ATM: “After The Marathon”

ATM was coined by my #bff/brf Jocelyn – that glorious period all marathoners wait for when they get 3-4 hours of their weekend back and, presumably, a bit more time and energy to do things that you’ve put off because of running.

When I was “training” and “racing” (put in quotations as, let’s get real, I wasn’t vying for an Olympic medal or anything), the ATM period was one of my favorites. Free from any prescribed training plan, I could do what I pleased and, gasp, REST.

Here’s what I’ve learned after 6 marathons about this golden period:

1) Marathon Hunger Strikes One To Two Days Later: The day of the marathon I’m not super hungry. The day after and the day after that – CLEAR THE BUFFET.

I'll take two...

I’ll take two…

2) Motrin Is Your Friend: I only discovered this last year. I was in the OR all day the day after NYCM last year and was manipulating the uterus during robot cases (you can google that if not sure what it is), which involves sitting in small spaces (if you’re me and they are center docking the robot). I got stiff. I took 600 mg motrin and I was a new person. I did this every 6 hours for a few days thereafter. Just don’t do this if you have kidney problems…

2013 Finish

2013 Finish

3) Your Return To Exercise Is Really Up To You: And, how you feel. After 6 marathons, I’ve run the gamut in terms of time off. I’ve taken anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks off.

After Eugene, I ran the Wednesday thereafter because it was a most beautiful spring day and I couldn’t NOT go outside. So, I ran-walked 3 miles with lots of breaks. After New Jersey in 2011, I took 3 weeks off (2 planned then 1 extra because I got sick). After NYCM last year, I went to spin one week later (I mean, Charlee, who had yet to move back, was in town – how could I not go?).

Happiness is grapefruit candles...

They really get you with those grapefruit candles…

What I would recommend is this: do not sit completely still. This will make things worse. Go on a walk tomorrow and another time this week. It will help loosen things up and make your return to running, spin, or whatever it is you choose to do a bit easier when that time comes.

Whatever you do, don’t go run or spin just because you see people on twitter or instagram back running again. They aren’t you. You are you. Do you.

Just being me back in 1990. And, Ally, just being herself, too.

Just being me back in 1990. And, Ally, just being herself, too.

4) You Are Likely To Get Sick: I’ve gotten sick after 3/6 marathons I’ve done – a viral illness. Your immune system gets slightly depressed after the stress of a marathon and BOOM! – you’ve got yourself a nice little virus.

[This may have also happened to me as some of my marathons were near tests in medical school so I would come back and basically study for a couple days straight i.e. not exactly ideal rest/recovery.]

 

5) You May Have No Motivation To Run OR You May Have All The Motivation In the World: I’ve had times where I didn’t want to run again for another month and I’ve had others where I ran 12 miles two weeks later (again, after Eugene, when running and I were on the most beautiful honeymoon in Fiji together).

During the running honeymoon period of 2013…I was doing an 18 mile "workout" here -- WHO WAS I?

During the running honeymoon period of 2013…I was doing an 18 mile “workout” here — WHO WAS I?

If you’re not into running, that’s ok. You just dedicated your spare time to it for the last 12-18 weeks. Take a break! Try something different!

If you’re still into it, then you go girl (or boy).

If you’re wanting to try new things, check out my two favorites: SoulCycle (faves are Jaws, Charlee, Akin, Emma L, Bethany, Sydney, Madison, LB) and Flex Studios.

6) Beware The Endorphin Fueled Next Race Sign Up: Its bound to happen. You feel so buzzed now that you give your credit card over to active.com for race entry fees. Just beware this phenomenon.

TELL ME: HOW’D YOUR RACE GO? HOW WAS IT WATCHING? 

It looked cold from the confines of my bed where I slept 16 hours last night, just 10 shy of a sleep marathon.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

Observations on Unconventional Half Marathon Training

Hi there! I’m still here! And, by here, I mean the hospital, my apartment, SoulCycle or Flex Studios.

Way back when (alright January), I wrote about not training for a half marathon coming up. Then, I didn’t run that half because I wanted to sleep (#internproblems).

In the depths of the polar vortex, I had imagined the Miami Half would provide the kick in the butt to start training for May’s Brooklyn Half. And then after I didn’t run the Miami Half, I figured that the winter would turn around and I’d be doing long runs again in no time. Half marathon in May? No problem.

The weather sort of turned around, but my “training” didn’t. Of course, I will still exercising a fairly good bit, but long runs, tempos, even running in general? Well, it just didn’t quite pick up as the months went by.

Since November’s NYC Marathon, I’ve been on a huge spin kick. I love running and still do, but I just usually wasn’t feeling it. And spin? I was feeling it.

The last time I ran over 8 miles prior to Saturday….

The last time I ran over 8 miles prior to Saturday….

No good blog post would come without some analysis of largely unimportant details of a 20-something’s first world problems. Thus, I thought about why I was so spin crazy all winter/spring and not run drunk as usual. I think I spent what equates to a small wedding fund at SoulCycle this winter for three reasons: 1) indoor heating; 2) music; 3) community/people. In the throes of intern year, when you all you really want to do is drink some water and sleep, the thought of running in the cold alone is fairly bleak. Inside exercise? Check. Getting lost in music and forgetting about the labor floor? Check. Having some sort of unspoken peer pressure by those around to work hard? Check. Add more classes to that cart.

As May drew closer and closer, I did start to get slightly concerned that I might crash and burn in this half marathon, especially since I had told my co-resident, Meagan, that I would “pace” her through her first half, which would require me to be in some kind of shape.

Sure, I was exercising a lot. But, would it be enough? Since analysis is my middle name, I thought this through a little bit.

I estimated that my exercise/workouts were broken up as follows:

– 10% pilates (new obsession thanks to this power tool)

– 50% spin (including a lot of “doubles” and a few “triples”)

– 40% running (including a lot of run/spin or run/pilates combos)

I equate a 45 min spin class to be the cardiovascular equivalent of a 5 mile run. I also consider it like a “mini” track workout or tempo since its often high cadence against moderate resistance and potentially this evokes some sort of fast twitch neuromuscular stimulus or another equally fancy term.

If the above was true, then doing a double or triple spin was like a long run (double spins feel like a 12 miler to me and triples feel like a 16 miler in terms of my cardiovascular stimulus). Or doing a spin + 4-5 mile run was like getting in a 9 or 10 miler. Or so I hoped.

Pilates was a plus in the strength corner.

This left only one real variable, which was the one I was most worried about — time on your feet.

I learned from Steph that I lot of your long runs were just getting used to being on your feet and running for that long. It helps your muscles, tendons, and ligaments adapt to that stress and get stronger. And, that was the one very crucial thing that I was missing.

Slight oversight.

A little more of this may have been useful...

A little more of this may have been useful…

To sum up the analysis: 

General cardiovascular endurance + moderate strength from pilates – time on feet aspect + the square root of 20 =  Half Marathon?

Turns out, everything went well, as it usually does in these complicated first world problems for 20-somethings.

In fact, I had a lot of fun. Pacing someone in their first half was even better than running your own PR in a way.

To be fair, my legs did NOT feel used to running 13.1 miles and I started to feel a bit heavy legged by about 10 miles (pilates the night before also may have had something to do with this). But, I didn’t feel terrible either. Meagan and I finished in 1:53:43 (amazing first half marathon, right?!) which I thought was really great. Judging on how my legs felt at the end, I think that 1:53 was about the limit of my leg strength/power. They just weren’t quite used the pounding of 13 miles and the leg power needed for that, which I’m glad I now realize when I approach future races (NYC Marathon 2014!) with likely unconventional training plans.

Unconventional includes 18 x1 jumping selfie attempts. #nailedit

Unconventional includes 18 x1 jumping selfie attempts. #nailedit

After I wasted all that brain space analyzing whether I could physically run 13.1 miles (when my longest run since November’s NYC Marathon was 8 miles), I realize that what was really missing from the above equation and, perhaps, is the most important variable is this: your mind and attitude.

Over the 5 years I’ve been running and racing, I’ve gone from seeing running as a thing I “needed to do” or “have to do” to now something that I get to do. Running, going to spin, taking pilates – it really is a privilege. Not everyone gets to do it. And I do. And, I’m really thankful that my body is able to do it and that I have the time and resources to do so.

Can't talk about my running roots without mentioning my running buddy OG, Erika. Thanks for inviting me to run that time. It worked out ok.

Can’t talk about my running roots without mentioning my running buddy OG, Erika. Thanks for inviting me to run that time. It worked out ok.

What I learned from the Brooklyn Half was this: When you run from a place of joy and appreciation,the result is so much sweeter, no matter the time on the clock. 

This only took me about 5 years and half a billion races to learn.

On a final note, don’t underestimate your power. Even a lowly intern can convince her senior residents to run a half marathon.

NYU OB/GYN - excellent surgeons in excellent shape

NYU OB/GYN – excellent surgeons in excellent shape

TELL ME: WHAT YOUR SPORT HAS TAUGHT YOUR ABOUT ATTITUDE, MENTAL TOUGHNESS, OR SOMETHING RELATED TO THE BIG ORGAN BETWEEN YOUR EARS. 

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humbled: Pilates

I like to think that I’m in good shape.

I’ve run some marathons. Qualified for Boston. I can do 3 spin classes in a day (although not a regular thing). Maybe throw in a barre class here and there.

Yeah! Running! I can do that!

Yeah! Running! I can do that!

And, then I took pilates with Elizabeth (aka Chainsaw? Just go with it) at Flex today.

It was humbling, slightly embarrassing, and I’d probably now just consider myself in “good cardiovascular shape.”

I pride myself on being really tough and able to handle really hard classes because, you know, I’ve run marathons! I’m a resident! What’s harder than a marathon?! Or harder than a day on the labor floor?! Nothing! I should be able to handle anything, right?

Pilates. Pilates can be harder than a marathon.

You know a class is hard when you’re going to the 5K pain place, sweating to death, and actively thinking of ways to possibly cheat (yep, I went there). In fact, at one point I tried to some something on my knees rather than in plank position and Elizabeth every so sweetly came over and said, “honey that’s not going to do anything for you.” No slacking allowed. I was getting my money’s worth. [PS: Thanks, Elizabeth!]

As a bonus, the whole reformer thing makes it not so easy to take breaks. One wrong move and I was afraid I might plummet 3 feet straight down into the well of the reformer into Pilates hades.

I was shaking. I was sweating. Like all those laboring patients I see, except I wasn’t birthing a child.

And, for some reason, I loved it.

It was extremely humbling. I knew I lacked core strength but this class really drove the point home.

I only wish I had known about this class when I was training for marathons and trying to do anything (acupuncture!) and everything (chiropractor!) not to get injured.

Elizabeth was super sweet, gave great technical corrections (the former gymnast in me always loves this), and doesn’t allow you to give up (even if you try, like me).

So, moral of the story — Go! Take her class! Bring your A game! Moreover, bring your abs.

TELL ME: YOUR FAVE NYC FITNESS CLASSES AND/OR INSTRUCTORS.

Currently, I’m loving Jaws and Akin at SoulCycle and just took a class at Chaise 23 with Rachel and loved her, too.

Until next time….

Lucky ’13 Finds and Must Haves

13 for the year 2013, in no particular order:

New Balance 890 Shoes: Two marathons in with these shoes and injuries kept at bay. Works for all distances. Comfortable on labor and delivery. Win-win.

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FitBit: Getting to 10k steps a day has brought a new level of happiness I didn’t know existed. Makes me more active on days where I may not want to be (ie frigid temps).

Juices: Doubles as hydration and nutrition. And, I like to think they give me energy in the morning although this may due to a healthy placebo effect.

My Own Apartment: 425 square feet has probably never felt so freeing to anyone.

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Trader Joe’s Edamame Hummus and Creamy Guacamole: Party in your mouth.

Hot Sauce: This has taken post-call or post-night float breakfast wraps to the next level.

Joy: You know what’s nice? Loving what you do (on most days). Running for fun. Exercising because it makes you feel good and not solely just to get to 10k steps on your fitbit. Making new friends and keeping old.

FINISH LINE!

Oiselle Feather Burn Out Tee in White: Great layering piece or alone. [And now on sale!]

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CALM Magnesium Powder: Try to stay awake 30 minutes after you take this stuff. Humor me. [I drink it at bedtime.]

New Balance Well2Go Flats: These go the distance and are cute to boot.

Well2Go by New Balance

Clarisonic Mia2: Worth the money – your face will be so fresh and so clean clean.

The Ability To Care Less About Probably Un-Important Things (aka Being Less Neurotic Outside the Hospital): When someone asks, “What do you want to drink?” and you respond “I don’t know, surprise me,” you know that your previous neuroticism related to all things in life has really boiled down to a few things checkboxes.

Picky Bars Runner’s High Blueberry Boomdizzle: My go-to flavor, the bar for the sophisticated energy bar palate.

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TELL ME: YOUR FAVE FINDS IN 2013…

Until next time…

Deck The Halls

My yearly attempt at keeping Beanie Babies relevant.

[Yes, I’m still a doctor.]

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Dear Family,

I will miss you! Save some creole peas for me.

Love,

Meggie

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Harrison's Christening, Christmas 1994

Harrison’s Christening, Christmas 1994

 

IMG_1050ally2To Everyone:

May peace be yours this holiday season. May joy be yours throughout the year!

Happy Holidays.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Housekeeping

A few things I’ve learned since ditching the dorms and moving on up to the, umm, East Side? Well, real apartment at least…

And most of you might already know these things, but here goes…

1. LEMON OIL TO REMOVE STICKERS

A little bit goes a long way so just put a dab on a paper towel. Rub it into the sticker [eg price sticker on a dish] and in a few minutes that baby will be off. Bonus – it smells nice!

2. DO NOT GET FLAT/MATTE PAINT

It looks nice and covers imperfection well (bonus if you’re painting your own walls in a rental), but it easily gets dirty from leaning against the wall in dark denim, when hanging pictures/plates/mirrors, etc. Next time I will buy eggshell as I like a matte-like finish better than gloss in most circumstances (but gloss can be fun in certain rooms). Click on this link to learn more about different paint finishes if you’re curious.

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Thankfully, anything that mars the paint comes off easily with some windex or soap/water.

3. THE MORE FURNITURE YOU PUT IN A SMALL SPACE, THE BIGGER IT LOOKS

Counterintuitive, but seems to have worked in this small space (thanks, Mom, for the tip).

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4. JET DRY DOES NOT NEED TO BE REFILLED EVERY TIME YOU RUN THE DISHWASHER

This would explain why Jet Dry comes in such a small bottle. Lesson learned when I ran out of half the bottle in practically a week.

5. CLEAR THE CORDS

My mom painstakingly spent time to tie up cords using wire and such to make sure none were on the floor (except for one surge protector). It makes cleaning the floor and vacuuming so much easier and I feel like most people don’t like looking at tangles of cords, right?

TELL ME: ANY HOUSEKEEPING TIPS YOU HAVE?

Until next time…

Apartment Makeover

A huge thanks to my mom and sister for spending the past month scouring Target, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods for everything in this apartment!

This rug that my parents used in a prior house served as the inspiration:

I sadly didn't keep this backpack.

Sadly didn’t keep this backpack.

Here are the before pictures.

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Here are the after pictures:

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One trick I learned from my mom – the more furniture you put in a small space, the bigger it will look (to a point).

After 9 years in dorms, I’m more than elated to live in an adult space! [And, I did end up painting the walls myself!]

TELL ME: ABOUT YOUR FIRST APARTMENT/HOME…OR POST SOMETHING YOU WANT IN A DREAM HOME IN THE COMMENTS!

Thanks, again, Mom and Allison!

The decorating team...

The decorating team…

And, thanks to my entire family for supporting me through med school!

I love you, Mom and Dad!

I love you, Mom and Dad!

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Until next time…