Saturday, October 28, 2017

Where did the week go?

I was in Corpus Christi TX last week for work. I left Sunday and got home about 9:30 last night. I don’t know about you, but when I end up working on the weekend like that (and I do count traveling for work as work), I get all sorts of confused on what day it is. I mean, I know what day it is, but I always have to deliberately remember. I guess that’s partly because I lose the rhythms and habits of my normal daily life.

I found a Thai restaurant about a block and a half away from my hotel, so Monday night I got take out green curry. It was fantastic, very spicy (which I like) and came with the rice, vegetables and pineapple you see in this photo. I had a fridge in my hotel room, and where I was working had microwaves, so I had half for dinner and the rest for lunch Tuesday.

It was so good, I went back Tuesday night and got the red curry. Well, it was even better! So I did the same half/half split. I briefly thought about trying the yellow curry Wednesday night but honestly, that red curry was amazing. So I got it again.

I ran on the seawall four of the five mornings I was there—even in the dark, it was lovely. I ran up toward the bridge and then back down to Cole Park. I could sort of see the USS Lexington in the dark but never had enough free time to tour it. 

Not all the damage from Hurricane Harvey has been repaired. In the photo from my hotel room, you can see that the hotel next to mine still has room damage. And I don't know what the building is in the next photo, but it looks like the damage was severe.

View from my room.

I don't know what this building is but you can see the damage.
Sunrise from my hotel.

The USS Lexington model in the airport.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

It gets in your head

Since getting that original melanoma diagnosis, I’d wondered if I would be freaking out over any new blemish or spot on my skin. See, the problem is I don’t actually know what that melanoma looked like. It was on my back, basically between my shoulder blades and centered on my spine. That’s not a spot I see every day. Plus, my dermatologist warned me that the normal A B C D E signs of melanoma wouldn’t really apply to me because of my moles, and I guess because of how the one spot looked. So I’m not at all sure of what should be flagged and what shouldn’t.

When I put on make-up in the mornings, I use a small magnifying mirror. I wear reading glasses but of course you can’t actually wear reading glasses and put on eye make-up, or if you can I haven’t figured out how that works. Two weeks ago, I noticed a small dark spot at the lash line on my right eye lid. Hmm, I thought, maybe I didn’t remove my eye make-up thoroughly enough . . . I decided to scrub harder the next morning, and check again. The spot was still there. So I thought OK, this is a little alarming—I’ll scrub harder one more morning and check again. Still there.

I called my dermatologist that morning, and they squeezed me in that day. Fortunately, the spot is benign, but until I got that news I’d been wondering how on earth it would be removed and then reconstructed if it had been melanoma? After all, the eye lid isn’t very big—seems like a wide local incision would remove the whole thing. That was not a pleasant thought.

As I told my mother yesterday in our weekly phone calls, the thing about a cancer diagnosis is that it leaves this invisible “what’s next” cloud over anything. She herself has cancer, and as she told me years ago when diagnosed, having one kind doesn’t preclude developing another kind. So there’s that bit of fun to contemplate. Plus, at least for me, this has disrupted the way I’ve always thought I’d end up going. There’s a pretty strong history of blood cancers in women on my mother’s side of the family. I figured I’d end up with one of those, and I guess I still might. But for now I have this melanoma to pay attention to, and to watch for. Only I don’t know what it looks like on me.

I go back in February for my next screening. I’m going to ask for any examples of what he removed from me. And if he needs to do any scrape biopsies, I'llask to see what it looks like before he removes it. That’s all I know to do.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

WW1 Museum & Memorial 8K Double

Originally I was supposed to be flying to Utah for work today. That trip got canceled, which meant I could run in this race. Unfortunately, because I made the decision so late, my normal runs were probably not ideal in terms of coming into this double race all fresh and ready.

But that’s OK. I haven’t run any race in 9 years and sort of feel like those two don’t count because I’d never run any races before and didn’t have any clue on how to prep. This time, though, I asked my younger son’s advice. Ben’s one of those people who dives deep into whatever topic catches his interest, and he’s been an avid runner for a while now. He comments on my runs on Strava and always has an encouraging word to say.

We talked this last week and I asked him how he’d run a race like this:

  • 9 AM: 5k race starts
  • 10:15 AM: 3k race starts

While I regularly run hills, the hills around the Liberty Memorial are no joke: they are steep and long, or super steep and short. So I knew this course would be a challenge. (Fun note: my Garmin marked enough rapid elevation changes and decided I'd climbed 49 flights of stairs . . . during this race!)

He suggested running a negative split on the 5K—in other words, go out faster than normal so that when I hit the hills, the bleed off of speed would be offset by the faster start time. And that’s what I did. I could also tell that the hill running I do every day paid off because I passed a lot of people on those uphill portions.

For the 3K, Ben suggested going all out, which is also what I did. Too bad the first mile of that 3k had an elevation gain of 58 feet. Ouch!

It was fairly chilly this morning and raining lightly, and also pretty windy. I wore the long tights and long sleeve hot weather shirt for bug mitigation (no more oak mite bites please!) and of course to keep the sun off me. Then the sun broke through during the intermission, so I swapped to a short sleeve shirt. I was pretty happy with the gear, but I should have brought a different pair of sunglasses since those slid down my nose all the time.

For this race, I’d set three average pace per mile goals: 8:45, 8:55 and 9:05. I didn’t meet that goal at all in the 5K (pace was 9:12), but did well in the 3K with a pace of 8:48. I’m a little surprised at the 3K pace, since I tend to have my best speeds on longer runs. Then again, I was taking Ben’s advice and I wasn’t leaving anything on the table.

Pics or it didn't happen:

5k start

5k finish--I tried to motivate that guy behind me
but he was flat out of gas
3k start but after that freaking long hill at the beginning
3k finish

All in all, I had a blast and I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can do. Also, check out the WW1 Museum and Memorial's site. If you are ever in Kansas City, consider going to this museum. It's truly amazing.