Tuesday, 29 April 2014

New Job

The last 24 hours or so were torture. I thought I was going to be hearing for sure how the interview went on Monday morning. Monday morning came and went. My phone was never far away. I didn't even think I'd got the job  but I just wanted to know.  My phone comes from the dark ages and doesn't take messages so I had to keep it near.

I'd offered to give Peter a lift up the road with his paint and buckets and ladders and whatnot to a job in Liberton. While we were out the radiator levels warning light started flashing telling me the radiator is still leaking. I don't really approve of people asking "why me?". "Why not you?" is just as good a question.
Still I was thinking it. Why me? Feck off fate and give me a break.
 It was a long day and by the time I put the phone off for yoga at 7pm I felt defeated.

Today I wondered if I'd misheard and they'd actually said they weren't going to phone anyone except the successful candidates. I emailed someone to put me out of my misery if this was the case but they never got back to me. Then, when I was in the shower, the phone finally went off. So I was in the buff and dripping everywhere when I was offered the job! It's still sinking in. It's a job I want, with a team I like, working hours I like. Oh ya beauty beauty.

The guys at the garage were profusely apologetic. No they weren't. They said "Your radiator's a real pain!" I agreed with them heartily and apologised too. Whatever it takes. Just fix it.

On the running front I've got a worrisome pain in my right foot. So I'm preparing it for the race by running on it everyday just to see if it's still sore. We'll see how that works out. On the upside, I can probably push the boat out and buy a pair of new shoes....

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Staring failure in the face at 3am.



3 lbs lighter

Housework by "Weekend Warriors"

The highs and lows. Surprisingly dramatic.

I've been in hiding - well, at work and in hiding. This time because I had a job interview coming up and I needed to prepare. God knows I asked everyone I could think of for advice about what I should or could read up on. I spent hours and hours and hours at it. I don't want to dwell on it but it would have ticked a number of boxes for me. One, I think it would have been really interesting. Two, it was part-time enough so I could easily carry on with the other things I'm doing. Three, it was permanent and well-paid enough so I could stop worrying about money - at least in an acute way.

The interview was yesterday.
I've accumulated a lot of nursing experience but I'd never had this particular role before, so what I was shakiest on was the nuts and bolts of what I'd actually be doing on a day to day basis.
And to cut a long story short the questions in the interview focused particularly on that - the nuts and bolts of what I'd actually be doing everyday. I did my best but by the time I got out the room the life had kind of drained out of me. You can only get so far on "I imagine I'd be..." I won't know for sure until Monday but I'm pretty sure I know for sure now that I'm not getting it.

Oh well. I was tired and I had other things I had to do so I went and did them. I had a fair evening. Dinner's always good, and me and Peter recently watched The Bridge series 2 and were entertained enough to think we'd watch Series One, so we've been getting it sent via Love Film. The main entertainment is watching Saga stumble her way through human interactions, logically correct and socially so wrong...

I was knackered and went to bed early and slept until 2.44am when I awoke. I spent the next hour or so getting reacquainted with the massive insecurity of my job situation which I'd pushed aside in order to focus on this interview. At the moment, on the nurse bank, I'm doing pretty well - I have shifts booked up 3 weeks in advance. This is actually the furthest ahead I've been able to see while working on the bank. Often it's just a shift or two and after that the abyss...nothing. The abyss usually retreats just ahead of you, but in 2011 I hit a spell of 6 weeks without earning anything at all. That was when I took the job at the Sexual Health Clinic. Better to have some kind of certainty than none. That ended up being debatable.
The massive uncertainty gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

But slowly I was able to unpick it. There's no such thing as "job security". Or you have job security and then you get a cancer diagnosis and die or get run over by a bus. Or you have job security and you get shot by dissidents or your heart pops when you're out for a nice run. There is no security, there is no security, there is no security. This mantra, and the sound of the rain falling, got me back off to sleep.

Today I was tired, but I wanted to run 15 miles if possible. There was an easterly blowing so I thought to run out and into it, round the Musselburgh lagoons and back with the wind behind. As I couldn't be bothered taking any fuel I thought I'd make it one of these runs when you deliberately deplete your carbohydrate store. I can't remember why you would want to do this but I'm sure it's good for you.

Running is such a good thing. Three miles into it I was happy and everything was falling philosophically into place. My current uncertainty seemed like just a part of the story, not the depressing denouement it had seemed earlier. There was a head-wind but the wind was quite warm so it was pleasant. There were lots of other runners out and pelotons of  cyclist scooting by. By 12 miles I was pretty damn hungry and I had my cash-line along but laziness came to my rescue. Could I be bothered to go into Portobello and go scavenging for food? No I couldn't. Easier to just put myself in a trance and keep going, which I did.

When I got home there were a pile of books arrived from Amazon. I've got a very minor and inexpensive 2nd hand book habit I've developed. Quite often books arrive from the USA that I've totally forgotten I'd ordered. The one I'm on at the moment is by Kurt Vonnegut's son, Mark, who had some kind of psychotic episode before getting better and training as a doctor. I haven't read much of it yet so can't tell you more than that. I haven't even opened the three packages that arrived today yet, but I suspect they are going to be about running. My dissertation is taking me deeper into a period in the 70s in the US when running seemed like the panacea for all mental health problems. Maybe I'll start a revival.

Something weird happened to the Garmin today. If you look at the screenshot of the Garmin Connect page above you'll see that I scooted, not once, but many times, up to 42,000 feet and above today. No wonder it seemed like such a roller coaster ride.


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Runday

The sun was shining again this morning and the van appears to be fixed. (It cost £££s. Ouch.) Peter was sleeping very deeply but I knew there would be much protest if I didn't at least give him the chance to come to the beach too.

It was sunny, but there was a cold wind blowing, and I chose the wrong way to go round the beach so we were running into a stiff head-wind all the way along the exposed coast.
Still it was good to get out and away from trying to get myself 'interview ready' for Friday.

My legs were still like set concrete after Friday's much longer than usual run.

Then home and back to it. I've been reading "The Matrix" A guide to delivering evidence-based psychological therapies in Scotland. It isn't nearly as exciting as the film.

Eyes are square

Friday, 18 April 2014

Dreemy and the Deathtracker

Events have run away with me and there is too much to tell. Since my temporary contract ran out I've been binge-working. Working on the nurse bank, you never know when there'll be work and when there won't. As it happens, there has been work and I've been doing it. I've done several 13 hour days and 2 night shifts, and some other more ordinary days in between. So I've been running, but not blogging.

I've been quite pleased at the way things have been ticking along. On the dissertation front, my forays into emailing American professors has borne fruit. I now have a book called 'The psychology of running' from 1981 with contributions from Vic Altshul, who I emailed initially, and also from his friend Thaddeus Kostrubala, who Vic urged me to also contact. Thaddeus has also been a psychiatrist and is convinced of the therapeutic benefits of running. He was very warm when I contacted him and I have an open invitation to contact him to discuss the subject. But I've not had time to give it the attention I want to, because, as I say, I've been working.

Apparently there was a lunar eclipse of the full moon on Tuesday and that may or may not have been responsible for my rather dramatic day.

The morning found me setting out in a Black Corsa with a consultant psychiatrist to assess someone in the community to see if they needed to come into hospital. Fate had other ideas though. I over shot the road we were going to turn left into so I drove further and was in the process of taking a right off of Lindsay Road on a filter arrow when the Dr drew my attention to the black car coming right at us. I braked as quickly as I could but not soon enough to prevent an impact taking place. I assume the 84 year old lady who ploughed gently into the side of our bonnet drove through a red light. She didn't think so, though, she thought it was green. So suddenly we were in the middle of the road and our engine had kind of burst out of the bonnet and our radiator had drained out onto the road. Her car looked less damaged, and she happily, was undamaged as well. So there we were, stood in the middle of the road, waiting for the police to come. The Doc reminded me of no-one more than the fixer in pulp fiction. He was on the phone to everyone and pretty soon had a tow truck coming, knew our insurance details and had two more nurses in two separate cars, one to take him onto his destination and one to pick me up once I'd seen the poor Corsa onto the tow truck and off, as it turned out, to its final destination.
As the driver the police had to ask me certain questions and so it was I found myself being breathalised by the side of the road, in front of a primary school. It wasn't even noon yet. I hadn't actually had a drink that morning so I passed the test.
As you can imagine I had a kind of mad adrenaline rush going on so it was all I could do not to say to the police "Oh no, not THIS again!" But I kept my lip buttoned. Actually they were very nice.

On my way home from work on my bike a child walked out in front of me while looking the other way. I got stopped in time but I did feel like I was going inside for the rest of the day and not coming out. The world was just too dangerous and unpredictable. But then when I got home I discovered I had an interview for that job I've been wanting a week on Friday, So then I was elated and fixed all my attention on that instead.
I have been reading some cracking 105 page reports from the Scottish Government in preparation. But today I'm taking a bit of a break to blog.

The Berlingo's radiator has had a slow leak for about 6 weeks now, so today I bit the bullet and put it into the garage and then went a run down the road to North Berwick in preparation for the E2NB race in 2 weeks time. I was hopeful it was just a leak in the hose or something.

The run went very well indeed. Except I seemed to have my death tracker on. At the entrance to Prestonpans there was a dead rat, laid out like a Welcome Mat. Impressive.

I met Peter briefly as he'd taken the train to Longniddry and was heading out for many miles in the heart of East Lothian. We ran from Aberlady to where the path goes down to the beach, and then parted company. I had business in Gullane. Eaty business. I had formed a desire for a salty pretzl and a black coffee, and planned to satisfy this desire come Falko's. On the way along the road I came across a poor deer lying stiffly on its side with its tongue sticking out.

New life was burgeoning everywhere but I was only moved to stop and take a photo for the dead things. Maybe something to do with The Festival of Chocolate which is going on today. So called Good Friday.

I assume the Christians were thinking along the lines of the recent(ish) trend of calling things by their opposite. Like saying things are 'bad' and 'fat'. Otherwise I can't see how it's Good Friday. I've accidentally called it Black Friday and Bad Friday before but always get corrected.

Anyway, I got the last pretzl in Falko's and a lovely black coffee. It was as good as I hoped it would be. I liked it better than eating something sickly sweet.

The last 4 miles into North Berwick really flew by as I was on a caffeine high. And I caught the train by 3 minutes. Very good karma. What might not be such good karma was when I went by the Citroen garage the guy who owns it had his head under my bonnet and he was cursing softly. Apparently my radiator is being a nightmare and he's been working on it since I took it in at 8 this morning. I believe him. I'm to phone him in a minute or two and I'm scared to. I'm not even really EMPLOYED at the moment. This isn't such good news.

Anyway. I got some ham and eggs and ate it on toast for lunch - thus illustrating one of Peter's favourite sayings he likes to trot out when I take speculation too far. "If we had eggs, we could have ham and eggs, if we had ham..."
My grandad used to say "How many beans make 5 Mary?" and then laugh. I was never sure what his point was, but I liked it.
Better go and phone about that Berlingo.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Recovery Run

It was warm over night and my legs were jumpy from all that running yesterday, so not the  best night's sleep. I was glad to get up and go for a recovery run before most of the denizens of Leith re-surfaced after a busy night of drinking, shouting and throwing rubbish around in the street.

I've been reading papers about running and therapy as background for my dissertation. I came across a tantalising paragraph in a paper called "Running as an adjunct to psychotherapy" by Frederic Leer in Social Work, January 1980.

Altshcul maintains that the psycho-sexual stages of development are represented by slow, moderate and fast running. According to his conception, slow running promotes in the individual a fantasy state similar to the passive floating sensation described by Fenichel and Freud as relating to the oral stage of development. In contrast, running at a moderate speed promotes an attention to body mechanics and economy of motion that is characteristic of the anal phase of development. Finally, all-out fast running promotes feelings of aggressiveness and competition connected with a sensation of flying that rouses feelings characteristic of the phallic stage. (p.23)
I'm not sure about a 'sensation of flying' but maybe I never had a phallic stage because I'm a girl. 'Sensations of dying' gets closer. Anyway, I wanted to read the original article to see what Altshcul had actually said, but I couldn't find it anywhere on the web. I googled him and found he is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University. I couldn't see any harm in dropping him an email anyway to see if he could give me any pointers to accessing the original article. He wrote back and said he was embarrassed about the original article (I don't think it was intended to be that serious). He also mentioned that he used to go running with Jim Fixx, who was his pal. For those that don't know Jim Fixx was a big part of the running boom in America in the 80s and early 90s and then he went and died of a heart-attack while out running. I think I've read since that he had a strong family history of heart problems so running may well have allowed him to live longer than he otherwise would have - but at the time it was used by those who would knock running to prove that you're safer with a cigarette and a Martini.

Anyway, I feel I got closer to a little bit of running history through this whole escapade. Who says my Saturday nights have lost their sparkle?

Good luck to the Marathoners marathoning today. It seems like there's going to be a lot of it about this month.


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Long Run

After a couple of aborted long runs in a row and with the E2NB race coming up, I really needed to get out for a 20 miler today. Well today or tomorrow, but I don't like putting things off.
The weather forecast threatened rain, as did the sky. I woke up at 7.30, having slept for 10 hours, recovering from all that night-shift malarkey in the week. It was a good sleep but my head still felt foggy.
I dragged my feet and moaned about it a bit until Peter accused me of being negative. Flippin' cheek. The King of Negative calling the kettle black. I'm the kettle.

So off I set at the crack of 10am or so, - planning to run up the canal and then back down the Water of Leith and stretch it out to 20 miles somehow. After the first 2 miles my head cleared and I was enjoying myself. A layer came off, as did my buff and gloves. The sky constantly threatened rain and occasionally showered a bit but it was quite still and it was  pleasantly warm.
Up to 5 miles it was easy peasy.

There were eggs lying around here and there. I suspected fowl play! (I know, I'm sorry.) It made me think that what I wanted was some salty eggs to eat, so I promised myself I could have this once I got home.

From miles 5 - 9  I was toiling a bit. My legs were sore. I think all that staying up all night makes you creaky and also I've accidentally just run the highest mileage week I've done in ages. 52 in the end. I got to the Alan Alan bridge, which we know of old is pretty much exactly 10 miles from our house, and I had only run 9, but at this stage I was discouraged and couldn't be bothered adding an extra half mile in. There's something about the upper reaches of the Water of Leith walkway that is just boring. Especially when your legs are sore. Sorry and all.

So at the Alan Alan bridge I turned around, pausing to have a GU that I'd pinched from Peter. (He's been spending his winning Sweatshop tokens on fancy over-priced gels.) This one was called salty caramel with a smidge of caffeine thrown in. It was absolutely delicious. I'm sure I could make a salty caramel gel of my own for a fraction of the price. Whether I will or not is another thing.

I'd decided for this run I wasn't going to try and eat anything. I'm fed up of the whole sorry business of trying to eat and run. I hoped one gel would be enough to head off any kind of massive crash at 17 miles when allegedly all your stored glycogen runs out. This worked fine. The caffeine picked me up, and also it was downhill pretty much from there home, I never felt as bad again as I'd felt at the nine mile mark.

The last few miles felt fine. My legs were achy but not getting worse. I could have run another mile but it didn't seem important. What did seem important was buying some eggs, scrambling them and eating them on toast with some salty olives thrown in. So that's what I did. Delicious.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Night Squid

I've been on the night shift for the first time since 2010. I wasn't looking forwards to it but it wasn't that bad. I don't sleep much after night shifts though and I notice some marked mental changes. Running around Arthur's Seat in the rain yesterday to shake off that blurry feeling that goes with staying up all night and not getting much sleep, these were the thoughts running through my head.

After night shifts I feel like someone's filled my brain with black ink. I'm sure there's a biochemical basis for it and I ignorantly imagine that it's something to do with the hormone melatonin. Now I don't know much about melatonin but I imagine it's just like the ink that comes out of a squid. It makes your brain murky.
Night shift also has an affect on your gut. Mine swelled up on the first night like a medicine ball. Do you remember medicine balls? We had to use them to practice our netball passes in gym in primary school. I liked them, I now realise, because of an association with "Medicine Bowl" which is where Trampus and the Virginian lived.

My vocabulary has dried up too. I was trying to explain to Peter what the weather forecast is saying. "No sun this weekend" I was telling him, "none until Tuesday, and then just peeping from behind a cloud, not violent." He looked at me. I knew what I meant. I was trying to sketch out the landscape with only four felt-pens, you just have to get as near as you can.

As ever, I can't say much about work, but I noticed a marked trend from Wednesday night to Thursday night. On Wednesday night it seemed like the world had been out, got drunk and then got maudlin, feeling there was no point in anything and they might as well die. Last night, however, things took a swing into madness proper, which actually felt invigorating and a bit of a relief. I had to suppress a smile as someone described their psychiatrist as a "space cockroach". I'm sure that wasn't quite what he meant but you have to work with the felt tips you have.

Sometime this weekend I need to squeeze out a 20 miler, no excuses, but at the moment I can't decide what kind of long rainy run I would rather opt for.