The Colonoscopy Experiment

The Colonoscopy Experiment – November 21, 2019

So I’ve learned that when one turns 50, there are a few things one must do. After you have dealt with the weirdness that is the realization that you have lived halfway to 100 (that is a kick in the knickers), it is time to take stock and pay attention to the doctor’s suggestions at your “well” visit.

This year in addition to being lectured about that pesky 5 pounds I still need to shed, and the vitamin D I should be taking on a regular basis, my doctor recommended that I schedule a colonoscopy before the end of the year. Truth be told I really did not even know exactly what this mysterious test was all about. I kept mistakenly referring to it as a colostomy, which, it turns out, is a very different thing altogether. I got the referral and made the appointment for the end of November and it seemed very far away. In the meantime I was seeking feedback from friends and coworkers about this procedure. The basic summary from everyone was as follows: the procedure is not bad at all – what sucks is the prep. End stop. No more specific information was shared. What does not even mean?! Now, I know this is a rather, *ahem*, personal matter, but inquiring minds want to know – what’s the scoop? Give me the 411 on what sucks so bad about the prep? When I pressed people, they still didn’t really share much with me. I don’t know if they smelled my fear, or they had repressed their experience so much that they actually didn’t remember it anymore – like having a baby, or what, but no one was forthcoming with the gory details. This is where I come in!! I am going to do you a solid (so to speak) and give you the straight “poop” (tee-hee) about my experience. Think of it as a public service announcement. I know everyone is different, but at least this will give you one example of how it could go for you if you have not yet had the pleasure. If you are squeamish and/or just don’t care to know the details about my bowls, turn back now. I have no judgement, but you are forewarned.

As my date got closer I began to get more anxious about this procedure. I decided to try to detach from it by thinking about it as a scientific experiment. I decided to track my experience in order to share it with others (and also to distract myself from it)! I kept thinking, I can do this, right? I had a baby! I ran a marathon! All I have to do is drink stuff and go poop. Seems simple. Did I mention I hate being hungry, I get nauseous easily and am not good with anesthetic?

I got the appointment confirmation call on Monday saying my procedure was at 11am and I was to be there at 10:15am. The worst thing was I could not have coffee on Thursday morning!  Ugh. But, turns out, that was not the worst thing…
The instructions said I was to follow a low-residue diet on Monday and Tuesday. This meant no raw fruits and vegetables except for bananas. I had to eat stuff like white bread, white rice, chicken and canned vegetables and avoid things with fiber (which is lots of what I eat!) I suppose the reason for this is so the “prep” day is less dramatic than t would be if you had lots of fiber rich stuff in your system. Here is what I ate on Monday: Breakfast – 2 pieces of white toast, with peanut butter, coffee with almond milk. Lunch – 2 slices of white toast, can of tuna fish with a bit of miracle whip, banana. Dinner – white rice bowl with baked chicken, green beans and soy sauce. Snack at night – 2 pieces of white toast with peanut butter. On Tuesday: Breakfast – 2 pieces of white toast topped with banana slices, coffee with almond milk. Lunch – 2 slices of white toast, 3 scrambled eggs and 2 babybel cheese wedges, banana. Dinner – white rice bowl with baked chicken, green beans and soy sauce. Snack at night – 2 pieces of white toast with peanut butter and some honey drizzle. I felt just okay on Monday and Tuesday.  I went to work as normal. I found myself really ready for every meal and looking around for snacks during the 3pm – 5pm hours.  I wasn’t that hungry at night, but it was just the idea that I had a couple days of not eating ahead of me so I wanted to “stock up”!  Also, I just wanted a bit of sweet. I just do not do well with a deprivation type of situation. However, I did it!

On Wednesday (the day before the procedure) I had to follow a clear liquid diet. In the morning I started with a ½ cup black coffee.  Yes, black coffee was on the list for the day! I did not want to drink the whole thing on an empty stomach so half a cup did the job. I started feeling a bit hungry by 8:30am (let’s face it, I wake up hungry. I’m definitely not one of those “I lost track of time and worked through lunch” type of people) so I started with apple juice. I took a shower and began to find things to distract myself. By lunch I had gone through 3 big glasses of apple juice and about a half a season of Atypical on Netflix. I sat at the table with my bowl full of orange jello for lunch. Not bad. I had Mike get the “prep” medicine ready for me when he was home for lunch so it could get cold. It was a jug that held 4 liters of fluid. Ugh. The powder medicine was already in it and you were to add water and the flavor packets that came with it. You could alternatively use Crystal Light, if desired. Yes, it was desired. I had to start drinking the prep stuff at 6pm. The rest of the afternoon I focused on a project on the computer and had some carbonated water.

6pm finally came and I shooed Mike and Zach out of the house to get Chipotle. I didn’t want to see that food in front of me. I got the prep out of the fridge and got ready to drink my first 8 oz of stuff. I had to drink an 8 ounce glass of the stuff every 10 minutes until 2 liters was gone. The second half was then the job for the next day, starting at 6am. I got it out and got out the measuring cup, but I could not get the stinkin’ cap off! It was one of those “push down and turn” things, but it was not happening. I tried everything for like 5 minutes. At this point I was sweating, my arms were sore and I was swearing like a sailor. Remember I was hangry times 1000. I called Mike at Chipotle and asked them to get their food to go so they could come home and help me get this blasted thing open! Meanwhile I was texting a friend asking for help. That string of texts is pretty hilarious. I was seriously thinking this was a sign that I wasn’t supposed to do this and was ready to throw the whole jug outside when the cap suddenly finally came off as Mike and Zach were walking in the door, Chipotle bags in hand.

Game on! I drank the first 8 oz like a champ. The drink tasted like a thick, saltier version of Chrystal Light’s – like its diluted, lower-calorie cousin. Not my favorite, but not a big deal. I set the timer for 10 minutes and began the process. By the time I was halfway through my 8 glasses the drink was getting a bit old. I started adding more time to the timer – 15 minutes instead of 10. By glass #7 I was on the struggle bus. It wasn’t the taste exactly, but the shear volume of fluid I was consuming. Halfway through glass #7 I gagged and yukked a bit in the kitchen sink. There was nothing really to come up except for that good, old orange jello. Twenty minutes later I successfully consumed my last glass for the night with minimal gagging. I sloshed over to the couch, feeling very full and bloated and waited for the magic to happen. And waited. And waited. I had finished my prep at 8:37pm and the instructions said bowel activity should start 1-2 hours from the start of drinking the prep. Um, nope. At this point, I was so uncomfortably full and wondering if this stuff was going to work for me. I had peed here and there, but no action anywhere else. I had some gurgling and tooting, but nada in the poop department. Finally at 9:40pm – 3 1/2 hours after starting the prep all systems were go and the medicine did its thing. I was going to keep track of the number of bathroom visits, but the truth is I couldn’t really keep track. It was so strange, however, because it wasn’t like any other type of diarrhea I’ve ever had. There was no pain or cramping and after the first couple of times it was just liquid. It was like I was peeing from my butt, but I wasn’t sick. So strange. I was relieved that the medicine was working and relieved to finally get rid of a lot of this liquid! I finally felt clear to go to bed around 11:30pm.

On Thursday I got up at 5:45am to begin the second half of the prep. I was to consume the second 2 liters of stuff by 8am. This time the bowls were more consistent and I was less bloated and uncomfortable. It was still gross and got to be too much by glass #5, but I pressed on with minimal gagging. I did have one accident in my jammies that morning (yuck) which prompted me to bring a second pair of clothes and a towel to sit on to drive the 30 minutes to the hospital. Thankfully I did not need it! We arrived on time to the hospital where I proceeded to use the bathroom 3 more times while we were waiting in the lobby. At this point there was no poop to speak of. There was just yellow liquid, but it was coming out of my butt. Such a weird sensation. Hey, I forewarned you!

I got ready for the procedure, met the anesthesiologist and the doctor. I was most concerned about getting sick from the anesthetic, but the doc reassured me that I should be fine since it was just a twilight level of stuff. Next thing I knew I was waking up and I immediately felt alert and fine, but just really cold. After being in recovery a bit the doc informed me that she found one small, 3 mm, polyp and removed it. She would send it to the lab and depending on what type of polyp it was I would have to come back in either 5 years or 10 years. Fine by me – even if it is 5 years, that is still a long time! I felt good that at least the polyp was out of me and that now it can’t grow into anything bad! That is the whole reason why these things are recommended to be done as preventative thing. I’m a believer, for sure! Yes, it was gross, a bit uncomfortable and a bit inconvenient, but well worth it! I’m thankful to be able to have this sort of preventative care and good insurance to support it. Check this off the turning 50 list! Now, about that Shingles shot…

Akron Goodyear Half Marathon – #12!

Saturday, August 10, 2019 – 6:30am

Well #12 turned out to be a great experience! After doing the Flying Pig in May I signed up for this race in order to keep running over the summer. It worked mostly. I definitely ran more during the week throughout the summer, but the long runs pretty much ended at 8 miles. So, going into this race and I wasn’t completely confident.

This was a new half for me – I had run the 10K another year (I forget when), but never this distance. It is a part of the series to benefit for Akron Children’s Hospital. The more known race in the series is the final one – the end of September. I have run that half before and it also happens to be the one and only full I have run.

Anyways, it was a very early morning. We had to be at the race area by 5am so I was up at 3:30am! My GPS got me lost, but I made it and parked by 4:55am. I thought it started at 6am, but turns out it was 6:30am so I had plenty of time to chit chat with folks and use the restroom!

I had a nice conversation with this one woman who I later found out later from someone else’s picture is also in my Challenger group online! Too funny!

It was an absolutely beautiful morning with a breathtaking sky! The temperature was a perfect 63 degrees. It was a nice number of people too – about 850 people. It felt like the perfect number. There was great support along the route with a few bands, fuel stations and even some misters! There was even a couple of kids in front of their house handing out Twizzlers!

I gave myself permission to “walk the ups” if I needed to as I heard it was a hilly route. I actually felt pretty good for most of the race. I walked through the fuel stops and maybe two hills, but other than that I was steady as she goes. I felt like I was on target for pace too. Around mile 10 I came upon the pacer runner for the 2:30 group and I was stunned. So I hung with him throughout the rest of the race. I had a bit of calve cramping towards the end, but gave it my all the last .2 miles. I was really happy with my time of 2:31:06. After looking back over my stats I realized that this time was 6 seconds faster than my first 1/2 in 2011! It is definitely one of the fastest of the twelve!! Feeling pretty good about that now that I’m in my 50’s!!

Race for the Parks 10K

Saturday, April 6 – Race for the Parks 10K

I actually forgot to even blog about this race! It was such a last minute thing that I signed up for! I heard about it from Ellen at church who is training for her first half. Part of the fee for the race goes to benefit the parks in Hudson so it is a good cause too. I had 9 miles to run that day so I figured it might make sense to run 6.2 with a group and then tack on the balance afterwards. The race took place mostly at Hudson Springs. It was perfect weather and I ran pretty good! My time was 1:08:36 for the 10K. I was feeling like bailing on the last almost 3 miles, but thankfully Ellen talked me into it. The race ended downtown Hudson so I just ran home. I had asked Mike to drop me at the start. Every now and then I have a good idea! Anyways, the last almost 3 miles were pretty good as well. I’ll have to remember this race for next year!

Flying Pig 2019 Half Marathon – Sun, May 5

Sat, May 11, 2019

I’ve tried to sit down and write this blog a bunch of times, but each time I had to put my laptop away and go back to it later. So many thoughts and feelings to process and not enough time to dedicate to it! Well, a week after descending on Cincinnati for my special birthday celebration weekend I’m finally ready to write! In January this year I gave a lot of thought as to what I might want to do to celebrate my 50th birthday in May in terms of fitness goals. I did ponder running a full marathon – for like 3 minutes, but then decided I wanted to focus on a less intense, more doable and enjoyable goal. How about a new (to me ) race around my bday, I thought. Right around this same time I started seeing folks talk about the Flying Pig race in Cincinnati in the Challenger Nation (running group website). I had heard tons of good things about the Flying Pig and had never done it before. Plus it became clear very quickly that this was becoming an EPIC meet up for my virtual running group! That was all I needed to hear! I registered in January for my 11th half marathon and started to put my training plan and other weekend plans together. I figured we could make it a family trip by including a college visit to Xavier University in the mix as well.

Before I share the details of the weekend I want to include a note about my training for this race. I. Was. Dedicated. I didn’t do lots of cross training, but I was religious about doing the amount of minutes listed on the plan (Coach Jenny’s plan, of course!). I am usually good about getting all the long runs in, but lots of times I just do 3 miles on week days and that is it. I made sure to get all the minutes in (sometimes early on the TM before work) for like every weekday training run. I really think this made all the difference for my success on race day!!

The weekend came and I left home Saturday morning with my husband and son in tow. We checked into the hotel first and then walked over to the expo right across the street. We all agreed that Cincinnati was a pretty cool city! They are very serious about their support of the Flying Pig. See below.

The Expo was very fun with lots of SWAG!!

Cool SWAG!!

After the Expo we went back to the hotel to relax a bit before dinner. We had signed up for the special Challenger meet up for dinner at the Rock Bottom Brewery, about a 2 minute walk from our room. The dinner was a buffet from 4:30pm – 7pm so it was a come and go situation (so I thought). In typical Ramsey fashion I screwed up the time somehow! We got caught up watching a cool movie on Netflix so we planned to leave for dinner around 5:30pm. Then, our GPS to walk to the restaurant got messed up so we walked all the way around the barn out of our way to get there. Did I mention it was raining and we didn’t have umbrellas?! By the time we finally arrived it was like 6pm and everyone was already seated and eating! Turns out everything did actually start at 4:30pm so I missed Coach Jenny’s talk and everything. Thankfully, we were so welcome by everyone that my frustration and embarrassment quickly faded and we enjoyed dinner and mingling with all my virtual friends I could finally meet in real life! There were about 60 folks there for the weekend! I wish I could have had more time to talk with more folks, but there is always next year, I suppose!

That night I slept terribly (typical for the night before a race), but got up ready to run! It was so nice to be so close to the start line. I just followed the folks I met in the elevator!

What a fantastic race!! I was overwhelmed by so much spectator support the entire way! There were tons of signs and people all along the route. Most big races typically have Gatorade/water stations regularly along the way, but in addition to that this race had SO much stuff – food and other supplies runners need during runs. It was almost as if the race organizers could read our minds…like “boy, I could use a tissue right now,” and BOOM someone is handing you one! Or “wow, I just need some extra energy right about now”, and BOOM, someone is handing you an unwrapped Hershey’s kiss in a cup! The following food items were given out by volunteers along the route (keep in mind this is just the half – they had more stuff for the last half of the rout too I’m sure. And remember this is DURING the race – this doesn’t count all the stuff we got during the after race party):

  • Bacon (duh, and so funny)
  • Hershey’s kisses (at least 2x during the race)
  • Swedish Fish
  • Pringles chips
  • Orange wedges (2x during the race)
  • Orange juicey candies
  • Cookies

If that list wasn’t enough, there also non food items given out – again, seemingly right when we thought we needed it. Here is the list of non food items that were distributed:

  • Tissues (at least 2x during the race)
  • Paper towels (dry ones and some stops and wet ones at others)
  • Hose sprays/mist sprays
  • GU packets
  • Sticks of Vaseline for chapped lips.

Between mile 12 and 13 they gave out shots of beer (eww), but hillarious! I mean this was incredible!! It felt like almost every mile or shorter there was something else being given to us! I only took the orange slices, tissue, paper towels, GU and definitely the hose spritzer. I saw two live pet pigs too!! One was like a mile in and the other was about 5 miles in. In terms of the race itself, I felt really good! The weather was perfect – 54 degrees and cloudy – totally perfect! MY GLASSES DIDN’T FOG UP which was huge as it is always nice to see running in a race (ha)! I was worried about the hills, but after talking to Coach the night before I decided to take her advice and “walk the ups”. It worked and I felt really strong the entire race.

I talked with the Challengers who ran this race before about the route and they said you will know when you get to the top of the hilly part because of the view – everyone takes pics. Yep – see below! Worth the climb for sure!

Up the hills we go…

The race was great and I was really happy with my time too! My time was 2:34:44 which was a 11:46 per mile pace. I finished in the top 50% for my age group and about the middle of the pack for the women. It was awesome having Zach and Mike greet me at the finish. Last race in my 40’s. Bring on my 50’s!!!

Great New Year’s Eve Race 2018

December 31, 2018 – Stow, Ohio – 5K

Well, this was the 9th year of running this race! I had to look back at my website and count the years! This is the first one that I remember being a total downpour, however! It had been raining all afternoon and continued throughout the race! The temp was in the 50’s so that was good, I guess. I ran into my friend Debbie and her husband and then also runner friends, Chris and Alise (pictured below). I have run into Chris and Alise for the past 4 years of this race!

It was pretty miserable, I’m not going to lie. I walked a bit of the stupid hill. In spite of all of this, however, I ran a pretty good race! I was faster than last year’s time by like a minute. I ran a 33.27 which was 10:47/mile. Here are the rest of my stats for folks keeping track at home:

Overall place: 255/413; All female: 108/232; Age group: 14/37. For my age group and the overall female I was in the top half so that is awesome! I’ll have to think of something really cool to do for next year’s 10th year! Maybe a prom dress and a tiara??


Jingle Bell Run 2018

December 9, 2018

We had a new addition to the Ram Fam this year! Anna Hershel, Zach’s girlfriend, joined us this year! It was a bit chilly to start – in the 20’s, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time together! Zach and Anna finished a bit ahead of me and Mike brought up the rear with his 5K walk. It turned out to be a sunny day and we met some cute furry friends. I ran a great time and a great time was had by all!

Our times:

Zachary: 29:41.2 30:10.8 9:35/M (For some reason they didn’t have Anna’s results listed, but she came in right with Zach for sure!)

Lisa: 31:03.9 31:33.1 10:01/M

Mike: 45:22.2 46:18.4 14:38/M


Turkey Trot 2018

Thursday, November 22

Well, Zach and I ran the Turkey Trot in Aurora again this year! It was pretty chilly, but fun! I felt really good and ran a good time. Zach ran a PR – faster during this race than he did all season in cross country – probably because the course was so much different on a street than on trails and such. It was funny because at the end of the race we ran into Zach’s cross country coach, Mark McConnell. Our times were the following:

Lisa – 32:05; Overall: 402/593; Female: 193/328; Age-group finisher: 9/21

Zach – 26:26; Overall: 181/593; Male: 122/265; Age group finisher: 24/32

Here are some highlights from that day!

SWAG for this year

Fresh Fork – Week #9

Friday, July 27

Wow, that week went fast!! Faster than I could eat all the goodies from last week! Looks like I might be freezing some peaches!

Here is the haul from this week’s basket:

And the details:
Sweet Corn – 4 ears
Cantaloupe
Green Peppers – 2
Bunching Onions
Tomatoes
Black Beans – 1 lb
Yellow Wax Beans
Cilantro – 1 bunch
Chorizo – 1 lb

Here is the plan: We will eat the sweet corn tonight with our dinner. I’ll be interested to see if it is any better than the ears from Szalays from this week cause that was pretty yummy! I will be making a salsa with some of the items – onions, tomatoes, black beans and cilantro. I also might try a sweeter salsa with some of the peaches from last week that I need to use up. I will also make a tomato sauce this week and include the green peppers and the chorizo to have on some pasta this week. The cantaloupe will be eaten raw and the yellow wax beans are still a question. Probably will just steam them as a side.

Happy Eating!

Fresh Fork – Week #8

Friday, July 20

I’m so behind this week, but finally getting to blog about last Friday’s basket!  Here is what we got:

Here is how it breaks down:
Red Cabbage
Onion
Lettuce
Peaches – 5 to 6
Zucchini – 1 to 2
Carrots – 1 bunch
Cucumber – 1 to 2
Green Onion Brats

I cut up the carrots and the cucumber to eat as an appetizer for a dinner party on Friday night. We at the green onion brats (which were really Italian sausage) last night with our first Szalays corn of the season – yummy! The onion will be used in a pork and beans dish for tomorrow and the lettuce has/will be used for salad. The peaches will be eaten as is or cooked in a dessert if they get ahead of me. Not sure about the red cabbage, honestly. I need to do some research on that one – again! I might make red cabbage and potato hash tonight!
Happy Eating!

Muddy Paws 2 Mile Trail Race

Saturday, July 14
Muddy Paws 2 Mile Trail Race
Pine Hollow Trail

So I tried something different this summer! I signed Henry up for his first trail race! I had been running with him a bit over the summer when I saw an ad on Facebook for the Muddy Paws race series sponsored by Western Reserve Racing. There were 2 different races – a 5 miler and a 10 miler, but what caught my eye was the 2 mile doggie fun run as a fundraiser for the Humane Society. I read further to read that the dogs would be chipped (timed) only and not the humans and there would be prizes for the various sizes of dogs. That was it! I was in!

So the morning of the run Henry was totally cool. No pre-race jitters for him!

We got there a little bit early to pick up his bib and his swag item – a collapsible water bowl that has the Muddy Paws logo on it.  So stinkin’ cute!  We spent the rest of the 30 minutes before the race making new friends, slobbering other dogs and straightening out leashes!  Before we knew it it was time to start!  The first 100 yards or so was all downhill and even the race director mentioned that he couldn’t wait to see how fast the dogs would pull us down the hill!! There was quite a crowd there – I was pleasantly surprised! I was also surprised at how many smaller dogs there were! I wasn’t sure how the littler dogs would do with a race that distance!

We took off and at first Henry was a bit confused. He wanted to smell the dogs as we were passing them. Pretty soon he got the hang of it as he saw all of them moving in the same direction. He trotted along pretty good. I had made sure to have him take care of business on a quick walk at home that morning before we left to minimize stops. I think he only had to pee once. The trail was pretty steep in parts and the morning was very humid! Because of this I had to walk just a bit on some of the hills. Each time I did as I told him I had to talk just a bit, Henry looked back at me like, “is that all you got, lady? When are we actually going to start running?!”

 

 

We trotted our way to the finish line and I led him to the number of water bowls out for the doggies. He sniffed all of them, but would not drink out of any of them. It was like they were tainted. First of all, who is he to be judgmental of slobber?! He eyed the water I was drinking so I had to pour some of my bottle out so he could drink it. But as soon as I dumped the rest in a bowl he was not interested. He could not bear to drink out of a public water bowl!  Funny how a muddy lake is another story, however! I was glad I brought his own bowl and a cold water bottle with us so he could have a drink by the car before heading home.

One cool and unique thing about this race was the sounds I heard. Normally during a race I hear feet on the pavement or path and sometimes folks breathing. This time it was a mix of human breathing, but also lots of panting! It was fun and I felt a cool connection with Henry. He is 7 years old and we just started doing this together, but it just shows that it is never too late. We didn’t win any prizes. He/we came in 51 out of 62 dogs in total, but I had a blast and I think I can speak for Henry that he did too.

Time: 25:31 51/62 dogs