Monday, November 27, 2006

Are you connecting with the world around you?

"You cannot hope to build a better world without improving individuals"

i received this email today ....a Spark healthy reflection.......and it got me thinking about work and my ambivilent feelings. i was drawn to occupational therapy(ot) for the "can do" spirit of it. i get to help and work with people to reach goals of independence.

i believe in that old saying "give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach him to fish feed him for life"...most ot practitioners do.

realistic aknowledgement of limitations with an on emphasis on abilities and compensatory strategies make up the bulk of what i try to do everyday with my patients. it's great......... in theory.

getting old is not for sissies......the hard truth is the people i work with are among some of the most fearful...and rightly so. my patients report being most afraid of:

going blind
loss of hearing
loss of sight
loss of bowel and bladder control
loss of independence
inability to eat normal textured food or drink thin liquids

inability to care for another family member
being in the way
living too long
all of the above

it's a challenging population to work with to say the least. professionally and personally.

professionally i feel good about the work i do when i'm able to "connect" and see that an individual is at least invested enough to make an effort.....the slightest indication that they want and believe they can do for themselves.....because that's half the battle....i will give 100% to that persons rehab experience. despite being, scared,weak,in pain or tired. their invested in the notion that if they do their part things will get better.

personally i credit the population that i serve with motivating me to get off my ass and start taking better care of myself. seeing first hand how very wrong things can go when health and strength give way to disease and weakness. all of my patients are a wake up call everyday to be thankful for the abilities i have and to thrive to not just exist. still, it's hard and i wake up in a bad mood more than i care to admit some days.

about 30% of my patients make an effort. their pleasant, (often pleasantly confused) but sweet and cooperative. they have good days and bad days and sometimes need a pep talk to get going but in general are motivated. the other 70% aren't so sweet or cooperative. i've never been particulary skilled at handling difficult pts...i do ok ...up to a point...but then my patience wears thin with the daily ritual of coaxing a person into working on whatever it is that landed them in rehab in the first place. sometimes my skin is too thin and i take it personally when i shouldn't.

i've been accused of pushing too hard. never by a boss or peers but by's funny how the ones who bitch the most do the least and the troopers just plug along....not w/o complaint but they do what they have to do to get home

i think like alot of people in my profession i entered in with the desire to help people help themselves. . more of my time is spent on trying to tap into whatever is meaningful to the individual and when a person has lost hope or even desire it's all up hill.....and Big Bertha is a cake walk in comparison.

i like to think that this path that i'm on will lead me to a greater capacity for compassion. getting fit and striving to thrive and not just exist has given me hope and desire. i am very attached to the theory of occupational therapy.....helping others help themselves... the question is whether or not i have the capacity to give unconditionally. it's easy to serve cooperative patients but then there's that other 70% to consider. the majority, void of hope that need from me what is most difficult to give. non-judgement and compassionate detachment.

so how do i go about it? how do i remain true to the plan of care, goal driven within the medical model i work in and at the same time remain non-judgmental and compassionate independent of an outcome focused industry?

now that's the million dollar question.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

silly and hilly

except for last weeks race i haven't hit the hills much. in fact my running has been on roads moreso lately in preparation for my feb road race. i headed over to strawberry this morning feeling sluggish and not too motivated yet grateful for the chance to run without time constraints because T is off today.

I pondered ...briefly...running a double but decided to wait and see how i felt. the first half was uneventful..... just keep moving forward...i even stopped for second or two once i reached the top of Big Bertha....the nasty bitch that she is.... always has to have the last word. onward towards grizzly peak. around this time things started to get better and i felt light on my feet....finally!
it's usually only after some serious climbing that the endorphins decide to show up!

i was sure that i wouldn't be doing a double today but i did veer off to the right of the main trail and did some more hill work. at the base of hill i usually assess the situation , looking for the top ...only then...once i've commited i keep my head down and don't stop till i've reached the top. i was rewarded with a pretty nice view of the oakland, alameda, and the san francisco, gray and windy....which was fine by me cuz these hills were frying my ass.

i looped back around towards the main trail, as i did so i noticed a small fire truck ambling it's way down the face of another steep hill.....i couldn't even see the top of that sucker...for a minute i contemplated how ridiculous i would look trying to run up the face of this thing....perhaps another day. instead i turned left and proceeded to fly down the rest of the way...i even practiced a little fast backwards action on Big Bertha.

all in all this was a good solid run with hills. building up to more consecutive days running is coming along. my joints are achey though and i should get to the pool this week and use my massage gift certicate!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Blogging for myself

lately i've been wrestling with a few things. things that are personal and not so easy to think about much less write about. this blog was initially a place to record my attempts at running. a place to record my efforts and get some feedback from others who happened upon my site. like the running, the need to write has evolved too. the need to "get out" the thoughts bottled up has been growing, yet i've often felt too self conscious to share all of me here.

the holidays do have a tendency to get me in a reflective mood...sometimes good .....sometimes not so good. it was good to get together with folks this week, folks i would otherwise avoid. why? i guess a little goes a long way, and limiting get togethers to once or twice a year suits me fine.

i called my sister in arizona earlier in the week, we have a strained relationship at best. still i feel compelled to keep in touch....despite all of it's one-sidedness. I listened to her complain about my cousins wayward teenager for over an hour. sadly, this was the bulk of our conversation and i didn't feel anymore connected than i did the last time i spoke to her this summer.

while preparing empanadias my brother from utah called my mom on her cell phone and she stepped out onto the deck to talk. later after the call, she passed along his "have a nice thanksgiving".....we're not so close either. my mom has these seperate relationships with each of us. it's always been that way.

as for my husbands family despite their quirks and general oddness...they really seem to enjoy one anothers company and define the meaning of family. M will have a healthier outlook on family gatherings as a result of them too. three hours of intense family time is a small price to pay just for that alone.

so, back to the earlier feelings i've been wrestling with. i've been toying with the idea that maybe there are alternative ways to deal with stress. to say i'm an impatient person would be a gross understatement. i'm generally a fast paced person (except when i run), i want things done yesterday and can not for the life of me understand why hell other people don't get it. needless to say this pace doesn't always serve me well. i butt heads...alot...with everyone.

next week i'm starting an anger management class (AMC).

the only redeeming aspect of this is that NO it wasn't court appointed, i'm doing it under my own volition. i'm tired of being a slave to my emotions and generally pissed off at everyone all the time. i attended the AMC orientation a month ago and the facilitator said a few things that never in my 40 odd years occured to me. she said that anger sometimes can be a manifestation of another feeling all together. the idea that i use anger to express other feelings never really occurred to me. i am intrigued. this concept alone has knocked me off my self righteous high horse.

it's funny because i don't think of myself as an angry person. i am quite capable of finding delight in some really mundane shit. i think a big source of dissatisfaction stems from my current work environment. like the wrong relationship can bring the worst out in a person, my job, it's like that. we need to break up. which is kind've depressing when i think of all the time invested and the reality that i don't have alot of options......none that i can see at this point. i feel stuck, focusing on limiters and not sure where to start making changes. hopefully the next 10 weeks will shed some light on my inner workings and lead to some answers.

i've opted to close the comment box. i have this tendency to rely on the feedback of others to validate my posts. i often feel "jilted" after putting myself out there only to find "0 comments". suffice it to say that "jilted" feeling has distracted me from the real purpose for writing at all. yes, i've been guilty of "comment envy" which is really the last fucking thing i need. insecure? perhaps, i'm just being honest.

closing the comment box is also another way for me to deal with the preoccupation i have for what others think. too often i am overly concerned about appearances and pay less attention to the stuff that counts. i want to be real here. so why not use a private journol? i take some comfort in knowing a few folks out there check-in from time to time..... you know who you are....i want to feel free to write for the sake of writing, making my thoughts public might or might not strike a familiar cord with some of you....either way this blog along with running has become a part of me. it has the potential to be a valubale tool, unfortunately i've let the lack of comments detract from that fact.

i'm sure the time not spent "editing" my posts might lead to more authentic entries. i'm as equally sure that the time not spent "checking" my blog might actually lead to getting a few more productive things done. for starters, a resume.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Presidio 10k Race Report

as i suspected the race would prove to be a tough one but i stuck with my plan and it payed off. standing in line at the porta-john i chatted with a woman from the city. she had to drop off her four kids at various points before even getting to the race, talk about a pre-race event!

overcast and cool, it was not going to be clear like last year. the 10k course was a double 5k and i was careful to not blow my wad on the first loop...32 mins (2 mins off of last year:D). they were true to their word and the route was very well marked, but i swear they added some harder hills, maybe it just felt harder ...especially on the second loop. I walked the hills off and on ....we all walked in the beginning....6 minutes worth of walking at the start due to bottlenecking.

I caught up with mom of 4 on the second loop and hung with her for a bit as we approached the last aide station she made a water stop and i kept going. ( the gu in gatorade mix was working well) that was the last i saw of her. a little further along the trail i started messing with my ipod and had to remind myself..."uh, hello, your in a race here... stop dicking with the ipod".

on the final push uphill, runners started to pump eachother up with hoots and hollers, i love this about trail races the commaderie is so infectious. as i approached the base of the final hill , i called out to a small group of women in front of me "come on ladies dig deep" more hoots and hollers on the fast downhills.
later while milling about for schwag one of those ladies placed her hand on my shoulder and thanked me for getting her up that last hill. that felt good. i ran into Jess from the BART trail...he's an older guy i see on the trail sometimes, he and i swapped stories and reveled in our fantabulousness.

so no sub 1.0 hr, i'll need to check the official race results when there posted....but according to my stopwatch (1:05:56)it was a great day at the races! i took home some fun schwag: a gel/water bottle, a fuel belt ankle reflector band and a cool red technical weave hat. T got a picture of me at the finish line so I'll try to post that later this week.

my bib #13 brought me good luck. as always at the end of a race i am overcome with a great sense of gratitude and satisfaction.....grateful to have my health, satisfied in a good effort put forth, thankful for family and friends.....a nice segue for the holiday ahead!!

Pre-race day morning Presidio Trail 10k

I was looking back on last years Presidio race report and trying to remember the route. There are 3 big hills and that last one was my first taste of checking the ego at the door and just walking. I received a race day detail e-mail from the director describing the route and reminded of the "bottlenecking" I (we) were warned to resist the urge to go off trail as we will be deep in poison oak territory.

Per my usual I have 3 outfit options layed out. I chose my new 3/4 running pants...(with a draw string - an important detail I overlooked lastyear, are ya feeling me?) and the same technical shirt i wore the first time i ran this race. In a letter from the race director he stated that if while on the course you decide to switch from the 10 to the 5k (and many do) just head towards the 5k finsh...........hmmmmm, could this be a tougher race than I expect? I've trained and I'm ready. Bring it on. They've also made a greater effort in marking things better this year (we'll see) as it was a tad bit confusing towards the finish.

I'm still not cool enough to show up at a race without support and T and M (still sleeping) have agreed to drive to the race with me, how cool is that? On Bay Cafe a chef was asked as she prepares for the whitehouse thanksgiving dinner if she was nervous. She replied, "if your not a little nervous, your not on your toes" How appropriate, no?

If the weather is anything like yesterday it should be a spectacular day at the races. See ya at the finish line!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Please Spit Responcibly

Don't get me wrong, I'm highly tolerant of the occasional hawker........been known to hawk some serious lugey myself on occasion, actually i take great pride in my projectile spitting abilities......HOWEVER...........thorough observance certainly is in order......... a quick scan of your surroundings........before deploying said lugey is in fact the right and decent thing to do.
Look than spit....not the other way around!!! That said, listen up BART trail dude and consider yourself schooled.

Aside from the near collision of bodily fluids on the BART trail this morning, the easy 3 miler was tasty....the weather: sunny, cloudy, cool and seductive....but i restrained myself from going further.
Brandy was pissed that i didn't take her and when i got back she was halfway down the block
(i wonder who left the back gate opened?)...she is voice trained and did come after a little coaxing and now i need to take her for a walk.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Rest day today after running 3 consecutive days (first time ever) i will run an easy 2-3 miles tomorrow and then my 10k sunday. i was sleeping and eating well the first part of the week...i kinda slipped lastnight ( stayed up way too late) and i ate a ton of food ALL DAY today.

Right now i am hydrating with a second margherita!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Taper Week

Took Brandy on a short run yesterday and since I'm in taper mode (hehe) this morning, I jogged over to the donut shop near my house and bought banana's (fruit for M's lunch). I'm sure I looked silly jogging with a banana in each hand. I then mosied on over to the track for a few laps with A & K then continued on through the neighborhood back home. I've been getting good sleep, hydrating and eating well. Now if I could live the way I do a week before a race ALL THE TIME that would be some serious progress.

Yoga at the Y was sooooooo good. It's a restorative yoga class the emphasis being floor work, which my tight lower half greatly benefitted from. Between the light run yesterday and yoga this morning things (kinks) are working themselves out.

Speaking of lower halfs.....yesterday under strict orders per M to not purchase another pair of "mom jeans", I fit into a size 10 pair of Levis 501's. (yeah, I'm old school) I think I was 18 the last time I wore a pair of these!

The weather is great today and I'm tempted to go for a bike ride, it's been far too long but I'm not sure I should push my legs too much more before Sunday. The plan calls for another light run thursday and saturday, so I'm going to hold off.

I have no predictions, but a sub 1.0 hr would be cool. Last year I remember the route bottlenecked so bad in places that we walked for what seemed a long time. There was confusion among the 5 and 10kers too due to the poorly marked course. Nevertheless, I had a blast at my first 5k trail run and I'm excited to revisit this race this year as a 10ker.

Question: If I add a GU to my water bottle, can I sip from it like I normally do (every 20 minutes) and still benefit or is it better to take it all at once and wash it down with water? I realize this is highly subjective, but was curious if anyone has tried this.


The Halloween boxes that occupied the corner of my living room have been replaced by 3 times as many Christmas Boxes! We're having Thanksgiving at our house this year and M is convinced that we'll need name cards....(we eat off paper plates and sit on picnic benches, it's very casual) I redirected her enthusiasm and suggested she make a center piece. You can give that kid a ball of string, a Q-tip and a roll of tape and she's sure to come up with something fantabulous. She hasn't quite tapped into her athletic self yet (I'm still hopeful) but she's her father's daughter and is quite artistic.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Worth the Effort

After reading a few blogs....I'm still not feeling it....I hate to admit it but I really don't feel like running...I haven't since's run will fall under the "just get 'er done" catagory...god, I hate that just smacks of redneckedness ....still run I must...I know this feeling will pass after the first mile or two.....................


With no solid plan in place I headed towards the BART trail and worked my way towards COSTCO. I then went left on the Bayside Trail towards Golden Gate took me about an hour to get this far and it was another 1/2 hour before the run started to feel less forced.......the whole time prior I just plodded along.

I circled Ceasar Chavez once and then headed over to the mile pier near was at this point I started to remember why I love to run.....the sun was out and the Pacific Ocean sparkled as far as the eye could see. Fisherman, families and dogs collectively groovin on the pier...Now I was feeling it!

I then headed over to the Sea Breeze Cafe for a few Cliff Blocks and hydration. I thought...briefly...of continuing on the Bayside Trail towards Chevy's but once I approached the Bicyle Bridge that spans Hwy 80 I veered right and headed home. The pounding on concrete was beginning to take it's point in pushing it too far.

So, a 2.5 hour run for not feeling like running ain't too shabby. If nothing else, it's another confirmation that while it's nice to feel like running it's not necessary. and that more often than not ....with a little extra effort you can tap into good run. A few things to do differently this week will include eating and drinking better and going to bed earlier.

Next weeks little 10K in San Francisco should be fun.....I know shopping at the Sports Basement afterwards will be!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's All Good!

When I peeked out the window this morning it was all misty. Stepping outside I was expecting there to be a chill and was surprised by the almost balmy feel to the air. I harnessed up Brandy intent on getting my sorely neglected pooch back in shape. While I'm not advocating letting your dog get out of shape I must admit it was nice not having her pull my arm out of it's socket. We were on the BART trail....hence on least favorite type of run, even still better than no run at all.

I'm in hurry and I need to vote before heading into work.....get out there and do the same!

Peace Out!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

1st Negative Split!!

No bike ride far that could still happen later in the day with the family. The truth is I need to go longer in order to get a real workout on the bike and I'm not that confident in my "emergency roadside capabilities" to venture too far from home on my own. The group rides are just not happening. I seem to be a flake magnet....whatever people are busy, I know. I should spend time practicing how to change a tire and using the Co2 cartridges......last attempt didn't pan out so well....again whatever!

I headed up to Redwood this morning... a bit later than usual, so the by the time I arrived in the parking lot it was evident by the warm temps. that I wasn't going to need my long sleeved shirt. I brought a short sleeved one just in case and I changed in the parking lot.............also made sure to lube up in all the right places!!

I took it pretty slow the first half....I even stopped to void and take off the my shirt as I was getting overheated by this point. The trail had been recently groomed and it was pure pleasure to run on. I'm pretty sure they reduced the incline on some ...because it felt...less steep. Just to clarify this was in no way an easy run it just felt a little easier at times.

I cranked it up the second half and knocked a minute off my time. 40 mins out and 39 mins back. Not bad for 8 miles, woohoo!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Incremental Progress

The flat BART trail near my house was perfect for a bit of speed work. A cool gray morning lent itself to going a little faster out than I normally do. I spotted Joel in front of the bagel shop and caught up with him for a bit. It wasn't long before I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain Joels pace to get to Richmond so I bid my farewell and eased back into a slower pace.

I wanted to try running faster again somewhere in the middle than taper off at the end. I did that until I got to Richmond. On the turnaround I would pick 2 fixed points that I knew would challenge me and sprint than either jog or walk until recovery. By the end recovery felt less recovered and I was tired. I definitely made up for Wednesday's not so speedy track session. Speedwork is still very hard........ but less dreadful for sure.

This route is roughly 7 or so miles and usually takes me an 1.5 hrs. going slow without walking. Today it took 1.o hr doing a combination of tempo, fartlek and walk breaks.

Afterwards I zipped over to the Y for a short swim. Leaky right goggle got me off to an annoyed start........I'm sure I annoyed the woman sharing the lane with me when I stopped part way to adjust my goggles....dumb move on my part I know...shortly after that I slipped into a nother lane that I didn't have to share with others and fucked around with my goggles for the remainder of the swim. I mostly enjoyed the long hot uninterrupted shower before and the soak in the jacuzzi afterwards.

I saw Coach Jack from triclub. I let him know he'd be proud to hear I was doing speedwork at the track. He asked if I would continue "triing"and I was suprised a little by my response. I said "you know coach, my main goal was to learn to swim and to get into road biking." The thing I said next surprised me even more. I said "I think it(tri) was a summer fling." Coach was generous to add that now I was benefitting from all the cross training and that would only serve my running. My thoughts exactly. I did add that tris are fun....the feeling I experienced during and after a race was unlike anything I had ever known before. I mentioned the 1/2 in SF....he's done it in the past and agreed it is a beautiful run...though a bit tedious along the Great Highway.

Coach Jack is an older gentleman with a broad smile and a glint in his eyes. Kind and sharp witted he seems to really love his life. He underwent shoulder surgery over the summer. He squirmed under the strict orders from PT ....when I said "so you knew to take it easy,right?" He was quick to add "No!....PT layed down the law to keep me from going overboard"...Coach Jack is the CAL triclub Coach ...a bit of jock,uhuh yeah.....anyways, he's competing in the Treasure Island Tri this weekend.
Go Coach!

Not sure if I'll be riding solo or with others this weekend....Sunday is supposed to be nice. Either way I'm getting out there before it rains again.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I got up earlier then I intended this morning fell back asleep and re-awoke late the second time. By the time I was adequately caffinated and dressed for my 6:30 wednesday track workout it was already 6:45. I decided to just run to the track from home and meet the others and catch what ws left of the workout. I wasn't feeling too "speed worky" and planned on just cruising along....better than a "no show" in my book. When I arrived I saw only one of the two girls I run with and I was happy it was Anna, she's slower than me :D

Having others to be accountable to really does help on days like these that's for sure! As easy as it would of been to blow off the track this morning, I rewarded with the feeling of wellness that lingered all day. Light, springy and energetic. It still trips me out how I'm one those people that feels "off" when I skip a workout now.

I worked today in order to take friday great 3 day weekend plans...just another teacher development day hence no childcare on friday. T and his brother do Holiday Windows this time year. M and I wont see much of him over the next 8 weeks.