Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy National Running Day

Ok, so National Running Day was actually yesterday but I have a cycling class on Wednesday's so in my effort to not overtrain (stop laughing) I held off my celebrating until today. 

And guess what?  It was glorious!  Scout and I went back to the Meadowcreek Parkway (which I guess is now called the John Warner Parkway, who my dad claims was married to Elizabeth Taylor but I'm not sure I believe him).  We've had a lot of rain lately so it's been pretty humid, but today there was a light breeze and a little cloud cover - fabulous.  Since I am truly in the infant stages of getting my runner on again I decided to do run/walk intervals.  I do this very scientifically - running for the duration of one song and then walking for the next (much easier than having to look at my watch). Add to it that my poison ivy has gotten so much better that I can actually move my legs without falling into a scratching fit and I think we can call today one pretty damn successful "Day After National Running Day"!

So, how about you?  Did you celebrate National Running Day with a great run?  How about Day After National Running Day?  If not, no worries.  I've heard Weekend After National Running Day is a great time to celebrate, too!  Just get on out there - I promise you will be happy you did (and so will your dog!).


(Photo Courtesy of Virginia Tech Weed ID Guide)

I spent several hours writing a post the other day about the horrible case of poison ivy I've been battling for the past month.  It was was a pretty good article - complete with photos of oozing welts, bloody scrapes, black, green and purple bruises and a list of my suggestions for remedying the situation (complete with a prescription and over-the-counter drug cocktail and my favorite martini recipe). 

While having dinner with friends last night, however, I realized that there was no reason to post that article.  I can't imagine there is one reader out there who really wanted to see or hear about my ailment and I wondered why I felt compelled to write it in the first place.  I came to the conclusion that it was because it was "only poison ivy" I felt like I needed to vindicate myself.  From the day I realized I had come in contact with it until I literally felt like I was losing my mind in the third week I kept thinking "it's only poison ivy".  Didn't I get this all the time when I was a kid and spent my summers traipsing through the woods around Peppertree Pond?  It's "only poison ivy" for Godsake!  How in the world can I be this miserable from "only poison ivy"?  People are going to think I am a freak!

But nobody did. My friends all listened to me whine and complain endlessly about how miserable I was. They oohed and aahed appropriately when I showed them my welts, reassured me it was as bad as I thought it was and actually cheered when I proudly showed off how much better it was getting (though I'm sure they were thinking it was still too disgusting to be flaunting in the middle of Zo-Ca-Lo).  I got concerned texts, e-mails, and phone calls from  my family (possibly prompted by the photos I texted to my known-to-be-squeamish sister).  The Spicy Chicken even offered to come home from his business trip (though I think that was more because after the "roid rage" fit I threw on Monday evening he may have been a little concerned about the well-being of his children...). 

What it comes down to is that it wasn't "only" poison ivy - it was poison ivy and I was  miserable.  However, thanks to the combination of steroids, antihistamines, ibuprofen, a little vodka and the love of my friends and family I am on the mend.  

As I stated on my Facebook page this morning "I am convinced there is no ailment that great friends, food, cocktails and lots of laughter cannot remedy". 

At least until the drugs wear off...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This Is My Dad

This is my dad. 

Like many little girls I've always seen my dad as a source of strength and inspiration.  He worked hard and worked a lot when we were growing up but I never felt like he was absent. While I'm sure we have my mom to thank for that as well (amazing how much perspective one gains as they grow older) he was always there when we needed him. He coached my sports teams, watched my piano recitals and jumped in the pool to save me the time I did a back flip off the diving board and hit my head. He was tough on me when he needed to be, but was soft most of the time.  There's a great story about how once when I was misbehaving during church my mom told him take to me out to spank me but I somehow ended up with chocolate on my face instead. I'm not sure I ever got a spanking as a kid, even though I am sure I deserved it (and I do know I got a lot of chocolate...).

This is my dad.

As you can probably see in the picture he has a big lump in his chest (next  to the bow tie).  This is his defibrillator. He started having heart trouble my freshman year of college and it's been a somewhat bumpy road ever since then.  We've had a few major scares along the way, but he always manages to come out of it. Though his diet was most likely a factor in his health, there is a genetic component to his heart disease that can't be denied. My grandfather died after a series of heart attacks and strokes when I was just 5 years old (which I think put him in his late 60s). Both my aunt and uncle were diagnosed with heart disease in their 50s and have undergone triple and quadruple bypasses just to stay alive (and both could probably employ their own pharmacist to keep track of all the meds they take).  And my grandma had so many ailments (whether real or imagined) that I won't even try to go there.

This is my dad.

If you zoomed in a little closer in this photo you'd see scars showing that my dad has also had his gall bladder removed, hernia surgery and has a completely detached bicep.  Depending on the day you might also be able to see the spot where my mom injects his B12 shots that keep him from dying from pernicious anemia. Thankfully, there is no amount of zoom that would show you the scars that prove he is also a survivor of colon cancer.  

This is my dad.

What you can't see in the picture is that at the time it was taken his cancer blood levels were up and he was in atrial fibrillation.  We've known his blood levels were off for awhile but for some reason or another they hadn't been able to find where the cancer is.  Until now.  He found an odd lump a few weeks back and though we don't have any definitive answers yet the scans, tests and biopsies have started. I honestly don't know if finding the lump is good news or bad news.  I hate the waiting for answers almost as much as I hate cancer.  Almost.

And the a-fib?  Apparently it's become so common for him that he ignores it, even though he shouldn't. They've changed his meds, hoping they can control it medically, but it's trial and error.  I don't like the sound of that at all.

This is my dad.

Despite his height (you can see M is gaining on him already!) my dad was a phenomenal basketball player in his youth.  He was actually still listed in the Top 100 Scorers of All-time in Minnesota High School Basketball up until recently.  He didn't let his height set him back then - he just tried harder.  And that is how he is fighting this one.  He could've gone home and sat around waiting for answers but he didn't.  He donned his running shoes, iPod and the horrible mesh shirt he, much to everyone's chagrin, so loves to wear and headed out for a 5 mile walk.  He's quote to the doctor was something to the effect of "You're not going to bench me now, Coach."  

This is my dad.