Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Wednesday 22 April 2009

"That kid will run before he walks"

That was a joke people liked to make when they saw me running races pregnant. I laughed and didn't think much of it.

But then The Lorax turned 14 months and he still wasn't walking. Again, I didn't think much of it. But then people (i.e. impromptu pediatricians) started inquiring: "He's 14 months and he still isn't walking???" I'm not sure what they were worried about. I mean was he going to turn into a 30 year old man who crawled down the street to the store? (If that were the case, I imagine he would still shake his booty in the exaggerated way he does now just to get a laugh.)

Then last night I was sitting at the computer trying to find Kara Goucher's training plan and the sheet music for "Night After Night" by The Sounds, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but The Bois, rising on his own (as he'd never done before), walking across the kitchen floor, over a power cord and a big wodden slat in the doorway, turning a corner and running down the hall to find SR in the distant bathroom.

Some (kinder) people had suggested "Why would he walk when he's such a fast crawler?" Well, I guess he's finally found something faster.

I was reminded of the lengend of my dad. As the story goes, my dad was a good 16 months and still hadn't walked a step. He then, in front of many guests, stepped out of a closet with hangers in his hand, and walked across the floor whistling a little ditty. I'm not so sure how true the whistling part is.

The point is, babies and kids have their own schedule and the way they develop is so fascinatingly varried. I mean, certainly my dad's late walking didn't signal any sort of cognitive delay. He famously told his mom when he turned 4 that he was ready to start school, so he started kindergarten a whole year early. He's now perhaps Wisconsin's best medical malpractice lawyer and a fantastic acordian player to boot.

Well, I'd love to hear all of your baby development stories and folklore.

I could play guitar and rope a steer before I learned to stand.

If you can name the song those lyrics are from, you've impressed me and named the running song of the day.

Monday 20 April 2009

Human Skin

Yes. Human skin. It can be hard to live in. Right now I don't feel particularly good in mine.

We had an entire weekend off. In the US, we would have called it a "golden weekend."

But due to various circumstances, I didn't sleep enough, ate way too much and no doubt got on SR's nerves. Somehow the Lorax still likes me.

Anyway, sometimes I think about this golden, glowing person that lives inside of me. Not a person with jaundice from obstructive liver disease. But a person who is postive, loving, patient, forgiving and perhaps funny. I don't know why, but I just can't be that person.

It seems now that every moment, I am either at work, in way above my head with a language I've spoken for less than 6 months caring for patients with life-threatening and/or complicated problems OR I've got the Lorax attached to me crying or demanding attention.

But hey, I got quite a lot of positive feedback today from the attending doctor on the floor I work on. And I made some diagnoses today that I'm proud of. I have read what people have written about me on forums... how they would never come to me as a doctor. And, let me tell you, it was not taken lightly by me. But I would never be a good doctor if I weren't constantly recognizing my weaknesses and improving on them the best I can.

And the same rule applies to life.

Hey and today was a beautiful day. And what a run, with a view of the whole town from a ridge I've never been to. I wish I had a picture.

I do have another picture, though.

Running Song of the Day (and the best song and lyrics I've heard in quite a while)

I Sing I Swim by Seabear

It can be downloaded for free here:

Sunday 12 April 2009

First Easter in Summerland

The entire country of Denmark has shut down for Easter week and spring vacation life is upon us.

Maundy Thursday or Skærtorsdag marks the beginning. Our vacation started with a race here in Næstved. It's the biggest race in the city all year and it's called Skærtorsdagsløb (løb meaning race).

It was a beautiful morning for a (mostly) trail run. I ran the 10.04k and SR ran the 5.14k. Judging from last year's times, I stood a much better chance of winning the 5.14k. But longer races are just more fun.

Perhaps stupidly, I ran the first 5k in 20 minutes (ahead of all the 5kers and just ahead of my biggest 10k competitor). Shortly thereafter, I started to burn out and my competitor passed me. I then slipped all over running up a steep mud hill and eventually dropped my ipod. But I ended up with a 17 second PR (41:58) and second place.

SR was disappointed with 4th place in the 5,14k, but still ran a great race, with a time of 17:42.

After the race, there was again a podium for the winners. My little 5 year old niece, Chewy, was so taken by the fact that I got to stand on number 2, that she found flowers for my hair and repeated "I love you Sealegs. I love you." in her adorable Danish accent.

Here is a picture of her with her dad (SR's brother).

I could go on and on about Chewy, but suffice it to say, she is absolutely wonderful. And she astounds me with her ability to switch between Danish and English at exactly the right time (and can translate words like telescope, etc.)... childrens' minds are amazing.

Hey and I got a 300 kr. (or $50 prize)!

After a lunch at our apartment in Næstved, we went up to the Danish summerland, where many Danish families have summerhouses. Our summerland is right on a bay of the North Atlantic called Kattegat. The views and beaches are gorgeous and peaceful.

On Friday, we enjoyed a traditional Easter Lunch (Påskefrokost) with about 30 family memebers in the Danish spring sun. It was so nice to talk with two happy, working mothers who are able to balance a full-time job and motherhood. They were fascinated by the fact that many women in the US don't breastfeed. It seems it's a given here that virtually all mothers breastfeed for at least one year (and to be honest, I don't even know if it's possible to buy a breast pump here). When I say I would have had just 15 days paid maternity leave in the US, I have to repeat it at least once. "But then at least you would get unemployment, right?" Yeah, right. The US system seemingly doesn't believe in supporting mothers, children or the poor. It's simply more important that the rich don't pay high taxes. That's American feedom, afterall...

Here's SR's cousin (mom and biochemist) with the now-green-eyed Lorax.

Here are some pictures of us splitting firewood for the summerhouse

and battling Easter winds...

and crazy parents

God påske and Happy Easter!

Best song from the race: Disturbia by Rihanna

Sunday 5 April 2009

Want some inspiration?

I have been inspired by a girl I got to know through this blog. Meghan Hicks ( just took second overall woman in the Marathon des Sables in Morocco. As most of you know, this is a huge international race. She is a perfect example of what a great runner you can become if you are committed to training.

And I needed some inspiration. I have had a set-back in my running since we have moved to Denmark. Basically because of a knee injury and less time. Yesterday SR and I ran for just over 3 hours and it was SO hard. A few months ago I could run that long with seemingly little effort. But I'm not complaining. It is spring, my knee is better, and a new running season is upon us. AND in May I start a schedule with 2 18 hour shifts a week and the rest off! So I should be able to start to get longer runs in while The Lorax is with his dagplejemor (daycare mother).

Here some of the bigger runs were planning:

Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromsø, Norway on June 20th

Voyageur 50 mile in Carlton, MN on July 25th

Trans Alpine from Germany to Austria to Switzerland to Italy from September 5th to Sept 12th.

Instead of a song, I've got a...
Quote of the day (in response to an editorial in the NY Times that asserts women shouldn't have to be subject to using the breast pump just because some say breast feeding is healthier)

I really wish this were the credible argument for womens’ rights that it is trying to be. “Hype” about breast milk is laughable when you consider what the formula lobby has done over decades to cause women to stop trusting their bodies, and themselves. Why are we arguing about a machine or chemically processed food for our babies and not about the right to reasonable paid leave from work, affordable day care and the necessity of almost every family to have two incomes to provide a decent living and education for those children?? I will be thrilled when the discussion becomes about the real reasons it is so difficult to mother today. Until then, topics like this muddy the issue and do a great disservice to women.— E. Woodhouse

Wednesday 1 April 2009

Is this job for real?

Perhaps you would like to know what it is like to work as a doctor in Denmark. Perhaps you wouldn't. Anyway, here are my impressions so far.

First of all, the Danish doctors I have met (except perhaps SR) can agree on one thing: they'd never get their training elsewhere. Residents here work no more than 37 hours a week. Compare this to 80 hours a week in the US. and around 60 in many other Western nations. Though, training may take more years, it doesn't seem to be of an inferior quality. And the pay in Denmark is more than in the US (or around the same when you take out taxes... but remember we don't need to pay for health care on top of that). In addition, there are 5 weeks of vacation here. And 1 "family week" off. These are all paid. Oh and then there are 10 educational days. Plus there are many national holidays that one doesn't work unless they are on call.

Take this month for example. In April, I have 3 days of introduction and then work a total of 14 days! And no call (yet). Again, is this job for real?

Plus patients and doctors don't have to worry about lack of health care. And almost every infection here still responds to penicillin. And we get to wear these tight, white scrubs and a short sleaved white coat. Okay, this isn't me. But you get the idea... Is this a health care utopia?

Oh, and if one is so happy at work that they feel compelled to make yet another baby in a call room, you get a year of paid time off.

Running Song of the Day: Happy up here by Röyksopp.