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…

 

 

 

 

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About That Marathon…

So, yeah, I’m not running it.

I’ve become an exercise class junkie (can I get some sort of sponsorship to pay for these?) and running long distances has gone on the back burner.

Working 80 hrs a week will do that to do.

At first, I felt guilty about NOT wanting to run a marathon and thought “something must be wrong with me” since I’ve been head over heels in love with long distance running for the past few years.

When I finally “gave it up,” as they say, it was a huge relief. Someone actually congratulated me on NOT doing something (there’s a first for everything I guess).  And then I realized that running marathons all the time is not entirely normal. It’s a huge strain on your body and a lot to ask of yourself week after week, long run after long run. I just happen to be socialize in a community where weekend marathons are a normal thing.

And, to be honest, it’s nice to say “no” to something. To realize that saying “no” takes a lot more courage than saying “yes” sometimes.

So, for now, I’m trying to figure out how to print money in the basement I don’t have to fund my quotidian, average daily exercise need – 45 min to 1 hr usually about 5 times a week, 3-4 minimum (sanity minimum that is), and 6 if I’m lucky.

BUT, for those of you who ARE running the NYC Marathon or another marathon in the next few weeks, here are my ever so humble amateur runner tips. These are now tempered by my residency glasses, meaning I don’t get too worked up about too much outside of the hospital (I mean, besides get wait listed at SoulCycle or FlexStudios).

1. STRATEGY: Having a marathon pacing plan is fine. But, here’s the meat and potatoes of it all. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other, speeding up if you feel good, slowing down if you don’t. If you want the simplest race plan, it is as follows:

A. Smile as much as you can the first 10 miles. Don’t be an idiot. Don’t run too fast. Don’t waste emotional energy on anything. Have fun ONLY.

B. Once you get to 13-14, if you feel good, you can run faster.

C. Once you get to 21, it’s going to hurt no matter how well trained you are. At this point, employ the “if you feel good, speed up and, if not, then            slow down” plan. And, if you’re in pain, that’s normal.

2. TAPER: Don’t hate it. Use this time to do things you didn’t have time to do while training and running 3 hours each weekend. I highly recommend starting a new TV series. Netflix can be really useful. Or a book.

3. IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH YOUR MENTAL GAME: Purchase “Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect” by Bob Rotella or “Run: The Mind Body Method of Running By Feel” by Matt Fitzgerald. You will not regret it. I’d read these anyway, even if you’re brimming full of confidence.

4. THE MORNING OF: The morning of a marathon, I like to repeat something really cheesy and positive to myself. Something like, “You’re doing something amazing today! You’re going to run 26 miles! That is awesome. Not everyone can do that. You are amazing.” It will help make you excited about the race rather than fearful, dreadful, or thinking about mile 21.

When in doubt, repeat “You’re doing something amazing today!” Cheesy works, guys.

5. YOU BURN 2600 CALORIES NO MATTER WHAT: You can have that DQ Blizzard no matter what. That’s really what we all do marathons for, right?

SOME NYC MARATHON SPECIFIC TIPS:

1. WAITING ON STATEN ISLAND: It can be cold on Staten Island. TAKE LOTS OF EXTRA LAYERS TO WEAR while you wait around for a few hours to start running. I highly recommend going to Kmart and buying extremely large and warm clothing to wear. I have been known to wear a snowsuit (go look in the boy’s section). I did not regret this.

NYRR donates all of then clothing “shed” to charity.  Warm win-win.

Also, bring the following: a snack and water, toilet paper, an old heat sheet if you have it.

The latter two you will need when you inevitably pee on the bridge when you wait there for like 30 minutes. Like the good runner you are, you will be trying to stay well hydrated before the start. Don’t hate the bridge pee, embrace it. Everyone does it. Even [professional runner] Lauren Fleshman.

2. THERE ARE MORE HILLS THAN YOU THINK: So just be aware of that. Specifically, there are hills at miles 8-10, mile 13-14 (Pulaski bridge), The Queensboro Bridge, and the uphill grind from apprx 110th street to 89th street….and, of course the finish. 🙂

3. TAKE IT IN. There’s absolutely nothing like the crowds of the NYC Marathon. It MAKES the marathon. It would’ve been the whole reason I was running it this year (if I did). The crowds will get you through the race. Trust me, from last year’s experience. Even if you’re having a “bad” race, things are going as planned, so on and so forth, please enjoy the crowds and people. It’s really special if you let it be.

In the end, here’s my parting advice on marathons that should be taken with a grain of salt seeing as I’m not a professional runner nor psychologist nor Ghandi.

Of the 6 marathons I’ve run, my best and most enjoyable marathons have come when I was running for a reason bigger than a result.

When I ran the NYC-turned-Richmond marathon, I wanted to (as I wrote at the time) “express my appreciation for my health and ability to run” and to actually enjoy a marathon. And, it was. 

When I ran the Eugene Marathon (where I qualified for Boston and probably the fastest marathon I will ever run), I was so in love with running and the training process that I almost thought of my running that marathon as a performance, a ballet of sorts – something so memorable and moving that anyone who saw me run could tell that I loved what I was doing.

And, when I ran the NYC Marathon last year I wanted to prove to myself that as long as you loved what you were doing, you could do anything, no matter how many hours you were working or how many people told you it was a “bad idea.”

So, that’s my biggest tip – figure out WHY you’re running that isn’t a goal time. And, run for that.

Race happy – enjoy!

TELL ME: RACING A MARATHON? YOUR GOAL? LIKE ME AND SKIPPING OUT THIS YEAR?

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.

IMG_0301 Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 8.41.45 AM

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.

DSC00251

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!]

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 8.37.29 AM

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.

PickyBarsLogo

 

TELL ME: YOUR FAVE FINDS IN 2013…

Until next time…

Beauty Bargains

The following post is written by my sister, Allison.

 

ally1

 

Its not hard to see which sister is better at applying make-up in the comparison photo...

Its not hard to see which sister is better at applying make-up in the comparison photo…

In her words, “make-up is my passion like running is yours.” Apparently, there’s a wide world of “make-up YouTube users” out there that review products or post demos. So, when she’s not hitting the books in pharmacy school, my younger sis has been acquiring a wealth of cosmetic knowledge. She’s always been the more artistic minded sister – I’m attributing it to her left-handedness (and my lack thereof to being right handed).

And, on top of having the know-how, Ally mostly uses drug store or Target bought products. She’s talented and economical. Double trouble!

So, here are it is:

“ALLY’S TOP 10 DRUGSTORE BEAUTY PRODUCTS”

FACE:

1. Revlon Photoready Concealer: Retail Price – $9.99

Why? This concealer is super creamy and allows me to cover the redness and acne marks that are on my face.

Where to use? I use this concealer under my eyes, around my nose and over acne scars or new pimples. If I am in a hurry, I also use this concealer as a foundation and just apply it all over my chin, T-zone, eyes, and nose.

Bonus info? I heard about this concealer from one of my favorite Youtube beauty gurus and blogger, Emily Noel, aka, BeautyBroadcast. If you are interested in makeup or want to see makeup tutorials, or reviews on new products, check her out!]

2.Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer Palette: Retail Price – $10.49

Why? This palette contains three different colors of concealers, and one powder that can be used over the concealers. A complete concealer package!

Where?  I love to use this concealer over my pimples and mix many of the tones together to get the perfect match to cover my redness.

Bonus info? I also love to use the powder over my concealer that I put underneath my eyes, because it makes me look more awake!

3. Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation: Retail Price – $9.99

Why? I did not wear foundation until very recently, because I thought that it made my face feel heavy and look cakey. I started to hear about this new foundation by Revlon, and had to give it a shot! Once I tried it, I fell in love with it and even like it better than my Clarins (VERY EXPENSIVE STUFF) foundation! It’s so lightweight and feels like you’ll feel like you aren’t wearing any product on your skin.

Where? This foundation is a light to medium coverage, and can be buildable to create a more full coverage. I use this product all over my face and apply it with a damp beauty blender or my E.L.F flat top powder brush.

 

Bonus info? This foundation also contains SPF 20, so I love the protection that it gives me from the sun! This foundation lasts me all day and I don’t ever have to reapply the foundation, just occasional touchups with powder over oily spots on my face.

4. Maybelline Dream Matte Powder: Retail Price – $7.99

Why? I am the type of person who cannot stand for my face to be oily. My T-zone tends to get very oily throughout the day, so I am always looking for a powder to get rid of that shiny look. I found this powder and decided to try it out one day, and love it!

Where? I apply this powder over my Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation and it gives my skin a great finish.

Bonus info? Not only does this powder get rid of my shiny T-zone, it also has great lasting power! I apply it once in the morning, and never have to reapply or touch up my powder, unless I am going out that night and want to freshen up my makeup look. This powder also does not cake up over my foundation and creates a very natural looking finish on the skin.

5. E.L.F. Blushes: Retail Price – $3.00

Why? I cannot say enough about E.L.F blushes. E.L.F offers a variety of shades for every skin tone, and they are a great product!

Bonus info? I love all of the E.L.F line, and had to recently visit the store, while  in NYC, as our E.L.F products are sparse at my local Target at home. These blushes are very very inexpensive, so you do not have to feel guilty if you buy the whole collection.

More bonus info? E.L.F blushes have often been compared to the ever so popular NARS blushes. The NARS blush in the color “Orgasm,” is one of the most popular blush colors that Sephora sells. I believe that the E.L.F blush in Twinkle Pink or Candid Coral looks almost identical to the NARS blush. I love to mix up my blush everyday, and these blushes are the perfect way to play up your makeup look and cheeks.

6. N.Y.C. Sun to Sun Bronzing Powder: Retail Price – $4.99

Why and Bonus info? I have tried many high-end bronzers, including ones by Stila and Urban Decay, and I believe that this bronzer can give the high-end bronzers a run for their money. If someone asks me to recommend a drugstore bronzer, I always tell them this one. It is very inexpensive, and has two color options, a lighter golden shade and a darker bronze. You can use these shades individually, or you can mix the two together to give your cheeks a nice tan glow.

[Meggie’s note: I have this bronzer and I love it.]

I really should start paying more attention when she applies her make-up...

I really should start paying more attention when she applies her make-up…

EYES:

7. E.L.F. Eyelid Primer: Retail Price – $1.00

Why? This eyelid primer helps your eyeshadow stay on for long periods of time, without smudging. I always rave about this eyeshadow primer, and so one of my girlfriends decided to give it a try and could not believe how long her eyeshadow and eyeliner stayed on her eyes. It is a miracle product, and I use it everyday.

Bonus Info? This is the most amazing eyelid primer every invented. And, better yet, it is ONE DOLLAR. Yes, I repeat, ONE DOLLAR.

8. L’Oreal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara: Retail Price – $7.99

Why? This is my favorite drugstore mascara of all time. It makes my eyelashes so full and voluminous, it almost looks like I am wearing false eyelashes. This mascara is a very wet mascara and clings to your lashes enhancing the thickness, volume, and length. If I am in a hurry I just swipe some of this on my eyelashes and my eyes already look 100 times better.

Bonus Info? Drugstore mascara is just as good as high-end brands. John Stossel did an expose of sorts on the make-up industry when he was at ABC and often did a segment called “Give Me a Break!” He showed that many drugstore and high end brands are made in same factories. So, try it out!

I'm not a make-up guru, but I can "vogue" for you if you want...or not.

I’m not a make-up guru, but I can “vogue” for you if you want…[just maybe not very well].

LIPS:

9. Maybelline Babylips: Retail Price – $3.99

Why? My lips always seem to be dry, and every time I apply lipstick the color will stick to the dry skin and look gross. I found my solution with Maybelline BabyLips. This product is a chapstick and lip color all in one. I love them and always throw one in my purse on the way out of the house. Babylips comes in a variety of shades for every skin tone, and even have fun colors such as a hot pink, light red, and peachy coral.

Bonus info? Not only does this product come in great colors, they also smell fantastic and have SPF20 to protect your lips from the harsh sun!

10. Revlon Lip Butters: Retail Price – $5.99

Why? These lipsticks are the holy grail of all drugstore lipsticks. If I could buy the entire collection, I would in a second. These lip butters are super creamy and glide on the lips to create a glossy finish. They come in a variety of colors and can be put on the lips once for a light glossy look, or built up to create a bold color.

Bonus Info? I bought this lip product for both my mom and sister, and both love the product. [<–Meggie’s note: true story]

But, no one always wears make-up, even the make-up queen, herself!

But, no one always wears make-up, even the make-up queen, herself!

All 10 of these products together costs $65.42, which is probably about what 2-3 high end products at Sephora would cost you. Score!

Thanks, Ally, for giving insight into your make-up world! I’m going to go figure out what “build up” your foundation means now.

TELL ME: FAVORITE DRUGSTORE BEAUTY FINDS? USE ANYTHING ON THIS LIST?

Until next time..

Great Graduation Speeches

Surely, many have heard Steve Jobs’ commencement address at Stanford in 2005 encouraging grads to “not settle.” Or JK Rowling’s speech to the Harvard Class of 2008 speaking of the benefits of failure.

But, I’d wanted to share a graduation speech that was mentioned in the commencement address given at my graduation last week. I had not heard of it and, lo and behold, the is a wonderful 10 min excerpt created on YouTube that condensing the message into its most salient points.

The entire address, found spoken here or as a transcript here, is worth a listen or read, in my humble opinion. Put simply, the entire speech struck me. Many of you may have probably already experienced what Wallace speaks of – the day in and day out of adulthood. While, surely, there have been months of my life that have been day in and day out, the vast majority of my “professional life” has been moving on from one exciting, seemingly insurmountable task to the next. The SATs. College. Finals. The MCAT. Medical School. The Boards. Third Year Rotations. The Match. Graduation. There has always been a dangling carrot in the not so distant future, ready for the taking. I’ve been extremely lucky.

I think the fear of the mundane is one reason I chose medicine. I’ve been promised a career that is “ever changing” in which I will be a “life long learner.” Yet, still, I fear an ordinary existence. I am fiercely protective of my “extra-curricular” activities, namely running, as I see them as an insurance policy against a potentially humdrum daily life. With running, there will always be a new PR to chase, a fun race to run, a new path to try out. Running can turn any ordinary day into an extraordinary.

I don’t aspire to notoriety or celebrity, but I do hope to be extraordinary and exceptional. At least, that is how I hope people will describe me one day.

Yet, as a sat at graduation last week, looking at the platform of distinguished and exemplary physicians, I wondered what my exceptional is going to be. At times, I think I want to be like them – a well recognized physician. At other times, I crave being a wonderful wife and mom, raising little Noa, Cody, and Reeve (names subject to change) to extraordinary existences for themselves. And, in the next minute, I ponder keeping running a big part of my life, like the ladies of Oiselle, and somehow intermixing this why my “professional” career. Entrepreneurship. Social Media. Family Life. There are many things I could imagine wanting to be great at. I guess in the terminology of “lean in,” I’m not always sure which way to lean.

Do I need to know what this balance will be at 27 years old? Scarily, sometimes I think so. The “early bird catches the worm” is a cliche for a reason. But, maybe not. 27 years old, as I hear from others, might be on the younger side in the working world.

What I do know is that I need to spend the next 4 years hopefully becoming an exceptional physician. I hope to keep running and maybe dabble in social media or writing, but know that my blinders need to be put on and the sole focus my main profession: medicine.

I think the choices of my professional pie can, hopefully, be put off until my 30s, when I set up my “real career.” Surely, my tastes and preferences will change by then as I didn’t even like this whole running thing when I entered medical school.

In terms of the potential banality of daily life? Here is something I’m going to remember from Wallace’s speech:

 If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from running, it’s that the mind dictates the experience – your race or your life.

TELL ME: A FAVORITE SPEECH OR ADDRESS?

And, if you’re a real graduation speech junkie, here is a list compiled by Business Insider on the top 23 commencement speeches ever given.