Sunday, July 27, 2014

Next Adventure - Ready or Not!

{This is a series in posts about our trip to Uganda for the Riley/Rotary Vocational Training Team. To start at the beginning, go to this post. Check out the team blog at If you visit the team blog, please leave a comment! The team loves to hear your encouraging words!}

While in the works for a while, I officially bought my first ticket to Africa!

In September, I will be tagging along with a team from Riley Children's Hospital to Kampala, Uganda. This is their 5th trip to the Uganda Heart Institute and the team's trip (not mine - my accounting experience won't get very far in a medical grant :) ) is funded with a Rotary Foundation Global Grant, funds raised by our club at our Annual Gift of Life Auction, funds from the Kampala-North Rotary Club and funds from our District (also through the Foundation). The purpose of the mission is to work with and train the doctors, nurses and staff of UHI to help build their capacity as a fully sustainable Pediatric Heart Center. The Riley and Ugandan teams will also operate together on quite a few kiddos while we're there.

You can read all about the past missions to UHI here.

Here is a brief excerpt from one of the posts which explains the program a little more.
This (Uganda Heart Institute) looks to be the most promising program in all of Uganda and Eastern Africa to care for children with congenital heart disease. Gift of Life International, through the efforts of Rob Raylman, the Executive Director of GOLI, and the first Gift of Life patient ever, Grace Agwaru, started a program of “Our Hearts Are in Uganda” in 2009 to help address the vast needs in this country. Our Riley team, specifically Dr. Turrentine, has cared for several children in Indianapolis from Uganda and in 2010 our team traveled to UHI with the first Vocational Training Team completed in the world under the Future Vision Plan of Rotary International. Each year, our team has expanded and worked together with local Rotarians from Kampala and surrounding clubs to build on the work the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff do at the Uganda Heart Institute (UHI). Gift of Life in turn helps to coordinate 3 other visiting teams from all over the world throughout the year to share their skills and expertise with the wonderful surgeons Dr. Tom Mwambu and Dr. Michael Oketcho, as well as cardiologists Dr. Sulaiman Lubega and Dr. Peter Lwabi and the rest of the nursing, OR, Cath lab, anesthesia, and perfusion staff at UHI who will be mentioned by name throughout the week.

(I've posted before about Gift of Life International and our club's involvement when we brought Baby Sara and her mother Mira to Indiana from Kosova. This is another way the Auction funds are used through a partnership with Riley.)

Don't know much about Uganda? Don't worry. I didn't either. Here's a map...

We'll fly into Entebbe (via Detroit and Amsterdam). Then, we'll drive to Kampala which is the capital city. 

For more facts about Uganda, go here to where I found these maps.

I have a general idea of what to expect as my neighbor and friend, Stephanie, has been the Rotarian Team Lead on all of the trips and is a veteran. Although, with my absolute lack of any medical knowledge or training, I will not be helping on that front. I hope to interact with the families of the kids as well as the local Rotarians. And, of course, I'll do whatever I can to help out with what needs done once we're there. I helped to write this grant and will help write the final report, so I'll be collecting info for that as well.

The very cool thing about Global Grants through the Rotary Foundation is that a partnership is required with another club in the grant recipient's district. We are partnering with the Kampala-North Club so we will get to interact with club members there as well. I hope to visit with Rotarian's and see some of the other Rotary projects happening around the area.

Once we're done in Uganda, a few of us will fly to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The plan is to meet with Rotarians and medical staff to discuss the possibilities of partnering with a new hospital and staff there.

I had to look Dubai up on a map as well.

And, now, in relation to Africa.

I am excited and nervous and anxious and lots of other things right now. Mostly though, I'm excited to be able to see it all happening in person. My biggest hope is that I will have an experience that I'll be able to share with others back at home to further the cause of saving kids lives and changing the future for these families.   

More to come...

Day One has been posted! Go to this post to continue the journey!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Running Update

In honor of my first "long" (ish) run since the Indy Mini, I thought I'd give a quick running update. (This is another one of those self-indulgent posts I write just for my own records. Feel free to ignore.) :) 
This summer, we joined the local gym as I mentioned in this post. This has meant luxurious running in the air conditioned comfort along with access to Bravo and the Real Housewives (my favorite is New York). Don't you have a treadmill in your basement you ask? Why yes. We do. But, our basement doesn't have child care (nor a TV) and I'd rather run without having to stop and break up arguments or make drinks. 
I do find it ironic that we decided to join the gym during one of the coolest summers I can remember. 
Running at the gym has allowed me focus more on some speed work. Part of the program that was set on my initial visit included an interval session on the treadmill which is super nice because it just automatically changes speed when necessary. I've also been lifting weights twice a week based on a plan the trainer said would build leg strength. (Side note: My cardio test was sky high compared to my peers. My leg strength was below average! Sounds like weights are just what I need!) 
I mentioned in the earlier gym post that I would like to clock a mile under 7 minutes. I've been working on that too. Once a week, I run three miles - each at a faster pace. I set the speed at my goal pace around 1.9 miles and then I go for it. I started at 7:42. On Thursday, I did 7:28. (Mile 1 = 8:30, Mile 2 = 8:00, Mile 3 = 7:28). And, I wasn't totally dying. I think if it were my only mile and for good reason, I could get under 7 right now. For now, I'll keep chugging away. 
It's been quite nice to log faster times and fewer miles. My ultimate hope is that by the time I start training for my fall races, my work this summer will result in faster training times even on my "easy" runs. 
Thanks to Google, I have self-diagnosed myself with achilles tendonitis however. Here's what has to say...
Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles (uh-KIL-eez) tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.
Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It's also common in middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, only on the weekends.
What?! I'm going with the first part of that description. Either way, I'm trying to pay attention to it and slow down when it bothers me. The worst part is getting out of bed in the morning. Ouch! 
I'm also going to head on over to Amazon after posting this to buy a new pair of shoes. Nothing exciting, just the same version of the pair I have now - Brooks Ghost 6. I should probably just go ahead and switch to the 7 but I know these work and they're now on sale. I realized on my run today that I've been wearing these since November which means they probably are overdue to be retired. 
I have also signed up for my third race of the year. I'll be running the Indianapolis Half-Marathon on October 18th. I did the full marathon last year and the half the year before that. I guess it's kind of becoming a tradition! My mom and I will run this one together again which will be great! And, Tom's running too. This race will be a training run for two weeks later, the Indianapolis Monumental Half, which is a new one for me. I was supposed to run it five years ago, but got pregnant with Jack instead. This is my "goal" race and the one in which I plan to get into the 1:40's. This will also be the race that rounds out my 2014 goal of 4 half marathons.  
Finally, I've been starting to think about how I will hit 5 races in 2015. Four wasn't too tough but five definitely approaches one every other month territory. So far, I'm thinking it will be something like this... February - San Diego, May - Indy Mini, September - Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania (Amish Country!), October/November - maybe the same as this year? I wish there were more races in June and July but it's just too darned hot! 
If you've stuck with me this long, I'm impressed. I think I'm finally cooled off enough from my HOT run tonight that I can finally take a shower! Until next time...