Saturday, October 15, 2011

Beautiful Wisconsin

Hi all. It's been a while, but we're on vacation here in La Crosse and life has been busy.

The overall project has been to set up shop for when we move here in December. We found a nice place to live (bottom floor of an old house). We have moved our stuff in and it already feels like home, although we haven't yet slept there. It's a wonderful old house, with a breakfast nook and creaky wooden floors. Unfortunately, so far, it's been nothing but trouble, with a gas leak that needed emergent fixing and a bathroom that was being remodeled the first few days of our moving in. But it's in the part of La Crosse that we wanted to live; right on the "grid", within walking distance of downtown and the bluffs.

It's going to be fun living here again. I know Natali is excited and even Andreas has indicated some satisfaction with having us around.

Christian is learning English the hard way - at the YMCA day care and by talking to his grandparents. It's amazing how he figures out how to say things, when it's something he really needs. He is so fascinated by everything, from the "Chucks" (trucks) to the "Punkins" outside people's houses.

I'm getting back into the world of the ER. Hematology is such a small field that we tend to consult on every little non-hematologic problem. That's just the culture at an academic center. In a small town ER, it's the exact opposite. No problem is too big or too small to be dealt with by me. I like this small town and the people in it, so I love working here. But, honestly, I miss that uber-specialized scope of hematology sometimes.

Running, you ask? Well, I completely tanked at the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon. Again, an unsuccesful road marathon for me. I was going for 2:45 but my private hope was low 2:40s. I ran the first half very slowly (1:24.xx), hoping it was slow enough to preserve my typical fast finish. But, as it turned out, the last few miles were terrible and I didn't even run a negative split (or, if I did, it wasn't very negative). My time was 2:49 something, which is a PR by 10 or 20 seconds.

I had lost a lot of weight, which had helped me PR on all my training runs, but the low weight didn't feel like a great advantage at the marathon. In any case, being here has made me put on a pound or two of fat, so I'm back in my "normal" weight range. I felt a little sub-manic for a few weeks, being so skinny, but it's very hard to maintain for me, especially being away from a routine.

Another problem with big marathons is running on pavement. Since I train on trails only, my legs were beginning to feel stale much sooner than I would have expected (probably around halfway). Afterwards, I made up my mind to race a trail marathon later this fall with a strategy of going out super hard, just to see what would happen. Now, that plan seems a little naive, but we shall see. I would need a marathon where I could easily drop out, like one with multiple loops, and I would need someone pacing me during the last half. It would be a fun experiment.

Training is going well. How could it not, in gorgeous La Crosse? I discovered a new trail that goes from the valley floor to the top of the bluffs. If you have seen La Crosse, it looks like the bluffs over the town are nothing but one big park, but that's unfortunately not the case. There is Hixon Forest, which has some amazing running trails, but there is also some private land up there. In between, there is the conservancy, which is a mix of private and public land, with undeveloped trails. Very few people go in there, so finding a runnable trail that goes all the way up to the top of the bluffs was very cool. I took the Girl out on it, and we had a nice run up it.

Well, the ER is quiet, so it's time for me to get some sleep.