Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Princess Shift: What Can You Do for 4 Hours Besides Run a Marathon?

All the hype surrounding the attempt to break the 2 hour marathon barrier gave me lots to think about. The elite runners may have their 2 hour marathons but for us mere mortals, the middle of the packers, 4 hours is the unofficial time we try to beat. It reminds me of something we nurses used to tell ourselves when asked to pick up extra time during the busy season: "you can do anything for 4 hours." We used to call the 4 hour shifts "the princess shift".

Whenever I run a race, I pull out all the mantras, but for a marathon, I pull out the old one from my staff nursing days: "you can do anything for 4 hours." I don't know that I'd call a marathon a "princess shift", though. But this begs the question: what can you do for 4 hours? Besides run a marathon, that is?



I thought of a few things I could do for 4 hours:

I could drive to Door County. I wouldn't mind going back so soon after last weekend's half marathon. My parents' house is 250 miles from where I live. The drive takes me about 4 1/2 hours.

I could fly to California. Living in Chicago, I'm halfway to anywhere in the country. It's a 4 hour flight to sunshine, warm weather, and those mountain trails. Let's go.

I could have some dental work done. Ugh, right? I have multiple crowns in my mouth and the last time I had the front 4 teeth recapped, I had two 4 hour appointments. 4 hours with my mouth pried open. 4 hours of Neil Young. I know I need some work done on my gums. I'd rather run a marathon, really. And no Neil Young on my playlist.

I could watch 4 episodes of Shameless. Except that we've finished the series up to season 6 and are waiting for season 7 to be released on Netflix. Have you seen this show? I don't know if I could watch 4 hours straight. I can't believe these people! Frank is so over the top, but I just want to wring Fiona's neck. And Lip? WTH was he thinking?

I could go to see a baseball game. Actually, the average game lasts about 3 hours, but factor in time for the pregame and postgame shenanigans. Of course, the Cubs and Yankees played an 18 inning game on Sunday night, so you just never know how long you'll be at the ballpark!

I could clean my house. I could. On second thought...

I could go for some spa treatments. A facial, pedicure, manicure, and massage sound like the perfect way to while away 4 hours. Just what this tired runner needs!

I could read a good book. I just started this month's book club read: Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer. It's already sucked me in, and I'll be picking it up as soon as I finish this blog post. You can catch my review next Friday, May 19. Why don't you read it and post one too? I'll share it in my post.


Now that I think about it, there are a lot of things I could do for 4 hours besides run a marathon.

Here's something I won't be doing: running a marathon. Specifically, I won't be running Grandma's Marathon in June. When I crossed the finish line at my half marathon last weekend, I stopped to catch my breath and commented to Holly, who was doing the same thing next to me: "there's no f**king way I can run a marathon right now." I was completely spent.

You know that expression, "I left everything on the course"? No truer words were spoken on Saturday. The run/walk intervals were a helpful tool to keep me moving, but when I struggled to breathe as I was running downhill I realized that 26.2 in June was not going to be an option. Since my diagnosis with RA, I've been having problems with my breathing, which is why I started doing the run/walk intervals. I think it's probably RA-related inflammation in my lungs, but really who knows? Who cares? It's a done deal. On Monday, I put that final nail in the Grandma's Marathon coffin and canceled my backup hotel room in Duluth.


At this point, I'm ok with the decision to DNS. With my current health issues and state of running, it's not worth the 8 hour drive, the cost for food and lodging, and the time off work, even though I'm out the cost of the marathon. My friend Pete B, who blogs over at The Lakefront Trail, told me about the "sunk cost theory", which is a way of justifying looking forward instead of looking backward. I've already spent the money on the entry fee, but the cost of me actually doing the marathon would be so much more. Whether or not you agree with this, this justification sure made me feel better!

Ok, now that I've given up my "princess shift" but saved myself a whole bunch of money, what to do? One thing I do know is that I'm going to keep on running and working on my endurance. The run/walk intervals are working for me and the half marathon distance seems to be a good one for me right now. I've got a half marathon on the calendar in July, RnR Chicago. Marcia and I are running it and we'd love for it to be a party! Come join us!

Life goes on. Maybe next year, I'll run a marathon. I still need my BQ. 4 hours, baby. That's the magic number. The "princess shift".


What could you do for 4 hours? And Happy Nurses Week to all my fellow nurse runners out there!

I'm linking up with Debbie, Susie, Rachel, and Lora for Coaches' Corner and Annemarie, Jen, and Nicole for Wild Workout Wednesday!







72 comments :

  1. I know this is a hard decision and why are you convey that in this post I know it's harder than even you convey. i vote spa day <3

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    1. Me too! Thinking at least of a pedicure today!

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  2. We could go to a brewery and eat pizza or chips or fries. We could have a spa day. You could get a super solid nap. You could organize your closet.
    You could get piece of mind and not feel pressure to do something that you would not enjoy and would dread.

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    1. Naps--check! Closet--I need to do that. Spa day--that might be the winner!

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  3. One of the differences between a marathon and any of those other tasks is you don't train half the year first. I know that decision was a tough one but I'm also glad you made it. The marathon will be there when you're ready. Until then lets Rock n Roll! <3

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    1. I gave this decision plenty of time. The half marathon was going to be the deciding factor and I knew on Saturday that right now, I don't have 26.2 in me.

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  4. I'm sorry you had to make this decision. You seem ok with it and you've gained a lot more than 4 hours!

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    1. Right? Whatever will I do with all my time? :p

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  5. Dinner and drinks with friends? Bike ride and coffee date? And of course the spa day sounds good too. The marathon will always be there for you if and when you decide you are ready for it.

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    1. In my heart, I know I've got one more marathon in me!

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  6. I certainly wouldn't call those who can slip in under 4 hours "middle of the pack" runners, I would say their pretty speedy (not elites but speedy for recreational runners like we al are). I'm sorry you won't e making it to Grandma's but I think you gained a lot more than 4 hours! Sometimes it's such a relief knowing that you don't have to do something..lol. Hang in there! RNR Chicago sounds exciting!

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    1. See, that's where the sunk cost fallacy comes in--look at all the wins!

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  7. hmmmmm...in four hours I could knit a new scarf/hat/open-weave poncho, or clean (ha, yeah...like I'd even think about doing that), or nap. It takes me a little more than four hours to drive to Chicago......(?). I'm really bummed you won't be joining us in Duluth, but I totally get it. I might need to reconsider R'n'R in July.....

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    1. I think you should come! It would be a blast, just saying....

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  8. I know a DNS is a very hard decision to make, but you know your body better than anyone and it looks like you made the right decision. But I love the positive spin of this post in naming things that you can do in 4 hours. I really appreciate your positive attitude and keeping all things in perspective!

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    1. It wasn't an easy decision, but I'm at peace with it. I feel like I gave my body every chance to show me what I could do--and 26.2 isn't in the cards.

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  9. I know you're making light of the decision, but I know it wasn't easy either.

    Chicago is tempting (other than, you know, Chicago and a gazillion runners and heat which I loathe), but the truth is I don't think right now I want to do 4 halfs in 4 months.

    I could totally spend 4 hours in a spa. I wish I could afford it!

    I've been meaning to pick up Marathon Woman since it's been rereleased. :)

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    1. With my newfound run/walk intervals, I'm looking forward to doing this race in my hometown! I hear they use a lot of the marathon course, so it will be like coming home.

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    2. I felt that way about Austin. And it was a ton of fun!

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    3. I think this will be fun too!

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  10. Shameless season 7 can be found online, but it's not on Netflix. Season 8 is coming out soon! Andrew and I are only on Season 2. It's a show we can only watch when the bigger kids aren't here and when Callum is asleep, so it doesn't happen often.

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    1. I may have to figure out how to watch it before it's released to Netflix. I'm dying to know what happens next!

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  11. I could drive halfway to see my parents in 4 hours. Love the perspective. Sorry you won't be running Grandma's but it sounds like a great decision for you.

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    1. It is all about perspective, right? Think about all the time I'll be saving without having to train.

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  12. I kinda sorta knew this was coming and understand that you know it's the right decision, but also a difficult one. I also understand the Peace. Sometimes life throws us curve balls and we grow in strength and character in dealing with the disappointment with grace.
    You are a portrait of that grace, disappointment notwithstanding.

    (I will probably DNS my comeback event scheduled for the 21st. Far from a marathon---you know my journey---but I've been unwell for two weeks and have not been able to train at all. Even my daily stretching and yoga have been off the table. I won't run if I'm not ready; I'm stubborn but not foolish. The disappointment and Peace reside side by side, in equal measure).

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    1. You have to make the best choice for you. There's plenty of races out there!

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  13. I would love to take four hours to read a book...it's been so long. I need to start scheduling reading sessions in or just take a day off to read a book cover to cover!

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    1. I always feel guilty just curling up with a book. But I may just do that this afternoon!

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  14. The site won't let me post under a name--keeps shooting to an Anonymous poster. This is from The Accidental Marathoner:

    Tough decision. I say since you were committed to Grandma's anyway, you take a whole weekend and not just 4 hours to just kick back and do whatever the hell you want to do! Maybe a full spa WEEKEND with your sister or some friends. Happy Nurses Week!

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    1. I'll probably pick up some extra hours at work--I've been off, remember, and I didn't have enough PTO to cover my LOA.

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  15. Well now that you have some extra money (race weekend expenses) I say spa day and/or some retail therapy! Or come on out to California! The weather this time of year is perfect - cool mornings and bright blue sunny skies the rest of the day.

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    1. See, that sunshine is my kind of therapy!

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  16. We still call it the princess shift ;) Oh what I could do with four hours!!! Love this post and your creativity!

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    1. I figured that it was a term that will never go away! Ha!

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  17. I bet you could get to Utah in that amount of time. Just sayin'. (Can't blame me for still trying!) I could go to the lake and ski for a couple of hours and be sipping a tasty Margarita at the Oyster Bar on the way home. I'm so sorry about Grandma's but there will be plenty of others!

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    1. Wouldn't that be fun? I think I'll wait for the waterskiing and the Oyster Bar. That's my kind of princess shift!

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  18. Ah yes to break the 4 hour mark, I'm still after that one myself although I still dream I can break the 3:30 mark and get my BQ.
    I don't blame ya for a DNS I had one of those myself a few years back. You have to do what's best for you. Grandma's is a great race maybe one day you can make it back to it when you know the time is right!

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    1. My BQ is 4:10, so it's definitely a possibility if I find my endurance again! See, there is an advantage to being older!

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  19. I could play a round of golf!

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  20. Glad my comment about sunk costs made you feel better. I know I've used it a few times to make myself feel better when I've decided to DNS!

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    1. I so needed to have that in my back pocket! Thank you!

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  21. Sorry about the DNS, but it really sounds like you made the right decision. Start thinking of all the FUN things you can do in 4 hours!

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    1. Plus all that extra time I'm saving since I'm not training!

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  22. It's never easy to decide on a DNS, but I think you're making the right decision. There will always be more races to take on when you're ready.

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    1. 100% agree. I just needed to be at peace with it.

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  23. Ah, I'm so sad to hear this! But I know how much relief you must be feeling. You'll get your BQ when you're ready and we'll all be there to cheer you on. I'll miss you in Duluth!

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    1. I kind of already knew this was coming, but after last weekend's half, I KNEW.

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  24. To DNS any activity that you were working towards is not an easy decision. Must have been pretty tough for you. But you are being realistic and doing what is best for you right now. And when the time comes to get that BQ or run the marathon, you will make the right decision then too. It seems that we kind of already know these things (what we need to do) about ourselves, its just a matter of accepting it. Keep at it! You will get there!

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    1. I'm in a good place with this. It's never easy to DNS--I'm so not a quitter--but yes, it is the right thing to do.

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  25. Im sorry that you won't be running the race but it sounds like you are making a smart choice. Now you can just focus on building your endurance but there is no pressure to do so in a certain amount of time.

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    1. We will revisit this goal in a year!

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  26. I'm in for the spa day! Let's skip the house cleaning part, mmmkay?

    I know it was hard for you to make this decision, but it's the right one, for now. Hopefully you'll work your way through this RA stuff and get back on the road. I haven't mentioned it either, but I won't be doing the Utah Valley Marathon. I'd hoped to make it a good comeback, but shortly after that I fell (again), which put me back enough to basically make the financial decision that you did. The cost of travel and expenses is a lot for a race that I would just be struggling through. Rock 'n' Roll Half, though, in SD? I'm all in! I hope we'll still both be able to make it to Vegas this year. Two letter to the editor writers really need to meet!

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    1. Mmmkay--no house cleaning! LOL!

      I hope we both make it to LV! We have to meet!

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  27. You could do some sup yoga.... I like the flying to LA idea....

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  28. I might have to! There's sure not going to be any SUP here in our rain and cold temps.

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  29. Haha! As a Nurse, I totally appreciate this!! However, I would never consider a marathon to equate to one of my Princess Shifts at work :-) Great post & Happy Nurse's Week!!

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    1. Idk--some of those shifts can be like a marathon!

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  30. No shame in that game and I am happy you made the decision! What day is RnR in Chicago? I know you are NOT trying to tempt me! :-)

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    1. Um, maybe....:D It's July 16! Come on up north!

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  31. I think you made a great decision with your DNs as hard as it is. Happy nurses week!

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    1. I agree with you! I"m really ok with the decision.

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  32. Sounds like you made the right decision. Do they have any suggestions for how to improve the breathing?

    Also, I'm going to be in Portage IN the night of May 29. Not sure which side of Chicago you are on, but I'd love to figure out a way to meet up.

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    1. I'm going to talk with my rheumatologist when I see her next week about the breathing.

      Keep me posted on your plans!

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  33. I second the idea of you taking a spa day on June 17th instead! I once went to an amazing spa in Wisconsin Dells (a friend worked there so I got to the pools for free). That's not too far, right?

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    1. I've heard great things about that Wis Dells spa! We actually have some nice day spas close to where I live, including an Aveda spa. Could be an idea...

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  34. I'm so glad to hear you made a decision that works FOR you and not against you. It's so tempting to do what we want but not what we need a la Rolling Stones :-) At this point, I would like to eat for 4 hours since I was sick as a dog on Tuesday...

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    1. Yikes! I hope you are feeling better. That is the worst...

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  35. I was wondering about your breathing issues while running. I'm having the same issues, I commented a few posts back about using the Galloway interval method. I have PsA and was wondering too if it was inflammation from that or Enbrel??
    Have you had your thyroid checked specifically the antibodies for Hashimotos (autoimmune thyroid condition)? (I've been on t3 and t4 for my thyroid for yrs but just started having issues). I had my antibodies checked for it last week and they are sky high! So now I had another autoimmune condition along with my TSH being higher than it should be again. One of the symptoms of Hashimotos is breathing issues from little effort. I mean I gasp for air and wheeze just running on flats. I just wanted to put that out there as something else you could look into.

    I would like to be able to sleep for 4 hours straight!
    - debbiebikes
    debbiebikes

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    1. That's a good thought! I see my rheumatologist next week and I'm going to bring that up. That would make sense with the fatigue too. Thank you!

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  36. Bummer you won't be running Grandma's Marathon. Come to Utah with us. Hmm, I cannot run a marathon in 4 hours but that is my goal too. A new TV show that I like is "How to Get Away with Murder" and I can easily watch it for 4 hours times 2. :-)

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    1. It would be so tempting to go to Utah--but I'm supposed to be back at work by then!

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