Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dear Coach Sharpie...from Cookie (the pup)

Dear Coach Sharpie,

Since my two-legged Mom started working with you, she seems very happy. That said, our workouts have changed a little. After adopting me, she discovered that I am an awesome running buddy (pretty amazing for a dog who survived significant burn injury). I don't stop to sniff, and rarely go to the bathroom. Even when I see another dog or other two-leggers, I am only temporarily distracted. I am all about the task at hand.

We used to run pretty fast. We got outside and I wanted to run, run, run. Now my Mom goes a lot slower, and checks that thing on her wrist all the time. Before, she would drop me off at home and finish her run alone because I was worn out. Now I am with her for the whole run. I don't understand why she does these crazy things sometimes (hopping, skipping, and other weird things with her feet I have never seen before), but we have fun. She has even taken me on a new route through the woods and near lots of horses and deer.

I also like when you have her ride on the spinny thing. I get to sit on the couch and bask in the sun while she does all the work (don't tell my Dad!). I'm working on perfecting my downward dog when she does yoga.

Thanks for making my two-legged Mom so happy, and thanks for the awesome training plan. My legs are solid muscle now and all of my cold-weather clothes fit much better!

Cookie the Wonderdog

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A note from my 10-year-old self

While cleaning the basement the other day, I went through my old camp trunk which was filled with memorabilia from elementary school through college. I came across an autobiography I wrote in 1986. It was amazing how much parts of it resonate today.

"My Historical Perspective:
I can remember lots of historical events that have happened during my life, but one thing I remember is when President Reagan was shot in 1981. Anything and everything in the papers was about the attempted assassination.

The year of 1986 has probably been the most historical in my life. To begin the year, the space shuttle challenger exploded and killed six astronauts and Crista McAullife (the first teacher in space). This was caused by a faulty seal ring on one of the booster rockets.

In March, Corazon Aquino won the Philipines presidential election. Her opponent was Ferdinand Marcos.

In April, a woman bombed a TWA plane to Italy. The bombing killed 1 man, 2 women, and 1 baby. People think Qaddafi had something to do with it. There has been a lot more bombings this year, for instance when Reagan bombed Qaddafi's headquarters and killed Qaddafi's 2 month old adopted daughter. So far nothing else has happened."
(Amazing how so much has changed, yet so much has not)

"Remember Me: 
I would like to be remembered as a person who cared and loved animals. I would really like to be remembered as the world's greatest equestrian. I would also like to be remembered as a person who helped other people. The last way in the world I would ever want to be remembered as a terrorist."

Ok...so maybe I'm not the world's greatest equestrian, but I did spend a year on the Equestrian Team at the University of Maryland, and I would say that working as an NP counts as helping people. My kids might call me a terrorist at bedtime, but otherwise I think I am safe.

:) Thanks for sharing my blast from the past.

Monday, February 6, 2012

30-Day Transformation

Ok, so the title of this blog sounds like the title of an infomercial. There are no shortcuts, there are no free rides, and being successful in the sport of triathlon (or life in general) requires hard work.

After the year 16 months of crummy health issues (blah, blah, blah), I was so over all of it. I kept thinking if I could just maintain a positive attitude, I could get it all turned around. I was convinced that although my health issues were seemingly random (ectopic pregnancy, abnormal heart rhythms, hearing loss, etc.), there had to be something tying them all together. Nutrition? Emotional well-being (perhaps I hadn't allowed my self to grieve the loss of a pregnancy that was a surprise in the first place)? Bad luck?

Every time I thought I got a handle on things, something else cropped up.....my migraines got much worse, my hair was falling out. While it isn't good to rest too much on dates (i.e. "It will get better next year), I decided to try my hardest to make sure that my health was better in 2012 than it had been in 2011.

I had amazing support from family, friends, and teammates during all of my health issues. So it certainly wasn't lack of love and support that was exacerbating things. I decided to make two big changes.

1. After getting worked on by my friend Andree's chiropractor in South Carolina, I decided to try chiropractic and see if it made a difference in my health and my ability to train.
2. I made the decision Carole Sharpless (team Rev3 "Mom" and awesome friend) offered to take me on as a coaching client. I hoped that working with a coach who "got" and respected my crazy life would help me achieve my goals successfully (primarily to train smart and train healthy).

Fast forward 30 days. I emailed Carole two weeks ago and said "I realized on a run today that I will run over 20 miles this week, and I got choked up". This time of the triathlon season isn't about distance or speed, but about building a healthy base. Holy cow! What I've done in the past month is more than I did practically all of last year, and I feel good doing it. She even has me looking forward to my swim workouts.

The other amazing thing? Two days after a 9+ mile run last week, I saw Dr. Ray Moss, my chiropractor and frankly my current BFF. I nearly bounced into his office, very excited to tell him that I had NO pain in my right sacroiliac joint (lower back). This was AFTER running 9+ miles. I should have been in a lot of pain, and stiff, and sore, and uncomfortable.... At least if my previous experience had anything to say about it. I am still in the initial phases of chiropractic, and have days where the arthritis in my pelvis does both me, but not nearly like it did before.

The month of January exceeded my wildest expectations. I still have a long way to go, and as I type this I am battling the sinus crud and am bummed that I missed a workout this weekend. But I'm also overjoyed with the progress I have made, and thankful for a new year.

I would be remiss if I didn't say thanks to everyone who has been on the roller coaster of my health the past year+. Tommy spent his share of time in waiting rooms and let me cry when I needed to, family members who made sure the kids were covered, Katy was there both times I needed to go to the Emergency Room (since we work at the hospital), coworkers who covered me, and my friends and teammates. Your encouragement and listening ears will always be appreciated. I'm not kidding myself that I might not need them in the future, but I'm hoping those moments come much less often.

Here is to an awesome 2012!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Read this if you are a woman, or know a woman

Today is national Go Red for Women Day. Before you think that you don't have to worry about cardiovascular disease, read on.

"A" was a 30-something mother of two when she suffered a massive stroke. Working at a local school one day, she became unable to speak or move one side of her body. A quick-thinking co-worker called 9-1-1, recognizing that "A" was suffering a stroke. EMS providers got her to the hospital quickly, where we gave a clot-busting medication. These medications work only if a stroke patient gets to the hospital within 4 1/2 hours of the onset of symptoms. "A" was healthy, and would never have expected to have a stroke. The clot-buster work, and she regained her speech and movement. Groundhog day was the 6th anniversary of her stroke. I am happy to say that now I see her on Facebook, rather than as a patient in our hospital.

Shari was a mother of three, who ran regularly with her good friend. On one of their early morning runs, she began to feel poorly. As they got close to home, she collapsed. Her friend Cathy began CPR and was assisted by their husbands. EMS providers arrived quickly, continued CPR, and were able to restore a normal heart rhythm. Shari did not wake up, and there was concern for brain injury due to lack of oxygen. We initiated a hypothermic state, chilling Shari to protect her brain. She made a full recovery.

So I ask you to take a minute on "Go Red for Women Day" to learn the warning signs of heart attack and stroke. You can save a life. Learn CPR. Know the warning signs. It may be the most important thing you do one day.

Warning Signs of a Stroke (Think "Fast")
Face- Smile (do both sides look the same?)
Arms- Raise both arms over the head (are they symmetrical?)
Speech- Say a Sentence (slurred? does it make sense?)
Time- Call 9-1-1 quickly!!!!

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
  • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
  • If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1...Get to a hospital right away.

The following two videos are funny, but convey a serious message. Both are made by the American Heart Association to raise awareness. 

"It's Just a Little Heart Attack"

"Push Hard and Fast"