Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yikes, I'm really bad at this whole blog thing! I've been running (a little), but with the freezing temperatures (high of 16?? what??) and two jobs where I spend all my time on my feet...I've been slacking a little. I'm currently at the end of my nursing program, which means that I spend three weeks following a nurse and working her schedule. Mine happens to work on the weekends (plus a couple shifts during the week), so I spend 7a-7p every Saturday and Sunday at the hospital. Those days are so long! I don't understand how people do three 12 hour shifts in a row because I am exhausted after the two shifts. I'm still working at my part time job (server at a breakfast/lunch restaurant), so I'm keeping busy without all the studying.

That being said, only three more 12 hour shifts at the hospital, and I'm DONE with nursing school! This has been a long, long year, and I'm excited for it to come to a close. The job search isn't going so well. Most people tell me I'll get a job fairly easily because of the "nursing shortage," but let me be the first to tell you that the nursing shortage isn't what people think it is! I'm looking for a job in a big city that is saturated with nurses, and therefore looking to hire people with experience (because they can be picky about who they hire). New grad nurses go through anywhere from a six to twelve (or more!) week orientation, which is not cost-effective for hospitals, so of course they would take someone with experience over a new grad. That doesn't work so well for me! Luckily I can't really start working until March-ish (thanks to the need to have a license to practice, of course), so I still have time to find a job.

Christmas is coming up so soon! I've barely started shopping, which could spell trouble since I wanted to do a lot of it online...shipping might be troublesome at this point! One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the cookies...every year my friends all get together and we decorate sugar cookies, and I'm really excited to continue the tradition this year. Some people are more creative than others, which makes for a good time. I can't wait to see the creations that we have this year!

Alright, time to browse the internet for some Christmas shopping...hopefully I find some good presents!
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Winter is here!

Yikes, it's been a month since I posted last! I took my last finals just before Thanksgiving, so it was a rough November with finishing up my final papers, classes, clinicals, and exams! My running slacked off a bit since I was so busy with everything, but I've picked it back up so I'm happy about that. No more finals, and all I have left for nursing school is role transition, where I've been assigned to a nurse on a medical floor. It wasn't my first choice, but I should be able to see a lot and learn a lot. I'm a quiet person, and my preceptor is supposed to push me to be more assertive, call the docs, etc, so that will be good for me.

Thanksgiving was good! My boyfriend came in for the weekend, so it was fun to see him since it had been awhile. We ran the local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. The weather was actually rather nice (about 35 degrees, little wind, no snow!), which is a far cry from what it has been in the past. We ran the five mile option, and of course I checked out past results to see what the competition might be like. I figured I could probably place in my age group, maybe overall, but neither of us had been running much so we didn't want to push it. However, that went out the window pretty quickly! Our miles were as follows:

1: 7:27
2: 7:16
3: 7:20
4: 7:28
5: 6:43

The last mile actually showed up on my garmin as being 0.96...oops! Overall pace was 7:19...pretty good for so little running! We hung around after the race to wait for awards since we figured I was in the running (haha!) for an award. However, they announced that something got messed up with the computer software for the chip timing, so they didn't have results! The website says they've been trying to get them back, but haven't had any luck so far. It doesn't really matter that much, but I rarely race, and it would have been fun to get a medal!

We got our first snow of the season yesterday, and I headed out for a run today. The roads were pretty clear, but there was some slush. I'm trying to adjust to the luck so far, although it's not as bad as I think it will be. Four miles today in 31:35, average pace of 7:51. Still checking out spring marathons...not sure which to do yet!

No more classes means no more studying, so I'm going to relax and enjoy it! Awesome.
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Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's November!!

I'm really excited for it to be November because that means that it's my last month of nursing classes!! I'm in an accelerated second degree BSN program, which means that everyone in my program has a prior bachelors degree in something else, then we all decided that we wanted to be nurses. They took a two year program and crammed it into one year, so it's been a busy 2008 for me. We take our last finals right before Thanksgiving, and then in December we have "role transition" where we work one-on-one with a nurse to help transition us into being nurses on our own. I'm still waiting to find out what area of the hospital I'm working, but I'm really hoping for the emergency room or an intensive care unit.

Anyway! Onto running. I did a long run of twelve miles yesterday, and since I went running in the afternoon, I thought I would run into a lot of trick or treaters. It was gorgeous here...almost 70! Not too many kids out trick or treating, but I did get to see some princesses and lions. I didn't really do anything for of my friends wanted to go to a haunted house, but we just ended up going out to dinner...Buffalo Wild Wings! :)

My run: 12 miles in 1:35:40, average pace of 7:56. Felt good, tried to keep the miles above 8:00 for the sake of the long run, but I just went with it.

I ran five miles today after work...average pace of 7:58, tried to keep it easy.

Total mileage for the week: 35.5! I'm still deciding on a spring marathon, but it looks like I've got a pretty good base going so far.

Time for some studying and/or paper writing...we'll see how motivated I am tonight!
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Long day

Today was a long day for multiple reasons...hoping some things will get better! I got my run in around one this afternoon, and it had warmed up a bit around here, so that was quite fantastic. Around five miles at about 7:40 pace...I thought I was going slower, but if it didn't feel too hard, then that's okay with me!

Thursday night is my favorite! I love to watch The Office and ER, so I get a relaxing night, and the end of the week is so close. I've watched ER since the very beginning, and I can't believe that this is the last season! I never really got into Grey's Anatomy or Scrubs or any of the other medical-type shows...maybe I'll have to look a little harder now!
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's 6:30 and dark outside...

...and I don't want to think about what it will be like after daylight savings! I appreciate the extra hour of sleep, and I will enjoy the fact that it won't be dark when I leave for school. However, I like to run when I get back from school/clinical, and I usually get home around it will be dark around then! Not good, especially since that means that winter is nearing, and I am definitely a summer person.

No run yesterday...I have twelve hour clinicals* on Tuesdays, so between clinical time and my commute, running isn't the best option. Additionally, we don't really have time to sit around during the twelve hours, sooo that's a bit of a workout in itself...or at least it's kind of tiring! I had an awesome day yesterday, as we were shadowing in the ICU. My nurse was awesome, and I really like the environment of the ICU...hoping to get a job in an ICU or ER after graduation!

I was exhausted from being so busy lately in addition to clinical, and I ended up getting ten hours of sleep last night...fantastic! I haven't gotten that much sleep in awhile, so it felt pretty good. I did a little over six miles when I got home from school today, which felt pretty good at an average pace of 7:40. It got up to 50 so it's still shorts weather! Excited about that. I'm thinking about a spring marathon, so I'm on the lookout for which one would be good...still have to do my research!
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Monday, October 27, 2008


I checked last night, and they said that there was a chance of "snow showers" overnight and into the morning...I am *not* a fan of the cold so I was not excited about the idea of snow! We didn't really ease into the cold this year (or last year, actually), seeing as the temperature just suddenly dropped 20-30 degrees one day. I love Chicago, but I do not love Chicago winters!

Anyway, I saw some snow flurries on my commute home today, but they stopped by the time I started my run today. I'm debating a spring marathon, so I'm trying to keep my weekly mileage up in preparation. Therefore, seven miles today! It was about 40 degrees, which meant breaking out the spandex for the first time this year. Between the tights and a long sleeve shirt, I actually felt rather nice while running. I run with a Garmin Forerunner 205 (which I love!), so I ended up with 7.2 miles in 54:01 (average pace: 7:30). A little faster than I should probably be running, but 7:45 currently seems pretty comfortable, so we'll stick with that.

Currently watching the World Series, hoping the Phillies can fight through the rain! Read More......

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm new here...

Making my entrance into the running blog world! I really enjoy reading other blogs about running, so I might as well try my own. No guarantees, however. Nothing to report at the moment, but we can start off with my race report from the 2007 Chicago Marathon. I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2006, but I didn't collect my thoughts about it afterward. So, here we go!

2007 Chicago Marathon

As most of you probably know by now, it was extremely hot (heat index of 90 degrees) and the race was canceled part way through. However, I started close enough to the front and was quick enough to finish before it was canceled.

I woke up at 5am on Sunday morning in order to get ready to head down to Chicago at 5:30am. I ate my usual pre-long run meal of toast with peanut butter, a banana, and gatorade. I sipped on gatorade and water most of the morning since I knew what the day was going to bring weather-wise. Despite having seen the forecast, I was still nervous about what the temperatures would mean for the actual race. We headed downtown a little after 5:30 and arrived with plenty of time to park and such. I was still trying to figure out what to wear at this point, but the final decision was to go with a technical tank instead of just a sports bra..this would come in handy later.

We wandered over to the general race area around Grant Park, and I did my final preparations and got some pictures. It was already quite warm, but manageable. They kept announcing the time til the start, so I eventually got some final "good lucks" from my spectators and headed to my corral. (Corral C...yay for qualifying times!). I tried to use the bathrooms within the corrals, but they announced that they were closing the C corral in five minutes and I definitely wasn't going to make it, so I left the line (along with 50% of the other people waiting in line...) and headed to my corral. I lined up with the 3:40 pace group, which was a pretty big group.

Sooo eventually the race started, and it took me less than two minutes to get across the starting line since I was in a corral, so that was nice. The pacers took us out too fast...The first mile was 7:51, which is 30-40 seconds faster than we needed to be, which they noticed and yelled back for us to slow down. Of course, coming up on mile two we had slowed down too much, as that mile was about 9:15. Then it seemed like the pacers sped up...back to just under an eight minute mile according to my trusty Garmin. Either way I was keeping up with them and the effort felt okay I just kept with them. I saw my spectators (with my sign that helped me find them...the only one with Testudo on it!) around mile two. They were on the opposite side of the road so I didn't get close, but I saw the sign and waved my arms and my dad spotted me. Somewhere around this point I saw Ryan (Katie's brother) on the side of the road so I said hi to him as well.

The race was going pretty well at this point. We were heading north, it was fairly shaded and not too hot yet. The effort felt okay, and I was getting gatorade and water at the aid stations, walking a little so I didn't pour them all over myself, then getting back with the pacers. All the spectators were amazing...the streets were packed and everyone was yelling. So many more people than at Marine Corps, so that was cool. Around mile 9 I started to fell the heat, but my spectators were at mile 10, and I knew I could keep it up until then. It was around this point that the pacer who I was by mentioned that he'd never seen so many people walking so early on, especially since being in/around the 3:40 group means that people usually know what they're getting into. He advised us to run a smart race given the conditions.

At mile 10 I spotted my sign early enough to head over to that side of the road so I'd be close and could get some pictures of me actually running. Around the halfway point, I was only a minute behind pace for my goal, but I was really starting to feel it warm up around me, and my legs didn't feel that great. I never had any trouble with my legs not wanting to run on any long runs, so that wasn't comforting. At this point I knew that I would have to slow down in order to finish, so around mile 14 I started a run/walk/death march that lasted the next 12 miles. The rest of my miles ranged in pace from 9:40-12:40, so I was able to keep moving.

Now this was the most painful experience. The sun was beating down on us, and although the aid stations were only 1.5-2 miles apart, I wanted them to be so much closer. I tried running between the aid stations and walking through them, but at times I just couldn't force myself to run. Every aid station I got to was fully stocked. I would take a cup of gatorade and drink most of it, and then I would take one-two cups of water to drink and another to pour over myself. (This is where the shirt came in handy...the water stayed better than if it was just my skin.) Volunteers were dumping water from the bottles on us, and spectators were offering ice, spraying us with hoses, opening fire hydrants, and spraying us with spray bottles. Lots of people were walking at this point, and every medical tent I passed had people laying on stretchers with bags of ice on them and an IV in their arm. I saw one person collapse on the side of the road as well, and other people throwing up. A bit intense.

My spectators were supposed to be at miles 16 and 20, but my pace was off a bit and I was never able to see them...I think they left before I got there. The last 4-5 miles of the marathon were the shade, lots of pain, and I just wanted to be finished. The whole time I knew I would make it, but I just wanted to be at that point. I had no clue that they were canceling that marathon. We made the turn that leads to the hill, and policemen were on megaphones telling us to walk, but no one was really listening. We made the turn onto Columbus and could see the finish line...and I almost cried. I've never been more excited to see a finish line in my life. I definitely ran this last stretch and crossed the finish line in 4:12:42.

As I was making my way through the finish area, runners were coming from the other direction as I was getting a bottle of water and MY MEDAL. We asked the volunteers what was going on and they told us that the race had been rerouted due to the heat. Apparently aid stations had run out of water and suburban ambulances had to be called in to keep up with the number of people who needed to be taken to the hospital.

All in all, my time wasn't terrible...definitely not where I would have liked it to be, but given the conditions, I'm lucky that I finished and was able to have ample gatorade/water the entire time. Don't ask me about another one...yet.

Highlights of the Marathon:

- being kissed by a French man (who was running) at the aid station around mile 8. He kissed me on the cheek as I was getting gatorade, said something in French, and continued to run.
- Lincoln Park. It was still not hot there, and the crowds were huge there.
- seeing someone's legs have "Go Terps!" written on them and asking them if they went to Maryland...yep!
- Matt. I don't know who he is, but he had his name and phone number written on his back. I don't remember the number, however.
- seeing the finish line. Read More......