I have started a consistent routine of getting out and running first thing in the morning on work days. Normally, in these colder and darker months, I start my work day early and then try to take a run on my lunch break (which might happen anytime between 12 and 4). But work is suddenly stressful and these early morning runs are keeping me on an even keel while many of my co-workers are feeling quite stressed. Imagine, what a calm and happy world this would be if everyone took an early morning run!
There have always been difficult situations to deal with and complicated procedures to perform in my line of work, but now there are new pressures. More planned Medicare cuts in home care quietly went into effect in January. http://www.healthcare-digital.com/new-medicare-final-rule-cuts-home-care It took less than a month for us direct care providers to start feeling it. We are under a lot of pressure to somehow continue to provide quality care to the sickest people in our communities with very limited funding. Don't get me wrong, if people need care at home they are going to get it. But if Medicare doesn't pay for it, the home care agencies will be eating a lot of those costs. Home care is non-profit so there is no surplus to cover these expenses. What this has resulted in is sort of a controlled panic by those in the industry. If we could all just get out for a good hard run first thing in the morning we'd get through it just fine.
Each morning has found me out on the hard packed snowmobile trails. The ones in this area are not heavily trafficked and most mornings I don't see any snowmobilers at all. Sometimes the last tracks through are the ones I left the morning before. The route I have been running is extremely hilly. There are some open fields and some good deep dark woods. This corner of the state is one of the few places left in Southern Maine that a person can venture out into the forest for hours and hours without seeing or hearing another soul.
Saturday, Kevin and I went out on the Ossipee River Trails on snowshoes after my trail run. There was a mom out with her two young girls, all of them on snowshoes. I couldn't believe how much energy those girls had! Kevin and I went about 4 or 5 miles. This is not to be confused with snowshoe running. Snowshoe running is fun, but quite different than snowshoe trekking in deep untouched snow. Believe me, I wouldn't have made any progress at all back there if i was wearing my little running snowshoes. I'd still be out there up to my shoulders in the white stuff! I do a lot of both running and hiking in snowshoes and I can't decide which is more difficult!
Sunday I was wiped out. I don't know if it is this little cold I have, the high mileage running week, the difficult snowshoe trek the day before, or the work stresses catching up to me. It was probably all of those things. I slept almost twelve hours straight through from Saturday night. Sunday, I got up and had a cup of coffee and then slept a few more hours. Finally, late Sunday I went for my run. I was slow, but it was fun and I'm glad I did it.
My training is going very well. Mileage is getting up where it belongs, long runs are feeling good for the most part, and I am enjoying myself.