Sunday, January 30

Running Update #54: The Whole Shebang

I can probably stop blogging now.  Yeah, this can be my last, triumphant post.  Why?  Oh because I already ran 21.1km so my life is basically complete.  Technically it was 21.7km so it was actually further than a half marathon.  Not bad considering that, until today, I hadn't run more than 15.5km.  AND that I stayed out until 4am last night.  Wait, that was just stupid.  But worth it.  Maybe worth it.  Hi-C totally kicked my butt on the last two kilometres.

We kept a surprisingly good pace the entire time although negative splits we did not have.  Running downtown in a major city does have its challenges.  Our official time was:  2:18:16!  Not bad for a first try.  However, that isn't even accurate because of lights (where we did that really annoying I'm-jogging-on-the-spot-so-I'm-not-really-stopping thing).  The total moving time according to Sheldon (the GPS) was 2:12:15 which I like better.  I somewhat wished that I had stopped the watch at lights.

Does anyone know how accurate moving time is and what it really means?  (Garmin forerunner 405).  Because my moving paces were significantly better than my average paces.  Whatever that means.  Behold:
SplitTimeMoving TimeDistanceElevation GainElevation LossAvg PaceAvg Moving PaceBest PaceCalories

How do I feel?  Glorious.

And my legs are sore.  But good sore.  Muscle sore, not joint sore.  And I had my first minor chafing experience from my bra (Oprah's bra, btw.  Thanks a lot, Big O).  Cut to 5 hours later.  I'm moving slowly and I'm fairly hungry but I feel good.  I finally understand the desire for compression tights.  Shoulda bought that Running Room groupon, dang. I obliged Hi-C and was a better conversation partner.  However, the last 7 or 8km she could only really focus on Cinnabon:  "If we ran to ----- station [3 km out of the way] we could have cinnabon.  Do you think Cinnabon delivers?"

Fueling.  We hadn't really thought about this until after about 15km.  So...recently.  Both of us are fairly partial to Shot Blocks*.  Basically cube-shaped gummy candy (power up, Strawberry!).  They freeze a little in the cold weather and have a pleasant texture.  And no cramps post-consumption.  We each had two around km 13.  I'll admit, I hit a wall between 20 and 21.  But I didn't get the poops or have to stop for the washroom at all.  Surprising after my 3am pizza-experience.

If someone would have told me last year that my body (and mind) could run 21.7km I'd like to say I'd laugh but it is mean to laugh at the insane.  

*I was not paid to endorse this product.  But I'd be willing to be a taste-tester for other flavours, Cliff ;)

Editor's Note:  I forgot to mention the best part of my story:  I wiped out.  Totally fell flat.  It was about 1km into the run, my toe caught the edge of a pacement stone that was sticking up and over I went.  I officially love my running pants and have a new appreciation for the fleshy part of my hips and thighs.  Within 10seconds I was up and running again but I'm pretty sure a few people saw my incredible acrobatics.  No lasting marks either, unlike my very first wipe out.

Saturday, January 29

Running Update #53

This week has felt very de-motivating.  I haven't felt like I'm getting better and my mileage is pretty dismal for someone running a half marathon in three weeks.  To be totally honest, it was easier earlier on because I usually had some new distance to blog about:  oh my first 10km!  Wow, I'm awesome, I made it to 12km.  Tell me how fantastic I am!  But now those distances are old hat.  My alarm went off today and I woke up knowing I would be running at least 10km and that, by now, it should be fairly easy.  It isn't though.  It still takes stamina, concentration, reminders to keep going and to push myself.  Today was a great run though.  I did 10.31km in 1:00:31 and was under 59 minutes when I hit 10km.  For me, that is in the PR (personal record) zone and it felt great. You'll notice from my splits that a bad habit of mine is starting too fast.  It just doesn't feel fast at the start, I need to pay more attention to how each pace feels. 
Split Time
1 0:05:35
2 0:05:53
3 0:05:53
4 0:05:44
5 0:05:49
6 0:06:18
7 0:05:54
8 0:05:54
9 0:05:47
10 0:05:46
11 0:01:49
 Summary 1:00:27

Tomorrow is the big 20km to see if we've got what it takes.  Thank mother nature/the universe/baby sharks that I am not doing it alone but Hi-C and I are going to do it together.  Lately Josh and Chuck of the "Stuff You Should Know" podcasts are keeping me entertained.  It is a great mix of cheesy puns and fascinating facts.  Today I had 10km of Free Masons and Illicit Drugs.  Two separate podcasts, by the way. 

This afternoon I'm pretending to have money, dressing all classy and heading to the high class part of the city.  I'll let you know if I buy myself a muffin or a $40 scrunchie.

Friday, January 28

Lunch Break Post

A real lunch break!  I'm soaking up all I can get.  The joy of getting plenty of dysphagia hours* is just slightly tempered by the fact that the best time to look at how people swallow and eat a meal is....drum roll....LUNCH TIME!  No complaints though, I'm getting great experience.  Currently, I'm indulging in my latest destructive post-lunch ritual:  can of diet pepsi (regular today for some reason) and a red licorice.  $1.04 at the gift shop!  Dangerous.

Since this all has to be extra generic I'll just talk about ME (my own placement experience).  Today marks halfway with four weeks down and four to go.  I enjoy basically every moment.  Halfway through means midterm evaluation (one piece of paperwork demanded by our department-that-clearly-loathes-trees that is actually fairly valuable).  My CE** takes it quite seriously and goes through each item (we're talking over 100 items evaluating clinical skills and professional behaviour) and comes up with a specific example in her head and then scores it.  Hoo boy.  I hope her keenness rubs off a little on me. 

The good news is that there were no awful suprises.  In fact, it was a majority 5s (scale 1-7, the department-that-sticks-its-nose-in-yo-bidness says 5 means "great, you're right on track" and there shouldn't be too many 6s or 7s at all).  Actually, rumour has it that the school will call the CE if there are too many 7s and lay the smack down/ask for justification.  She liked to point out that 5s in some areas from her should be considered compliments so I'm taking them as such.  I had my fair share of 4s too and we generally agreed on those areas that we think i'll continue to improve on over the placement.  Like comfort level.  I need to speak the hell up sometimes and say things authoritatively.  Noted.  She didn't use those words.

The "6" that I'm most happy about, though, is for "discriminates when to talk & when to listen".  No, it doesn't seem like the most difficult skill and maybe I should be more happy about 5s and 6s in report writing but this one is an area I STRUGGLE with.  Keeping my mouth shut has never been a strong suit for me.  Over-stepping has gotten me in trouble in other placements.  This time my CE said that I think very carefully about when to speak in interprofessional meetings or with colleagues and that when I choose to do so it is pertinent and thoughtful.  Hecks YES!  Weakness becoming a stength.  Or not a weakness.

Get any good feedback lately?

*Dysphagia=swallowing troubles
Hours means refers to program requirements.  In order to graduate as a full-out SLP our college dictates that we must have a certain number of clinical hours in specific areas from our placements.  These areas include:  assessment, treatment, adults, kids, fluency, voice, motor speech, dysphagia, language.....related things.  Mid-way through my third placement I've completed (or nearly completed) about 90% of the required hours.  Fluency eludes me but Hi-C has offered to be a guinea pig. 
There you go, everything you never wanted to know and more about the flaming hoops we jump through to be certified.

**CE = clinical education = supervisor = preceptor (for all you OTs out there)

Wednesday, January 26

Running Update #52....and the 600th post

I might have been more motivated on my run today if I realized this would be my 600th post.  Today was supposed to be 18km on the treadmill day.  I had my sights set on the giant hamster wheel ever since the cold cold sunday that caused me to fail at life my run.  I brought my stuff to placement yesterday so I could hit the gym on the way home, bypassing the possibility of getting home and being unable to motivate myself to leave the house again.  I didn't make it yesterday since I ended up feeling like poop all day but was determined to go tonight.  And go I did.  For....5km haha.  I just COULD NOT DO IT!  I learned something today and that was:  I must always run outside.  I had uploaded new podcasts about octopuses and dead bodies and some White Coat Black Art; I was excited to run and learn and feel superior to others who were not running 18km. The first 5 minutes were awesome.  And the rest was pure torture.  It was like I had a dementor in front of me sucking out my soul as I ran.  So I came home and had some cracker pizzas.  A culinary master I am not.

Some placement new though.  While I have been fairly mum about this current unpaid internship except to say I've been enjoying myself quite a bit I can say something cool: my supervisor had some personal things to attend to today and I got to run the show on my own!  Of course, there are things I can't do without supervision so no one received swallowing assessments today but hoo-boy I was on a roll.  Or at least I felt like I was.  I should wait until tomorrow when she reads everything I wrote in the medical charts....

Monday, January 24

New Fave Cuisine

After living here for 1.5 years I FINALLY tried Ethiopian food at a nearby restaurant.  I was missing out.  We ordered a big platter with everything they offered for vegetarian and went to town.  Quite a few of the saucy puddles looked similar but they each had a unique flavour and all were tasty.  The spices are so rich and I'm a lentil fanatic.  Go lentils!  It probably would have been perfect had it been paired with naan; some Indiopian fusion.  Part of the appeal is eating with your hands and scooping the stews up the bread.  The bread (called injera) is best described as a bland, spongy crepe but it is served cold and looks a little like tripe (mmm, stomach rugae).  A warm, buttery naan would have sealed the deal.  The best part of the meal was actually the tea anyway.  Try it yourself.  DO IT!  NOW!  Seriously.

Steep some cloves, cinnamon and cardamom in hot water
Add a rooibos teabag
Sugar it up
Savour.  Seriously.  Make more than one.

Sunday, January 23

The Appeal of Immortality

I've been reading "The World Without Us" again.  This book always gets me thinking.  Usually about immortality.  It makes me want to live forever*.  Not in a Tuck Everlasting sort of way because I don't feel like arguing the but-everyone-you-know-will-die-and-you'll-have-to-always-move-around-or-be-found-out problem (longest HYPHENATED SHPIEL EVER).  I want to live forever in a more abstract, intellectual way.  Maybe after a certain point but before my brain goes batsh*t crazy and I start mistaking the refrigerator for Jesus in my old age they can harvest my brain, keep it alive in some juices and just stimulate some neurons so I can still be aware of what is happening in the world around me.  Barring that plan I should probably go back to religion. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The book makes me want to maintain some form of consciousness or awareness forever so that I can see the future.  Simple as that.  It hurts me to know that after my measly 80 or so years (fingers crossed) of biological activity I'll stop existing and won't get to see what comes next**.  The myriad questions I have about how things are going to turn out will never be answered:  will be destroy the planet? (I may actually get an answer to this).  Will plastic be around forever or will something learn to digest it?  Will the earth return to its former biodiversity?  What will it look like?  What kinda crazy living creatures will mama evolution come up with next? 

This is one of the more difficult things about letting go of religion.  It was helpful to think that I would be around in some form after death; that there would be some omniscient being that could fill me in on the physics of the universe and the reason everything exists.  Heck, I'd probably want to know about Jon-Benet Ramsay and 9/11 (I just need to know!).  But instead, I do believe that when my neurons stop firing my "soul" will cease to exist and I won't get answers to my questions and I won't get to see how the story ends for all of the people that I care about.

Question:  Does anyone else agonize over this?
What has gotten you thinking lately?

*Some of my thoughts about the book are conflicting.  The post I linked above deals with a philosophy that, as humans putting massive strains on the earth, we should allow ourselves to die off.  To leave the earth to recover without us. 
**I have the same problem with the past.  It kills my soul that I can't witness with my own two peepers a dinosaur (alligators don't count, I want a live diplodocus), an ice age, woolly mammoths, early humans, neanderthals, coral reefs boiling with life, vast flocks of passenger pigeons that block out the sun, or taste pristine water with zero human influence.  If someone has a solution for me I'm all ears.

Runnin Update #52: A minor success and a Major Failure

The plan this morning was to do 18km.  This puts me on track for my big run at the end of Feb (less than a month away!).  My room was boiling and I checked the temp:  -9 celcius.  Brr.  But totally doable.  On went my running clothes as my roommate announced that the Weather Network was claiming -18 with windchill of -33.  Many expletives ensued.  I think they generate heat.  Being able to post on my blog that I had run 18km in the "extreme cold" was good motivation to leave the house anyway.  So that was the minor success:  I went!  Hokey toot it was cold out there.  I was going at a comfortable pace and it wasn't feeling that cold.

That is where we get to the Major Failure.  I couldn't find my neck warmer and I don't have any vaseline (a tip I've been given a few times to cut the wind on one's face) so my face was entirely unprotected.  My legs started to burn first but after just 4km I knew it was over when the feeling of pre-frostbite started on my cheeks.  That numb, tingly feeling where you cheeks feel like pieces of styrofoam have been glued to them.  I made it almost 5km and took the subway back home.  Sorry readers, I'm not hardcore enough!

The Plan of Action:  I still need a long run.  Tomorrow I plan to run home from placement since it is only 7km so no excuses.  Then Tuesday I'll make up the distance by stopping at the Running Room to exchange a gift for a balaclava (oh yes, I'm going there) and then head to the gym to bang out 18km on the treadmill.  Cheating but legit.  Now hold me accountable to this plan!

Editor's Note:  Friday night was the first time I realized running may be taking a toll on my body even if I'm not aware of it all the time.  I went out dancing with some wonderful ladies (Shout out to:  Ro-RoW as promised :).  It was great times but I couldn't Get Low Low Low Low Low Low Low knees just wouldn't do it!  Thigh pain in the muscle is one thing that enough "getting low" will do to anyone but this was actual joint pain.  

Thursday, January 20

Hello, Morgan Freeman?

We have some bones that need collecting.

I can't believe I'm actually placing this photo on my blog on purpose.  No I'm not suffering from an acute case of edema.
The roommate brought home a box of bones about which I got a lesson on their attachments. Nerd heaven.

Speaking of nerd heaven I actually went to Medieval Times.  You know, the restaurant where you also watch jousting and hawk tricks (sorry, ruined it!  There's a hawk!).  It wouldn't normally be a place I would suggest but I was fortunate to hang out with my Aunt Boom and Cousin Rhaps (these are blog monikers, they have regular, everyday names).  My aunt was SO EXCITED to go (and so generous that she offered to pay, thanks aunt Boom!) since they don't get to Toronto much and she had yet to talk anyone else into going.  I really don't see how hundreds of adults in paper crowns eating with their hands and cheering for dudes with long flowing hair performing knightly duties could be anything but entertaining.  My animal protein consumption was through the roof.  Half a chicken and even some pork (that is what ribs is, right?). 
Life update:  my whole life consists of placement and running these days.  This isn't even a complaint.  It turns out that I'm loving placement and have some great clients.  SO MANY interesting cases have come up that I would love to blog about but privacy is a huge deal these days so I have to follow the rules.

As for running, hoo boy the countdown is on!  I've been managing 7 and 8 km runs while keeping a pace below 6min/km (just below, but below nonetheless).  Not bad considering my lungs are getting wheezy half way through (but still feel pretty good) and there have been some sneaky ice patches that require some velocity reduction.  I feel like I might die, though, if someone asked me to maintain that speed for 21.1km.  Can I do it?

Sunday, January 16

Happy (Belated) Birthday Hi-C

I started this before your actual birthday, miss C, but got lazy.  Besides, you like to celebrate your birthday in small increments.  I'm keeping your birthday alive.

This is based on a true story.  Actual events may not have occurred exactly as depicted.

Happy Birthday Hi-C!  Thanks for lots of great runs, not-boring walks to school and passing on your perogi making skills to me (among other skills and good times)

Saturday, January 15

Running Update #51: A New Distance (barely)

For the photo re-cap just keep scrolling.

I had to ramp it up today since the half marathon (my very first one!) will be in just over a month.  I reminded myself on Wednesday night that when the paths are clear (even if it is -12 degrees celcius) I can keep up a respectable pace for 7km.  Barely.  7.19km in 42:45.  For the second km I threw in a 4:40 what?  Where did that come from?  Can Garmin be wrong?

The kicker was this morning.  There is something about Toronto and Saturdays that attracts snow to the city like marathoners to a bagel stand.  This saturday was a repeat of last except I was determined not to bail on the full distance I needed to cover no matter how slow I was.  And I was slow.  Let me first lay down the excuses facts:  it was windy, the snow was often about 4 inches deep and there was at least an inch of slushy snow on almost the entire route, I could hardly get traction, I didn't bring any fuel.  But I think the point is that I DID IT!  15.22km baby*.  It took me 1:47:02.  Yikes, if the weather is like this on race day I could be looking at over 2.5 hours to complete 21.1km.  It is definitely a mind game.  Thank you CBC Radio for White Coat Black Art.

Split Time Distance Avg Pace
1 0:06:44 1 6:44
2 0:06:36 1 6:36
3 0:05:56 0.89 6:41
4 0:06:09 1 6:09
5 0:06:29 1 6:29
6 0:06:32 1 6:32
7 0:07:05 1 7:05
8 0:07:15 1 7:15
9 0:06:57 1 6:57
10 0:06:27 1 6:27
11 0:08:47 1 8:47
12 0:07:02 1 7:02
13 0:07:40 1 7:40
14 0:07:26 1 7:26
15 0:07:26 1 7:26
16 0:02:22 0.34 7:04
 Summary 1:47:02 15.22 7:01

The temp was mild (-2 celcius) and the snow was big and fluffy.  If you're wondering:  temperature really isn't an issue as long as you're moving.  It is the traction that hurts the most.  And the subway ride home.  Bored of the same routes over and over I decided to run the subway route and then TTC back home.

1. The subway route wasn't long enough and I ended up running back and forth between stations to hit my goal.
2.  A half hour trip back in cold, sweaty, wet running clothes is almost unbearable.  Near the end I was afraid of cracking a tooth.  Where can I get one of those cool silver blankets they give runners after races to carry with me?
3.  Smart decisions would help the ride be more bearable like choosing a hot chocolate at Timmy Ho's instead of a cold refreshing chocolate milk before jumping on the subway.  Not that I was doing much jumping. 

Waiting for the Garmin to find its satellites

After about 7km.  Look at those eyebrow-cicles.

After 15.22km.  I ran the last half nearly blind.  Oh there's another excuse fact.


Cheers to you Royal York Station.

*Ok, of course there is an asterisk.  This was not without stopping which makes me a little ashamed.  I never stopped to walk (although sometimes my pace appeared like walking) but I had quite a few lights that required my stopping in the first half of the run.  AND I had my first official on-the-run-bathroom-break!  20 minutes it was either shart or give-in so I chose a Tim Hortons and went for the gold.

Friday, January 14

Becoming My Mother

My most recent purchases:
I figured I would eventually become more like my mother but I didn't anticipate it by 25.  But the gray has reached a critical mass and must be dealt with.  The Rolaids are a new development.  I finally broke down and bought some when the fire stayed stoked when I woke up this morning.  And the chewy ones taste like candy!  The downside is the damage it is likely doing to my esophagus.  Damn you lower esophageal sphincter!  Of course, from all of my voice classes I know exactly what I should be doing.  Exercise more.  Cut out acidic foods.  But all the best foods have acid in them!  Chocolate.  Tomatoes.  Pop.  Oh, and I should sleep with my head propped up.  Fun.  I think what did me in this time was the entire box of beebee white-powder donuts I polished off last night.  After that information do I really have to say how running is going?  I have my long run tomorrow so we'll see how it goes....

Hi-C and I made another version of our oh-so-tasty perogies. 

Sweet potato
Onions (chopped and sauteed)
Thinly sliced prosciutto (of the organic variety, thanks Hi-C)
smoked gouda

All wrapped with love (and anticipation) in homemade dough.  We worked as a team and banged them out in about 2.5 hours.  Which is probably a record.

Monday, January 10

The Rhythm of Life

Apparently, if I'm going to pound on your chest to save your life it should have a good beat.  100 beats per minute (or faster) according to the new research in CPR.  They recommend humming a song to yourself to keep pace since pumping fast enough is basically the major factor in survival (oh, plus how soon they can shock the heart).  The instructor suggested "Staying Alive" by the BeeGees. 

I've decided that I'm going to save lives to Lauryn Hill's Doo Wop (That thing)

Runners Up (depending on the mood)
1. Another One Bites the Dust by Queen.  This would have been my first choice if it wouldn't have made me seem like a horrible, horrible person.
2. Summergirls by LFO.  I think I still know most of the words....
3. You Make me Sick by P!nk

Just so I have options.  It looks like 100bpm is a common beat.

Saturday, January 8

Snowed In?

Not today!  I awake this morning to this:
Yes, all of my windows are covered in screens but the point is the extra 6-8 inches of snow that was not there last night when I went to bed.  Sneaky mother nature.  She was throwing a curve ball at my laziness butt to see if she could get me.  And she almost did.  Well, she kind of still did.  It was supposed to be a long slow day at 15 km (because the WINTERMAN is in 43 days!).  It was definitely slow. 

When I first saw the uncleared sidewalks I shuddered and went to crawl back into bed:  tomorrow, I'll run tomorrow.  That's when I had a little internal dialog:
Self:  Um, what race are you training for*?
Me:  Oh yeah, the winterman.
Self:  Oh, riiiiight.  Are you going to not run the winterman if its a wittle snowy? 
Me:  Damn.  I'll get my shoes.

So off I went deciding to just "see how it goes".  The traction was pretty abysmal and it slowed me down considerably while making me work so much harder but I wasn't falling down so I ran for 1:03 in which time I hit 9.25km, many stop lights and NO personal bests.  We're talking 6:40/km.  BUT! But, I had a great time.  And I keep telling myself that that run was basically like running a much longer run for how hard I had to word.  Right?  Right?  Well, that's what I keep telling myself....

And since you're curious, I spent the afternoon re-certifying my CPR.  Thanks to our very knowledgeable (and entertaining) instructor we have the latest and greatest cutting edge info on the best CPR techniques.  He's not even supposed to be teaching them to us that's how new they are!  Interesting fact:  you do not have to be CPR certified in the province of Ontario to operate a defibrillator.  So go at'er!

 A hostage situation?  No, just a bunch of SLPs (and a midwife!) making way for the electrical heart stimulation.  CLEAR!

*Yes, I leave my prepositions hanging even in my own internal discussions. 

Thursday, January 6

Running Update #50

This has been a good running week.  Hi-C and I did some hills.  We at least tried.  I've done a few solo runs including home from placement yesterday at just over 7km.  Not especially far but I managed to keep a better pace than I have been for the past few weeks.  I hit 5km just just under 30minutes (29:55 to be precise) which is decent for me.  Perhaps some people would call that jogging but it feels like running to me.  I was going to take today off but Hi-C suggested a run and my pride won't let me turn that down.  We headed out intending for 10km but when we returned to our point of origin we had only hit 8.6km and we did so quite slowly.  Snow is a tricky thing.  There was beautiful fluffy snow falling for the run but it coated the side walks and made them extra slippy; the run felt like a good pace but turned out to be fairly slow.  Good thing I just read today about the importance of rhythm runs at a pace slower than race but faster than slow (got that?).  The pace really didn't bother me actually, it just felt good to run (and to not fall on the ice and break my tailbone:  major anxiety-producer for moi).  Saturday will be the test if I'm still on track for banging out 15km.

Placement is Getting to Me

I'm really enjoying placement.  What?  I know, why did I worry so much?  Well, that is what I do.  I'd update more about how much I'm learning and some of the quease-enducing things I see each day but there are crazy-strict privacy policies so I prefer to just talk about placement as little as possible.  Basically I'm a speech-pathology student at a complex continuing care facility.  This means people with major difficulties physically, cognitively, linguistically and....I do swallowing assessments all day long.

This is my first time slaving working in a medical environment.  With all of the sad tales around me (so many clients are fairly young suffering the aftermath of severe strokes or brain injuries) I wasn't sure how I would adjust.  It seemed like I was doing better than I expected, making connections with some of the patients, really enjoying the work.  Apparently my subconscious isn't so chill about all of this tough stuff.  I woke myself up last night by screaming in my sleep.  This is pretty dang unusual for me, no one has ever really mentioned me sleep talking.  I remember the dream:  I was on a streetcar (transit during rush hour is also new to me) and my sister comes up to me and informs me that someone we love very much* has been in a car accident that left them physically mangled and with a major brain injury that they would not recover from.  It was surreal and I felt so anguished that I collapsed and began to scream but nothing came out.  I tried the wheezy dream-scream over and over until I just let one loose in real life (or was it?).

*I don't consider myself superstitious (or religious for that matter**) but for some reason I feel like I would have to do all kinds of wood knocking if I posted WHOM was victim of the horrible accident.  Yes, even if it was just a dream.  Weird, true.  But it isn't going to be my fault!
**I just like pointing out that I'm no longer into Jesus***.  It wasn't relevant to the explanation.
***A wicked chain of asterisks for $400, Alex.  It is totally cool if you happen to be into Jesus though.

Tuesday, January 4

Guaranteed Ways to Look Cool

Looking cool is clearly at the top of my priority list.  In fact, new New Years Resolution:  exude coolness.  Wait, is making being cool a goal inherently uncool?  How about using the word inherently?  Maybe I'll just be me and see where that gets me.  Anyway, now you're all bit-chomping to know my foolproof tips for looking cool.

1.  Walk to the corner store next to your building.  Purchase only one can of diet pop* and a pack of hostess cupcakes.  Done.

2. Wear wide-legged (pronounced "leg-ed") dress pants tucked into the tops of one's Sorels for extra coolness.  It's Hammer Time!

3.  Stand outside with your wrist held up to the sky to help your GPS watch link to the satellites when it just won't link (keep holding....keep holding...wait for it).  Every few inches closer to space helps.  This is even cooler if you happen to live on a busy downtown street.

Bonus:  Today was a good and slow intro to placement.  It will definitely pick up tomorrow.  My clinical educator is very supportive and I think this will be a good partnership.  She kindly offered to lend me a lanyard for my keys and badge.  I'm not sure rhinestone Jesus fish are really my style.  Perhaps we are different in a few ways....

*I love having stars at the end of my posts.  I love pop.  I drink the diet version even though I believe aspartame is bad and I know it makes me feel poopy (ie unwell not with excessive fecal matter).  But I've realized in the last few weeks that I don't love pop as much as I used to.  Perhaps this will be the beginning of me phasing it out gradually.

Monday, January 3

Got my Game (nervous) Face On

Tomorrow is the first day of placement.  I shouldn't be so nervous, I should be excited but I always build these things up to be something huge. 
What if I don't like it? 
What if I'm not any good at it? 
What if I mess up? 
What if I cry in front of a client?

While this is my third of four clinical placements for this speech-path masters that I don't seem to blog about very often it will be my first with adults and in a hospital setting.  I think I feel a greater amount of pressure because this is the area I can see myself working in some day.  What I wouldn't give not to have anxiety issues at these times in my life. 

Today was spent in avoidance.  I slept until noon (glorious) then did the necessary internet checks.  I organized paperwork.  Went for a run (thanks for the company Hi-C!).  Avoided paperwork some more.  Did some reading.  Realized that my choice to not get the flu shot will probably be really really frowned upon tomorrow at my orientation.  Fingers crossed it doesn't cause any major problems.  I whipped up a very tasty dal (the one thing I'm allowed to make without following a recipe other than grilled cheese that turns out pretty fantastic). 

I'm just not sure if I'm ready for placement to be my life.  One positive thing will be the fact that I have to take TTC to placement so I'll need a TTC pass!  Woohoo!  I'll be using that baby every chance I get and exploring the city more.  And meeting up with friends more.  Oh the liberty!  I will miss the guaranteed hour of walking at least 5 days per week though.  Perhaps I'll add another run to compensate.  Speaking of running I think my schedule will probably change significantly due to placement.  It is early enough that I'm probably not willing to fit in morning runs so it looks like I'll be trying for evening ones right after placement.  I hope my stomach will hold out long enough.

Running Update #49 (and life)

Back in Toronto and a New Year got me back on track.  I headed out for a 10km run this morning and performed better than expected considering my (lazy) hiatus.  Just over one hour 1:00:41 so I'll take it.  Although....just like the cake, it is a lie.  Because I actually stopped the watch for about 15 seconds around the 5km mark to walk out a stitch that bent me double.  Thank god it did not return and I even seemed to improve in the last few kilometers.  The wall was hit again at the completion of 3km but I pushed through and sped back up.  That is so far the biggest benefit of the watch:  speed.  I can see when I'm slacking.  Sometimes it feels like I'm working just as hard but my pace is on a downward trajectory.  Now I can't be fooled by how my legs feel because technology tells me the truth.  Or so I choose to believe.

Some qualms:  once early in the run I checked my pace to see Sheldon* was clocking me at over 8min/km but I definitely hadn't slowed.  But it didn't seem to transfer to my times so I'm not sure where the glitch came from.  Another potential issue arose when I first walked outside.  I was standing in the cold wind and  could not get it to show me anything other than the battery life no matter what I pressed.  Frustrated I eventually went back upstairs to get the manual but it started to work on the way.  Perhaps it didn't like being transported in the belly of an airplane in negative a million degree temperatures (that's in Celsius, not sure of the conversion). 

And now for the life part.

I was making cupcakes with my three fave little dudes when Z (the 2.5 year old) kindly informed me that I had a baby in my stomach**.  His older brother then came to my rescue "She does not".  Whew, thanks bud.  At least someone can tell.  But apparently it wasn't my "flat" stomach that convinced him of this.  "Miss Katie can't be pregnant because she isn't married.  You can't have a baby unless you're married".  Uh oh, you've got your biology wrong little man.  Should I have fibbed?  I just can't lie about science.  Now some poor seven year old is probably utterly confused because marriage is not the way a baby is made.  Woops.  It isn't like I went into detail but I think I said something smooth like "uh...well...most people are married when they have babies but it is possible not to be...."  He had to find out at some point.

*That is what I have decided to name the garmin.  Actually, I think he decided it for himself.  His anal-ness bears a resemblance to his namesake from Big Bang Theory.
**Let's just clarify that I have not recently grown a major gut and I do not appear to be preggers.  The poor kid seems to be surrounded by pregnant women so it was only natural to assume female = knocked up.

Saturday, January 1

A Lazy Vacation

The word to describe my vacation would have to be lazy.  I watched more TV that I care to admit (thank you TLC) and just hung out most of the time.  There isn't any regret except how much running I didn't do.  Barely any to be in fact.  After getting sick I just lost my motivation.  Pathetic.  And now I'm nervous to get back at it and see how much stamina I've lost.  Considering the half marathon is in LESS THAN TWO MONTHS!!  What was I thinking?  All my fancy new running gear is all a waste if I don't use it.  Before the break I had myself in a great position for the half and now I've lazed myself into a bit of a panic.  I just need to finish...

Currently I'm hanging out in the Soo airport (thanks for the free Wifi!) awaiting my delayed flight back to Toronto.  It is bittersweet.  I wasn't exactly looking forward to coming home (except to see family and a few select friends, of course); there were/are just too many memories.  But now I head back to tackle my third placement and I'm dealing with the lack of confidence that makes something that should be exciting a very scary thing.  It is all the more crucial that I literally dust my running clothes off and take this seriously because it is the one thing I do where I feel comfortable in my own self. 

A highlight of my trip was seeing great friends and snuggling their new babies.  This was the holiday of baby snuggling.  Just this afternoon the youngest of three boys, D, (just two months old!) took a nap on me.  I just about took him back to Toronto with me.  They just about let me ;) Little Z kills me every time.  I think 2.5 years old is my favourite age, except, of course, new. 

They learn so quickly.
Z:  Dad, where my beans?
the dad:  Oh I totally forgot, crap.
Z:  Crap!

Or another fave quote of the day:
Mom, where's my hockey dick?
Your what?
My hockey dick!

It is always best to have them repeat just to be sure.  Consonant cluster simplification and initial consonant voicing = hilarious.