Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Super Taper

The last few weeks have been hectic. Daughter has started school with mixed success; She is learning Danish at a decent pace and has made friends in school. The way she was born here but grew up in America makes her a little exotic, which helps. I have instructed the girls to tell her to speak Danish, whenever she uses English words. When I pick her up in the afternoon, two or three girls come up to tell me how much English she has spoken.

On the flip side, she fell off a slide and broke her front tooth. Stupidly, I forgot to pack her gym clothes last week; I had forgotten how even second graders take showers here. That was just one of maybe ten little things that showed her that we are not super-parents.

This weekend, we had two races. Saturday, we had a 4x5K relay. We have been running much less than normally this last month. I didn't know what to expect, but fared quite well. I got low 16s and the Girl got high 18s. The race was a little short, though. I got to run the first leg and probably took it a little too easy. I was way in front and cruising when I saw the 4K sign and realized it was almost over.

Our team got beaten by ten seconds! The winning team opened with one of their slower runners but slowly caught back up. The Girl, running the third leg, got passed 200 yards before the finish by their third guy. It turned out he handed off to a woman, which meant that not only had we lost our overall lead; we had lost the lead in the mixed division. There were nice money prizes, so this was a little depressing. Our fourth guy caught the woman, passed her, and she hung on. She ended up leaving him with a few K to go. Oh well, we had a good time. Maybe next year.

Then today, we ran a 14K trail race. It was probably the most beautiful course I have ever run on. I ran in a group of 4, holding back a little bit as I didn't know how the back-to-back races would treat me. The legs got really good with 5 miles to go and I decided to go it alone. I got 52 minutes, which I am happy with on that course.

The Girl got beaten pretty badly, however. There was one other woman there, who looked like she could remotely beat her and it turned out she was very fast. She ran it in 55 minutes, beating the Girl by 4 minutes. Still, the Girl's time was good, especially after the race yesterday, where she solidly PRd, even taking into account the short course.

We are looking good for Transalpine. Once in a while, the delusion that we can compete for the win enters my mind. The Girl is in great shape and, of course, she is the key factor. But I feel pretty good, too, and I will be the one pushing her, encouraging her, running ahead to fill up bottles etc. It definitely will be fun.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Goods and Bads of being back home

The Girl has been hinting that some of her excitement over being here is waning. We have almost daily discussions about going moving back to the US. I would certainly have burned every bridge back to a career in Denmark if I drop out of this fellowship; the Girl would have to apply all over again for residency in the US, probably unsure of which specialty to choose. So moving back is not ideal, either.

We have talked about working in Greenland or Norway, followed by a stint of international medicine. As of now, the Girl is starting in ophthalmology, something she used to be excited about. Now, she seems to talk more about OBGYN, a far cry from looking at old people with cataracts, which she will be doing all day tomorrow.

All in all, work isn't very exciting for either of us right now.

We've been back a week now, which, after two weeks vacation in Wisconsin, is always a shocker.

GOOOD: Daughter is here. She now essentially understands all Danish but she refuses to speak it. Tomorrow is her first day of school, so I expect her Danish to take off from there. She had a great couple of days with my parents. Yesterday, we hiked in the woods and told stories. She pretended to be too cool for it but, at the end, she asked if we could do that every Saturday. Today, we are playing tennis and going biking.

BAD: A guy with his daughter passed Daughter and me. I said hi and he looked at me with surprise and suspicion. I forgot we are back in Denmark, where one does not greet strangers spontaneously.

GOOD: One of the receptionists told me that a lot of patients had been disappointed that I was gone and had been leery of seeing one of the attendings instead of me.

BAD: I got paid for my ER moonlighting here. One can't help compare my moonlighting here to moonlighting in the US. Here, it's a very busy ER, where I work almost non-stop. There, it's a slow ER, where I have ample time to chat with nurses, watch movies and eat Hot Pockets. The pay, after taxes, is almost twice as high in the US.

GOOD: My legs are back on. I ran last night, through the dusky woods, and felt very fast. There are still pains here and there but, overall, I feel fine. The motivation is there to train for something, say a fast half marathon in October.