Thursday, April 24, 2014

Movies and Chicken Noodle Soup

There's something so great about working in a Cardiology department (or a hospital for that matter), there's always someone to catch you when you fall. Well, I didn't exactly fall, but let me tell you about how wonderful my friends and coworkers are. It's been quite a roller coaster the past week and a half. As you recall, last Monday I started to feel ill. Well, a week and a half later, I'm still sick. I have not been sleeping well at night because I'm constantly coughing.

Let's rewind. If you've been following, I have not been running at all because of my hands. I called my cardiologist, and the soonest they could get me in was May 29th. I called again last week to ask if I could still run given the current situation, and I think I may have mentioned, my cardiologist was on vacation. The nurse from his office called me Monday and said that he had moved my appointment up to Wed April 30th, but that he also requested I see my primary about my hands before I come in. He doesn't think the swelling in my hands is coming from my heart when I run. I'm just happy he moved my appointment up.

I saw my primary, and he seemed confused when I told him my cardiologist wanted me to see him about my hands. I told my primary that my hands have been swelling when I run, he said since they were not swollen at the time of my appointment, there was nothing he could do. I didn't expect that he could. He did however take a listen to me and check me out for my cold symptoms, and told me I had a bad sinus infection. That explains why I wasn't getting any better. He prescribed me some antibiotics and a nasal spray to clear it up.

Yesterday, I took my first dose of antibiotics at work when I ate my lunch. After lunch, I was with a patient when I suddenly felt very warm. I paused for a moment to take my lab coat off. When that didn't help, I turned on the air conditioner in my room. Still wasn't helping. I was starting to feel very nauseous and light headed. I finished up with my patient and excused myself. I asked one of the nurses I work with for my supervisor and said I thought I needed to go home. She took one look at me and asked if I was okay because I didn't look good. I told her I didn't feel well, and felt as though I was going to pass out. She helped me to a bed in one of our exam rooms, got me a cold washcloth for my head, and got a nurse practitioner. Both of them stated I looked extremely pale. They took my pulse which was over 100, and my blood pressure dropped to 90/50 mmHg.

They went to talk to one of the cardiologists, and he asked them to do a quick EKG on me. By the time they hooked me up my heart rate had come back down to my baseline, and I was starting to get some of my color back. The EKG was normal which I expected. They gave me water, and a blanket and turned down the lights to let me rest. None of my coworkers wanted me to drive myself home, and many of them offered to drive me. I text my friend Nita to see if she could pick me up on her way home from work. She agreed, and she even left work early (which she didn't need to do, but I appreciated). My coworkers kept checking on me periodically while I was waiting for Nita, to make sure I was still okay.

Nita dropped me off at home and I went straight to bed to take a nap. I woke up, made a light dinner, showered and was back in bed by 9ish. Unfortunately, I woke up around 2 am with what I felt like was a fever again. I was very achy, and tossed and turned. I finally fell back asleep around 4 am, but still ended up calling off work today. My body is so exhausted from the lack of restful sleep at night, and I'm sure my immune system is working overtime. I can feel fluid behind my ears, and feel it shift when I move my head a certain way, which is probably partially the cause of how I felt yesterday. Today is day 2 on my antibiotics, and I'm hoping they start to kick in here soon! So for today, I've been napping on and off on the couch and watching Disney movies all day.

I'm so thankful for my awesome friends and coworkers. It makes my days in and out of work much brighter being around such great people all the time, and they're always willing to help in a time of need. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I start to feel better this weekend, and I will update as soon as I see my cardiologist next week.

QOTD: What are your favorite movies to watch when you're sick in bed? Favorite magazine to catch up on?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Yeah, so this happened today...

(Registration for the 2015 WDW Marathon Weekend opened today at noon!)

More or less on a whim, I registered for the WDW Half Marathon today when registration opened to the public at noon. Even though I'm an Annual Passholder, and was able to register last week, there was a reason I waited. My friends from college mentioned to me last month that they wanted to take a trip to Disney, some haven't been since they were little, and others haven't been at all. So I could not have been more excited when they mentioned a trip, and we tentatively decided on the marathon weekend to visit. Last week, I messaged my friends to see what they were thinking about the trip, and if it was something they still wanted to do. In the end it is, so of course I could not help myself and registered for the half. I waited until today to register to make sure my friends really wanted to go, so when registration opened at noon, I was right on it! I'm also excited about the Donald Duck medal, he is my favorite character!

At this time the Dopey Challenge, 10K and 5K races are all sold out. The Half marathon is 85% full and the Marathon is 50% full. No update on the Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge which surprises me as it's an anniversary year, and the medal is pretty cool!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and Easter holiday! My last post left off as I was leaving to meet my family for Easter, and we were going shopping. My parents gave me money for Easter to spend at the outlet mall, and I really wanted to buy a Nike+ Sportwatch. As luck would have it, I walked into the Nike store and they had the exact Sportwatch I wanted - the white watch with teal accents!

(It's so pretty!)

I was SO excited that they had this watch, and I can't wait until things are clear to start running again (which I'll update you on all of that in my next post)! Even though there have been rumors that Nike is pulling their wearable products and just sticking to the Nike+ Software, it didn't deter me from the watch. I really like that it has the ability for me to use it outside with the GPS and also inside on the treadmill with the Nike+ pod.

The Easter Bunny was also nice to me this year:

(Who doesn't like to color?!)

Yes, I got a Frozen coloring book, the little golden book version of Frozen, and some cookie dough cream eggs! I am a total 5 year old, and you better believe I was excited opening this!

QOTD: Did you register for one (or more than one) of the races during the WDW Marathon Weekend today?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mini Struggles, Race-cations and Loose Ends

It has been quite a week, a week full of mini struggles. I've quickly come to realize that I plan a lot of what I do around running. Let's rewind a bit.

So as you know (if you've been following along), my hands have been swelling up when I run. They swelled up during my 5K on Sunday, and my parents asked me to stop running until I see my Cardiologist. I think I may have also mention that I called last week to get an appointment, and the soonest they could get me in was at the end of May. The thought of not running was really irritating to me, but it is in my best interest.

Monday I got back to work and told Linda (my work running buddy) about my predicament with running, and she said it was perfectly fine, and that we would just go out and power walk. I was so thankful she wasn't mad, again, I didn't expect her to be. I was also thankful that she was open to the idea of power walking after work. Just the idea of getting out and moving after work, that's enough for me right now.

Monday after lunch I decided to call my cardiologists office to see if he thought it would be in my best interest to stop running until he could see me. Unfortunately, he was out of town all week (big vacation week up here in NYS). The nurse said she would pass my message along and get back to me on Monday when he was back, and until then, use my common sense. Let's be real, most of us runners ARE CRAZY. We will run because we love it and we hate it all at the same time. Enter struggle #1: NOT running. It has been a LONG week without running... at all. I have a feeling most of you know how I feel, and some people even get irritable if they're not able to run. We're addicted to the endorphins.

By Monday afternoon I started to feel a "lump" in the back of my throat. I kind of shrugged it off and thought maybe it was because I hadn't consumed enough water throughout the day, and maybe my throat was just dry. Linda and I went out for our power walk after work and it had just started to rain. No big deal, it was still somewhat warm out, so we managed just fine. We walked just under 2.5 miles, and again my hands swelled. Are you kidding me?! All we were doing was walking! We got back to the department, and this time I showed a different cardiologist my hands. We talked for a minute about my hands, and I told him what the other cardiologist said about getting on a Calcium Channel Blocker. He disagreed. He said the Calcium Channel Blocker would be good if it were Raynaud's, but neither of us think that's what it is. He looked at me and goes, "Valve time!" (Let's just hope my cardiologist agrees)

That night I woke up around 1:30 am with a bit of a fever. Great, struggle #2: I was getting sick. That darn lump in my throat. I tossed and turned for the remainder of the night. I went from cold to hot in an instant. I turned my fan on and even crawled on top of my bed with just a fleece blanket thinking that would help. I'd fall asleep for about 20 minutes at a time, but wake up drenched in sweat. Wonderful. The next morning I woke up feeling like death warmed over (this was obviously my body telling me how much it hated me that I tried to act like college student again over the weekend). I still managed to pull myself together to get to work, but they ended up sending me home early, luckily the schedules were light. I came home and slept until 6 or so. Woke up, tried to make dinner, but nothing sounded good and was back in bed by 8.

Wednesday I wasn't feeling much better, so I asked Linda if she minded that we held off walking until Friday. She said that was fine, and that I needed to focus on getting better. My coworkers asked if I wanted to go home early, but I said no, that I'd power through. Again, I went home, and slept. I did manage to eat some soup for dinner though. The rest of the week was much of the same. Thursday Linda told me that we would start back up walking on Monday. She could tell I still wasn't myself and she didn't want to push it. I still have a horrible cough, and I sound horrible. I've been wearing a mask at work so keep from spreading my cold to my coworkers and patients. I even told my coworkers I can't remember the last time I had a cold this bad. Oh well, it will pass!

The last struggle right now is the fact that I've been planning ALL of my vacations around running. My mom and I have been planning on visiting New Orleans this coming November. I read about the Jazz Half in my Runner's World, and ironically, my mom has been wanting to visit New Orleans, so I thought this would provide the perfect opportunity to visit! I also think that I have convinced my mom to run the half with me! This will be her first half, that is if we still go. Since I've been having issues with my hands, my mom wants to hold off planning our trip to New Orleans until after I see my cardiologist. I agree it is important, but I'm just SO bummed.

The rest of my vacations I have planned for this year are for half marathons:

August : Dumbo Double Dare (which is also my birthday weekend AND my first visit to Disneyland!)
November: NOLA Jazz Half Marathon
November: Avenger's Half Marathon

There's even been discussion of a Disney trip with my friends from Penn State over the WDW marathon weekend in January, so I told them I may run that half. I haven't registered yet even though I'm an annual passholder. I'm holding off until Tuesday and I'll make my final decision. I've been so excited about these trips, and I still am. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that nothing gets in the way of these races. I guess we'll cross that bridge if/when we get there.

Final tidbit: after my Garmin froze last week, I was FINALLY able to get it working again, and work in a timely manner. It took a few runs, but it seems to be in working order. I had already ordered a new Garmin 220 which came a week ago.

I was on the fence about keeping it because my Garmin seems to be working again, and I am still very interested in the Nike+ Sportwatch. In the end, I decided to return the new Garmin, and I'll probably get the Nike+ Sportwatch.

Today I'm heading out to visit family for Easter, and we're going to the outlet mall to shop. There is a Nike outlet, so I will look there. I know it's an outlet, however I don't think it's technically an outlet store, so I hope they have them. If not, I'll have to order it online or pick one up at the local Best Buy. Keeping my fingers crossed! I hope everyone has a great weekend, and Happy Easter!!

QOTD: Do you plan any vacations around races you'd like to run? Or plan races in places you like to visit?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blue and White Weekend & Paterno Family Beaver Stadium Run Recap: Part 2

I last left off talking about being out Saturday night with my friends. Since we didn't get to bed until after 4 am, my alarm went off after what seemed like only 5 minutes. Danielle and I got around for the race dreadfully slow, however, we still had time to stop at Sheetz for coffee (yes, toasted marshmallow latte)!

We made it to Beaver Stadium a little before 10 am to pick up our bibs and t-shirts. On our way into Medlar Field we ran into some friends and stopped briefly to talk. We made our way into Medlar Field, and packet pick-up was arranged by last name. I walked up to the table (which was much less congested than the previous year) and gave the woman my last name. "Smith, there's probably 100 of us." She asked my first name, and then scrolled through the list. She looks up, "I'm sorry, you're not on the list." I told her that was weird, and that I could even pull up the e-mail on my phone that confirmed I had registered. She told me that when they printed the lists, they were told that some people did not make it on the list. My immediate thought was, well, why did they not print new lists then? Either way, it was not a hassle to get a new bib, there was a woman there specifically for that reason, and luckily I was not the only one getting a new bib at that time. Danielle and I walked over to the table where shirts were distributed, and then made our way back to my car.

Unfortunately, registration closed at 10:15, but the race was not set to start until 11 am. We had about an hour to kill, which worked for me so I could finish my coffee and hopefully not have it upset my stomach. It was a beautiful day, and the sun was pretty direct again. I had Danielle take this picture of me outside the stadium.

(Sun and blue skies for the Beaver Stadium run!)

We made our way up to the start and ran into some other friends we knew, and chatted for a minute. Finally it was 11, and we were getting ready to run. The race started and it took Danielle and I a good 2 minutes to get to the actual starting line, but we didn't mind. There were so many people out in support of the race, and even Franco Harris (Former running back for the Steelers) was announcing at the starting line. He also stated he was going to be at the finish line giving a high-five to every person that crossed the finish line! How awesome!

Danielle and I started our run, and I had my watch set so we could do intervals. It worked out nice because we were able to enjoy the rest of campus at a steady enjoyable pace, and take note of the other changes that had been made since we had graduated. One thing that annoyed us both was that there was only one water stop along the entire route! This year we didn't stop at any of our favorite places to take pictures. We made our loop around campus and once again we were by the creamery. I glanced and my watch and saw that we had a decent time even though we were still about a half a mile from the finish. I also noticed that my hands were swollen again.

We turned into the stadium (my favorite part!), running through the tunnel onto the field in Beaver Stadium! Literally, as soon as you hit that point you feel a rush of adrenaline, and just kick it in gear to get to the 50 yard line where the finish was located. I was so excited to finish, that I totally missed Franco Harris, I was on the other side of the finish chute! Hahaha!

We hung around on the field for a while talking with friends, and then Danielle and I went to Quaker Steak for a post race lunch with another one of her friends. My mom text me to ask how the race went, and asked how my hands were. The swelling was starting to go down. After lunch, we went back to Danielle's, I showered and had to hit the road to get back home... and like that, my weekend in Happy Valley was over.

I drove back to my parents to pick up my dog because she stayed with them over the weekend. I was telling my mom about what a great time I had, and she said to me, " It will always be a happy place for you. No matter how old you are, there will always be something fun for you to do there for as long as you live." That's definitely the truth, the times I have in State College go by in the blink of an eye. I keep my fingers crossed that a job will open up in my field in the area so I can move back. Mom and I continued to talk about the race, and both she and my dad said they don't want me running until I see my cardiologist (which I called to make an appointment, and they can't get me in until the end of May). I'll update you on all of that in my next post. Luckily, the only run I'm registered for before I see my cardiologist is the Color Run, so I'll just run it very slowly (or walk it).

QOTD: Is there a favorite race you run? Or a particular part about a certain race that gets your adrenaline pumping?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blue and White Weekend Recap: Part 1

"From open heart surgery to half marathons, with a dash of life mixed in." Here is where the dash of life mixed in comes into play. As you know (if you've been following my blog or Instagram for that matter), I was in State College, PA over the weekend. It is my happy place, and I'd move back in a heart beat, no questions asked. Any way, It was Penn State's spring football weekend, also known as Blue and White weekend. I went down to visit with friends, and also to run the Paterno Family Beaver Stadium 5K (which I'll recap in my next post). I had such a great time, but since I packed so much into less than 48 hours, I am now sick. I think I'm getting a cold, but if you asked me if it was worth it - Absolutely.

I arrived in State College on Friday night, and my friend Danielle and I decided to lay low, so we ordered D.P. Dough and decided to enjoy a few glasses of wine. Well, let me just tell you what party animals we are! I didn't even finish an entire glass of wine before passing out at 10:30. Hahaha!

The next morning we were in no rush to get around because for the first time ever, we were not planning to tailgate. Another first, I was going to be attending the Blue and White game for the first time. Is it weird that I never attended one as a student? Nevertheless, I was excited to go. Now that Coach Franklin has taken over, I have been very interested in seeing what he has in store for the upcoming football season. Just from the articles I've read (and instagram selfies I've seen), he seems like a very personable individual.

Danielle and I decided to make a Sheetz run for coffees before getting around. I love Sheetz, and wish we had them in NYS - I know some people think it's weird to order food from a gas station, but they have EVERYTHING, it's made to order, and it's so good. I always order a Toasted Marshmallow Latte, they're delicious. Dani's sister made chocolate chip pancakes which were also amazing (or else I would have ordered a breakfast sandwich on a pretzel roll at Sheetz).

Danielle and I got around and we decided to park downtown and walk up to the stadium, by this time the sun was out and it was HOT. I didn't realize how warm it actually was going to be, but I wasn't complaining, just a few weeks earlier I was shoveling my driveway. It was so great to walk College Ave again with so many people in town for the weekend! Danielle and ventured up through campus, talking about all the changes since we were students. We made it to the Bryce Jordan Center and saw this cute ATT picture spot, so of course we could not resist!

We made our way across the street to a tent sale right outside the stadium. There I found a REALLY cute Nike Dri-FIT windbreaker for running (I swear it was sitting on a sale rack waiting for me to buy it, haha). I also bought a Nike Penn State Hockey sweatshirt. I couldn't resist, they were both on sale! We stopped in the suite entrance to see Dani's sister briefly, then made our way into the stadium to find a seat. We decided to sit on the 50 yard line (who wouldn't?), and of course had to take a selfie.

(I had a long sleeve PSU shirt on, but it was too warm)

The game was set for a 1:30 kick off with a few changes to the rules from past years. Since I had never been to one of the Blue and White games, it didn't make much difference to me as this was a new experience. The stadium was filling up though, so right before kick off I decided to take a panoramic shot with my phone. It actually turned out quite nice.

(Please ignore the scoreboards, they're being remodeled. Can't wait to see them when they're done!)

I read the next day that there were roughly 72,000 in attendance, which is great! Before we knew it the first quarter was over and they were getting ready to start the second when coach Franklin wanted to make an announcement to the fans. He was pleased with the turnout, and also stated that he wants 107,000 strong at each home game this year. He expressed how excited he was to be in Happy Valley, and then he started a "We Are..." chant which was amazing (Even his "Thank You...")! The entire crowd just roared and it totally made the game. He's going to fit in perfectly. Danielle and I decided to leave at the half and head back downtown, at this point Blue was up 17-0.

We went into a few stores downtown, I wanted to look around, but I could not handle the crowds inside. We decided to head back to Danielle's to get ready to go out for the evening. We were planning on going to the Shandygaff (better known as the Gaff), since I had not been there in over a year, and it is my favorite bar in State College. Knowing it was Blue and White weekend, we knew the crowds were going to be ridiculous, so we decided to head to the bar around 8:30. The line wasn't outrageous yet, and we were able to get in, get a drink, and get a table by the wall. We ran into Dani's cousin and friends, and a friend of Dani's met us out as well, and I have to say, I had the best time! We danced and sang the night away and ended up being out until about 3-3:30, and of course we had to get up and run a 5K in the morning (believe me, I do not advise that).

I will post part 2 of my weekend/race recap tomorrow. I hope everyone had a great weekend!

QOTD: Is there something you just have to have when you visit somewhere? (Like I have to have Sheetz) Or is there something you have to do every time you visit a certain place?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sometimes I Feel Like Kermit The Frog

...It ain't easy, and I'm not even green. I swear the title actually has something (funny) to do with this post. What a week it has been, and it's only Wednesday! 

I last left off talking about how my Garmin watch had frozen and would not work at all during my run on Monday. Monday night I had my watching sitting by my sliding glass door in hopes that it would actually set the time by GPS. I picked it up later before I went to bed and it had worked! There was a glimmer of hope!

I grabbed my watch on the way out the door this morning so I could try it again. After work, Linda and I went out for our run around the neighborhood. We decided to expand our run a little bit, and I certainly didn't mind because the weather was gorgeous! (And when I say gorgeous, we're talking upstate new york, so 50 degrees and sunny with a little breeze is a heat wave for us!) I turned my watch on and had it start to find our location the moment I step outside the hospital. It never found our location until over a mile into our run. I'm not really sure what to think about it, maybe it took a while to find our location because it was the first time trying since I was actually able to reset the time... I'm not sure. Back to the run, Linda and I ran just under 2.5 miles. It's been so great having a running buddy to run with after work! She and I have a very similar mentality - we both agree if we don't run right after work, the odds of getting out after we get home is slim. Plus, I LOVE having someone to talk to during the run, it makes the time and miles go by faster. Not to mention the safety factor, since we're running near the city, it's nice to be with someone if something happens.

About a mile into our run, I could already feel my hands swelling. Today I was very mindful of making sure I kept them moving and in different positions, even clinching my fists and relaxing my hands. I even made the comment to Linda when I was waving my arms in the air above my head that I felt like Kermit the Frog when we waves his arms and screams. Picturing this in my head as we were running made me laugh! Then I came home and found this, it's too perfect:

(No joke, I probably looked just like this during our run, haha)

We got back to the hospital and walked back into the Cardiology department. Just as we were walking in, one of the cardiologists was coming out of our break room. Linda told him to look at my hands. I showed him how swollen they were and told him we only ran 2.5 miles, and imagine how they looked after running 13.1 miles. He took one look at them and immediately told me I need a calcium channel blocker, Linda agreed. Now I have even more to talk to my cardiologist about. I am SO thankful I work in the cardiology field, I've learned a lot about myself. Next time they swell, I NEED to take a picture of them.

Back to the Garmin for a hot second, I bit the bullet the other day and ordered a new Garmin any way. I decided on the Garmin Forerunner 220 with the heart rate monitor. I figured the heart rate monitor could not hurt. I'm really excited to get my new watch, and I received notification that it shipped today!

Next tid bit (I need to get better at my segues). Last week Raw Threads did an April Fools Mystery Pack sale. The deals were so great! If you've never purchased anything from them, they are truly the softest shirts I've ever felt. The thing about the Mystery Packs was you ordered a pack in a certain style and/or category. I personally chose the T-shirts villains mystery pack. The packs were sorted by T-shirts, tanks, racer back tanks, headbands and hoodies. Then you could choose a total mystery pack, a good girls mystery pack, fairy mystery pack and/or villains mystery pack. The only options you needed to select was which pack and what size you wanted. Raw Threads did the rest. The picked out 3 random shirts, tanks, etc in the category you selected and mailed them to you. They did not take requests for specific characters, and since the deal was so great, they also are not accepting returns. Well, mine came in the mail today, and I love my selection! I really hope they do this sale again in the future, it seemed very popular!!

This weekend I'll be heading to State College, PA for my Alma Mater's (Penn State) spring football weekend, better known as Blue and White weekend. I've been looking forward to this weekend since my last trip down to visit my friends. Not only is it our spring football weekend, but on Sunday there is a 5K race to benefit the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania. The race is the Paterno Family Beaver Stadium Run, and it is a blast!!

(Dani and me before last years Beaver Stadium run)

The 5K starts outside Beaver Stadium, loops around the campus (which is beautiful, if you've never been there), and leads you back to Beaver Stadium where you get to run through the tunnel into the stadium and finish on the 50 yard line of the football field. I can't think of a better way to finish a great weekend at what I consider to be the happiest place on earth (after all, it is called Happy Valley). I know some will argue with me that Disney is the happiest place on earth, but in my heart, Penn State always comes first, and Disney is a close second (and believe me, I will have PLENTY to post about Disney).

Chances are I won't have time to post before I leave for the weekend. I hope everyone has a great weekend (I know I will), and I'll post about my weekend and race recap once I get back!

QOTD: Where's your happy place? Is it somewhere people would never guess?

Monday, April 7, 2014

We've Had A Fatality... My Garmin

Sorry for the lack of post over the past few days, it's been a busy weekend. I was going to post last night, but decided to combine the post from yesterday with today's.

First things first. I plugged my Garmin Forerunner 10 into the outlet yesterday afternoon to charge it because I knew I was going to need it today after work. This morning I went to grab it off the charger and noticed that it had frozen. I've never experienced this before with my Garmin. It still said the battery charge was on one bar, and the time and date were stuck on yesterday.

I played around with it for a few minutes, and it would not respond to any key commands, or give me a charging indicator if I attempted to plug it into an outlet. I did have a few seconds to find the little instruction manual that came with it to throw in my bag on the way out the door to work. I found a minute this morning to glance through the manual, and I did find that to reset it you have to hold the power button for 15 seconds. So I did that, counting slowly in my head, and finally off it went. I pressed the power button again, and it turned on. It was trying to reset the time by GPS, which I decided to skip as I work on the main level of the hospital and get zero service and decided to reset it after work before my run.

Any way, last week one of the nurses I work with approached me and asked if I'd like to start running after work together. I was so excited when she approached me because it's so nice to have a running buddy! Linda and I decided on Friday that today would be our first day out running (rain or shine). Just our luck, the sun was out and it was gorgeous when we came into work, and by the time we clocked out at 4:30 it was pouring down rain and freezing, but we did say rain or shine!

We started out the back of the hospital and decided to do intervals. I set my watch to find out location, and told Linda it would take a moment, but we could start running. Wouldn't you know, my watch NEVER found our location throughout our entire run (which was 2 miles- I mapped it on RunKeeper). I am beyond frustrated that it is all of a sudden acting up on me for no good reason!! Looks like I'll be in the market for a new GPS watch. I had asked a friend about the Nike+ Sportwatch because I like it's capability of being use indoor (with the Nike+ shoe pod) and outdoor with the GPS. However, I really love my Garmin. I think I'll probably just upgrade my Garmin to the 220, and include the heart rate monitor option. It's $300.00, but I honestly think it would be good for me to include to heart rate monitor.

Next tidbit. While at work last week, one of the Cardiologists I work with said to me that they're now doing Melody Valves at Strong. Surprised to hear this, he then told me that it's even my cardiologist that is doing to valves! So now you're probably wondering what a Melody Valve is. It is the first FDA Approved transcatheter valve designed specifically for pulmonic valve replacements. The valve is fed through a tube in your groin, it travels up through the circulatory system. A stent is placed, and the valve is placed within the stent.

He said he didn't think I'd technically be a candidate for the valve because he thought I'd already need to have one there. We started talking about what could possibly warrant a valve implant for me, and he mentioned any change in symptoms. I don't necessarily have any symptoms, but one thing I did note was during/after my last half marathon. Mel and I were running into EPCOT and probably about a half mile from the finish when I went to shake and flex my hands and noticed how tight they felt. I looked at my hands and they were so swollen from edema. I showed Mel, and she agreed it was edema. Looking back, I wish I had taken a picture of them to show my cardiologist, but there are a few pics of me afterwards that you can see the edema. Granted, I'm sure it didn't help that my arms were at 90 degree angles for the duration of the race, but I think I'm pretty diligent about shaking them out, especially every time we'd reach a water stop. I was just so surprised at how swollen they were.

(It's a little difficult to see the swelling, but it's there)

Today after my run with Linda, she and I were walking out of the hospital to the parking garage, and I held up my hands and noticed they were a little swollen (no where near as bad as they were during the half), and she noticed too. Luckily, she agreed I wasn't making it up, and agreed it was definitely something I should bring up to my cardiologist this summer. Sounds like I now have a lot to discuss with my cardiologist.

QOTD: What GPS device do you run with, and what are the pros and cons?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Exact Moment I Decided to Become a Runner

How exactly did this running adventure of mine begin? I feel like certain memories (I guess ones that are important to me) are engraved in my mind like a home video. Sorry in advance if I bore you with all the details.

In the fall of 2011, I was over at my friend, Nita's house (you'll see me refer to her as roomie - we don't live together anymore, but we still refer to each other as such) for dinner. I had recently moved back to New York (State) from Pennsylvania, and it was nice to have such a great friend in the area to make my transition a little easier. After dinner, Nita was talking to her husband about flight plans for their trip to Disney in February. She was planning to run her first half marathon with her mother; the runDisney Princess 1/2 Marathon. This was the first I had heard of runDisney, I had no idea such a thing even existed. We got to talking about Disney and how I hadn't been since I was in the 3rd grade. Nita then asked me if I would be interested in going to Disney with her during the week before the race. It just so happened to fall on her February break from school, so she would be able to go for more than just the weekend of the race. Without hesitation, I said "Yes!"

I got home that night, and was curious what this runDisney business was all about, so I decided to explore their website. To my surprise, I noticed that they offered a 5K during the Princess 1/2 weekend. With registration still available for this race, I text Nita to see if she would be interested in running the 5K with me. I honestly thought it was a long shot, knowing she had to get up early the next morning for her half marathon. She agreed, and like that I was registered for my first 5K. I was so happy she agreed to do this with me, I'd have a friend to run with and keep me motivated during my first race. To be perfectly honest, I was a little nervous. I had never run more than a mile in my life - and only when I was forced to. What was I thinking?!

The next day, I went to work and was telling my supervisor and co-workers about my plans to go to Disney in February with roomie and run my first 5K. I told my supervisor that it was going to be my present to myself after passing my boards (during the fall of 2011 I spent a lot of my free time studying to pass my Echocardiography boards - so this seemed to be the perfect treat/motivation for me to get through the exam).

Fast forward to February 2012. Nita and I flew down to Florida and hopped on the Magical Express to Disney World. We flew down the Tuesday before the race so we had plenty of park time. Friday night rolled around, the night before the 5K, and I could not sleep. I won't lie, I was terrified. After all, this was my first race, and I just didn't know what to expect. I didn't sleep well and before I knew it, it was morning. I met up with Nita before the start of the race (She was staying with her husband at this point), and before I knew it we were off and running. The 5K races at Disney were not timed at this point in time (I still don't think they are, other than for the Dopey participants). I had a great time running around the World Showcase in EPCOT with roomie! It was so nice to see the characters along the course - such a great distraction! Before I knew it, we were crossing the finish line together, and I had officially completed my first 5K.

It was such a great feeling to know I had completed my first 5K. It was a milestone for me, and I was proud of myself.

That night I couldn't help but wonder what Nita was going through, trying to sleep before her first half marathon. I couldn't imagine how restless she must be, just knowing how I was the previous night before the 5K.

I woke up somewhat early the next morning to get to EPCOT to meet up with Nita and her mom after their half. Just my luck, as I arrived to EPCOT at one of the spectator spots, I had JUST missed Nita running by. I felt bad about that, but something wonderful happened. I became so overwhelmed by all the runners, that I was fighting back tears. There were runners of every age, shape and size, serious runners and runners out there to have fun with their friends. I saw hundreds of Princesses (and a few Princes - in tutus no less) running into the last mile of their half marathon. Running towards a goal. A goal to finish? A goal to PR? Maybe another goal? Who knew, but it was during this time that I stood watching the runners that I realized something - I wanted to become a runner. It was just so inspiring!

I made it a new goal to return in one year to run the 2013 Princess 1/2 marathon as my first half (after I got approval from my Cardiologist, of course). Roomie and her mom ran the race again too, and once again, roomie was there for me as I had reached yet another running milestone. 

QOTD: What made you decide you wanted to run? What was the first race you ran? Do you get restless the night before a big race?