Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.

"It's better to feel pain than nothing at all. The opposite of love's indifference." - The Lumineers

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Gift of Desolation

It's been 7 hours and 15 days. Actually it has been way longer than that. What is my identity these days? I have seen my husband and my eldest son for 6 hours of the last 3 weeks and there are two more weeks to go. I have trouble remembering what Christian's face really looks like. As a mother and a wife, I am desolate.

Was it a coincidence I ended up here in Desolation Wilderness on my day off? And that it was this I wanted to give myself as a birthday gift? After all, neat, tidy packages of desolation are OK.
Lake Aloha, 8400 feet. Sure, steal the photo. I don't really care.
 Since you've been gone I can do whatever I want.

One of my favourite things - it's looking at maps. How about you? I looked at a map and said- Echo Lakes, this is where I want to go. Most tourists would probably head right for Lake Tahoe, but I stopped just southwest of it and headed for desolation.
And I got lost- at least five times. I even asked for help from a Swiss man. Never ask a Swiss guy if he is German. Lesson learned.
The thing is, this map looking. This is a passion I share with SR. Where was he to help me find my way?

Should I admit that I would love to go for the Fastest Known Female Time on the Tahoe Rim Trail? I even bet I could do it - you know- all 50 hours or whatever it requires - without sleeping. Then I just read that Candice Burt is going for it this July. Well, whatever her time is, that will be my goal. I just need more time to train out here so I don't get lost. Or maybe SR would do it with me. Then it would be supported, but then it would also be more fun.

So what on earth am I doing here, you ask? I'm trying on my old white coat.

(it doesn't fit, but I am hoping I only mean that in the literal sense)

Being able to care for a patient as a physician is an enormous privilege. Never take it for granted.

Was heard being said at my graduation from internship in 2007. I got tears in my eyes, though I didn't even know my privilege would be threatened - very soon.

I am here in California to work in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehab, both on research and in learning about the specialty. In brief, the specialty is perfect for me. Fitting handicapped kids with ankle foot orthotics, being a sports team physician, acupuncture, proliferative therapy, concussions, hyponatremia. You name it - the interesting stuff is in this specialty :0). So I am sold. I needed to come here to get a letter so I can apply for this specialty. There is just that minor detail that for a few years, the kids will have to have an au pair; I will hardly see them. I will give up my running ambitions. All this is a lot to digest. So I needed a day in the wilderness. But guess what? I didn't think about it at all.

And suddenly, though I had heard I wouldn't see it, at the end up my run, there was a view of the one and only Lake Tahoe. And a guy standing right there to take my picture. Isn't it incredible how sometimes, things in life just work out?


Stay tuned for more details about all of the research at Western States this year. Tomorrow I'm going to out set up cameras for a study of foot striking patterns.

5 comments:

cherelli said...

Does this mean you will be in California then? If so you should go run along some of the John Muir trail! Sounds like some interesting times ahead for you and your family, I hope all the adjustments work out....

Olga King said...

Seems there is a lot of changes coming, wow for sure. I am certain your family will handle it, even if struggle at times. I appreciate you share all this with us. Looking back, many things could be done differently or not done at all, but in a moment, all we can do is pick a path we see fits right now.
I've been to Desolation wilderness at Tahoe. It is pristine. Thank you for reminder. Larry loves maps, I never even look at them - I will get lost regardless:) I like looking at trail signs and follow them without knowing exact direction...

Robyn said...

How long is the PM&R residency? Is there one in Duluth? I agree, it does sound like it would suit you, more than ophtho maybe.

Gorgeous pictures!

Kirsten said...

I keep returning to your blog to read this post again and again.
Seems that there is so much written in between the lines.
A lot of desolation, indeed.
Some sadness too.
You have no idea how much I can relate to all of what's going on in your life right now.
Take good care of your running ambitions - it's important to win a lot of Finns to stay happy in life......

PiccolaPineCone said...

oh my. i am so far behind. i don't even know where to begin. congratulations on your 5 km PB?? (and how oh how oh how did you not get an official time? you're killing me!). congratulations on being selected to the US team? Happy Birthday? seriously I am so far behind I don't know where to start. I am seriously thrilled for you and, yes, i'll admit it. a little jealous. Actually I was a little jealous until this post. Now that I see you are in the Sierra Nevada I am a foaming, green-eyed monster! (but a very-happy-for-you foaming green eyed monster!).
Seriously, exciting, beautiful times (pun intended). Good stuff!
And belated happy birthday.