’m pretty severely nearsighted, and I imagine that would have added to my confusion.

Truman Medical Center was, and still is, arguably the best hospital in Kansas City for traumatic injuries. However, this hospital was not one of our insurance’s “approved” hospitals. After I’d been in the ICU for a couple of days, the insurance company wanted to move me to another hospital. The doctors were not in favor of moving me, but there wasn’t much they could do about it. However, this was in the middle of November, and Thanksgiving was coming soon. Because of the upcoming holiday, none of the other hospitals would take a new patient, and I stayed at TMC.

My parents celebrated Thanksgiving with take-out meals from Country Kitchen in my hospital room.

I remained in the ICU for a few more days, then was transferred to the general surgical floor. I was becoming more and more responsive, but still wasn’t totally “with it”. Likely because I didn’t remember the accident, I didn’t understand that I was in the hospital. From day to day and even hour to hour, I would believe that I was somewhere else in the world, and no one could convince me otherwise. At various times, I believed I was in Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia, among other places. I even believed, for a time, that I was in Paris. Because of my confusion, I could not be left alone, and one of my parents had to stay with me at all times to make sure I didn’t pull out my IV or the feeding tube in my nose.

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weekly wrap-up, 9-28-14 – long runs, happiness, and upcoming events

This has been a good week. A bit topsy-turvy, I suppose, but good!

On Monday morning, I received an email alerting me of a publishing credential (Remains of the U-Boats’ Watery Reign). Always a great way to start the week! I ran 3.62 very happy miles in 53:12. The sun was out, and it was just a fantastic run.

I wound up skipping my workout on Tuesday. Bad Melinda! :) I got a last-minute call asking me to participate in a focus group downtown, and that wound up taking a big chunk out of my day. Since it was a cross-training day, I didn’t push it.

Wednesday’s run was also good. 3.13 miles in 46:51. There was a little bit of rain during this run – a steady rain, but not enough that I would consider it a downpour. It was really the perfect amount of rain, just enough to cool me off but not so much that I was running through puddles or chafing excessively.

Thursday’s run, though, was tough. From the moment I woke up, I was struggling to having the ambition to just walk out the door and run. I wanted to run, but it was so hard to convince myself to run! Once I got out there, my legs just were not in it. I slogged through 3.7 miles, but it felt awful.

I took Friday off. Double-bad Melinda. After the lousy run on Thursday, I just couldn’t find the enthusiasm to exercise.

On Saturday, I was planning a long run, and honestly I was pretty determined beforehand to make it a good run. After I’d had the crummy run, I just knew I needed a strong run. The sun was shining, the temperature was moderate, and I was stubborn.

I cannot explain it. Something took over my legs. I just let my legs set my pace, running based on how I felt. It was like I had wings.

I ran 6.65 miles in 1:32:26 – only 13:54/mile. At some points, my pace got as fast as sub-10:00. It was just incredible.

photo (22)

at the halfway point of my amazing long run! woohoo!

Now I will add, the last mile or mile and a half turned out to be pretty difficult. On the one hand, I knew my pace was out of this world, and I was wondering if I could hang on long enough to finish with a strong pace. On the other hand, I hadn’t brought a bottle of water (when will I learn?), and I was VERY dehydrated. I had a serious case of cotton-mouth, and my dry lips were stuck to my dry gums.

But I did hold on, long enough to get home and get a glass of water. :) My legs were exhausted, but I felt fantastic. I’m so excited by this.

On Friday, I got a reminder message about R4TW, which is coming up NEXT SATURDAY, October 4. Where does the time go? It’s one more reason to be glad that Saturday’s run went so well. I’m already nervous about running around people I know – I don’t need to worry about my pace, too. Anonymity doesn’t get enough credit, y’all!

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Monday Memories, part two

click here for part one

In the emergency room, I was greeted by the controlled chaos of trauma management. I was intubated, and a ventilator took over the responsibility of breathing for me.

I was in really bad shape. Remember how I said I’d gone from “a little responsive” to “not at all responsive”? In medical terms, I was a “GCS 3” – ranking a 3 on the Glasgow Coma Scale. 3 is s as bad as it gets. On the Glasgow Coma Scale, there is no “2”. You are a 3, or you are dead. Once you are a  GCS 3, statistically speaking, there is an 80-96% likelihood that you will either die or be catastrophically brain damaged.

My clothes were cut off me with a what must’ve been a brutally sharp pair of scissors – they cut right through my tough leather belt and my heavy winter coat. I’m a modest person, and if I had been conscious, I assure you I would have been mortified.

It was around this time that I was first identified. I’ve never been a fan of purses and was not carrying one on this night. Instead, my wallet (including my drivers license) was tucked into my pocket. With my clothes removed, they could finally retrieve the wallet. At the same time, one of the residents removed the class ring from my right hand and read the name inscribed on the inside. Surprisingly, she had gone to high school with my older sister, and recognized my name.

A CT scan of my head and spine diagnosed a severe traumatic brain injury. During the accident, my brain had been thrown forward, striking the inside of my skull and shearing the blood vessels of the dura mater and arachnid mater, two of the membranes surrounding the brain. The bleeding created pressure against the tender nerve endings in my brain. This was why I was unresponsive. This bleeding was monitored; if it did not resolve itself, quickly, they would have to perform brain surgery, opening the skull to remove the blood and allow the brain to swell freely.

My spine, thankfully, was uninjured. There was suspicion that I had internal abdominal injuries, but CT scans and x-rays showed that, miraculously, my internal organs were fine. The CT scans also showed that I had a form of mildly collapsed lungs resulting in reduced oxygen exchange.

Further x-rays diagnosed a broken collarbone with torn ligaments (a “distal clavicular fracture with grade 3 acromioclavicular separation”), probably caused by my seat belt. My nose was pretty badly broken (“bilateral nasal fracture”), which probably happened when my head hit the steering wheel (I had a steering-wheel bruise across my face to confirm it). I had bruises all over my body. Below my left eye, a significant laceration was bleeding profusely and required multiple stitches to close.

Specialists from all over the hospital were brought in to treat each of the injuries: a neurosurgeon, of course, to treat the brain injury; an orthopedic surgeon to treat the broken collarbone; a maxilla-facial surgeon to treat the broken nose; a plastic surgeon to stitch the cut under my eye; and, just for good measure, two general surgeons, two residents, one attending physician, and a daily gaggle of medical students. (It WAS a teaching hospital, after all.)

My parents were contacted, and in the wee hours of the morning, I was moved to the surgical ICU.

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weekly wrap-up, 9-21-14

This has been another good week. Not easy, but for the most part, I’ve accomplished my goals.

Monday morning was overcast, rainy, and just overall dreary. I was determined to run, and I didn’t really want to leave my phone at home again, so I wrapped it in a plastic sandwich bag to protect it from the rain. Worked like a charm – kept the phone dry, but I still got lots of feedback from my Nike+ app. I ran 3.61 very easy miles.

photo (21)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plastic bags also make instant photo softeners

Monday proved to be a sign of the week to come. I woke up Tuesday morning to the sound of rain pounding on the side of my house, and I spent at least ten minutes lying in bed and thinking of all the reasons why this would be a good day to skip my workout. But skip I did not – I cross-trained for 30 minutes with the Sworkit app.

On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, we had a big thunderstorm roll through – what my father would call “a real gullywasher”. I was awakened at about 4am by (loud!) thunder and lightning, and I never really got back to sleep. My shoulder was sore, probably a combination of yesterday’s cross training plus sleeping on it funny, and I really wanted to take an ibuprofen (but I refuse take pain meds before I run). So when I went for my run Wednesday, I was extra tired and extra grumpy. My “plan” called for intervals. I wasn’t feeling very strong, but I tried to push myself and, to my surprise, I was largely successful. I rana 2.55 miles with a sub-15:00 pace and felt very strong by the time I was done. My shoulder was still sore but felt much better.

Thursday was… weird. That’s the only way I can describe it. I overslept – no surprise since I’d slept so poorly the night before. Between that and some late morning plans that I couldn’t change, I had less time than usual, and instead of running 40-50 minutes, I knew I would have to aim closer to 30. Since I was running shorter, I decided to push myself a little more, and… I guess I ran a really good tempo run. I’ve said before that I’m terrible at pacing, and I’ve NEVER understood how to find your tempo run pace, but I ran 2.62 miles at a 13:51 pace. At a CONSISTENT 13:51 pace – not speeding up and slowing down, but consistently at a pace between 12:00 and 14:00 (which for me, is pretty consistent). Suffice it to say I was pretty flabbergasted. My legs never stop surprising me.

On Friday, I cross-trained for 30 minutes with the Sworkit app.

Now. If you have a weak stomach, or if you are a guy who is grossed out by girl stuff, stop reading now.

After my Friday workout, I started my period. I am one of the lucky ones who gets brutal cramps, and it just sucks all the energy out of me. I’m not exactly training “for” anything – I mean, I’m training to get back in shape, and I’m committed to do this one-hour run in October, but I’m not really training for a particular race.

So I gave myself a day off. If I was really pushing myself to train for a half marathon or marathon, I probably would’ve tried to do something, but truth be told I don’t think my body would have held up for 6 miles. I would’ve been lucky to finish 3.

However, it does seem like this is not the first time that my cycle has been preceded by a really awesome run.  How strange! I’ve been researching the effect of women’s menstrual cycles on running, and the only conclusion I can find is that there are no conclusions. Everyone is affected differently!

Tomorrow I should be able to resume my training schedule. The run on October 4 is basically a fun run. You have to run for one hour, and their gimmick is that people will be participating all over the world, and they will add together all the miles/kilometers run. If it’s 40,000km, that is the circumference of the earth, so we will have run around the world, yay. For me, four miles (6.4km) should be easy. 4.5 miles (7.2km) will be challenging. 5 miles (8k) would be awesome but is probably just out of reach for me right now!

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Monday Memories, part one

I suppose “memories” is a misnomer. My accident defined a big part of my life, and yet I don’t actually remember it.

The first part of this story is easy to tell. I’ve told it before. I don’t remember any of this – I know this story because others have told me about it. I’ve read the police report and the hospital chart. I have amnesia. Not the “made-for-tv-movie” kind, where I remember nothing from before the accident and everything from after. The memories closest to the accident – most of my adolescence – are gone, although I remember my childhood well enough. The weeks after the accident are gone too, and the months after are fuzzy. It’s easy to tell this story, because it might as well have happened to someone else.

But it didn’t happen to someone else. It happened to me.

I was 17 years old and a senior in high school. My life was pretty close to perfect. I grew up in Independence, MO, a large suburban community outside Kansas City, Missouri. High school was almost over. I was smart, and I was among a group of about a dozen students (out of 400- plus in my class) competing for valedictorian. I had already been accepted to my “safety-safety school” (the school I would go to if I didn’t get accepted to my safety school), plus they’d offered me a significant scholarship. I wasn’t really concerned about getting accepted to the school of my choice, since I had fantastic grades and test scores.

On the evening of Wednesday, November 8, I drove to another nearby town to visit friends. Late that evening, I pulled onto an interstate to drive home. The weather was poor that night. The first ice storm of the year would ultimately cover the area with a half-inch of ice.

At 10:30 pm, according to the police report, I hit a patch of black ice and lost control. My car plowed into the 18-wheel semi ahead of me.

My torso was thrown forward. I was wearing my seat belt, thankfully – otherwise I surely would have been thrown through the windshield and onto the interstate. My head hit the steering wheel and possibly also the windshield. I fell unconscious, probably as soon as my head hit the steering wheel, although it’s possible that I remained conscious for a few minutes afterward. At some point I quit breathing.

Someone called 911. The police and fire departments, as well as an ambulance, responded. The police wound up closing down the interstate entirely due to the treacherous conditions. My car was crumpled around me, and the fire department had to use the hydraulic rescue tool known as the “Jaws of Life” to extricate me. When they were through, the car was reduced to scrap metal.

It took thirty minutes to extricate me. My condition got worse. I went from “unconscious but a little bit responsive” to “unconscious and unresponsive”. When I was removed from the car, I was placed on a backboard and in a cervical collar, with an ambu-bag forcing air into my lungs. The EMTs strongly recommended that I be transported to the hospital via air ambulance, but the weather had continued to worsen, and the helicopter pilots felt it would be unsafe for them to take off. I was transported to Truman Medical Center via ground ambulance.

stay tuned for more…

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weekend wrap-up, 9-14-14

This week has been (somewhat surprisingly) great.

This is my first “official” week in the workout plan that I put together for September. I know I need to get into the best shape possible before R4TW on October 4, and I knew that the only way this could happen would be if I moved my workouts to the morning.

I am not, by nature, a morning person. By extension, I’m not a morning exerciser. For most of my running career, I’ve been a midday runner, and since I already work odd hours, it worked for me. But right now, just with everything else going on in my life, I knew I would have to get over myself, roll out of bed, and exercise.

photo (15)Monday began well. I rolled out of bed, dressed, forced a bit of cheerfulness, and headed out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo (16)On that day, I ran through a park adjacent to an elementary school near my house. I was greeted by Chocolate the Beanie Baby Moose sitting on the sidewalk…

 

 

 

photo (17)…and a souvenir Barry Bonds baseball in the grass. I took both items to the front office of the elementary school and gave them to a secretary to put in the lost and found. I’m sure someone is missing them.

I ran 3.1 miles in 48:54. Pretty slow, but a nice way to work out my legs.

 

On Tuesday, I cross-trained for 30 minutes. I used an app called Sworkit, which led me through several body-weight strengthening moves. I’m currently working on a full review of this app, but suffice it to say, I am very pleased with it.

On Wednesday, when I first opened the door, it was COLD! Not frigid, but the temperature had very suddenly dropped down into the upper 40s and 50s, and I was definitely surprised. There was enough drizzle and rain that I decided to leave my iPhone at home, and I ran without any music. I’m guessing I ran about two miles.

photo (18)On Thursday, the rain had left but it was still pretty chilly. I was extra-grumpy when I rolled out of bed, and really did NOT feel like running! I seriously considered staying home. I got dressed and forced myself out the door for a run – and I’m glad I did! Yes, it was cool and overcast, but I ran 3.6 miles at a 14:48 pace, which was pleasantly surprising!

 

On Friday, I cross-trained for 30 min with the Sworkit app. Again, I was very pleased with it. It’s not running, but I worked up a good sweat and stretched my muscles.

photo (20)Saturday is the one day of the week that I can manage an afternoon run. After a light lunch, I ran 6.3 miles. This run was really quite glorious. The sun was shining. There was very little breeze. The temperature had warmed up, just a bit, to 60 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect running weather!

 

 

 

 

photo (19)I saw this woolly bear caterpillar while I was out, crawling along a decorative retaining wall. He’s thick and dark-colored. According to the old wives’ tale, this means a bad winter. Boo.

 

 

 

 

 

As I always do when I’m running long, I tried to hold myself back in the first few miles. I didn’t want to run too fast and burn out. Around the halfway point, I realized that my pace was a bit faster than I anticipated, and the thought occurred to me that I just might be able to push my pace a little bit on the last half of this run. Still, I didn’t want to push too hard and burn out. I was one mile from home when I realized I could reach a sub-15:30 pace if I pushed this last mile. I was exhausted, but I did it anyway, and I am SO SO pleased that I clocked in at 15:23!

Finally, today is Sunday, and that means REST DAY! I’m writing, relaxing, and getting myself ready for what I hope will be another great week. What about you?

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September training

Perhaps I’m overly ambitious. Or a glutton for punishment. Or maybe I’m just plain crazy.

Probably some combination of all three.

Since I am going to be expected to run one hour, as far as I can, on October 4, I put together this workout plan to whip me into shape.

Today I ran 3.1 miles in 48:54. Off to a good start…

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fear, frozen, freedom

Let’s get real, y’all.

Several months ago, one of my cousins moved to the Kansas City area with his family (wife and three kids) to work with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Operation Mobilisation. He coordinates international Christian sports missions between the two organizations. It’s a bit of an adjustment for us, in a mostly-good way. My parents moved to Missouri, alone, before my sister and I were born, and we’ve never before had any extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) living nearby.

It’s neat that he is working with sports, but at the same time, it’s forcing me to confront some of my paranoias. By my nature, I am a solo runner. I’ve never run with a training group or with a friend. The only times I’ve ever run “with” others have been at races – but I don’t know anyone else, and I don’t WANT to know anyone else there!

I have a couple of reasons for this. For one thing, I’m slow. I know I’m slow. I celebrate that I’m slow, because there are plenty of reasons why I *shouldn’t* be able to run at all, but at the same time I’m embarrassed that I’m slow. I had a couple of PE teachers and, later, some therapists after my accident who were incredibly negative about my slowness and worked their hardest to convince me that I was not and never could be a runner. It’s hard to shake those old voices sometimes.

More importantly, running is my therapy. I say this half in jest, because running is not and never will be the same as therapy. For me, running has allowed me to cope with some emotions that probably would otherwise require therapy.

There’s some dark stuff in my past. There was a time when I made many poor choices, when people who I thought were my friends really only had their own best interests in mind, when I fell victim to abuse and sank to a black, hopeless place. I don’t share those experiences with many people. Even my own family does not know how bad it was. On the few occasions I’ve shared even a part of those experiences with someone outside my immediate family, those people have reacted in an inappropriate and very negative way. Running allows me to work out my emotions in a way that is healthy and productive.

When I run, it’s like I remove the filter between myself, my emotions, and my past, but I’m strong enough to face those emotions. Running gives me the strength to cope. Without that filter, the side effect is that I become overly willing to talk about… anything and everything. Including the things that I would ordinarily NOT share with other people. When I run races, it’s quite common that people running at the same pace will chat with each other and get to know each other during the race. More than once, I’ve caught myself starting to share the things I don’t want to share!

My solution has been to run alone. It’s an imperfect solution, but it’s worked. Until now.

My cousin invited my whole family to take part in a “Run 4 The World” event that his organization is sponsoring. It’s basically a fun run, but instead of running a set distance, each runner will run (or walk) for one hour. The organization is sponsoring runners and events around the world. Each person will log the distance they run, with the goal of running a combined distance of 40,000 km, or the circumference of the globe. Plus, of course, they are raising money to build schools and provide medical care in the third world.

Of course, the whole idea makes me anxious. I support building schools and providing medical care in the third world, but running around people who know me? Eek. No thank you.

***

Confession: I really like Frozen.

I know, I know, it’s a kids’ movie and it’s all over the place. As an adult, I’m supposed to roll my eyes and laugh at “those silly children”.

Yet I connect with that movie on so many levels. Of course, as a younger sister, I totally understand how Anna feels when her sister shuts her out. I adore my older sister. I know exactly how it feels to be the awkward little sister.

But when Elsa sings “Let it Go“…the triumph of that moment…

I get goosebumps every time.

I get tears in my eyes every time.

The courage displayed in that moment is overwhelming.

What the movie doesn’t capture, and can’t really capture, are the weeks and months following Elsa’s “let it go” moment. Life does all that it can to foil our desire to live freely. No matter how resolute she was, in the days that follow, she will question herself. She will wonder if she made the right choice. She will wonder if her power is really enough. For just a moment, she will forget that she is incredible.

Then one day, she’ll watch a Disney movie and find herself crying inexplicably at the heroine’s song.

Then she will remember.

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. ~Deuteronomy 31:6

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improving runs and things seen while running

Today’s run was good – very good. Which is good. Duh.

I went for a run last Tuesday, and it was bad. It’s hard enough to push myself back into shape. On Tuesday, it was 92 and humid – and my run was BAD. My times were slow, I felt lousy – it was just incredibly discouraging.

photo (11)So I’m really pleased, maybe even relieved, that today’s run went well. The weather was MUCH better, more like 80 and only moderately humid. I pushed my distance a bit – 3.64 miles, which is longer than the 2.5 mile runs I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks. Better yet, my pace was improved. I was around 15:30 pace, which is not fast and not even my fastest pace, but a huge improvement on my recent 18:00 paces. And most importantly, it FELT GOOD. Strong. That’s exactly what I’ve been seeking.

 

 

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I saw a surprising amount of oddities on today’s run. On the first half of the run, I passed this driveway. Anyone want a print of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and some really crummy furniture?

 

 

 

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Then on the way back, I saw this recliner sitting at the end of the driveway. I won’t lie: I was getting a little tired and the thought crossed my mind that I could sit down right here and rest. :-) I decided that the chair’s owner wouldn’t appreciate it if I left a puddle of sweat in their chair. (Incidentally, I WAS sweating a lot today!)

 

nike-running-coach-iphone-app-01

Since I already use the Nike+ app on my iPhone, I’m seriously considering using their coaching feature. I’m hoping that will help push me and improve my fitness. The feature is made to coach you toward a 5k, 1/2 marathon, or marathon race, and I’m not planning any of those races right now, but I figure that the training would still be worthwhile, even if I’m not actually doing the race. Who knows – maybe I’ll do a “virtual” race, running outside my front door.

I read the most recent issue of Runner’s World tonight, and I’m pretty excited about a couple of the training ideas that I picked up from it. Though I have to admit, it’s pretty easy for me to get excited about possibilities in the evening or at night. It’s a lot harder to follow through the next day!

runsie

Two days ago, I found this new running outfit created by Lululemon. It’s called a “runsie”. It’s a… it’s a one piece… yes, it is a running onesie. I can’t decide if it’s ridiculous or brilliant. I love the open back – I don’t have the nerve to run with only a sportsbra, but when I’m sweating as much as I was today, it’d be nice to shed some layers of clothes. But on the other hand… it’s a $98 onesie. Which is just a little too much for me, in more ways than one!

 

 

And that is my life. Tomorrow I will probably be going to a friend’s wedding, and next week I will be taking my mother to a surgery center to get her cataracts removed. Busy, perhaps, but it leaves enough time to run. The rest is just details. :-)

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canine visitors and visiting family

What a month! I am thrilled (and just a little bit sad) to report that I am finished with my travels for the summer. It’s been a LOT of fun, and I’m a sorry that it’s over, but at the same time it is good to get back into a routine.

After our road trip to visit my sister, my parents and I came home for a little over a week. A dear friend of ours was scheduled to deliver a baby, and we had the opportunity to puppy-sit for her and her husband while she was in the hospital.

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Sadie, the puppy, was such a lady. She is an incredibly well-behaved dog. She’s house-trained, and she never attacks the house or furniture. She’s always excited when we get home. She adores us. Her biggest “fault” is that she will bark at the mailman or at any animals (usually birds or squirrels) on our porch.

 

 

 

 

photo (5)

I happened to unbox a brand-new pair of shoes while Sadie was here. These are Catapult Conquers. Pretty colors, no? Cost me $20 at Kmart. I’m pretty sure these are the cheapest running shoes I’ve ever purchased! I didn’t buy them for the colors, though – these just happened to be the pair on the shelf that felt best.

 

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Sadie is not a large dog (only eleven pounds) so while I took her for a walk every day, and while we did run a little bit, I was cautious not to too far or too fast. Though I adore her, she is not MY dog, and I don’t want to make her sick.

 

 

photo (7) photo (8) photo (9)

We went to a park near Bass Pro Shop in Independence. It’s the first time this season that I’ve been to that park, and WOW, they had a bumper crop of rabbits! Even in the middle of the day, I’d see at least two dozen, many of which were clearly juvenile. They were nearly impossible to photograph, but lots of fun to see!

 

I also saw this, which I *think* is a Great Blue Heron.

 

 

 

 

Sadie’s “mom” gave birth to a perfect little boy, and Sadie went home after a week.

 

 

 

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Last week, my parents and I drove to Colorado to check up on my 93-year-old grandfather (my mother’s father) and his 91-year-old wife. They still live in a house (the same one that my grandpa and my late grandma bought when my mother was a teenager), but we visit every year to help make repairs around the house and just to check on them.

 

I had the best of intentions, planning to work and run, but I wound up accomplishing neither. I was designated to make technology repairs and upgrades to my grandfather’s PC, iPad, and Kindle. I didn’t have access to the internet (except on my cell phone) for the first three days while I updated his new router and figured out the wireless security key. Add in the time it took to figure out his issues with the iPad and Kindle, plus to write detailed instructions telling him how to use his devices, and by the time I had any “down time”, it was time to go home!

I have to admit, my desire to run while I was in Colorado was not entirely selfless. I love my step-grandmother – she has taken care of my grandfather, and I’ll always be thankful for that. She has had one knee replaced and has arthritis in her second knee, totally understandable for a 91-year-old. Every summer, she begs me to quit running because she is convinced that I am ruining my knees.

I understand her perspective, and I know she only wants the best for me. I also know that there’s no way she can understand all the ways that running has benefited me, and I’m not just talking about physically. Yes, I’ve lost some weight and gained some cardiovascular strength. Much more importantly, I’ve gained confidence. Running has given me a joy that I’ve never found in anything else. Maybe it will ruin my knees – but it’s worth it!

The weather since I returned has been just incredible. Sunny, mild temperatures – absolutely ideal. It has been perfect weather for running, and even though I’m still a bit out of shape, it has been wonderful!

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