The Drop Bag v.2
|June 28, 2021||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Short mini posts on whatever…a drop bag of topics that I write during the week and then share. Enjoy!
Fig’s riding lessons
Fig asked me for riding lessons enough times that she finally convinced me it was her own idea and not something she was doing to please me.
Bonnie, my friend, barn owner, FFA advisor, and polo coach (briefly in college) started her out like she does all the young ones – riding beside her on an old polo horses.
I haven’t given Fig any riding instruction (she’s now five, for any one trying to keeping track!) beyond some passive bare back lead line ride, and various instructions of “stand here,” “don’t run up behind them,” and “there’s a no shrieking rule when you are around or on horses.”
I made a conscious decision not to teach my daughter to ride before this point. There was plenty of time to learn the vocabulary and the mechanics of riding if that’s what she decided she wanted to do. In the meantime, I wanted certain things to just be a fact of life – the movement of horses, horses doing horsey things like stomping at flies and snorting, a reach around to take an itch, and the occasional and unexpected step sideways.
As someone that desperately wanted to ride but didn’t get to be around large animals until junior high (I showed Dairy Cows in in 4-H because I couldn’t have a horse and I decided it was good practice for the day I would be riding), I remember having to train myself to differentiate between the normal and “problem” movements. Not every movement from the animal warrants a reaction. Learning the difference between them is part of becoming a horse person.
As I watch her and Bonnie trot around the arena, or when I video her standing next to a horse I’m so grateful I took this approach – separating the riding part from the being around horses part. As she explains to me her favorite part of riding and the Farley sways her body to stomp at a fly next to her, Fig is unconcerned. As she trots around the arena we have to bribe her with popsicles to stop giggling so she will stop 2-pointing and actually post. She doesn’t make up nefarious reasons that the horse is flicking an ear or shifting its weight. She’s learning to ride but she’s not having to learn horses. Riding is fun and special and not just something we do. There’s a choice and more joy than fear, which is not true of my early experiences riding and I hope she’s better for it.
If I’m being honest…I also didn’t teach her to ride because I know my limitations. I’m good at a lot of things. *Teaching a child (or really anyone) to ride is not one of them. I’m not patient, I’m not fun, and I hate repeating myself. You want your kid to end up hating riding? Go ahead and ask me to teach them about riding and horses. It’s just not my thing. Just because *I* love horses and riding doesn’t mean I also have the ability to teach in that context.
I’m so very lucky that there are people in my life who do want to teach my daughter how to ride and do it really well. My hope is that once she has a handle on the basics of riding, our time together with the horses will morph into a partnership instead of a “teacher-student” unit and that will be easier for my brain to work with.
*I love swapping tricks and tips and hanging out with friends who also ride. I just don’t want to be in the teacher-student role and have the responsibility for someone’s experience.
Vetmed is a dumpster fire right now
It’s a still big old dumpster fire in my area when it comes to emergency medicine. Really long waits for things that aren’t currently dying, critical and dying animals being turned away because the floor and the kennels are already full of critical and dying things, big only-option-in-the-area facilities closing their doors overnight because they can’t staff their shifts with doctors…. all while all the clinics are trying to poach each other’s doctors…and it doesn’t show any sign of a slow down. Even on the non-emergency side it’s crazy. I’ve never had wait lists that had hundreds of dogs waiting for their spays and neuters.
I’ve lately had a really awful (good? sad? frustrating? brilliant?) thought that I could treat more animals and perhaps stabilize and help animals if I was allowed to do battlefield medicine. I can’t offer to plate that leg but I’ll amputate it. I’ll enucleate that eye instead of trying to put it back in. Here’s some anti-nausea meds, let me know if he’s still vomiting in six hours and we will reassess.
Right now if you are lucky enough to get in the door of the clinic, you get choices. There’s the “it’s my fur baby and I absolutely have to know that everything is ok so you have to do everything or I will file a complaint” plan (I hate these. It’s also probably been going on for 2 weeks and only tonight you’ve decided it can’t possibly wait and you are going to scream at me for my emergency clinic not having appointments and having to wait for 5 hours in the parking lot). The “Let’s try conservative symptomatic support care and see how it progresses” plan for the average non specific probably-not-terrible cases And lastly, the “I don’t have any money so let’s try the Hail Mary” plan. Of course there’s a couple of Do Not Pass Go, go directly on IV fluids and ALL the other meds type of critical cases thrown in just to keep things interesting.
But the point is, clients get options, usually discussed extensively with pros and cons of choosing each one (everything, conservative, Hail Mary, nothing). In the end it’s the client choice and responsibility to choose the care they want for their pets. This is good medicine. I’m not arguing that we get rid of this model.
It’s just that I have these fantasies of being able to wade into the parking lot of and offering something to everyone instead of everything to a few.
In some ways I feel like I’m already doing the sort of medicine where I favor stabilizing more patients instead of trying to find more answers for each patient. As a GP ER (think urgent care) my job is to evaluate and stabilize and what has happened over the last 6 months is that I’ve become more focused on that task and not letting interesting cases distract me. If it can wait, it waits. In the past if a fairly stable internal medicine case came in because they were frustrated and wanted to see if they could get some answers, I would spend time on the case because I had the time and…why not try? Is there some testing that I can send off that might get the client an answer in a couple of days? I’m no radiologist but if I haul out one of my text books, can I see anything on the ultrasound beyond my normal “is it bleeding?” scan that might help give the client some answers? Now, if it’s liver disease and everything points to your pet being stable, I don’t have time to try and find the answer. I’ll recommend the testing I need to help determine whether your pet is stable, not in pain, treat the symptoms, and simply say you have to get into internal medicine in order to get more in-depth answers.
A mini nailed it, failed it.
I’ve been doing some not-quite-yeti style training runs lately. Ten mile repeats about every 4 hours around my house. Sometimes I do them during the day, sometimes in the evening and during the nighttime. It’s been great because instead of having to be gone for 5 or 8 hours, I’m gone for 2 hour chunks of time and can still take care of life.
The breaks don’t seem to matter to my body. What does seem to matter is the total time from the start of my first run to the end of my second run. It’s a cool way to short cut to the end of the race without putting the stress of every mile on my body and my feet.
No, it’s not a substitute for those really long all day runs, but the training tool box needs to be full of different tools that can be applied at different times. Right now there’s a heat wave (over 105F, up to 112F where I live right now for DAYS in a row) and the main running friendly roads are East-West exposed pavement. These runs are a good option as I try to balance the need for hot flat miles without giving myself some sort of heat injury that will take weeks to get back from. I don’t have weeks….I have train NOW for my 100 I’ll be running in 4 weeks.
Here’s what I learned on Monday when I did about 1/2 the number of planned 10 mile repeats and cried uncle.
- I have a few more rockstar foods to add to the list.
Baked pasta (freeze it first and then wrap) went down wonderfully, as well as a flat little chinese scallion pancake. Woot for more food options!
I have a couple new flavors of baked rice cakes and a twist to the recipe based that’s working really well. Bread cakes continue to be a great option, and the sweet masa cakes are good in the heat but are a better cool weather option.
2. A walk with shuffle is surprisingly efficient.
When it’s mostly flat it’s easy to go to fast. That is the death knell of an ultra race. I’m a slow runner overall, so this might sound stupid….but there’s a limit to how slow I can run. Over the years I’ve settled into a 10-11 min/mile pace as my efficient all day pace. The reason my over all paces are slower is being I do a variable amount of walking. When things get really hot, and there’s no obvious places to run/walk, I found out I can do a counted run walk that keeps me at ~14 min/mile efficiently. Ten walking steps (counted on the same foot), run “a few,” repeat. It freshens my walking pace without causing my core temp to rise or my heart rate, but I pick up 2 minutes per mile on my straight walk.
3. My feet were fine.
My feet have not been fine for ultras in so long and I haven’t really cracked the code. I think changing out my socks was part of it – I’ll update when I’m sure. Normally a hot pavement run would have caused some significant inflammation but they were fine. I even wore the shoes that have caused some problems on shorter road runs because I’m hoping to use them as backups for Burning river and they were fine. When I crack the code I’ll update you.
- Flat is hard. Especially exposed hot flat on pavement
The quick change up between walk and shuffle is a good way to break up the muscle work, but dang it’s hard. I’m a faster downhill runner than would be predicted from my flat run times and without the down hills to help me make up speed I’m having to rely on other strategies to bump my over all pace. None of them are as fun as flying down hill.
2. I felt like a colicky bunny. Woke up and the bunny was me.
This is the second time I’ve woken up the night post long runs immersed in a dream about treating some animal for GI distress. The first time it happened it was a chocolate lab with a GVD. As I struggled from sleep it took me longer than I want to admit (MINUTES) to realize I **was** the chocolate lab and I needed to do something NOW about how I felt. This time I was a GI statis/Gastric dilation bunny and it took me less time to wake up, run to the kitchen for a snack and then go to the bathroom to lay in the fetal position for a while, the cool tile on my face.
It’s happening after really hot long runs and it’s probably related to hydration and electrolytes. In general I don’t do a great job continuing hydration and electrolyte support AFTER a run, and that definitely showed up during the 10 mile repeats.
I can do a lot to try and support myself WHILE running (food timers, hydration and electrolyte protocols) but the body is stressed and not in recovery mode. I probably need to think about recovery in certain phases post run and tailor a protocol that goes beyond “whew I’m done! Let’s just sit here and take an occasional sip of water and maybe take a nap.”
3. Had a really hard time getting enough electrolytes in the mid afternoon.
I need a different protocol during hot afternoons, especially if I’m running in exposed conditions. It’s hard to stay hydrated. I had significant weight loss even though I had good access to water and heavily supplemented with capsules. During one late afternoon repeat I dug up some electrolyte drink mix (Hammer options work well for me) and that helped.
Normally I don’t need electrolyte mixes, but when it gets hot I think they need to start being a part of a deliberate plan.
I’m in favor of a KISS strategy but I think I’ve proved to myself that I need do something more in certain conditions.
The other thing I have to remember is that bodies and metabolisms change over time. Just like my general nutrition, what worked for me in my 20’s isn’t going to always work in my 30s, 40s and beyond. Is it any surprise that I’m having to change up my run nutrition, just like I’ve had to change up my every day training nutrition?
The applesauce difference
Applesauce packets remain of my secret weapons during runs and bike rides. I’ve also attended clinics where they were recommended for on the go fuel for things like open water swimming.
One thing that you might miss is that there are two different applesauce options….and yeah. It could be important.
I noticed recently that one brand of applesauce had 45 calories per pack, and the other had 70.
That’s because one is applesauce and other is applesauce concentrate.
This becomes important because of water content. The less concentrated plain ole’ applesauce has more water in it and the other has more concentrated fruit sugar (and potentially fiber).
In some situations the concentrate is great because it packs almost double the calories, which is very handy when you are out running and trying to replace calories as you go.
Unfortunately, the concentrate also means that you probably need to treat it like a gel and make sure you drink more water when you eat it to reduce any GI effects.
Eating foods with a higher proportion of water keeps my GI happy during ultras, so I need to make sure to choose the lower calorie dense applesauce.
*Your mileage may vary.
Hi Mel! Loved Fig’s story of horses being a choice, not a requirement of your relationship. I am a big fan of paying good people good money to teach my children how to do things (riding horses, skiing, kayaking, swimming etc) even though I am capable of teaching those things, it’s always better if that objective 3rd party does it. We spent years in the arena, swimming pool and bunny slopes, now we can enjoy our family time in the mountains safely knowing that they choose to be there, not forced into it. Good work!