Yeah I know I have been MIA. Traveling back to New Orleans, getting unpacked and in the swing of things again, making new friends, running a LOT, giving talks, and a surprise race has had me pretty busy this month (can you believe January is almost over?!)
Since getting back, I have started my 5-week medical nutrition therapy rotation at LSU University Hospital. There are four dietitians that work at this hospital, and I spent the first few days following them around, but have since graduated to getting a few patients of my own every day and taking care of whatever they need.
When patients get to the hospital, they undergo a whole screening/triage process, and if they trigger a question on the nutrition screen (like trauma, nausea vomiting or diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, etc.) we go see them. We also see patients when a doctor orders a consult, or when they have been in the hospital for an extended period of time, regardless of the reason. We may have to assign them to a diet for a specific disease state (i.e. renal diet, cardiac diet, pureed diet), order supplements (like high-protein drinks for gunshot wound victims to help them heal), calculate a tube feeding if they are unable to eat regularly, or educate a patient on the eating guidelines that they will have to follow in order to stay out of the hospital in the future.
How do I like it? Well, it’s okay. I like that I get to move around a lot and interact with a lot of people. It can be difficult sometimes, though, because when people are in the hospital they are far less likely to care about what a dietitian has to say than someone who has sought out your help (as in a private practice setting). Also, University is the only public hospital in the city so we get a bunch of crazies. Seriously. LOTS of gunshot wounds, stab wounds, homeless people with psychological problems, hoarders, you name it. Shit’s crazy. But it’s good. I do find that since I took my MNT class in undergrad a year early, I have forgotten a lot of the nitty gritty lab values and calculations but I’m makin it.
So, there are two goals that I have been chipping away at that I wanted to update you about. First:
Get Louie running better on a leash, take him on recovery runs.
Louie has been going to obedience starting the first week in January because we thought a little discipline might help prevent things like this:
I am proud to report that Louie is not the worst behaved dog at obedience! And also that he is doing way better on his leash, to the point that he came with me on a 2-mile run last Saturday without issue. He did a 4-miler the week before, but his pace drops significantly around mile 2.5 from a solid 7:30 to around 8:45, then I have to indulge him with a walk before he picks it up again. Pain in the butt.
So why was I running 2 miles? Have I regressed?
NO! This brings me to goal #2 that I have been chipping away at:
Run more races. Actually RACE them.
Let’s rewind to January 11th, the Friday a week before said race. I was hangin out with my running buddies, as usual, when one said “Hey I think I am going to run the Louisiana Marathon next week. You should come! You should run the half!” and so it was that I came to run the half at the Louisiana Marathon on Sunday, January 20th.
I was nervous. I wasn’t sure that I could run it as fast as everyone else seemed to think I could. I have never been able to pace myself, but I went out with a plan to start around 6:50s for the first three or so miles, then drop it to 6:47 for the middle miles, then if I was feelin good keep bringing it down to the finish. This worked, until I came up on the girl in front of me around mile 9. Instead of getting all gung-ho and trying to whoop her ass, I decided to make friends. I had been running alone the whole race and decided I could use the companionship. Not the best racing strategy – we promptly went from 6:45ish to 7+ pace…whoops? I had been surprised at how comfortable my paces felt, and I know I could have dropped i further and finish with a couple faster miles instead of slackin off like that. In the end, I overtook her to finish as the third female in 1:30:55.
I had a secret desire (that I secretly thought was over my ability) to run under 1:30, and now I know now that I can do it. The day was so perfect: the weather was gorgeous, the post-race food and beer selection was impeccable, all my friends running the race ran incredibly well, and there is just something about a marathon that makes everyone in the vicinity extra happy and friendly and it was AWESOME. Add to that a pretty good time, a podium finish, and you’ve got a recipe for renewed dedication to Boston training. Until last weekend, I wasn’t really sure that I’d be able to run under a 3:10 but I think I can now! Hoooooray!