Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Being stalked

About 6 months ago a lady in a minivan ran over the front wheel of our baby jogger. Our son, 8 months old at the time, was unharmed but it was a scary experience.

She came out from a parking lot, wanting to turn right. Did the usual long look to the left, while advancing onto the road. When she started looking right, she saw us and slammed on the brakes. I have seen this happen hundreds of times and have been the embarrassed driver on a few of those occasions.

Well, we made our eye contact and I even remember her giving us a sheepish smile. We started going. And so did she. Then things happened pretty quickly; The stroller was toppling over while I was holding on to it. The front of her van har missed it but the back wheel caught it as she was turning. The girl started pounding on the van and I kicked it while still holding on to the baby jogger. She drove on slowly, like she didn't know whether to stop and the sped up. The Girl grabbed the baby jogger and I ran after the van - and actually got the license number.

We called the police and an officer came to take a statement. He said since there was damage to property and she didn't stop, he would charge it as a hit-and-run.

I called a couple of days later to find out what was going on. They still hadn't found her, a guy said; it was probably not the right license plate number I had given them.

Then two months later, it turns out that the police did find her. She claimed to not know about the baby jogger being run over. As she puts it "I would have known if I had run over something, since I live in the country". Okay. The charges were lowered to inattentive driving, which probably just means a small ticket. Oh well.

But now it got weird. This lady had written to our hospital and to the state medical licensing board about being attacked by two doctors while driving peacefully in her car. Suddenly, we had to defend ourselves. Her letters were bizarre and she neglected to mention that the police already looked at the case (and that we were the ones to call the police). She talked about how I must have been on steroids at the time, since she had googled my name and found out that I was a runner.

Oh well, right? We decided not to contact her (ie. touch her with a ten-foot pole) to ge the stroller paid for. We figured she got what she wanted: a diminished penalty and not having to replace the stroller.

But no. We just got a letter from our boss at the hospital that she wrote another letter full of what he calls "confidential information" about us. She even writes that she knows that we were visiting town last week! And she is from another town, by the way, so it's not like she saw us.

So we have a stalker on our hands, apparently. These days, it's pretty easy to ruin someone's reputation, especially a physician's.

We regret reporting the traffic incident, since she got our names off the police report. We are worried about how she knows all this "confidential" information about us and how she knew we were in town. We worry about the kids, who have my unusual last name, and whom she could easily find.

We don't know if we should call the police and report her for harassment or what to do. The hospital is letting us know - in so many words - that the lady seems crazy, but they are still treating this as a patient complaint of sorts (big of sorts, as she was never a patient of either of us). Unfortunately, she is a patient at the hospital, so they do have to regard her letters with some seriousness.

Crazy stuff.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's off to America

It's off to America to see the kids. I can't wait to surrpise them after school tomorrow. Daughter knows we are coming, but not Son. It's been 4 months (almost) since he saw me, so I am a little worried about how he is going to react. Hopefully, it'll be just like where we left off.

We are lucky enough to have a non-stop flight from Copenhagen to Chicago. The Lorax is still a lap child so we are hoping for an open seat next to us. We'll practice Danish "History and Physicals" for as long as we can stomach it. The Girl will sleep, whereas I won't be able to. I'll watch three half movies and read the flight magazine a few times.

I hear Wisconsin is beautiful this time of year. Not. In fact, March is probably the worst month in Wisconsin; the skiing is gone but the trails aren't ready for running. And forget about biking. Hopefully, we'll get a few runs in on the old trails. The Girl's knee is getting better every day. It's not quite normal but she is back to running her usual amounts.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Goals for 2009

I ran a smooth 22 miles yesterday; felt stronger than ever during such a long run. The last five miles were at 6 to 6:15 minute miles. This is when I should be setting goals for the year.

There was a time in my 20s when I would say "I want to PR in everything", and some years this came true. Those days are over, but I still think there is a PR or two in me this year.

First off, my half-marathon PR is something I have an eye on. It's 1:13.54 and actually one of my stronger PRs, if not the strongest. On the other hand, it's probably the distance I am most comfortable with right now. And while it was set on a day (almost two years ago) when everything clicked, there was a headwind and it was cold.

I don't really have a marathon PR so if I run one, I guess it's a PR. But that's a little cheap, so I won't make it an official goal. If I end up running an official marathon, my goal will be sub 2:40, though.

My 10k PR, I think, is 33:32. I never felt like that PR was as fast as I could go. There were a few years when I ran tons of 5Ks and 5000s but just a few 10Ks (and never a 10,000, actually). To get that PR, though, I would need to do a little more speedwork. We'll see.

I don't think my 5K of 15:59 or 5000 of 15:57 are in danger. I'm too old; the speed is gone.

To keep myself honest, here are the official 2009 goals:

Half marathon 1:14.30
Marathon 2:40
10K 33:45
5K 16:20

What about ultras? Currently, there are non on the agenda (other than Trans-alpine, where the goal for me is to enjoy my honeymoon). If one pops up, we'll see.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I'm ready for a new season to start. The weight is pretty low; I am seeing 65s on the scale in the morning and am hoping to see a 64 before leaving for the US next week. My anal running rhythm was broken apart for two weeks but last night I was back at my "usual" evening intervals.

To my surprise, I beat my record substantially on that loop, by about 20 seconds over 5 miles of intervals.

I am ready to race. Next up is a half marathon in three and a half weeks. I hesitate to put a goal time down yet but I am guessing between 1:15 and 1:16. If it's a fast course, I may dip below 1:15. My PR at 1:13.53 will certainly not move.

Work is getting to me a little bit. The other day, a lady came to the clinic as a new patient. She came referred with a new diagnosis of a slow-growing lymphoma. Another doctor had told her that she would take a few pills and be cured and I had the pleasure of telling her that it wasn't so. You are never cured of the slow-growing type lymphomas, unfortunately, and she didn't take the news well. I am getting sick of delivering bad news and pushing chemo on patients.

We have 15-minute slots. If it's a healthy breast cancer checkp-up, it's in-out, feel for lumps, order new meds, dictate, and you can barely do it in 15 minutes. If someone has an active malignant disease, or comes in for their first chemo, it would be inhuman to even try to complete a visit in 15 minutes. Sometimes, patients have non-cancer comlaints, which are sort of fun to deal with, but they take time. By the end of the day, I am over an hour behind. Then the patients are mad about having cancer and being late.

The good news is what makes my day. Some people with cancer, lymphoma especially comes to mind, are horribly ill when they come to us and are cured because of our wonder meds. It feels like I'm some kind of high priest, when I read the "clean" PET-CT to the patients. Their scans can go from lighting up like a Christmas tree to being completely normal.

The Girl is getting good at Danish. She starts work in a few weeks. Her running has been better, though. Her knees hurt for some reason, and she won't take the needed time off. This all stems back to the marathon almost two months ago. She ran that race in racing flats, in the cold, almost exclusively on roads. A week off would cure her, but she won't do it.