LET’S ALL SIGN UP FOR MARATHONS!

Honestly, who doesn’t watch the NYC Marathon and think “sign. me. up.”

I swear, 3/4 of race entries are either endorphin fueled or race-envy spectator fueled. At least, that’s how I sign up for most of my races.

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Or peer pressured into by friends. I usually do most of the peer pressuring. 

I contemplated signing up for the LA marathon today. But, then I was like “let’s just make sure we get to January healthy and then sign up.” I’ve got 99 problems and my IT band, back, and hip are certainly 3 of them.

The one thing I forgot about is how hungry you get when you start upping your mileage. I’ve been at a pretty consistent 15-20 miles per week over the past 5 years (but, also, with a lot of exercise classes thrown in). Since moving to LA, I’ve exercised a lot less and adopted a more sedentary lifestyle since we drive everywhere here rather than walk. Your hunger level adjusts.

And, then you start running more.

And, you get very hungry.

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From a prior marathon training block. Also, what nail polish color is this? Big fan of whatever I chose back then (thinking Essie Recessionista)

Yesterday, all I wanted was a pancake. More than anything. And not a healthy banana-egg pancake (I make those all the time). I wanted this giant, very thick, very delicious pancake from Superba bread.

Of course, I got it. I also put butter on it because Shalane Flanagan basically wrote that butter was a health food in her book. I’m on board with that. Plus, there is a lot of research out there about fat…and butter has anti-oxidants!…and I think I read its good for your brain or something! I know this last sentence is grammatically incorrect!

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Need any more reason to sign up for a marathon? (4:09 was my first marathon)

 

Anyways, I ran 36 miles this week, which included one fartlek workout and one long run. And, one, very satisfying giant pancake.

Signing off because the sun is going down even thought is 3:45 pm. Daylight savings time. Why do we do this?

 

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Rock And Roll Los Angeles Half

Costumes! Hills! Participation!

These would be the exclamations to put as an Instagram caption for this race.

In the effort of “bringing it back,” to the glory running blogging days, I’m doing a “race recap.” If details of the everyday runner’s half marathon pursuits bore you, then I’d stop here.

I think race recaps usually started with like what you did the day before and such. Right?

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This is what I ate the morning of the race. As I have done for the last 6 or 7 years. Or whenever it is they started making these. These are the original labels. THROWBACK!!!

My weekend consisted of the Dodgers game, college football, studying (boards, woof), and forcing my dogs to wear a holiday sweater and scarf on a Christmas tree farm in 75 degree California weather BECAUSE WE’RE GOING TO PRETEND ITS WINTER FOR A HOLIDAY CARD PHOTO OR ELSE. I, too, was wearing a sweater in solidarity with my dogs.

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Deep inside of me, there must be a tiger dance mom. 

The race started as 6:15 and I left my house at 5:45. Perks of living near the start. That was 90% of why I did this race. And, you know, the love of running and all that jazz. But, mostly, living near the start.

In terms of goals…

Look, I don’t care about running finish times as much as I used to and I don’t shoot as high (read: fast) as I used to, but there is no way if you have even a smidgen of competitiveness in your body that you can’t not make some little goal for yourself.

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Wow. I was really into this back in the day. Or had a lot of time. Probably both. Circa 2012

Ok, in terms of goals…

I wanted to finish under 2 hours.

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#tbt 4th year Med School. Where I put my life into neat, color coded boxes.

If things went well, I wanted to finish under 1:55.

I wasn’t so sure where my fitness was at, so I was sort of using this as a starting point.

I did, indeed, wear a watch, mostly out of curiosity for later. I looked at it, but I certainly didn’t think much about each split.

Things went downhill, then uphill, the downhill again. And, it was on the downhill stretches between miles 5-8 that I realized mile 9-12 would be uphill.

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I probably could’ve used some of that go-go juice

And, that’s when I was like “oh man, that’s unfortunate timing for an uphill stretch in a half marathon.”

I was a little nervous on 5-8 as I was dreading the uphill climb (cue: Miley Cyrus) back.

I think I worried more about not being able to make it up the hill (honestly – what kind of crazy talk was I thinking? Did I momentarily forget that walking was an option?) I don’t have a huge amount of confidence in my speed/strength right now, and I shouldn’t because its not like I’ve been putting the nose to the grindstone running-wise. So, I got a little in my head about things. And, by things, I mean pain in my legs. Which, honestly, this is running, what did I think was going to happen?

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Even run posing is hard. But, someone has to do it, right? If not, what would Instagram be?

And, yes, I will 100% admit that I am HUGE baby when it comes to hills. Like running is already hard enough, why do we have to make it harder?

You know things are more mental when you get to mile 13 and are able to speed up (to be fair, it was downhill) and feel “great!”

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Thankfully, felt better at the end of this half than I did at the end of this 24 hour shift. 

In the end, I finished in 1:56:10. There was a little bathroom stop around mile 7 so I think without that I may have finished under 1:55. But, the clock doesn’t count bathroom stops, now does it?

The biggest victory is that I finished and nothing feels hurt/injured. So, we’re marking this one as a “win.”

Now, onto marathon training! (Famous last words)

[PS: If you’re enjoying these or have anything to say – I’d love to hear it!]

Finding My Running Legs (Again)

Hello, friends!

Remember when people used to have blogs about running and they wrote on them about said running?

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Back when we both had long hair!

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In the age of insta-story and microblogging on Instagram, it seems sort of superfluous to keep a blog.

But, back in the olden days (you know, the 2009-2012 glory days of blogging), I did enjoy writing on here about running. And, honestly, I made some really good friends through the running-blogging world. Legit how I met my best friend.

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#TBT (Also, those were my FAVE running shoes ever – NB 890s)

So, why not start it back up? What’s old can be new again, right?

To start, I’m delving back into the marathon (I mean, as long as my body holds up). I’ve been saying I want to run the LA Marathon while I live out here, so no time like the present, right?

It will have been 5.5 years (WHAT?!?) since my last marathon (NYC 2013) when I run this one, so, it feels fresh and new again, which is exciting.

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The last marathon I ran – NYC 2013 with Gia!

Of course, I’d LOVE to just “pick up where I left off” in terms of pace/time/mileage, but after four years in the trenches of residency and one additional year of fellowship with fairly low mileage, that’s just not being fair to myself. At best, over the past 5 years, I’ve been doing 15-20 miles, sometimes a little more, and sometimes a LOT less (like zero, see: calf tear 2017). And, I’ve picked up some new exercise hobbies since that time – weight lifting, spin, and, most importantly, dog-momming.

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Remember the booking binder from 3rd year residency days?

So, I want to be fair to myself, realistic, and set myself up for enjoyment and success (which, for me, is enJOYment of running). Running has to give back to me if I’m going to put a lot of time into it.

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Philly Half 2016 with my residency spirit animal, Annie!

I’m hoping for a sub-4 hour marathon. I think, at this point, being “new” to the distance again, that’s a good start for me, kind of in the range of what I was able to do before, but not like the BQs I used to hope for.

[For reference, my marathon times from 2010-2013 were – 4:09, 3:48, 4:05, 3:42, 3:34, 3:55].

I’m running a half tomorrow. I’m using it as a “kick off” for LA marathon training.

I have no idea what I will run. I only really run with a watch these days because I want to close those rings on the Apple Watch. Otherwise, I’d probably go without.

Anyways, here goes nothing!

[Also, the world is insane and I think we should institute mandatory American exercise time so people would be happier and maybe stop shooting people and doing other awful things.]

 

 

 

On Mother’s Day, Dog Mom-ing, Participatory Races, and the Emotional Impact of “E.T.”

Happy Mother’s Day to MY WONDERFUL MOTHER (love you!) and all my wonderful mom friends (fur moms included!) out there.

However, as wonderful as this day is, let’s not forget those who longed to be mothers, those who lost their mothers, those who have strained relationships, and those who mothers who lost their lives trying to become one.

Wait, did you just say lost their lives? Like they died in pregnancy, during childbirth, or post partum?

YES.

It is a grave, but true fact that mothers and babies are still dying (or coming close) in during pregnancy, childbirth, or from post partum complications. In fact, more women die in pregnancy and childbirth in the United States than in any other developed country. For black women, the statistics are even worse and YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST TO UNDERSTAND HOW TERRIBLE THIS ALL TRULY IS.

So, consider educating yourself and maybe donating to some excellent organizations that are working to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother (Every Mother Counts, Saving Mothers  to name a few). On the flip side, you could help someone become a mother by donating to someone like BabyQuest Grants or RESOLVE.

Seeing people become mothers – in both the earliest stages of pregnancy and at delivery – is one of the most special, rewarding jobs I can think of. I do not take it for granted and I’m honored that I get to do it.

On another note, I have become the dog mom I said I would never be. I’m an actual nightmare, but I can’t help myself. I freak out over everything with this dog and have created visions of bowel obstructions, garlic poisoning, and malignant tumors for my dog. I am THAT parent.

Sweet Magnolia threw up for the first time (with me). It was a large volume emesis and, of course, rather than considering that perhaps she ate something weird or that I gave her too much peanut butter, I immediately thought that she must have a bowel obstruction. Or maybe I accidentally poisoned her! Or, even worse, she has cancer (obviously).

Just so I can redeem some of my dog mom dignity, Magnolia did have a massive hernia and a mammary tumor. While the mammary tumor pathology was benign, I thought, of course, the pathologist could’ve been wrong. And, given her hernia surgery, I was totally afraid that she might have adhesions and a small bowel obstruction or maybe even an incarcerated hernia. She also had diarrhea (TMI, sorry) and was acting very tired/lethargic so, naturally, I thought the situation was dire.

I rushed my sweet dog to the vet where she got herself a nice little exam, some IV fluids (actually they were subcutaneous, but you get the picture), some anti nausea meds, and an antacid. I’m now giving her a special bland diet, which I may or may not have tried to spoon feed her tonight, in an effort to get her to eat. Turns out, dogs don’t eat like babies. And Magnolia thinks her mom is nuts.

Long story short, if I ever have human children, I’m in trouble. (Also, Magnolia appears to be feeling a bit better, but still not 100%).

On a different note, I ran a race last week!

I did so without drinking coffee beforehand, which wasn’t the wisest idea, given that it is my life force and probably 2% of my total blood volume.

I don’t “race” races so much anymore, but I do find great value in participating.

You will ALWAYS fun faster (and possibly farther) than you would on your own even if you aren’t racing. It makes you get up and get out the door. And, in last week’s case, you got to start your Sunday morning with Jock Jams.

If tomorrow goes as planned, this will be my 2nd week in a row at just above 20 miles (21 for anyone who is counting). I’m patting myself on my back.

Finally, last night I saw “E.T.” (check out Rooftop Cinema Club if you live in LA, NYC, San Diego, London, or Miami!). I’ve seen the movie before (albeit, a long time ago), but I was not emotionally prepared for what that little alien would do to me. When ET healed Elliot’s finger, I cried. When ET phoned home the first time, I cried. When ET got sick, I cried. When ET went home, I cried. Basically, I was very emotionally distraught over ET. Has this happened to anyone else?

On one (serious and seriously) final note, yesterday I also watched an excellent Netflix documentary on palliative care called “End Game.” It was filmed at UCSF (an extremely well respected medical institution, if you’re not in medicine), and does a really great job at portraying all of these tough decisions patients and their families must make. It also highlights how palliative care and hospice can really help terminally ill patients make have the best quality of life for the time they have left. They also highlight the Zen Hospice Project and Zen Hospice Guest House, whose philosophy I am very intrigued by.

I’m going to try to read at least 25 books this summer. I’m almost done with “The Vacationers” by Emma Straub and think I will start “The Woman in Cabin 10” next. I am VERY excited for Emily Giffin’s new book, due out June 26th (long time fan of her books!)

That’s all I have for now. For those of you reading this. Which is likely very few. But, thank you for reading!

I know it is customary for “bloggers” to leave leading questions for readers to answer. I don’t feel like coming up with any, but if you do have any commentary on anything I have written about (infertility, childbirth, dogs, races that you aren’t racing, crying in movies, end of life discussions, your last book you read), I would sincerely like to hear about it!

Isn’t that what this is all about? Community, sharing, the pursuit of happiness?

Until next time…

On Social Running, Deep Cleaning My Carpet, and Reading

Hello friends!

I can’t remember if I mentioned it in my last post, but I’ve been in a bit of a running rut since moving to LA.

It is since occurred to me that I am primarily a social runner. I can deal with the rain (since it never happens here – ha!), but running alone too much and I start to lose my motivation.

I finally tried out DTLA Runners last night. Running is such an interesting common ground – I swear you can go on a run with practically anyone and you will find something to talk about, even if its how hard running can be.

Magnolia is a lot like me, I think. Maybe that’s why I love her so much. She LOVES to socialize while she’s out on our walks. In addition to buying her a dog puzzle for “intellectual stimulation,” I’ve thought about putting her in dog daycare for “socialization.”

Am I treating her too much like a toddler?

Magnolia has also made my blue and white rug very dirty. She can’t help it. She’s a dog. And, she HATES it when I try to clean off her paws with wipes after a walk. I’m now looking into the latest and greatest from Bissel on Amazon to clean my rug. #addtocart

Finally, I want to do some sort of book challenge this summer. Isn’t it ironic that in high school I sort of loathed the assigned summer reading (probably because it was assigned) and now I’m self inventing a book challenge.

If you have running club recs (in LA), know the best rug cleaners, or just read a good book, do tell.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Yes, I do have Verizon as my phone service.

And, oddly, there are surprising amount of dropped calls in DTLA.

What gives, Verizon?

Anyways, I got some email notification that my “WordPress domain” renewed. And, since I pay $24 a year (or something) to keep all of my banalities about running on the internet for posterity’s sake, I figured I should come back and write here.

Unclear if anyone still reads this, or blogs in general, but here goes nothing.

I got a dog. A rescue, as one does in LA. I swear everyone in LA has a rescue dog and if you have a purebred, you’re probably going to lie about it at the dog park.

Her name is Magnolia (full name: Magnolia Baxter Smith, so we can share initials, sorry I’m not sorry) and she was found in a horrid state. She was matted, with a massive hernia, a mammary tumor, and severely neglected. She snapped at anyone who came close to her and needed to be put on anxiety medication.

The first week I had her, she wouldn’t let me touch her back (only her head) and would show her teeth at me often.

Now, she is the best little love and would want nothing more than for me to rub her belly ALL DAY (and go on walks, she loves to go on walks). She likes avocado, peanut butter, exercise, and toys. She really likes her NYC pigeon toy, which makes me think she would like NYC, as I do.

I have become the full blown dog mom that I never thought I would be. I researched “dog puzzles” the other night as I think she’d like the intellectual stimulation. Dog puzzles. Think about that for a minute.

Magnolia has restored my faith in humanity.

Moral of story: get yourself a rescue dog.

Switching topics, I used to write here a lot about running. That is because I ran a lot. Now, I do not run a lot. I ran 18 miles last week, which used to be the length of my long runs. My, how times have changed.

I keep running, but it keeps being hard. Yet, I’m stubborn, so I keep lacing up the shoes several days a week. It is a vicious cycle.

If I was going to continue on this running endeavor, I told myself to give it “a few weeks of consistency” for running to feel good again. And, if it didn’t, I was going to take a break. And, lo and behold, consistency works, people!

A ran 6 miles yesterday and it didn’t feel like a death march. In fact, it was all under a 9 min per mile pace, which is something I haven’t seen in a long time. [Pats self on back]

Finally, did anyone watch Homeland this season and find it a little too close to reality? Russian interference in the US government? Aren’t we tortured by this enough? (Although, I did really love this season).

If you read this, thank you! I’m going to try to write more here (and if there is anything you’d like to hear about, let me know).

 

My top tips and tricks to survive your egg freeze cycle like a champ

SURVIVING NOT THRIVING? NOT THIS CHICK!

My top tips and tricks to survive your egg freeze cycle like a champ

Or, is it hen, since I “hatched” and froze eggs!

Anyways….Hello, internet friends!

Does anyone still read this anymore? Do I even write this blog anymore? [The answers are no and no, but I like to venture over to my old internet haunt every now and then.]

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may know that I recently froze my eggs! #iceicebaby #decembertoremember

Although IVF and egg freezing are part and parcel of my every day life, experiencing a cycle itself is something else!

While I can’t tell you if you should or should not freeze your eggs or if the eggs you freeze will ever make a baby (please go get a consultation with an REI if you are thinking about it!), I can tell you about my experience, my biggest surprises, and how to make the process as smooth as possible.

  1. TAKE ON “YOU GET WHAT YOU GET, AND YOU DON’T GET UPSET” MENTALITY

As a control freak myself, this can be a hard mentality to take on. Plus, you’re paying some serious cash to put your eggs on ice, which can be anxiety provoking in and of itself. Given the financial and time burdens of egg freezing, this can likely be the most challenging thing you will do.

But, let me give it to you straight – the two major points of control you have in fertility preservation are this:

  • The decision to freeze your eggs (and how many times to go through it)
  • The decision to use your eggs

 

Once you have found a doctor/lab you trust and have made the decision to do an egg freeze cycle, you cannot control your current age and egg quality, your ovarian reserve parameters, how you will respond to the medications, how many eggs you will get, how many eggs will be mature, and if those eggs will ever make a baby.

Bottom line: There are no guarantees.

Uplifiting, right?

Merry Christmas.

I found taking on the “laissez-faire” attitude towards my cycle really helped. I was happy with the eggs I froze, because I told myself that I would be happy with any number. I had two key mantras that I think really helped.

“ You are one of the lucky ones to be able to do this.”

“ Something is better than nothing.”.

Again, the financial commitment and time spent at a fertility office can make this exceedingly difficult to wrap your head around. But, just my two cents, I found this helped.

 

  1. DON’T FEAR THE HORMONES, EMBRACE THE ESTROGEN HIGH

The hormones you inject aren’t the ones that “make you feel crazy.” The hormone that does get pretty high (depending on your response) is estrogen.

Personally, all that excess estrogen made me a blissed out, happy go-lucky person. It was likely the least amount of anxiety I’ve ever felt in my life – I didn’t even made a to do list one week, which is very unlike me. You could have told me I was sorted into Slytherin and I would have been ok with it. I’m not sure what the kids would call that these days (chill? woke? extra?), but I felt more chill than frozen.

I can’t promise you that you won’t be emotional, upset, or have the same estrogen honeymoon effect like I did, but I wouldn’t be as fearful of the hormonal changes as you might be.

  1. POST RETRIEVAL IS LIKE POST PARTUM – DON’T FORGET IT IS PART OF THE PROCESS, TOO!

To be honest, I mostly thought of my egg freeze process as “get to the retrieval and its done.” FALSE. SITTING ON A THRONE OF LIES.

[Full disclosure – the day of the retrieval was fantastic. I slept great and one dose of toradol kept me pain free all day.]

The most uncomfortable I felt throughout the entire process were three and four days after my retrieval. Fortunately, the post-retrieval period lasts only a few days (by one week later I felt back to normal), unlike the post partum period, which I hear lasts 18 years.

I felt uncomfortable and bloated. My abdomen and pelvis felt so full of ovary that my bowel and bladder were…well, let just say it upsets those systems. I felt like maybe this is a primer for pregnancy…

If you plan to do it, might I suggest you also buy these pants .

All I could think throughout this process– giving yourself injections, blowing up like a balloon (my weight fluctuating 10 lbs throughout the entire process!), and so on and so forth – was how lucky men are. Seriously, as my BFF Jocelyn says, “If men had periods, tampons would be free by now.”

  1. CHOOSE YOUR CLINIC WISELY

 Do your homework! Egg freezing and thawing can be tricky business, and some clinics do more of it than others. Just like you, the patient, need to be taken care of, so do your eggs! Pick a place that you’re comfortable with not only the doctor, but also the lab.

  1. THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT YOU SHOULDN’T ASK

I am an REI fellow and I still sent my nurse questions!

Thank to everyone who followed along on my Instagram stories and sent messages of interest! I’m glad so many people liked following along, even when I showed myself giving an injection!

Happy holidays, everyone!