Friday, January 16, 2009


I'm at it again. The scale said 68.2kg one morning last week. Which means it's dieting time again.

I try not to eat too much during the day; I allow myself a decent supper and then nothing after supper.

I was down to 66.2 this morning. Usually I take a break in my diet over the weekend but we'll see this time. I am pretty motivated to lose weight right now.

The running is good. I have found a good route for running in the dark, where I will do intervals twoce a week. The intervals will become shorter as the key races begin but right now it's 6x1400m. No injuries at all.

My job is crazy. The work hours are great compared to the US. But I am just so damn unprepared. Doing rounds isn't too bad. I know a lot of stuff they don't. Sometimes, people think it's fun to hear me talk about how I am used to doing stuff; sometimes, it gets in the way of their routines. Like today, a guy with a lung cancer that has spread into his ribs. It's the only place he hurts, so putting a topical pain patch on would make sense. Instead, he is getting so much morphine he is sleepy and confused. It turns out they don't have pain patches (like Lidoderm in the US) so it wasn't an option. Everyone uses them in the US and they seemed like they had never heard of them here. We finally found some EMLA patches, the kind you use on kids before drawing blood, but they weren't nearly big enough.

The clinic is where I flounder. People come in with all their cancers. And, being a hematology fellow, I would see only hematologic cancers. But, no, I see breast, colon and lung, too. Which is fine; I don't mind learning. But everything is so hard on me. I am not familiar with the chemo regimens; I don't know when to worry about symptoms, when to get more scans, when to take a break from the chemo.

As strange as it sounds, my life got 50% better last weekend. We bought a webcam here and I had bought one for the kids in Wisconsin. Suddenly, they were right there on the screen. It was hard not to cry a little. Just seeing them smile and move around. I hadn't spoken with Son in over a month, because he just doesn't like talking on the phone. Now, he wants to talk.

Daughter is coming in four weeks. Wow, do I look forward to it. It's what I think about before I go to sleep every night. Then I get to see both of them in March. It's strong stuff. I wonder why so much fiction is devoted to describing the love between men and women. Not that I don't get it; it's definitely strong stuff. But I can't remember ever seeing a movie about someone missing his kids or reading a poem about it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Half marathon with a baby jogger

As I had the babysitting duties yesterday, I had planned a fun race with the Lorax in the stroller. I used to hate (and probably still do, but I haven't seen anyone do this in a while) when people would line up near the front of a race with a stroller. As such, I found a spot in the way back of the pack.

Unfortunately, the race meandered around some pretty narrow trails for the first half mile, which meant I was forced to start very slowly. Once things opened up, I was able to run close to normal race pace. As I later found out, this was because of a backwind and lack of hills.

The first 5 miles went well. I worked my way up to third place and was gaining on the two leaders when we turned into the wind and started climbing hills. I was forced to walk up the hills and was passed by around 10 guys, all of whom offered encouragement.

The worst hills and wind happened aorund mile 6. Then I yo-yo'ed for a while between different groups, depending on the wind and the grade. This was a fun way to see a race, as I would pass and get passed by the same guys over and over again.

Thankfully, the last 2 miles were downhill and with a backwind. I eventually worked my way back up to fourth place, which actually meant I ended up in the money prizes. They had the strangest system; everyone in the top 5 got about $60. It's not much but it's still pretty cool that they have prizes.

The Girl, of course, won the marathon. With that course and the wind being so strong, her time of 3:39 was probably equivalent to a 3:20. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a proud husband, as I stood there with the Lorax and watched her come in. She was coughing and her back hurt, but otherwise she was in decent shape.

A fun day was had by all. I talked to a Norwegian couple. The guy had taken second in the half marathon and the woman had won the women's half marathon. They came a long way to race but, of course, they stayed in Copenhagen and made a trip out of it.

Overall, I think races in Denmark are a little less competetive than in the US. Not slower; in fact, they are probably a little faster. But people act a little like they do at ultras in the US. Maybe it's because the two races we have run have both been races that the same crowd runs year after year. Certainly, the Girl has gotten some strange looks, like "who are you to come and win our race?" from some of the other women.

So she won again. I'm not sure where the next race is at. There is a pretty competetive race in our town around Easter that I am looking forward to. When I was in my peak 5K shape 7 years ago, I won it narrowly and scored some decent prize money. It looks like I could win the 10K if things click that day (34:26 last year). The Girl will have to PR to win the women's 10K (41:45 last year).

This will be a good season.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Coaching the Girl

It's always been fun to try to "coach" the Girl. I remember the first time we ran an interval together; we were just friends back then. I met her running on a beautiful morning two years ago and we ran together for a while. Macho as I was (Note: I am still macho, but I used to be, too), I didn't want to break up my interval routine and told her I had two left. The Girl suggested that she run with me; to which I told her that I was the fastest man in town, and that she may not be able to keep up.

So we took off at a good clip. I looked over at the Girl and she was sprinting like she was chasing a soccer ball or running to save a baby from falling into a swimming pool. I ran on for a while, stopped and looked back. The Girl came jogging in, stating that she got bored with running so fast.

Time has passed and I have been able to make a few changes in her regimen. She does real long runs now, which is probably the most important change. We do a little speed work also, but nothing too consistent. On recovery days, I beg her to not run for more than an hour but that usually doesn't go over too well with her. It's two hours a day, or else.

The problem is that the Girl has gotten to a point where she wins or gets top 3 in most of her races off no structured training. I keep telling her that she could be hyper fast if she would start training for real. To no avail.

My best ally in this would be a local, fast woman about the same age as the Girl, who could beat her in a race. She would go nuts, I bet, and come crawling for advice. When I imagine this, the Girl is naked when she comes crawling, but figurative crawling would do, too.

She does get beaten in races, of course, but there is always a (admittedly, valid) excuse. The women who beat her in shorter races are all college runners and the people who beat her in ultras are all much, much older.

But I digress.

Turns out we are running the marathon on Sunday, anyway. That is, I will run the half marathon with the Lorax in the baby jogger. She will run the marathon. She will win it, almost certainly, but we don't agree on what time she should aim for. Her PRs are 5K 19:45, 10K 42min, Half 1:32, Marathon 3:43. I say, in a winter marathon, going for a 3:30 would be a reasonable goal. The Girl wants a 3:10! In the winter, in the cold. Without competition, on a hilly course, she expects to PR by a half hour.

I tell her to go through 10K in 50 mins and then reevaluate. She doesn't like it but we'll see how it goes.

The races are pretty non-competitive. Nevertheless, there are money prizes for the top 5 in each race. The winner in the half marathon last year ran in 1:17, which I don't think is possible with a baby jogger. But I do hope to get in the top 5.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The running has been good here. I am not timing anything, nor do I have any specific expectations right now. Things are just clicking away really nicely. The running is gorgeous aruond here and the weather is good for running.

We did have to cancel a marathon we had planned for next week, because we couldn't find anyone to watch the Lorax. It wasn't supposed to be a key race anyway.

I found myself driving alone at night the other day and must have cried on and off for half an hour. I miss those kids so much. 50% of the time, this move seems like the mistake of a lifetime. The other 50% of the time, I am willing to give this path the benefit of the doubt; but just barely.

I start my new job tomorrow. It's ridiculous how little I know about hematology. It seems like the first 6 months I function more or less as an internist dealing with hematology and oncology patients, almost exclusively on an inpatient basis. Then I get my own clinic after 6 months. I am nervous.