iFibrillator

Week 6.5: Tuesday and Thursday were gorgeous days but I could not persuade, bribe, trick, coerce or otherwise convince my daughter to resume her solitary confinement within the jogging stroller. We headed back to the gym both days and I decided to keep trying my luck at the track. I was excited to see what other record breaking times my phone would log. Apparently on Tuesdays, the traffic flows counter clockwise around the loop instead in the sane direction, and I was off kilter from the start. As a right handed individual, running to the left feels backwards and like life is continually unwinding. I had significantly more trouble keeping track of my laps. I am sure I logged an extra 3 or 4 laps as I went with the self imposed rule: that which I wasn’t sure of, I had to repeat. I made it through my first 2 miles again without stopping, but was forced to stop for a tissue break at the start of the third mile. I walked a few laps during the third mile, but somehow kept my forward momentum for the majority of it. After my 39+ laps, I triumphantly checked my phone’s record of my run only to find it was equally confounded by the counter clockwise direction and had measured only 2 miles.  Dissed by my phone! My prior endorsement of my running app is henceforth modified for use on tracks only when running in a clockwise fashion. It’s a right handed world out there for people and their electronics, and all hell breaks loose when you force a left handed move.
     Thursday was back to normal and it seemed easier to focus on my run. I realized only after I had started that I had tragically forgotten my tissue supply. I trudged onward not wanting to interrupt my run. My nose was more or less cooperative and while still annoying, it was not performing at the prolific rate of production previously experienced, so I managed (I would prefer not to say how exactly I managed, but rest assured a thorough shower was had afterwards).  My cardiologist also vaporized into form again, this time next to me on the track. He didn’t have any trouble keeping up, but was a bit easier for me to ignore. He didn’t seem to mind my attempts to run him off the track to avoid collision with the handful of real life walkers who accompanied me in the slow lane. He simply vanished and would reappear with a smile once the path was clear. I gave him fewer opportunities to question my need to slow down, and he was mostly complimentary, seemingly impressed with my achievements. He had his stethoscope around his neck, but I didn’t need him to use it. I wished he would at least bring tissues if he’s going to accompany me on my runs. His lab coat pockets are deep and would hold a bunch. I persevered through my standard 3 miles, but this time jogged the entire distance except for only 2 laps at the onset of the third mile. My overall time on Thursday was 37:18, my best time yet! Furthermore, my phone had resumed its complimentary attitude about my run and recorded a total of 7.39 miles at a 5 minute mile pace, more than enough to secure my position with the elite few on race day. Though I wouldn’t call it “easy” yet, I can definitely feel that it is not as much of a struggle to survive the full 3 miles. Now if the race were only 3 miles and not 6…
     Thursday I also happened to be in Boulder with my daughter on an unrelated errand, and I decided to do a test drive of the race course in my car. I dreamed up the brilliant idea of affixing my cell phone to the central rear view mirror with my headband and filming the race course while I drove along. Everything was going swimmingly for the first 2 miles, and then the reflective rays and cumulative heat from the Boulder sun against the windshield caused a melt down of my iPhone and all functions ceased to work. I immediately pulled over when I heard the tell-tale ping and tried my best to resuscitate my phone (an upgrade that I’ve owned for less than a month) but I couldn’t get anything other than a black screen. I desperately tried to give it some cooling breaths with the car’s A/C and compressed the home button at least 30 times, but the black screen remained. Flatlined. How I longed to harness the life sustaining forces of the defibrillator contained securely within my chest to recalibrate my phone. I covered the deceased under my jacket so it would not be further bothered by the sun and hoped for a miracle. Annoyed with my race, which was clearly at fault for the untimely demise of my new phone, I reluctantly continued to follow the race course the rest of the way to its terminal location at Folsom Stadium. I missed 4 turns, and part of the course runs the wrong way down a one way street which was impossible in my car, so some of the pathway will be left to the imagination. There was one steep hill around the 4th mile that I will no doubt be walking up. Because Boulder would rather have runners die than finish the race, they have made the end of the course another steep incline as runners are about to enter the stadium to cross the finish line. I may be down to a commando crawl by that time, but one way or another I will finish!
     After tracing the entire route, I took my phone to the Apple Store to see if anything could be done. The pleasant staff member listened patiently to my blathering story about running my first race, the exceptionally bright sun, and how I killed my phone. He carefully took my phone and powered it down with the simultaneous depression of the off switch AND the home button. Apparently, to successfully defibrillate an iPhone, one must use both paddles. We waited a minute or two then powered my phone back on and it was like new. Whew! Close call, but thanks to my skillfully trained technician, my phone and its running app live on and I can keep this little incident to myself.
     After returning home, I received the disheartening news that my internal defibrillator stands in the way of my access to the spiffy pink bladder muscle zapping contraption. So, until I can talk to the manufacturers of both devices, I’m stuck in a Kegle holding pattern. I’m guessing that the contraindication is based on theory and not actual human experience. After finding out the combined wave lengths, voltages, velocities, and other potential astrophysical parameters that I’d be dealing with, there may be opportunity for negotiation. In any case, the matter is not likely to be resolved by race day which is now just over a week away. For better or worse, I am back to my Special K days, keeping my fingers and toes crossed for good measure.

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