Saturday, March 2, 2013

Year 25

Wednesday I "celebrated" my birthday. Let's just rephrase that, and say I turned 25. I worked on my birthday. I should've known it was going to be brutal. I tend to be the "black cloud" of my ER -- and sure enough, it was a "black cloud" kind of day. It was a wild and crazy day -- but I am thankful that my job never leaves me feeling bored!

I was very blessed with love that day, however. My husband even sent me a present (which he probably had to set up before he leave for officer school)-- I got a brand new GPS watch. And it has more bells and whistles than I know what to do with! My coworkers gave me the sweetest card, and a fruit tart (they knew the health nut in me wouldn't get excited about a cake). I left work and went out for drinks and appetizers with 3 of my dearest girlfriends. The night was filled with laughter that left me with sore cheeks from the smiles.

It was bittersweet, as all I really wanted was a birthday hug from my husband. But in a few days I will get that!

So I don't do New Years Resolutions typically, but this year I'm trying goals for Year 25! It's going to be an interesting year. Changes to my husband's training leaves us with a year where most of it will be spent apart. But we are young, we are madly in love, and we will get through this!

So here goes the goals:

  1. See the beach. It's been well over a year since my feet has touched the ocean sands, and I miss it.
  2. Really start "running smart" - I'm not getting any younger. I can no longer go for a 10 mile run without warming up or stretching. I need to start exercising smart - I had 2 injuries in "Year 24". I don't want to keep that trend going!
  3. Be a better Catholic. I've been working on this one during Lent. My job makes me work weekends -- and that makes it really easy to be not-so-great at attending mass. I've started scheduling time with God, just like I schedule work/social life/work outs!
  4. Cut out the sweets! I was in a habit where I would have some small form of desert every evening. Be it candy, a piece of chocolate, smores, or a bowl of ice cream. That is not neccessary! If I'm hungry at night -- I need to put good things in my body.
  5. Enter the world of the ICU (that's Intensive Care Unit). Not as a patient. (ha!) As a nurse. In 2 years I'm going back to school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, and I feel ICU experience is super crucial.
  6. Run a marathon. (I can hear my Mom letting out a sigh of disappointment here.) But I'm training smart, and I have a great podiatrist now! No need to worry. 
  7. Perfect my Red Curry. Thai cooking is something I've really started to enjoy. I would like to throw a dinner party one of the times when Ryan is home this year to unleash it! 
  8. Paint my master bathroom. Oh, my stomach turns at the thought of this. I loathe painting bathrooms!

Friday, March 1, 2013

202 miles, 32 hours, 3 hours of sleep, 11 women, One amazing experience!

Run, Drive, Sleep, Repeat.

As I reflect on the last weeks race, I am feeling inspired from running my first Ragnar relay.
“What exactly is Ragnar?,” I have been asked many times over the past few weeks. In fact, I was asking myself that many times too. The website is somewhat vague. You sign up, pay, and attempt to train for a race that pretty much tells you “200 miles, 12 runners, 3 legs”. The rest is left to your imagination.

It all started Friday morning. Alarms went off at 4 am – and the first van was off to the start line. We drove 1 hour from out hotel out into the desert to a random town called Wickenburg, AZ. The closer we got to the race start, the colder the temperatures dropped. I knew I was headed for high elevation. I was the team’s first runner with an 8.5 mile run. The starting line was crowded with hundreds of creatively decorated vans, some people in costumes, some elitists ready to sprint their 202 mile relay! 

I slapped on the “paton bracelet”, and headed out for my run. Soon to discover my 1st leg was 8.5 miles up a mountain, with no water stations. Oh, and did I mention I was taking antibiotics, Sudafed, and robitussin in between runs for a massive sinus infection? Nurses take the best care of themselves ;).

Our team was a riot. We were created by each person recruiting another. Each person only know 1or 2. Amazingly, 12 women spend 36 hours together, and there wasn’t an ounce of tension or drama! Incredible, right? We were quite prepared for any medical emergencies – being the team was made up of ER Nurses, a CVICU RN, an ER Physician, an Internist Nurse Practitioner, and a Cardiology NP. The only problem with the team was instead of the required 12, there were 11. One of the girls did not show up. Guess what that means, we had to jump in and run her legs! 

I ended up running 17 miles total (broken up into 3 legs). It was not the mileage that was most challenging, but the lack of sleep. In the 36 hours, I got 4 hours of sleep. Never more than 1 ½ at a time. I also never ate a normal meal during that time. I have a sensitive stomach with running – and being I was in a state of “preparing for running” for that long, I could only eat yogurt, apples, dried fruit, and nuts. I broke down and drank a “Muscle Milk” after leg 2 – and was quite nauseated thereafter.

Looking back, although there were some serious mental and physical challenges faced…I would totally do it again. The camaraderie, the beautiful sites, the physical challenge is such a joy! When you think about it, it’s literally an escape for the real world for a weekend to just run! The only other people we really saw were other vans of Ragnar teams. You’re in a different world – and it is kind of surreal. 

My team is already making plans about doing the Vegas Ragnar in November. Since Las Vegas is within driving distance, I’m sure I’ll be joining! My goal is to do Napa Ragnar, which is San Francisco to Napa Valley! That would be one awesome "post race party"....sweet vino!!

Here are a few "Ragnar photos"
At the race start line, being incredibly goofy!

Sunrise during the morning run - the image is flipped sideways, sorry guys! I ran the 1st leg, and you ran up this ridiculous mountain, and were rewarded at the top of the road with this site! I will admit my eyes got teary with this one!

Here I am finishing off the hardest 8.5 miles I've ever ran! So hilly, so cold, yet so exhilarating! If you look closely, I have the most ridiculous smile pasted on!

Night Run Gear. This race went 36 hours straight, so when it was dark you had to wear head lamps, vests, and all sorts of flashy lights! Notice my socks.....we were a stylish team.
Here are I am at my LAST leg! After running 17 miles in 32 hours on 3 hours of sleep. I was delirious and exhausted. .More goofy running clothes!

Our team, the "Rockin' Ragnar Girlz" at the finish line!

This was my van team. Each team is made up of 12 people, but you had 2 vans. We were frozen! It was 30 degrees. Yes, I am in a snuggie.