I know I’ve written a bit on this blog about residency, and have probably told most of you who read this far more in person.
There are a multitude of things I could write about residency thus far. My thoughts are a bit too overwhelming to even know where to begin and what is appropriate to share (does the word vagina make any of you uncomfortable?). So, I’ll start with what this blog is mostly about – running.
No matter how you slice it, residency is tough. Even with work hour restrictions (80 hours per week), the physical, mental, and emotional demands drain your energy pool fairly quickly.
I had fairly low expectations for running in residency, but an ambitious outlook. Like any self-respecting type A, I made a goal of exercise 4 times per week. And, in good intern fashion, I put four check boxes in my planner for the week to be checked off accordingly. (Interns bow down to the holy to-do list check box).
Now, before I get a bit negative, let me preface with the fact that I love what I do most of the time (I’m fairly certain no one can love their job 100% of the time). Best of all, I love the people I work with and all that I am learning from them.
Yet, for better or worse, being an intern reminds me daily of what I am not. Despite 8 years of higher education, I’m not even good at doing practical tasks, like putting the leg drape on in the OR elegantly, (seriously, I’ve had nightmares over that leg drape). Compared to people around me, I’m not that knowledgeable, skilled, published, or any other adjective you want to throw in there…yet, that is. Its a four year residency for a reason and a life-long career, but the intern growing pains are real for me, nonetheless.
Despite the long hours, I haven’t found much difficulty in getting out the door to run. Being able to run is a treat and a time each day I cherish. Running feels like breathing to me – natural and necessary for life (or at least mine). More than ever before, running feels like a part of me, rather than something I do or a goal I chase.
I don’t run far or fast – usually between 4-6 miles. I never wear a watch or Garmin. I’ve had the motivation to do workouts, but never the energy or time to put forth into making it a quality effort during the work week (plus, I’m not “training” for any specific and would rather talk with a friend on a run rather than suffer through a workout). On my days off, I get to go on a long run and catch up with friends. My longest run since residency has started is 18 miles and I’m really proud of that.
Mostly, I keep running not for any time goal or new distance to be conquered, but because running reminds me of what I can become rather than what I am not.
Many have said athletics mirror life: you get out of it what you put into it. With consistent training and hard work (and a little help), I went from a 4:09:59 marathoner to 3:34:07 during a 3 year period.
Remembering what went into my marathon improvement helps me approach each day as an intern with a little more gumption, fortitude, and fervor. Even on days when I feel completely incapable and inept, I know that with consistent hard work I can go from “what I am not” to whatever it is I’m meant to be in four years.
I don’t know when my next race will be. I don’t know when I’ll really “train” again. I don’t know if any of “that” will matter to me again.
All I know is that I’ll keep putting one foot in front of another, both in running and in residency.
And, I have to believe it will pay off.
TELL ME: WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO RUN? (OR WHATEVER YOU DO AS A HOBBY)
Until next time…