Friday, March 15, 2013

Pussy Cats, Herons and David Bowie

Pussy Willows, the Marsh, March 2013

My first memory of pussy willows is my childhood best friend's cat, with same name. Pussy Willow was an appropriately colored cat and I think she came after Josie (named after Josie and the Pussy Cats). Any way, I also have early memories of picking pussy willows in the woods near our home and enjoying the softness of their grey blossoms. It was less toxic for me than the cat version, being anaphylactically allergic to cats.

As Wendell Berry notes in his poem, it is best to go to the wild places when your life presents you with wild twists and turns. The meeting wild with wild thing is perhaps not very intuitive, but it works every time. Which is a very impressive success rate for any medication. Take one dose of night heron, and call me in the morning. I learned when running in the marsh the other day, followed by a long walk with a friend in the marsh (with closer attention to detail), that we are known for our night herons. Between the pussy willow and the night herons, it was a great dose of wildness. Not a bad run either. Though I could not get the theme song for "Josie and the Pussycats" out of my head.

Today I ventured out on a route I generally have been avoiding, due to traffic and tragedy. But the sun was out, and I just started out heading that direction and next thing I knew, there I was. I hugged the curb, scowled at speeding cars and listened to David Bowie's new album a little too loudly under headphones. This album is said to confront mortality, love and war so it seemed perfect for the occasion. Mostly though it has a good beat, and the song "Dancing out in Space" has a perfect running cadence. I was sub 7 by the last mile of the 10 that I ran today, and I owe it all to David.

I am feeling oddly hopeful about this year. I mean, everything is more or less in constant chaos, but I have a lovely family and I like doctoring so it could be worse. And I am super excited about these three things:
1) June 16: San Francisco Marathon
2) September: Running and Good Eats camp
3) December: 50 miles on trails

Ignore chaos. Set outrageous goals. Take a daily dose of wild. Keep running. And never forget the 1970's.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Wild Horses and Border Collies

It is not uncommon for people to get delirious while in the hospital (I am talking patients here, doctors and nurses hopefully stay oriented, for the most part). And a surprisingly common request occurs with the confusion colloquially known as sundowning: "Call The Sheriff!"

I sometimes wonder if my job would not be easier if I went to sheriff school and got to wear a gold star on the lapel of my white coat. Thus could I ride in on my white horse to the rescue. "Why I am the sheriff Ma'am. Now why don't you just take those antibiotics and get a good night's sleep?"

A good night's sleep. That is the key to everything that matters. It does worry me a bit that I have not had one for about 16 years (beginning of med school, first child).

I finally got my mileage up to around 60 miles/week. The running feels good, but then I hit this little snag called a 70 hour work week and man was I fried. I successfully ran in the morning before work the first few days, but then the fatigue kicked my ass and by Saturday, it was all I could do to get up and make coffee. Sunday though I started to feel alive, and ran. And find myself with 2 new aches in my foot.

Wow that was a lot of whining.

I bet the sheriff never whines. And, aside from my incredibly attentive husband, it has been a very long time since anyone has ridden in on a white horse to save me.

So what does one do to find balance, that peculiarly modern quest of the relatively well to do?
One could start by not running marathons and ultras. Ha.
One could start by choosing a less insane professional life. Ha ha.
Wild horses couldn't drag me away from either.

I just need to sleep more. And to ice my foot. And to eat better. And to cuddle my dogs. And to stop whining.

Buster says "Stop your whining and take me for a walk!"