Monday, November 2, 2015

mondays and musing

It's Monday. I for one, don't mind Mondays. Because I like routine and rhythm and that is what Monday represents.

It's almost 11am. I have taken my children to school, jogged with the dog, showered (and even washed my hair!), had my coffee (finally) and spent time in God's word.

There are dishes to be done. Dog hair to be vacuumed and countless other household tasks. A trip to Costco probably is necessary. And the husband asked me to get the pressure checked on the tires.

I have just 3 hours before pick-ups begin and the kids hit the house and a semi-organized chaos ensues.

But for me (when I'm not at work) the best Mondays start off with movement and time with Jesus. It sets me up well for the week. Sometimes I'd rather lounge on the couch with a second cup of coffee and recover from the busyness of the weekend (hello Halloween and 3 sports games). But I know on Monday, I need to set the tone for the rest of the week. And it starts with me. Setting the right tone within my soul which prepares me for all that life demands.

These days it seems like it demands a lot. So I must allow the Holy Spirit to pour through me, so that I can pour out what those around me need and what life requires.

I'll confess, I'm not always good at this. I lose my patience and my sanity along with it. I yell at my kids and am less than nice to my husband.

But that's where grace comes in and pours over me and I wake up in the morning to new mercies and a new day.

I hope your Monday has set a good tone for the rest of your week. And if it was a rough Monday, then there is always Tuesday.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

my kids are heartbroken and it sucks

My kids had their hearts broken today and it was absolutely devastating for me as a mother.

I am pretty sure we are cursed when it comes to getting a dog--or even a pet in general. Long story short, we've had two rabbits and two dogs (each for less than a week) that we've re-homed.

We promised the kids when I was in nursing school that we'd get a dog when mom got an RN job. We've been delaying for a few months now, but can no longer. We want a dog for the kids and both Bean and I do like dogs--we just know it's going to be a lot of work at first. After our past experiences we've decided a puppy is the best choice so it can learn our habits and routines as a family while it is young and impressionable.

There is a particular animal rescue center that has a lot of puppies coming through. We visited a few weeks ago to get a feel for the process. They have same day adoptions which makes things very easy. Today was the day we were to come home with a puppy.

See where this is headed? Was. 

Apparently it was adopt a pet day for a lot of families. We had to wait for some time to meet the our top puppy picks and then after selecting one, we waited another hour + to actually go through the adoption process. When they went over the medical history of the puppy we found out she had a heart murmur which isn't problematic currently, but in the future the dog may need medication and have to limit her activity.

I have three children who want to play with and walk this dog 24/7. Activity restriction wouldn't work. Nor did we want to have to deal with additional vet expenses.

So we made the very difficult decision to not adopt the dog. By then, the other dogs we were interested had been adopted as well.

Three hours later we drove way with three sobbing children in the van.

It was awful. My kids haven't experienced much emotional pain at this point in their lives, but today was wrought with it. We all had our hearts set on bringing a puppy home.

The 25 minute ride home was awful. One child continued to cry. The others were despondent, with dried trails of tears down their cheeks. Bean and I felt terrible and were so sad for our children, even though we knew we made the right decision for our family.

I felt like I got a taste for what it will be like as my girls get old and experience the heartbreak of broken friendships, disappointment and romance. I don't like it at all. I want to protect my girls and keep them from pain. But I know I can't.

It's going to be a few days before we can go back for another adoption. In the meantime I am praying (TRULY asking God) that new puppies come in that are even more perfect for us and my kids can fall in love with.

And I will be asking for a medical report BEFORE we meet any puppies.

Cause I NEVER want to have a pet failure again. And I WANT to bring a puppy home.

And thus ends another chapter in the Bean family pet saga.

Let's hope the next chapter starts soon and has a happy ending.

Friday, August 21, 2015

race report: my first DNF

I haven't done many races the past few years, mostly because being in nursing school didn't leave time for actual training or money for race fees. In fact, I don't do a lot of races in general because I don't like paying for them. I'm hoping going forward in life to do a few races a year that I choose for location and for the experience with friends. I'm actually running So Cal Ragnar (finally) next April and registered for the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon for $50. I like deals!

Traveling for races is challenging for me due to my job, family and budget so I tend to pick races close to home. I'd been eyeing a trail race that takes place on the trails I've started running. 10 minutes from home--easy, peasy. I put off registering to see if I had the day off work--and then the race was full. However they opened a few more spots for the half marathon and even though I was probably more trained for the 15k I went ahead and registered.

Then I took a fall 3 weeks before the race.

I seriously bruised both knees and the scabs were deep and restrictive to movement. It took a good 10-14 days for it to not hurt when I walked and to actually attempt to run.

I'm working nights right now, so my running time is somewhat restricted. I ran twice and hiked once in the days prior to the race. I did a bunch of low-impact DVD workouts in an attempt to keep up my fitness.

The Stairway to Heaven 15k/Half Marathon prides itself on being a challenging trail race. And it's in the middle of August, known for HEAT in San Diego. I knew all this going on. But I decided I would just do my best, even if it was slow and grueling.

I worked on the Thursday night and Friday night prior to Sunday's race. I got decent sleep during the day, but it's never quite the same. The first night I sleep after working a few nights it can be challenging to get back into a good sleep pattern. I didn't sleep great on Saturday night, although I did sleep some.

I woke up Sunday feeling tired, but what else is new?! I was thankful I didn't have a long drive. Check in was easy, got my bib and then had maybe 30 minutes to wait before the start of the race. I met a few moms in the San Diego Moms Run This Town Facebook group which was fun. It was beautiful at the start, but already over 70 degrees. At 7am.

And then we were off. The first few miles were fairly easy and I was feeling good. I was wearing my Polar A300 which showed just my heart rate and the elapsed time. I didn't stress about pace or mileage. I figured I'd finish in around 3 hours due to all the climbing involved.

A few miles in was a crazy 3/4 hill climb. I've done this hike once or twice before and knew it was intense. There was no running involved for me.

This was the start of the climb. It ends at those poles at the top.

Finally, the top of the crazy hill!! Next we had some downhill and then repeating a short loop twice with climbing and descent. At this point I decided this was just going to be a good hike. It was getting hot and by mile 5 or so my body was reminding me we hadn't truly run in 3 weeks. I ran flats and downhill when I could but even then I did some walking. I texted my husband a little more than an hour in that it was looking like a 4 hour race for me, which was also the time limit.

After the loops there as a flat portion before we reached the namesake of the race--the Stairway to Heaven.  Another crazy ascent of more than 500 feet. The race in total was a 2500 gain. That's a lot of climbing. It's not easy to see in this picture, but the important fact is that we climbed a steep track to the top of that ridge.

A few hundred railroad ties provide footing on the way up.

This was the first time I have ever stopped to rest during a race, or even a trail run. But the temperature at this point was at least 90, probably higher and I started really feeling the heat and fatigue. My heart rate was staying elevated, so I stopped a few times for a short rest.

It was CLEAR I was not well trained for this event. And I needed more than 1 night of recovery sleep after working. There was a lot of positive and motivational self-talk going on in my head to keep me going. I also started telling myself that I should do more hiking and walking in general. And I wondered WHY I hadn't done these particular hills more during my runs on these trails.

Once I finally reached the top I was feeling spent. I carried a water bottle with me and had one pack of Honey Stinger chews. I had intended to bring two packs with me but forgot to buy another. My stomach didn't feel great, so I ate just a few chews at a time. I did down at least 3 or 4 bottles of water. I am not sure what was up with my stomach. This is something that has happened to me before at races. I don't know if it's the stress/anxiety of the race. It hadn't been a great week for my stomach in general. I really need to work on my nutrition and hydration techniques. I haven't raced much since going Paleo and a lot of the typical nutrition just doesn't work for me. This means I need to do some longer training runs to practice my fueling.

Next I had to go back down that huge hill--I did run most of it, but by now my feet and toes were hurting in addition to my body being tired. At the bottom of the hill there is an aid station and the 15k'ers headed toward the finish while the half marathon had 3 more miles. I should have just decided to finish with the 15k'ers. That would have been smart.

I headed on to the last 3 miles, telling myself I could do this. We were back on familiar trails. Then the curveball came. Part of the last little bit included another short climb. One I hadn't done before and even though I knew it couldn't be that long, it really threw me. I was with a few others at this point and we were all giving each other a pep talk. We had less than 2 miles to go, we could do this.

So I started up the climb and aimed for 20-30 seconds of climbing with a 10-second rest. A few minutes in and I had to sit down. I sent the others on. I was fighting feeling lightheaded at multiple points in the last few hours of the race. I'd rest, recover and move on. This time, recovery wasn't coming so fast. I tried to stand up again and I was dizzy.

 I sat down again.

And I knew I was done. I just couldn't do it. I didn't know how long this last stretch would take me and I didn't want to fall or pass out. And I was cutting it very close to the time limit as well and with how I was feeling even if I continued I wouldn't make the cut-off. It was utterly humbling. I got my phone out and called my husband. I said "I'm done" and his response was "congratulations, you did it!". I replied, "no I mean I can't finish, I have two miles to go but I am lightheaded and just can't do it. I'm dropping." 

He quickly became very concerned and wanted to come pick me up. I assured him I could make the few minute walk back down to an asphalt road and then walk in to the finish, hopefully finding an aid station or someone to get me a ride.

This is my "I just dropped from a race with less than 2 miles to go and earned my first DNF" selfie. I struggled at the end of my full marathon, but that didn't even compare to how spent I felt at this moment. 

Oh, and by this point it was over 100 degree. I'm sure at least my last hour or more was spent in over 100 degree weather. And while I was drinking water, I wasn't taking in any electrolytes and my nurse self should have known I wasn't able to absorb the hydration properly.

I made my way to the street and started my walk of shame. A race crew member on a bike approached me and was so kind to say "the half marathon finishes the other way." Nope--I'm not finishing, I can't go on, I need the shortcut. She was very helpful and offered me Gu (decline) and a salt tab, which I took. I told her I'd keep on towards the finish.

Another 10 minutes passed and a woman I started that last climb with came up behind me with congratulations. But I told her I turned around and cut--but she did awesome!

And then glory, a cart drove by with some other racers on the back who weren't finishing. I didn't recognize them and figured they must have been behind me (maybe 15k'er) and were being swept. I had no qualms about asking to squeeze in for a ride to the end. The driver of the cart was so sweet--after everyone offloaded he came to me as I was trying to get myself together to figure out where to go for some recovery and quietly said "I'm going to drive you back to where I picked you up and then   I will follow you in. You were so close and I want you to finish." I wanted to cry as I told him that was very kind--but I had already taken a short cut when he picked me up and I just couldn't do any more.

He directed me to someone who took me to an aid tent where several others were recovering from heat stroke and heat exhaustion. They got me glasses of cold electrolytes (yay Nuun) and used ice to cool me down. I kept breaking down into tears I was just so overwhelmed by everything, in addition to being sad I had to drop.

The hubs had been texting me about every 5 minutes for an update and wanting to know where I was so he could pick me up. There are several trailheads to this area so even though he was familiar with the trails he didn't know where to find me. I kept assuring him I was fine, I would recover and could make the 10 minute drive home. After the 20th text asking where I was, I relented and told him. He showed up quickly full of concern. While I know I COULD have managed, I was grateful he came and it was a comfort to have him there.

After 20 or 30 minutes in the aid tent I was feeling up to moving again. The minivan was parked very close so I didn't have far to walk.

I ate two bananas and took a shower at home and dozed on the couch for over an hour. It took quite a while for me to even feel hungry. I drank more water. I used the porta potty probably around 6:30am and didn't have to pee again until after 2. Yeah, definite hydration issues.

The middle girl had a sleepover planned at grandma's and the other girls wanted to go bowling. The frigid air conditioning felt amazing as I chugged another bottle of Nuun and water. I managed to bowl a few frames--including a strike--but my feet were so sore that the snazzy bowling shoes hurt.

It was good for me to get out and be with my family and be reminded of what's important. I felt bad that my morning had turned out to be so long and I was so wiped afterwards that I was pretty useless. My kids didn't really care that I didn't finish the race, they were rather intrigued with my story. And hopefully if they are ever in a situation like mine, they will remember that their mom was brave enough to drop, when pushing to the end is more my style.

You have to take care of you and no finish line is worth more than you are. Family is what matters most and in the future I will choose my races more carefully and plan around them because while running feeds my soul and is a great outlet for me, it is just as important to me that it not take away from my family.

This race taught me a lot of lessons...more to come on that later.

I guess all runners need a good DNF story. Hopefully this will be my only one.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

monday musings, on a Tuesday

Another night shift post.

It's Monday morning and I have two hours left of my shift. We have a team meeting this morning for work and I'm trying to decide if I'm going to stay for two more hours or come in later this week for an alternate meeting time. I think it will be a last minute decision. While I'd like to go home and sleep ASAP, I also don't necessarily want to come back on a day I'm not working.

The good news is my knees are almost totally healed and I can run again. The bad news is I haven't had much opportunity to run since I've been able...and I have a half marathon in a week. A trail race that is known to be particularly difficult. The one thing I have going for me is these are the trails I run frequently so it's familiar territory. I never intended for this to be a goal race, just something I wanted to complete and I have no doubt I will, it just may be a little ugly in the last few miles.

I have the next three nights off before I work two more nights. I feel like I need 5 or 6 nights off to normalize. I've been really tired the past several days and haven't been sleeping great when I'm off at night. I don't know if it's part of my adjustment to nights or if I haven't been taking care of myself well enough. I have a good stretch of days off at the end of the month that I am definitely in need of. I had a week off in February prior to starting my new grad program, so I think I am due for short vacation from work.

Really what I want to do is go sit by a pool in the desert. Which was the plan. Until we realized how expensive it would be to actually get the dog we promised our kids two years ago. (yes we are getting a rescue, but even those aren't cheap). So we gave them the choice--vacation or dog. Guess what they chose? I will be cleaning up rivers of puppy pee instead of floating in a lazy river. All for the kids friends, all for the kids.

However, I do have a trip planned with my best friends in September that involves heat and pools and the hubs and I are going out of town to celebrate our anniversary in October. So more mini-vacations are on the horizon.

So I started this on a Monday...but finishing on a Tuesday. Embrace the day, whatever day it is!

I can't believe the kids start school again in less than a month. In some ways I'm ready, in some ways I'm not. I will miss our slower mornings, but I will enjoy more time to run on the trails again. I've decided that school should start around 9am. For two weeks the kids had to be at VBS at 9am and it was so much more doable than the 7:45am school arrival time. And this year will be even earlier with a middle schooler. With sports and other activities even during the school year, it can be hard to get the kids in bed on time. If only I ruled the world.

Living in Southern California I also think summer vacation should be from July to October. September is often one of our hottest months and June is more mild. The kids often can't even go out to recess several times during the first weeks of school due to heat advisories. So they should just be home and going to the beach instead!

This life is crazy, and fun. Exhausting and rewarding.

Bring it, Wednesday.

Monday, August 3, 2015

oh my belly

I feel like most of my adult life has been plagued by belly issues.

In all likelihood that the college cafeteria was the beginning of these troubles. Growing up I don't recall having any belly or bathroom issues. My mom didn't work most of my life and we also didn't have a lot of extra money in our monthly budget. We very rarely ate out and my mom prepared most of our meals at home. Sure we ate our share of Mac&Cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but my consumption of processed foods and snacks was probably much lower than the average kid today. Truthfully, my own kids eat a lot more junk than I ever did.

But hello dorm life and all the sugary cereal you can eat for ANY meal along with Diet Coke on the way to an 8am class (I was not yet a coffee drinker) and ice cream on demand? While I tried to consume my fair share of salads and vegetables, most of the foods available were prepared quite differently than I was used to.

In my early 20's I started using antacids, proton pump inhibitors and whatever stomach pain medications the doctor prescribed. In retrospect, I suspect my gallbladder was waving warning flags that it was filling with stones--but as a healthy, young and not overweight individual, no one ever considered that. I had a video camera put down my throat into my stomach looking for problems, but everything was deemed normal.

My gallbladder really went crazy after my pregnancy with my first daughter and after months of pain, weight loss and misery we finally found the problem and it was removed. But the stomach problems weren't solved.

Now, almost 20 years later I deal with a myriad of issues. I have discovered I am gluten-intolerant. Gluten gives me migraine headaches and major stomach upset. Recently, grains have caused bloating, digestive discomfort and minor headaches also.

I've eaten gluten-free for 3+ years now and eaten a primarily Paleo diet for about 2 years. Yet the issues continue.

Tonight I wasn't in the mood to eat the food I brought to work. So I ordered hard boiled eggs, 2 pieces of bacon and a hash brown.

Now an hour later I feel my belly bloating over the waistband of my pants and filling out my shirt more than it was earlier tonight. My stomach is crampy and gassy.

Was it the additives in the bacon? Or the grill it was cooked on? Was it the grill or oil used for the hash brown?

I took my enzymes but it just wasn't enough.

This is my life. I love food. But I hate food.

It's time to buckle down and fix this belly. I can't give in and order food because I just never know. The hope is that if I heal my gut, I won't have such strong reactions to contamination.

I recently started seeing a holistic doctor. He's pretty sure I have leaky gut syndrome. There could be a variety of causes. To fix it, I need to get really strict with my diet and take some healing supplements as well. Testing showed I am not digesting fats, I have no beneficial bacteria in my gut and I have some candida as well.

It's nice to know what I'm dealing with and have an action plan.

The discipline is the hardest part.

But as I sit here with a crampy, bloated belly I know I can complain no longer and I just need to remember this feeling. Even when I go with "safe" foods, my gut just can't handle them. Next time, I'll eat my wild canned salmon and greek olives.

I want a happy belly.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

sunday ramblings

It's 5:35am and I have about 90 minutes left of my 12-hour shift. It's been a long night and I can't wait to go to sleep. Working nights isn't terrible. I will get to spend a few hours with my family this afternoon before coming back to work. But some nights can be a little slow and hence loooong. I still am amazed every morning that I have managed to be awake all night and actually function. I rejoice when I see the daylight start to come from my patient's rooms.

We were talking about taking a short vacation to the desert at the end of the summer. We all love pools and swimming and the desert is pretty inexpensive during the summer when it's 100+ degrees. We've also been promising the kids a puppy for, oh, years. Today reality hit that getting a puppy and going on vacation are about the same price and we can't do both.

Of course the kids are choosing the dog although Bean and I would rather have the vacation! I have a stretch of days off approved so my guess is we will be training a puppy and have a staycation instead. I know it will be worth the joy and happiness the kids will experience finally getting the dog they've been waiting for.

Being a nurse truly is a great profession for a mom. I just finished having three nights off and while the first day is more recovery from the night shifts before, I love the multiple days off with the kids without even thinking about work. Now I will work two nights and then have another three off. Not all weeks work out that way, but it's usually my goal to get a couple good stretches of days off each 4-week schedule.

I'm recovering from a nasty fall while trail running.

A photo posted by beana619 (@beana619) on
It's not uncommon to trip a bit on a rock--and most of the time you can catch yourself. But not always. Last Sunday was my "not always". I tripped on a rock and flew forward, the brunt of the force going to my knees, especially my left one. I got pretty big abrasions on each knee along with massive swelling and bruising. Now a week later it still hurts to walk, although not as badly as the first few days. The bruising is an issue as well as the tightness of the scabs.

The worst part is I haven't run in a week!! And we know Mama Needs to Run. I'm hoping by Wednesday or Thursday I'll be able to run again without pain. I have a challenging trail half marathon in a few weeks and I need to get in a couple more good runs to feel solid for the race. I don't have any real goals except that I want to feel good the whole time and finish strong.

A photo posted by beana619 (@beana619) on

In some ways summer seems to be flying, but we are all really enjoying it. My 11-year loves staying up til 11pm and sleeping til 10:30am. School is going to be a rough transition for her! I love slower mornings when I'm off or sometimes waking early to get my workout done and being able to still relax and enjoy a lazy cup of coffee afterwards because we have no where to be. Every summer I plan to have my kids continue reading regularly and doing some academic work--but the truth is, it never happens. I'm sure their teachers will thank me if I enforce it this last month of summer. I have great intentions...we will see if I can actually make it happen.

I'm off to finish my last patient cares for the shift and then off to sleep!

Happy Sunday.

Monday, July 20, 2015

back to nights

It's known in nursing that you have to put in your time on night shift. It's where most start out. On my particular unit we rotate 8 weeks of nights and 4 weeks of days during our first year of nursing. Nights are typically quieter and the pace is slower. There is no coordination with physical therapy, rarely do we discharge on night shift and there are just less people around overall. And if you're lucky--your patients SLEEP! It's a good shift to find your feet in nursing and get comfortable with routines and common procedures.

Days are often nuts! Our unit has a high turnover and it's not uncommon to discharge and admit multiple patients in one shift. Many days I hardly stop moving and barely have time to think. My first 4 weeks on my own happened to be on days...and thanks to a great supportive unit, I survived!

But now I have made the transition back to nights after being on days for over two months. It's bittersweet. I look forward to things being a little slower. But then there's that whole staying up all night thing. And trying to sleep during the day while the kids are OUT of school. Nights aren't so bad when I can sleep during their school day.

Here's to hoping the transition goes smooth. And most importantly that I find the time to run enough to feel sane each week!