Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Running The New York Marathon 2017: Challenges and Accomplishments

By Randy Buikema, Human Resoure Director

Mary and I took off for New York City on Friday, November 3rd.  We have found that walking over to Peppy's Grill and getting a Blue Indy car is our preferred mode of transportation to the Indianapolis airport.  The cost from Fountain Square was $7. Our direct flight to LaGuardia arrived about 9:00 am. We took an Uber to the Grand Hyatt and were in our room by 10:00 am. I made my final 6-mile training run through Central Park. It was a beautiful day at about 75 degrees, and I got to check out the finish line of the marathon. The park was full of runners shaking out the nerves of anticipation. We took a quick trip to the Javits Convention Center to pick up the race packet. We set a record at staying at the expo for less than an hour. 

There are a lot of cool over-priced running items at the expo, however, I did get a Meb running shirt.
We ate at a nice Italian restaurant - pasta, of course. Next up was the Broadway show The Lion King. This month was the 20th anniversary of the show on Broadway.  The stage, costumes, and lighting were spectacular.  It was a great evening at the show.  The walk-through Times Square to and from the hotel was also very nice.

Saturday, I had a short 3 mile run on the sidewalks of Manhattan.  What a challenge to get around the mass of humanity.  We had a late breakfast at a local shop.  We then took a nice stroll to Central Park.  We hung out in the park sitting on park benches and enjoying people watching and the beautiful weather.  Walking to the park was around one mile from the hotel. You can walk a lot in the park! We did go to Strawberry Field and saw the "Imagination" memorial for John Lennon.  Saturday night we had a nice dinner on the second floor of Grand Central Station. It was a balcony area overlooking the main hall of the station.

Sunday was race day. We were awake at 4:45. We had a favorite breakfast snack of avocado on whole grain bread, and fruit.  I was off for the Public Library at 5:30 to catch my 6:00 bus. I was surprised to find a massive line for the busses. Finally, I boarded the bus at 6:30. It was a little over an hour ride to Staten Island. I was impressed with the traffic jam of busses. All of us over-hydrated runners got in our first line for porta johns. I then could spread out my little blanket and garbage bags and hunker down for about an hour. I was in the green village, corral C, wave 2. 

The next step was going through security one more time, and getting in line for the porta johns one more time. A very important thing for the overly hydrated runners. We then waited about 30 minutes before the march to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. A beautiful rendition of "God Bless America" was sung. Runners started tossing their warm-up gear to the side of the bridge. The bridge is a double decker with runners on both decks. A big howitzer cannon is fired to start the race. It is all uphill the first half mile up the bridge. I believe there were four different splits at the bottom of the bridge and then everyone converged again. My tactics for the race were a little different this time. I was going to stay at a slower pace starting out. I was not going to get the adrenaline rush and excitement get me out too fast. This tactic seemed to work. My overall pace was about 50 seconds per mile slower than I had planned. I think there were a couple of things that attributed to the slower pace: 1.) I typically had a Power Aide and water at every station; 2.) I had to stop twice for bathroom breaks because of the water and Power Aide.  I think previous marathons have taught me that "bonking" partially occurs because of dehydration and electrolyte depletion. I also had six food packs made by Hudson Wikoff - sports nutrition expert. Some were a banana base, some had chia seeds. I think they were a tremendous help in not "bonking" at mile 20. 

I did see Mary a few times throughout the race.  She got some nice pictures. She hooked me up with a clean shirt at mile 17. The shirt transition needs some refinement. I got the new shirt on backwards and then proceeded to rip my bib number. It was very special to run the last few miles with no serious bonking pain. I felt bad for all the people I ran past that were truly suffering. The New York Marathon is much more difficult than Chicago. The 2,500,000 spectators were spectacular. Oh, so loud in their cheering! The last 200 meters were really cool. I ended up crossing the finish line with Tiki Barber! Tiki was a star running back for the New York Giants. Of course, the crowd was really excited to see me and Tiki cross the finish line. Once across the finish line, there was a long walk to receive my finishing medal, warming poncho, and bag of snacks. The medics were busy treating people that fell ill after the race. I assume cramps and upset stomachs. I personally felt really good, besides exhausted. I chose not to check a bag at the start line so I got a thermal poncho at the finish. 

The next step was to reunite with Mary outside of the runner’s secure zone. We met at 76th St and Central Park West. We walked a few blocks to Ella's Kitchen and Bar and finally got to sit and rest the tired legs and feet. A couple of cold ones and a burger, and we were ready for the journey back to the hotel. We found the best way to get around the city after the race was the subway. We could get back to Grand Central Station with just one train change at Time Square. The toughest part of riding the packed trains is that there were a lot of steps to get to the train. My comment to Mary was that we were going down to the depths of hell to get to the 7 train which took us into Grand Central Station. Mary and I were both exhausted from the great day.  I believe we were both sound asleep by 9:00.  

I highly recommend people to set a wild and crazy goal like running a marathon.  You learn so much about yourself.  You meet a lot of people along the journey.  You always have an icebreaker conversation with folks.  I now must decide what the next marathon or adventure is going to be.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Basic Tips For Pool Safety

By Staci Brandenburg, R.N.

Summer is quickly approaching.  As the weather gets warmer, more people are swimming, especially since it is a fun way to exercise.  People may swim in public pools or private pools.  Wherever you choose to swim, make it safe.

Here are some safety tips to help you this summer: 

·      Make sure someone who knows what they are doing with the chemicals handles them.
·      Sick people need to stay out of the pool.  The chemicals will not kill all the bacteria and viruses!
·      Shower before you swim to remove bacteria and make sure the little ones' diapers are clean and dry.
·      Make sure to apply sunscreen before swimming and every 2 hours while swimming.
·      Children need to be supervised at the pool.  Lifeguards are great; however, if the child does not swim well, it is wise for a family member or friend who can swim to watch them, as well.
·      Teach children how to swim.
·      Teach children to stay away from the pool drains and check that the drains are covered.
·      Know how to do CPR. (Contact your local Red Cross about a class.)
·      Take the children to the bathroom frequently and change the diapers frequently, maybe even hourly. 
·      Discourage people from using the pool as the bathroom.
·      Do not swallow the pool water.
·      Drink plenty of clean water.
·      Pools should have life rings and swimming hooks available for water rescue.

Safety Tips. (n.d.). Retrieved June 05, 2017, from https://www.poolsafely.gov/parents/safety-tips/

Steps for Healthy Swimming. (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/     healthywater/pdf/swimming/resources/steps-healthy-swimming508c.pdf

Friday, May 19, 2017

Summer Safety Tips

By Staci Brandenburg, R.N. 

The kids are out of school and the weather is warm, which brings people outside! Before going out into the heat, there are some basic safety tips that every person should know.  Here are a list of a few I find important:

  • Drink 2 eight ounce glasses of water 2-3 hours before going outside.
  • Protect your skin! 
    • Use sunscreen with at least a 15 SPF that protects agains both UVA and AVB rays at least 20 minutes before going outside. Put it on again every 2 hours if you are staying outside. 
    • Wear tightly woven long sleeve shirts and long pants, a hat, and sunglasses when out in the sun. 
    • Keep drinking water when outside. Swallow ten big swallows, about 10 ounces of water, every 15-20 minutes when outside. 
  • Stay away from drinks like soda that have caffeine, sugar, and carbonation. 

Try to stay out of the heat during the day between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. each day.  It's the hottest part of the day!

Have a fun and safe time outdoors!

(2016). Retrieved June 8, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/index.html

Monday, May 15, 2017

An Unspoken Peril of the American Health Care Act (AHCA)

By Beth Sullivan, CIN, CAC, SHIP Counselor

We all have deep feelings about natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and public health crises like HIV/AIDS epidemic. We all remember where we were when the Towers fell in New York City.

One thing these tragedies have in common is that, when they occurred, Medicaid stepped in to help right away. How and what does Medicaid have to do with it? As with everything else, it's about the money. The way Medicaid works now is that the federal government will match the money the state spends on people with Medicaid without any limits. This open-ended funding allows Medicaid to respond quickly to public health crises and major disasters. There is no waiting for Congress to debate which Federal agency to turn to. During Hurricane Katrina, the state of Louisiana placed Medicaid workers at FEMA shelters to help people enroll for coverage. These were people displaced by the flood waters and many spend time in contaminated areas.

Now, imagine if the funding changes to block grants as proposed in the new American Health Care Act. The states will have a limited amount of money from the Federal Government they can use to help. Under the block grant method, if Louisiana had already received its money before the hurricane hit, the money would not have been available quickly to help the people who needed help now.

Using the current funding method, $670 million dollars was spent on health care for 350,000 low income New Yorkers over a 4 month period. This was accomplished without diverting emergency funding sources needed for the clean up and debris removal and without waiting for congressional action.

I have head it said that in times of crises, our country is at its best. We pull together to help our neighbors. Will we be able to do that if the funding for Medicaid changes to block grants?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Signs of A Stroke and Ways to Help Prevent One

By Staci Brandenburg, RN

According to the CDC's website, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Around 800,000 people have a stroke each year! As with a heart attack, getting quick medical care is important with a stroke. To get the care quickly, the American Heart Association recommends remembering four letters, F-A-S-T, and three numbers, 911! How will F-A-S-T help? F is for facial drooping. Ask the person to smile to check for facial drooping. A is for arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms to see if one arm drifts downward. S is for speech difficulty. Ask the person to speak, listening for slurred or strange speech. T is for time to call 911. If the time is yes, call 911 right away!

Some things that may be done to prevent or reduce the risk of a stroke include:

  • Eat health meals and snacks 
  •   Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  •   Foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol that are high in fiber

  • Take the prescribed medication for high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease

  • Keep weight in the healthy range
  • Be physically active
  •   2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity (Can only carry on a breathy conversation while   exercising) or aerobic (uses more oxygen) exercise a week
  •   Brisk walking would work
  • Limit alcohol intake to 2 drinks a day for a male and 1 drink a day for a female
  • Do not smoke or at least decrease smoking


Stroke. (n.d.). Retrieved May 04, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gove/stoke/signs_symptoms.htm
             Prevent Stroke and Stroke is Treatable

             Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms. (n.d.). Retrieved May 04, 2017, from

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Goal Setting

By Staci Brandenburg, RN

At some point in time, everyone has a set a goal.  The results may have been a mixture of success or failure. The following are a few tips that might help increase the successes! It is called SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timed.

  •       What is the goal?
  •       When is it going to happen?
  •       Where is it going to happen?
  •       How often is it going to happen?
  •       How much or how far?
  •       How long will it take to accomplish the goal? 
  •       When is it going to start?

For example: I am going to lose ten pounds starting on Monday, May 1, 2017, by keeping a food diary to help maintain my calorie intake at 1500 calories a day for the month of May.

Great! Now a goal has been set! How confident/certain, on a scale of 0-10, are you that you will reach this goal? If the answer is less than seven, what can be changed in the goal that will increase your certainty to seven or more?

“Well, I am going to be gone on vacation for five days in May. So, I am going to say I am going to lose six pounds between May 1 and May 22 by keeping a food diary to help maintain my calories per day at 1500. That would make my confidence level an eight.”

Another factor that will help with goal success is having someone check with you periodically at preset intervals, i.e., my BFF is going to call me in two weeks to check-in on how I am progressing toward my goal. Since the time frame is three weeks for reaching my goal, I am going to ask my BFF to check with me on May 10.

Evidence has shown that by doing goals in this manner, the chances for success are increased! Happy goal setting!


Brief Action Planning. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2017, from http://www.centrecmi.ca/ learn/brief-action-planning/ Taken from the Brief Action Planning Trainers' Material.