Thursday, June 30, 2011

Week of Hell ..

I say "week", but that isn't completely true. Sean's accident happened on June 17th and we're still dealing with it (hence the lack of posts), but things are 100x better than they were even a week ago. Since my last post was on the 19th, I may as well start there. There's a lot to tell so I'll just give a run-down of the important stuff (as I see it, at least).

Sean's surgery was Tuesday, the 21st, and it took FAR longer than we were expecting. The surgery started on time around 2pm, but he wasn't taken up to his new room in Ortho until almost 10:30pm. It was a VERY long day of sitting in the OR waiting room and trying to ignore Uncle John's comments. I'm always glad to see Carol, Sean's godmother, but her showing up in the waiting room that night was a blessing of huge proportions. I love my uncle, but he can get to be a bit much at times. Larry, Carol's husband and a plastic surgeon who does a LOT of his surgeries at St V's, stopped by and waited with us after he got off for the day. His presence may have caused Uncle John to repeat stories that I've heard millions of times, but I was thankful to have him there when Dr Patel finally came out to talk to us. It wasn't exactly a surprise, but I didn't appreciate Dr Patel focusing on how the surgery was more difficult because of Sean's weight (and fat). I refrained from asking if Sean's fat was such a problem because Patel is this tiny indian guy with no upper-body strength. I tried to stick clear of the over-protective big-sister mode, but that pushed some buttons.

Anyway, Sean had 2 incisions and 3 plates screwed into his pelvis. Patel said the pelvis lined back up very cleanly, but they wanted to watch Sean really closely for a couple days because they had to move the siatic (sp?) nerve out of the way to work on the bone and they fit a bleeder early on in the surgery. I guess moving the nerve risks Sean getting ballerina-toe (not the scientific name, but you get the idea) and his toes were a little pointed when he first came out of surgery. The bleeder turned out to not be a big deal. He lost less than he does when he donates blood, and they were able to recycle it straight back into him, so he never got extra blood. It was all well, in the end.

I won't go too far into what happened once they got Sean upstairs other than to say Uncle John and Larry were a little tired and slap-happy and were a BIT loud. I made a comment about how we don't need to act like smart-asses and get ourselves kicked out of Sean's room less than an hour after he gets moved to this unit. Uncle John didn't care for my comment, apparently. I don't care.

I had wanted to wait until after Sean's surgery to worry about picking up the bike, and luckily the next morning was when the Sheriff's deputy was going to be back on duty. So, I was up at 6am and calling the sheriff's office about picking up the tow release. Long story greatly simplified. Deputy forgot to put my name on the tow release so they had to call him out in the field and get his ok to change it. I drove down to BG to pick it up. Called the tow company. Was told to call the insurance company. After a round of phone tag with our insurance person and Progressive, was told to just go get the bike and tell the tow company to go to hell. Had Skip and Pat go with me (well, it's more of they forced their help on me, but it was greatly appreciated in the end). The bike DID roll onto the trailer, despite what I was told by the tow company (dad thinks the jerk didn't realize the bike was still in gear). I got a better look at it once we got it home and put the trailer into the back garage. The frame and forks are still in really good condition, but the handlebars themselves are trashed. The gas tank is scraped all to hell and has a puncture in it (we know it goes all the way into the reservoir because dad spilled gas when we were unloading it from the trailer the other night) and the front fender is trashed. The saddle bags are a bit scuffed and the seat has a could tears in it, but dad says those are fixable. We'll have to wait and see what the insurance adjuster says. He's meeting dad to look over the bike tonight.

Back to Sean, he was on bedrest for longer than we had originally been told. He was still on his back until Sunday night. But, he was in much better hands down in the ortho unit. The nurses were over-all nicer and more attentive, even with a smaller staff than upstairs. That floor used to be the maternity floor, so Sean was in a large corner room with a table, rocker, AND recliner. It was great when there were more than one of us visiting him at a time. He could ALMOST see the sky in the reflection of the window across the atrium. lol.

You have absolutely no idea how glad I was to see my parents when I pulled up to the curb at the airport Friday night. I think this is the first time in my life I’ve been this excited to NOT have the house to myself anymore. And I was doubly glad that they just let me drive and talk the whole way home (mom sat in the backseat so I couldn’t see if she was gripping onto anything, but I’m sure she was. She always does). I felt like I was going to explode with everything I had to tell them. We’ve all been sending them emails every day and they’ve called home several times, but it’s just easier to have them home and be able to go sit down and go through everything with them.
In the words of Mother Teresa, "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." I could be taking this completely the wrong way, but I hear that quote and I think it describes how I got through this whole ordeal. I focused on one day or task at a time and it helped me get through the time until mom and dad got home and could take over for me. Dad keeps saying how much he appreciates everything I did while they were gone, but I don't know any other way to handle crises like that. If I don't focus on individual tasks, I would completely break (like I almost did the first night in the ER). And thank God for Carol. There were times I just didn't know how to handle what was going on and she was there as much as she could be. There were so many days where I just kept myself as focused as possible and didn't realize how tense I was all day until I got home and passed out at soon as I sat down on the couch. I'm pretty sure I lost a couple pounds just from the stress and forgetting to eat.
Since the parents have been home, Sean has been progressing at a good rate. His elbow stitches have been taken out (several days after the trauma nurse said they were going to). As soon as he was able to sit up for several hours with the back brace on, St V's was ready to kick him out to a physical rehab unit. Of course, they pushed for St Charles since it's still in the Mercy system, but that just isn't an option for us with how far away it is. We managed to get him into UTMC's physical rehab unit, which is on our university's hospital campus. He's really close, which is great for him and us. It isn't exactly out of mom's or my way to stop there on our way home from main campus. Actually, I spent my senior year of undergrad living in the apartments right next to the hospital. It's right down the road from both of our other campuses. He started rehab yesterday and they already have him up and using a walker to get down the hallway. They're teaching him how to do normal things like how to dress himself with the back brace. He was sore, and he's going to be, but it's progress.
I haven't been up to see him since he got moved to the physical rehab unit, but I'm stopping by this afternoon before I go for a run. Since mom and dad have been home, I've been hitting the metroparks pretty much every day for runs. Being on the trails is therapy for me, and BOY have I needed it. I don't care if I run or walk, but I just need to be out in nature.
"We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope." - Wallace Stegner

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Carol (brother's godmother) was with Sean this morning when the Drs made rounds. Dr Healy, the neurosurgeon, said they won't do surgery for the broken vertibrae, but he'll be in a back brace AFTER they deal with the pelvis. Sean got fitted (sorta) for the back brace yesterday, so we knew that was coming. Supposedly the trauma resident had a meeting at 9 this morning to decide when they would put in a filter for blood clots and to get updates on Dr Patel's plans for the pelvis surgery, but we didn't hear anything until Sean's day nurse started making phone calls about 45 minutes ago. He's been taken off NPO, so probably no clot filter and definitely no pelvis surgery today. She made it sound like they're still waiting on Dr Patel (idk if there isn't an open slot in the OR or if he just doesn't want to do a surgery on the weekend). Sean's O2 sensor has been going off an obnoxious amount so they put him on oxygen last night. It seems to be helping. Since I got here this morning, it's only gone off once, and that was when the nurse was having him breathe deep while taking vitals. He's on percoset so he's been sleeping a LOT (actually, he tends to pass out about 15 minutes after they give him the IV painkillers too, the percoset just knocks him out for longer). The abrasions on his arms are looking better, though there is some skin hanging off on his right forearm. They don't want to pull it off and possibly damage the good skin around it. The stitches on his left arm are looking good. His nurse just took out the iv in his right hand (the one done on the scene) because the tape was starting to cut into his skin it was so tight and it wasn't being used. Don't know if they'll put in another one on that hand or not.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I guess I have some time to blog. First, I finally snapped at Sean yesterday morning and told him to get the hell out of the house. I didn't want him around stressing me out the day before my race and I wanted to just enjoy my Saturday. Sean said he would leave, but first he was taking the Harley for a test drive since we had JUST gotten it back from the dealership after having (very expensive) work done.

Fast forward to about 2 hours later and I got a phone call from the Wood County Sheriff. Yea, I nearly had a heart attack. Sean crashed the bike and was lifeflighted to St. V's. And mom and dad were pretty much unreachable. So I got to deal with everything.

Long story short (because I'm exhausted) ... He has a broken pelvis and a broken L1 vertibre. Until the ortho surgeon decides to do surgery, his left leg is in traction to keep the hip stable. Mom and dad are aware and are keeping in-touch through email and obnoxiously expensive roaming phone calls when they're at port (they got on a cruise this morning). Sean's godmother (god bless Carol, she's calm when I nearly loose it), our uncle (who dad emailed before calling us the 2nd time last night), and myself have kind of been rotating in and out staying in the hospital room and keeping track of the updates from the docs and nurses.

Still no word from the ortho dr on when they'll do surgery on the hip ... and everything else depends on that. So it's a waiting game. They're letting Sean eat up until midnight since they knew the surgery wasn't going to happen today, but then he's back to nothing until we hear otherwise. At least the kid is sleeping. A lot. The pain meds knock him out. It's better that way. His summer is completely shot, and he already has too much time to think about it.

Dealing with the sheriff's deputy, the impound, and the insurance are coming soon ...

I could go into so much more detail, but I'm just plain exhausted. My 5k was this morning. I'm proud, even though I wasn't competitive at all. I beat my (generous) goal time by 5 minutes, even with my walking. It was an interesting experience.

They really need to put reclining chairs in these hospital rooms. I could fall asleep.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I picked up my race packet today :)

I decided to leave early and go pick up my race packet today. Since I knew I wanted to "run" the course and check it out as well, I ran some errands and picked up some new running/workout gear while the rain went through town. It was still raining when I was running, but you could tell is was slowing down and the sun came out right around the 2.5 mile mark, which was pretty great. Metroparks already has the whole course mapped out and signs put up so I didn't even need to mess around with the paper map. I like the course a lot, but now I need to decide which shoes to wear? Some of the course is pavement, and some of it is very loose dirt and sand. *Sigh* I have 36ish hours to figure it out. lol

Oh, and we heard from mom and dad earlier. Dad shot us an email (no international phone calls ... too expensive. lol) to let us know they were a couple blocks away from the worst of the rioting in Vancouver, but they had gone to bed early last night and never heard it! *shakes head* That is SO my parents. lol.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Darn you rain!

It just figures. Mom and dad left this morning for Vancouver (and their Alaska cruise), and the weather turns crappy. It did this when they were in Florida a couple weeks ago too! The reason this is such a pain in the rear end is that the only time I can really relax is when I have the house to myself and there's very little chance I'll be interrupted by someone coming home. It's really the only time I allow to lay out on the back deck and sunbathe (I know it's bad for me. I'm already high-risk for skin cancer. It's one of my vices) in my bikini. I'm not so conscious that I won't wear my bathing suit around my family (though every once in a while my dad or uncle will make some inappropriate comment and I'll spend the rest of the day in my room in sweats), but since I'll be wearing a strapless bridesmaids dress later this year, I'm being much more careful about funny tan lines. This means I'm wearing tube tops and my bandeau-bikini top when I sunbathe, which is a bit more, um, daring than my other bikini tops. Hence the reason I prefer to tan when nobody else is home. I've been coming home from campus a couple hours early on nice days to get a little bit of sun-worshiping in before dad gets home from work, but I always feel like I need to go get re-dressed as soon as he gets home.

My seasonal depression didn't get as bad this winter as it usually does, but I think I have to give the credit for that to being able to go outside and play in the snow and picking up running (on the treadmill). None the less, I feel like I need to spend as much time as possible outside now to get myself back into equilibrium. No matter how stressed I am about something, spending some time in the sun and a little physical exertion bring me back to center.

I don't even have the house to myself right now. Sean, my 19 year-old brother, is home. He isn't taking summer classes and hasn't heard back about any jobs, so he's been spending more and more time here at the house instead of at his apartment in town ... and he's driving me nuts. He's even more nosey and loud than dad. I can't be in my bedroom for 10 minutes before he's clomping up the stairs and down the hallway (he doesn't know how to WALK, he STOMPS like a flippin' elephant) just to stop in my doorway and stare or make some stupid comment that I ignore. He's generally a good kid, but he's never learned when to just shut up and walk away or how to control his temper. It leads to some spectacular fights in our house. If he's here when I get home from campus and my run tomorrow, I'm going to tell him to go back to his apartment. I can't deal with his distraction right now. If I can't enjoy the sun, I clean and organize to deal with my stress. I can't do that with him stomping in and out of the house and leaving his crap laying everywhere.

It's bad when I start to think of my basement lab on campus as my haven. I decided to take today and friday off from running since the race is Saturday, but a run is sounding really good right now, even with the cool rain.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Well, I honestly can't say this morning was anything like yesterday morning. I went to bed early last night (mainly because I was falling asleep on the couch watching Bachelorette with mom) and let myself "sleep in" until 6 before I laced up my running shoes and headed out the door. It was chilly, sure, but I just wore my compression shorts (with a pair of soffee shorts over top. I've never been comfortable running around in spandex shorts, and these are tighter than my crew uniform shorts ever were!), and another old teeshirt with the sleeves cut off (coincidently, my Toledo Rowing tee. lol). On a side note, I'm pretty sure this is what I'm going to wear for the race on Saturday. I was comfortable and my thighs didn't rub, but I didn't feel exposed when my soffees rode up a little bit.

Back to today, I had expected today's run to feel long and painful, but it wasn't at all. My feet and legs felt strangely lighter than usual and I could tell I was running close to my preferred quicker pace. Yes, I had to slow down to a walk to take drinks, but oh well. I didn't drink as much during the run as I normally do, either.

I learned something about the drivers in my little corner of nowhere too. I've almost gotten used to cars nearly clipping me and being pretty much jerks on the route I normally run, but I was pleasantly surprised by the drivers over on Weckerly. I had been a bit nervous to run over there and especially to run past the place where a friend of mine was killed back in high school, but the drivers were actually really nice and gave me plenty of room, no matter how crowded and busy the road was.

I had the highlight of my run, though, on the home-stretch as I was just reaching the village limits. Now, Swan Creek crosses under the road RIGHT at the village limits and there is a decent length of the road through there that's bridge with very little dirt on the side of the pavement. It was here that I noticed what looked like a big pile of dirt laying just on the edge of the pavement. I thought it was odd but when I got about 2 feet away THE FREAKING HEAD WHIPPED AROUND! It was a freaking SNAPPING TURTLE! The shell was probably 10 inches from front to back. Seriously. I screamed and jumped almost all the way to the center line of the damn road. I knew, I guess, that there was the possibility of snapping turtles in Swan Creek, but I had no idea they were getting THAT big and were able to haul themselves that far up the bank! I wish I would had had my camera. I guess I could have grabbed my camera from home and gone back, but I was just ready to stretch, each some breakfast, and crawl in the shower.

I even ended up crawling back in bed for another hour. No matter how much I sleep at night, I feel tired at some point during my day. I'm planning to modify my diet when mom and dad are gone and see what that does. I eat better when they're gone and I have to prepare my own food anyway. Oh well.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Odd morning ...

Mondays are always a little "off", but I really don't know what is up with today so far. No craziness happened on my run this morning (barely over 2 miles and I need to learn how to dis-connect my warm-up and my actual run in my Garmin) unless you count my shin/calf discomfort. I'm chalking that up to *maybe* over-doing it yesterday at Oak Openings. I could hike those trails all day, but doing 6.5 miles the day before a run probably wasn't my brightest idea (I seem to be making quite a few poor decisions like that lately). There weren't any shenanigans in the car or in the traffic around me on my drive to campus. Nothing shocking or annoying has happened in the lab so far (*crosses fingers* for it to stay that way). I got my appointment with AAA made for this afternoon without any hassle and the guy actually apologized for their system being messed up last week.

Sounds like a decent morning, right? Exactly. Monday mornings NEVER go this smoothly unless I stay in bed until noon. It's weird because nothing crazy has happened. It actually has me spooked, like I'm just waiting for something major around the next corner. Is my life really that stressful and chaotic that I'm not able to accept when things just seem to be going ok? Am *I* the one creating the drama in my life or is it really coming at me from all sides?

Just in case, I'm going to transfer extra money to my checking account. Who knows what AAA is going to find when they check my brakes and rotors this afternoon. You can't outrun the devil and apparently he's giving me a pass on this morning.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lovely day ...

What a lovely day. Actually, it was a pretty nice weekend all-around. I got a nice run in yesterday morning and the mail had come with my new Garmin and waist-pack by the time I returned home. After a shower and setting my Garmin up to charge the battery, we headed over to Uncle John's to celebrate Taylor finally graduating high school. I'll be the first to say Tay did the right thing by staying an extra year and getting his GIS certificate. Anyway, it was more of Tay sitting in the living room with his friends playing video games and "all the family" sat in the kitchen and dining room and talked. No matter what happened, I'm glad I got to see Aunt Judy. I was never really close to her until Grandpa started going downhill last year. She's the one that got me through seeing him at Hospice. Back to the day, I was more exhausted than I usually am at that point in the day so we headed home not long after Aunt Judy. I spent the rest of the evening laying in bed and reading.

Since I was up late readying, I slept in until around 10am and basically just layed around the house until after lunch. Then I decided I needed to get up and do something, but I didn't want to run. So, I decided to head over to Oak Openings to bust out a couple of the trails and put the new Garmin through its paces. I was pleasantly surprised. It never lost the satelites, even in the densest part of the woods. The immediate area around Mallard Lake was packed because of the gorgeous day, but the trails were nice. I only passed a couple people on each trail and we never had a problem passing each other. I love the sand dunes and the pine stands. :) When I got home, mom had made pineapple ham and cornbread muffins for dinner. :)

Now, I'm off to crawl in bed and read some more. Depending on how my legs feel in the morning, I may go out for a quick run of the Lakeview loop. I have no idea how to train for a race, so I'm kind of playing this by ear and keeping a close eye on my body. The parents leave Wednesday (I think) and then I'm on my own (unless Sean decides to be a pest).

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Guess what came today?!

I was like a kid on Christmas when I heard the mail truck. I think a trip to Oak Openings trails to play with all the functions tomorrow is in order! :)
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I really want to go home and crawl back in bed. Normally, I'm almost awake by now, even when I wake up early to work out, but I'm physically and mentally dragging. I know I didn't sleep all that great, but I'm used to minimal sleep. Little miss I-can-sleep-through-anything, and everyone else in the house, got woken up at 3am by HAIL. The storm was pretty intense, but I would have stayed dead to the world if it hadn't been for the hail. My bedroom is exposed on the north and west walls of the house so I seem to get the worst of the weather, which is fine because I sleep so heavy, but this was almost as bad as the night a couple weeks ago when I woke up and thought there was a tornado on top of us.

I didn't have my daily Diet Coke either. I've been really successful over the past couple months with limiting myself to just my one DC in the morning for my burst of caffeine, but I'm trying to cut myself off completely for next Saturday. I know Diet Coke is horrible for you, but it's one of my biggest guilty pleasures. I can see my pop can from Tuesday sitting a couple inches behind my laptop on my desk and it's mocking me. Seriously. The joke is that I can't even get one on campus if I wanted. UT has a contract with Pepsi so it's the only beverage company on campus. Anyway, I'm cradling my glass of green tea and praying the little bit of caffeine in it will jolt-start my brain. I'm just hoping nobody really annoys me when I go upstairs to check my mailbox or I may get cranky.

Despite the storm early this morning, I hauled my butt out of bed at the normal 5:30am and laced up my running shoes. It was a comfortable temperature (high 60s), but you couldn't tell because the humidity was so oppressive and I felt like I was being eaten alive by mosquitos. I turned in a respectable 2.29 miles in 25:35. Saw the lady with the glasses and salmon-colored shirt again. She must run practically the same route as I do, just from the other end. I ran past a group of what looked like high school girls too. They all had reflective vests on so I don't know where they were running from or how long they had been out. If I run any earlier in the morning, reflective gear is something I should really think about investing in.

My Garmin and waist pack should be here Saturday! Yippee! I think I'll take Sunday morning and head up to Wildwood to check out the course a little better and put the Garmin through its paces.

Speaking of this weekend ... Cherry Fest runs tomorrow and Saturday. I still don't like having it this late in the year or having it Friday-Saturday, but Josh Torres goes whatever the heck he wants and damn what the village and residents want. I think it's kind of gone downhill since they moved it to June anyway. I'll go walk through the vendors tomorrow evening and meet up with friends at the beer tent (maybe), but thats about it. The rides are expensive and the parade just isn't the same anymore. They've added a 5k, but they don't publicize it very well.

Oh, and I just found out that my parents are leaving next Wednesday for their cruise. I knew it was coming up soon, but thought it was later in the month. While I love the idea of having the house to myself (you would think 3 adults wouldn't be that loud ... wrong), I had really hoped and wanted my parents to be around for my race Saturday. Dad keeps talking about it like he was planning on going, but they'll be in Vancouver getting ready to board this ship. Oh well. Just another part of my life I'm tackling on my own. It isn't the first and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rest Day

I spent quite a bit of time last night contemplating a run today. I really did want to start running on the schedule I posted 2 days ago, but my body has other ideas. I couldn't sleep last night, so instead of just laying there in bed staring into the dark, I got up and got some cleaning done. The bad part is that this means I didn't get up early, either. By the time I woke up, it was already in the 90s and my legs were still unhappy with me. So, rest day for Jessie. I had planned on working from home today anyway so I'm not worried about someone on campus needing to talk to me.

Dad got the pool opened this weekend and has already shocked the crap out of the algae, half-drained the pool to get the nastiness out, and completely refilled it. I went out and checked when I got up, there is practically no chlorine in the water right now but the temperature of the water is still pretty cool and completely clear. Just how I like it. This sounds like a perfect opportunity to go haul a raft out of the attic, throw on my tanning swimsuit (remember, no funny tanlines!) and go crash in the pool for a while. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Morning Run, Upcoming Race, and UT's done it again ...

I guess I'm going ahead with the training plan I mentioned yesterday. I woke up early again this morning for a run. I wasn't particularly fond of the fact that it was already in the mid-70s (and climbing) and humid when I went out, but oh well. Aside from my normal warm-up and cool-down, I logged a respectable 3.14 miles in 36:48. That's a 11:43 pace, which is almost a minute/mile slower than yesterday, but I'm quite pleased with it anyway. It's been months (or possibly years) since I've attempted running several days in a row plus I'm proving to myself that I can be a consistent runner off the treadmill. I did have to slow to a walk to get drinks, but I think I'm getting better about how far I run each time. My shin seems to being holding up. They no longer ache when I'm running, just after I've had some time to relax. Abnormally, it's my thighs that are plaguing me now. They felt a little stiff during the third mile, but now they're outright sore and aching every time I have to walk up or down stairs. I'm going to be optimistic and say that my thighs just got a workout sooner than they had expected to and are cranky about it.

Apparently my mom decided she wasn't even going to TRY to deal with the heat and humidity this week. While I was off on my run this morning, she ran around the house closing windows and turned on the air conditions. I'm not particularly a fan of the a/c, but I get cranky when I'm too warm to sleep (hmm ... sound like someone else? Dad!!!). It's always a big decision to turn on the a/c in our house. Without it, we're miserable. With it, our sinuses (mine less so than when I was younger) go complete bonkers. It usually comes down to "does dad want to loose sleep over being too hot or so stuffed up he can't breathe." A fun decision, let me tell you.

Maybe I'll brave the heat and humidity tomorrow and get a trail run in? It'll be a short(er) one, no more than 2.5 miles, but the metroparks don't open until 7, and if I ran at the park closest to me, I'd probably run a trail that doesn't have much cover. In fact, it goes through sand dunes (one of my favorite parts of living on the Oak Openings Ridge)! I'd get to wear my new trail shoes, at least. I haven't had a chance to put those puppies through their paces yet!

Is my Garmin here yet? No? Dang. Is my Garmin here yet? No? Dang. Is my Garmin here yet? No? Dang.

Oooo! Big news! I finally registered for my first 5k yesterday. I will be running the Happy Trails 5k at Wildwood Metropark on June 18. I’m literally bouncing up and down excited now! The only thing I’m wondering about now is, besides am I going to be able to run the whole thing (I registered as a runner), should I put off playing with my Garmin until AFTER the 5k? Common sense says to stick with what I’ve been doing, but everything else tells me to use every tool at my disposal. I guess I need to decide if I’m just going to be happy with finishing or do I want to put the pressure on myself to finish in a certain time. Hmm. Deep thinking, here. Hope I don’t hurt myself. Lol.

The crap that happens at this university never fails to surprise me with its level of stupidity. I finally got to talk to Karen (the only person working records management for the grad school and clearing graduation for the ENTIRE university), last week and discovered that the reason she didn’t have my Plan of Study form was because it had been sent back to my advisor. It would have been SO much easier if someone could have just told me 2 weeks ago when I called. So, I went in early yesterday morning to track down David and ask if he had checked his mailbox lately (if you knew him, you’d know why THAT was the important question to ask. Lol). As it turns out, he had already had the form for almost a week and was just waiting for me to come find him and ask about it. Typical. He was “cleaning” his desk when I went up to talk to him. I’m lucky my form didn’t get lost again.

Anyway, the reason my POS got sent back was because I didn’t list Hydrogeology in my courses. If my eyes could roll any further back in my head, they would. I took Hydro as an undergrad and my committee filed the paperwork waiving that requirement for me! The prof I took the class from is on my committee, for pete’s sake. Right away, I asked mom to IM Karen and ask if I could come talk to her about the form, since they’re friendly. I used the excuse that my phone was dead (which it wasn’t) and we don’t have one in the lab (which is true, actually). I just didn’t want to call and pester the woman and lord only knows if the person at the front desk would even put me through to her! And I definitely didn’t want to walk over to UHall in this heat just to discover that she wasn’t in her office. I don’t mind using my mother’s connections on campus (and sometimes peoples’ memories of me as a kid) when it makes dealing with the university’s BS easier. It worked out, though. I went over and had a nice chat with Karen and it’s taken care of. Really, that was the only reason I went to campus yesterday.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Morning Run 6/6

I was actually a little excited to get up early and run this morning (shocking, I know). Since I don't have any reflective gear, I was anxious about going out too early, but I knew I needed to get out before the sun got too warm (and I knew I had to come to campus this morning). My alarm went off in 15-minute intervals starting at 5am until I thought it was light enough for me to go run and I got out just before 6am.

The difference between this run and my last run outside was night and day. It was a comfortable 65* with a light breeze and I only saw a couple cars the whole time I was out. It was great. My neighborhood is the perfect size for a warm-up lap (0.65 miles) so I did that (in 10:03) and then ran north and made a loop at Lakeview and came home (2.07 miles in 22:34) and did another lap of the block as a cool-down (in 9:47). Yes, it was a short(er) run, but I just wanted something comfortable this morning to work on my pace. My Garmin won't be here until the beginning of next week, so I'm still timing my runs with my iPod, which makes it difficult to watch my pace. I've kind of taken the route of running at a comfortable pace and I'll see how I did when I get home and upload my workout to DailyMile. As long as I do the miles and feel like I pushed myself, I'm happy.

I'm used to a much harder workout (read: burned more calories), but I think I'm going to get in some weights and circuits tonight when I get home. I had planned to scale back my weights work until after the 5k, but we'll see. It was also suggested that if I'm not going to run longer distances, I should start pushing myself to run more often (I'm running every other day right now). If I followed the base-building example of the podcast I've been listening to, my schedule would look something like:

Sun: Rest
Mon: 2
Tues: 3
Wed: 2
Thurs: 3
Fri: Rest
Sat: 4 or 5 (alternate)

I know that's doable for me, and it'd be best for me to start there (especially since I'm not used to running multiple days in a row), but I HATE seeing low numbers like that. Mike, the friend who introduced me to this podcast and a STRONG believer in the running coach, suggested I try it out this week so that I still have next week to dial back if I need to. It seems a reasonable suggestion to me.

Alright, off to deal with the shenanigans on campus ... it should be an interesting morning. Glad I got my run in already. :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Last C25K Run!

I just finished my last Couch to 5K run on the treadmill! It's a 5 minute warm-up walk, 30 minute run, and a 5 minute cool-down walk. I ran 20 minutes at a 4.4mph and 10 minutes at 4.5mph. It felt great. My music was blasting, I felt hydrated and strong.

... and now I have to start waking up early so I can run outside before it gets ungodly hot. I'm on the road (or trails), rain or shine, until the 5k. I'm excited to get off the treadmill, but I'm going to miss the nice cool basement. lol

Oh, and I ordered my Garmin last night. I can't wait for it to get here. I ended up ordering myself a waist-pack too, the black version of the one pictured in my last post. With my gift cards and my free shipping, I still paid less FOR EVERYTHING than the price of the Garmin Forerunner 110 I had been looking at. I love Amazon. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Early Birthday Present?

I've been thinking about an early birthday present for myself ... Since I'm going to stepping off the treadmill VERY soon, I've been wanting the get a HRM (heart-rate monitor) with GPS (mainly because I don't trust online maps and I can't exactly drive the distance if I go off-road). I've been looking at the Garmin Forerunner series on Amazon for a while and I had it narrowed down to 2 models that I like, the 110 and the 305. I have a little over $30 in Amazon gift cards, which isn't much, but it's enough to be helpful on my budget. I had originally settled on the 110 because of the price of the watch (and then I'd buy the HRM at a later date ... or have mom buy it as my birthday present from her and dad), but when I put up a note on dailymile about it, Cassi clued me in to the price drop on the 305. The 305 is now cheaper WITH the HRM than the 110 is WITHOUT the HRM. Woo hoo! Thanks Cassi!

So ... I think that settles it. I'll wait until tonight to see what mom says about chipping in (she prefers helping me pay for this kind of thing as a birthday present than buying something herself ... we've proven time and time again she has no idea what to buy me. Plus they'll be gone on a cruise to Alaska for almost 2 weeks before my birthday), and then I'm ordering it. :)

Maybe I'll buy that nifty little runner's waist-pouch I've been eyeing while I'm at it ... I can't count on someone to be there to hold my stuff during the 5k and I can't stick anything besides my ID in my iPod case while I'm out running. :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

These are my spiffy new trail running shoes! I can't wait to try them out! :)

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

C25K W9D2

I didn't get to run yesterday afternoon like I had wanted. My stomach had been feeling iffy all day and by the time I got home I realized it just wasn't going to happen. I spent the evening laying in bed alternating between the Ghost Hunters marathon and True Blood.

I had also planned on waking up early and getting my run in before going to campus. Again, didn't happen. I woke up around 4:30 to the cool air coming in through my window and I threw my pile of blankets back on the bed and burrowed down in them. I never heard my alarm clock or the alarm on my watch. I even ended up working from home today (I'm just being responsible and saving gas and money... right? lol). I finally got up around 9 and got a couple hours serious work in (lord I hate synthesizing scientific articles) before deciding that I needed to get my run in that minute or I was going to keep thinking about it the rest of the day.

It went well. I've been doing more visualization while running than normal. My music is still nearly-essential, but the visualization is becoming more and more necessary to make me focus. I joke with some former teammates of mine that I feel like I still need our coach over one shoulder and my old coxswain over the other yelling at me. I ran the entire 30 minutes today at 4.4mph, which I'm happy about. I'm aware of how poorly this translates to when I get outside and run, but maybe that will change once I buy my Garmin (birthday present? anyone?).

For now, I'm thinking that lawnchair out on the back deck is looking mighty inviting. I'm spending some time outside in my new bathing suit top every sunny day to hopefully tan enough that any funny tan lines from the upcoming 5k won't be as noticeable. We shall see ...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First "Real" Post ...

First, I hope everyone had a happy Memorial Day weekend. I never got out to either cemetery to "visit" my grandparents like I had wanted (which is kind of obnoxious since the weather was so nice and family had called to let us know flags WERE posted at both grandfathers' graves). Actually, I haven't been out to Ft. Meigs since Gma and Gpa K's names were finally put on the headstone a couple months ago. I picked up the Christmas flowers that the stone guys left laying on the ground when they took the headstone in to be worked on and that was it. I guess it's ok since I have my little "memorial" in my room that I see every day. It isn't that I NEED to look at it to remember them, but it's nice to have all the pictures together right there by my bed. We think we found the rosary that Gma K ACTUALLY used when we were going through boxes for the garage sale, so I'm going to replace the one I already have hanging on the picture frame with it.

Second, Happy National Running Day! As much as I still dislike running, it's become my refuge from stress the past several months. I am so close to being done with Couch to 5K and thinking about the 5k at Wildwood in a couple weeks is finally starting to be exciting. It almost feels like the anticipation for the first regatta of the season all over again. With each day of the program, I'm getting more confident in my physical ability as a runner. I'm only up to running a half hour on the treadmill, at a slower but more consistent pace than what I run on the road, but I'm getting there. I don't know if I can RUN the whole 5k, but I know I can finish, and that's what matters to me. This will be my FIRST 5k. It's a starting point. I absolutely HATED running up until my mental state drove me to find a new stress reliever last year. I had said on my birthday last year that my 25th year would be my healthiest year yet but it took the stress of losing my last grandparent to push me over the edge and really doing something. It would be SO easy for me to mentally slip back to where I was in September, but running doesn't let me. Despite all the time I have to do nothing BUT think, I physically CAN'T think of where I used to be. The endorphins and my willpower won't let me. It's one of the few times that I BLESS my dad's family for directly handing down the stubborn-as-an-a$$ gene, as someone so cleverly put it years ago. If you know my dad's family, and lord help you if you were ever in a room with all of us at once, you can just look at the line and see it clear as day. Great-Grandma Brinkman. Grandpa Knapp. Dad. And me (well, Sean too). Seriously, I haven't even come close to blacking out since I started running regularly. Running has forced to take better care of myself all over and it's been a blessing. I'm (slowly but surely) losing weight and regaining muscle I haven't had in years ... or ever before! I don't think I cross-trained this well back in high school when I was rowing! :)

Like I said, I'm almost done with C25K (on the treadmill ... outside is a whole other demon). I was going to run a 4th W8 (28-minute run) on Monday since I wasn't able to do it the first time I tried (sick + dehydrated = SHOULD NOT HAVE RUN), but I had been running faster than I normally do (not much, just 4.4mph instead of 4.3mph) and felt great towards the end. When I got to what should have been the end of the run, I couldn't think of a good reason why I shouldn't just bust out those last 2 minutes to make it a 30-minute run and a W9. My playlist had been amazing the entire run and I felt super-focused, so I went for it. It was an amazing feeling afterward. Now, I just need to get in a W9 tonight (was going to get up early and do it before coming to campus, but my bed was too darn comfy) and Friday. Then, I'm outside rain or shine until the race on June 18th. I guess I should really get my registration turned in soon. Early registration ends on the 11th and there's no guarantee of a teeshirt after. I know, right? Me? Another tee shirt? Here we go again ... hahahahaha

I've been anticipating my need to run outside and off-road for some time now and decided I needed to buy trail running shoes. The shoes I run in now are great for treadmill and the road, but they would have no traction on a trail or (probably) gravel. The parental units decided they were going to take advantage of Kohl's Memorial Day sale and try to find new shoes for themselves (mom can't convince dad that tennis shoes don't last 10+ years) ... and Sean is always looking for a handout from them ... so I went along to see what was what. I ended up finding some adidas that I really loved at were $30 off the regular price (plus I had a 15% off ... and my Kohl's charge card) and great Nike compression stay-dry running socks. When I went to get in line to pay, mom took everything from me and told me to go away, that she was buying Sean new shoes so she might as well pay for mine too. I seriously love my mom. :)

I ended up buying True Blood, Season 3 for myself yesterday. I absolutely LOVE Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse/ Southern Vampire series and the way Alan Ball takes her stories and twists them for TB is just fascinating to me. It's like a whole new story on the backbone of the original books. I'm relegated to watching TB online (probably) illegally (Shhh. Don't tell.) in crappy quality when the new episodes are running, so it's nice to pick up the dvds and watch the season all over again. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd is one hott piece of booty either ... and boy do they show a LOT of his backside in this season. *picks tongue up off floor and forces mouth closed* Um, yea. hehehe.

The state of my grad school paperwork is yet to be seen. Last I heard, Karen had my GRAD assurances form but my Plan Of Study was still floating around somewhere. When I talked to her last Wednesday, she was still clearing spring graduation (on her own, dangit UT) and it was possible that it was just stuffed in her inbox and she hadn't seen it yet. I'm still confused how she could have one and not the other since they were given to the Asst. Dean's office worker at the same time. Ugh. She was on vacation from Thursday through yesterday so I'll try calling over there again tomorrow. David was down here in the lab for a little while this morning, I should have just asked him if HE had heard anything formt he grad school. It's stupid that they expect the student to push the papers UP through all the levels but if there's an issue, they shoot it back to the advisor and not the student. D'Oh! I went ahead and turned in my graduation application for this summer on Friday, so we'll see what happens. If everything is accepted over at grad school, all that stands between me and finishing up this stupid degree is an approved proposal, my "thesis", and my "defense". Woo Hoo. Ok, no more woo-hooing until the stupid things are done. lol

I'm the first person to admit to being a summer-baby (really, you should see some of the pictures of me as a kid. Bleach-blonde hair [naturally] and skin so dark you might have been able to pass me off as ... ok, stopping before I get myself into trouble), but this sudden heat wave is driving me bonkers. We went from nice and warm, to cold and rainy, and now back to hot-as-heck. Sheesh. I barely slept monday night because I just kept lying there and feeling the beads of sweat running over my body (even with 2 fans pointed in my direction) so I nearly died laughing when the first words out of my mom's mouth yesterday when she got home from work were "We're turning on the a/c wether your father likes it or not. I'm not sleeping in a pool of sweat again tonight." I'll admit that having the a/c did help a little bit, but my bedroom is just weird. It doesn't matter if the a/c or the furnace is on, my room is never even close to the same temperature as the rest of the house. The a/c can be blasting for several days and the rest of the house be at 65*, but you hit a wall of 75* right on the threshold of my room. It's bothered me since the day we moved into that house. Dad swears up down and sideways that it's because my register is the furthest away from the furnace/ a/c. Bull. Sean's is the same distance away and his outer-wall (that the vent runs along) has a tendency to freeze up during really cold winters (which mine never does and I'm on the unprotected NW corner of the house). His vent runs right along the water pipes for mom and dad's bathroom. Oh well. Just another reason for me to find a job and my own place (again) quick. I can always crash in the basement on the really bad nights. I already feel like I live down there some days, though not as much now that I have cable in my bedroom (*smirk*).

Alright, off to get some more work done before I head home to run. I like to at least already be well into my run by the time dad gets home from work. It's just easier to ignore everything going on upstairs when I already have my focus and my rhythm. :)

Here goes nothing ...

I've been blogging on Xanga for ... wow ... 7 years now. My entire college life, really. But I think it's time for me to move on and grow up a bit. I'm not *completely* done with college yet (*grumble*stupidgradschool*grumble*), but I'm almost there and I'm looking towards the future. I'm hoping to post my entries to both blogs for a while and then phase out my Xanga. My Xanga holds a LOT of good memories, but it also holds the darkest days of my life (sounds ominous, I know, but it really isn't). I want a fresh start.

My REAL "first post" is forthcoming ... as soon as I finish writing it and get it posted to Xanga. lol