Sleep, Self Tanner, and the Sweat Life I Lead

Are you looking for the keys to happiness?

I have found them.

They are sleep and self tanner. Both make you instantly look and feel better.

I highly suggest trying this.

Sunday: The Day of Rest.

Since becoming a resident, I have become worse at resting. This is paradoxical and counter intuitive since my work is exhausting. If I were to be my own psychologist, I would suggest that the reason I do this is two-fold. First, I know my time off is slim to none so when I do have some spare hours I try to squeeze in every.last.thing. Spin! Go to the park! Spend like 2 hours in CVS looking at things I don’t need! Nails! Spending more money I don’t have! Write this blog that likely only a few people read!

Second, I have a life-long habit of not sitting still. This started when I was two and asked to do gymnastics. It continued when I was six and was in probably six different after school activities (thanks, Mom and Dad!), which I thought was the best life a six year old could lead (dance, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, piano — scratch that, I hated the last one). Being a life long athlete, I had a ample opportunity to not sit still. And, now, I run around at work, run around after work, and then crash into bed. Overall, I think this is my coping mechanisms for life’s anxieties, of which I have many, chief among them “matching into fellowship.” Writing those words makes me feel ill and start to sweat. So, yes, I likely seek the sweat life in order to not feel any other feelings other than endorphin fueled happiness.

See, who needs a therapist when you have writing and the internet?!

Sunday is also the day of the ritual I started in residency: the pre-work week pep talk.

Although I’m terrible at resting, my time after 5 pm on a Sunday is fairly relaxed, usually, unless I’m at work. This is because about now is when the “omg, can I make it through another week” starts to kick in.

Residency, like any job, is taxing. It takes a lot out of you – emotionally, physically, mentally. You have to give 100% of yourself all the time – both to learning new information, in taking care of patients, in teach the juniors, in being super detail oriented and conscientious, in trying to impress your attendings, and, overall, just trying to do a damn good job. But, being exhausted sometimes means you just can’t bring 100% to something. As type A as most doctors are, this is frustrating and then, I think, we spend extra emotional energy beating ourselves up over not being 100% perfect all the time. It’s this self induced torture that many of us put ourselves through.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Lack of sleep has made me slightly more relaxed though. I mean, sometimes I only use a one color pen instead of a four color pen.

Jokes aside, the Sunday night pre-work week pep talk is crucial. So, is the walk to work music.

Currently, Lupe Fiasco “The Show Goes On” or “Battle Scars” really hits home. I’m sure you didn’t expect this of me.

Final thoughts: Amongst the overabundance of specialty stores in Manhattan, there has yet to be a specialized seltzer store. This is, truly, a shame and, I believe, a missing hole in the landscape of niche food boutiques.

All I wanted today after I left Jess’ killer TRX/Pilates class was a seltzer over crushed hospital ice.

There’ s a specialty seltzer store drought in Manhattan. And, if this medicine thing doesn’t work out, I’m going to fill it.

Smith’s Seltzers. It has a nice ring to it ,right?

Until next time…

Daily coffee tally: 2.5

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…

 

 

 

 

Stubborn

Alternate title for this post could be: “Lessons Learned From Revisiting the Long Run.”

It’s apparently 16 weeks out from the NYC Marathon. I have yet to formalize a training plan. I did download something, thanks to my friend, Nicole, entitled “Run Less, Run Faster” marathon training plan. I’m sure it’ll work miracles.

The problem with “training” is that I enjoy my other activities far too much to commit to just one. Why just run when you can do other fun things, too? (Albeit expensive little things, but well worth it, in my broke resident salary opinion). Let’s spin! Let’s go to pilates! Let’s try yoga! Let’s try stand up paddle boarding! Let’s try napping! Let’s have our cake and eat it too!

Regardless of what I want to do, I did sign up for the NYC Marathon and I’ve “committed” to it in so much that I paid >$200 to run it. And, I’m sure come September or October I’ll get bit by the fall marathon bug and would be mad at myself if I weren’t doing the NYC Marathon. (If history proves anything, I’ve signed up for the marathon last minute the past two years…because I had fall marathon FOMO).

I guess this is where that whole discipline thing comes in – doing what you’re supposed to be doing, when you’re supposed to be doing it, even if you don’t want to be doing it. And discipline for marathon training means running, especially those weekend long runs.

Luckily, I had a fast friend in town on Saturday (and some other running buddies) and I actually wanted to do a long run…so I did.

IMG_2690

Truth be told, I went out a little too fast or at least too fast given my fitness level and the heat/humidity. It was one of those times where you want to quit at mile 4-6. Its too hard. Its too hot. I don’t “have” to do this. I could just stop, right?

Luckily, I had some good ol’ stubbornness kick in. I really think part of being good at anything, whether it be tennis, gymnastics, running, or chess, is that you have to be an asshole to yourself sometimes and be a little bit stubborn.

I had told myself I would run 10 miles that day. I was going to finish 10 miles even if I had to walk half of it. And I was going to keep up with these people until I actually collapsed or threw up because, until that happens, you’re probably fine and just making up excuses in your head. You never know how far you can push yourself until you try, right?

Part of what made this a little bit hard is that a lot of my intern year, I would go easy on myself with respect to running. I gave myself a lot of slack (and I think fairly well deserved) for working 60-80 hour weeks. I didn’t have to run fast. I didn’t have to turn up the resistance at SoulCycle. I didn’t have to not put my knees down on the carriage during a plank at Flex. I work a lot, I should get a little freebie here or there, right?

Well, yes and no. I think.

There are a lot of times I find myself giving myself an out even though I may not need it. Or at least that’s what I discovered on Saturday.

[In case you like numbers, splits were as follows for 11 miles – 8:47, 8:33, 8:15, 8:24, 8:19, 8:23, 8:57, 8:24, 8:39, 8:08, 7:56 — proof that you can definitely do more than you think.]

So, here’s to something new. Running a little faster, a little farther. Turning up the resistance in spin. Napping a bit harder. You know, giving everything you do 100%.

All in.

See you November 3. (I think).

IMG_2710

[But the thought is still a little scary.]

 

 

On Why We Exercise

When you’re an intern, you table your feelings, so to speak. By 9 am July 1, you become so laser focused on becoming a master of efficiency, on checking off check box after check box that you’ll look up and realize its April and start to feel just a tiny bit of emotion, which then starts to get overwhelming, and you quickly return to your checkboxes.

Answer the page, check the box.

Answer the page, check the box.

I feel similarly about exercise these days. Its become a checkbox in a sense. I can still wax philosophic on why I run (or go to spin or pilates) and I genuinely think I do things for the right reason. However, as an intern, exercise has become a bit of a compulsion for me, an emotional crutch that I lean on heavily to provide a sense of normalcy in a fairly hectic life. Its something I’ve always done (dance, gymnastics, tennis, swimming, softball, soccer, so on and so forth) and I genuinely like it.

#tbt 1996

#tbt 1996

However, since I’ve started intern year, I’ve been a goal-less exerciser, for the first time in my entire life. I’m  not trying to become a stronger gymnast, a better tennis player, or a faster runner. I’m….doing something I love to do.

And, this got me thinking…because the prerogative of millennials is to overanalyze our happiness instead of just being happy. Right?

Fundamentally, I think I like to work out a lot because its fun, it makes me feel better, and, most importantly, I am deathly afraid of the following: hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, coronary artery disease, strokes, heart failure, not feeling my feet from diabetes, kidney failure from high blood pressure, and so on an so forth.

And, because I've met my best friends through sports...

And, because I’ve met my best friends through sports…

And, to be honest, “exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands” – truer words have never been spoken. I’m pretty sure Malcolm Gladwell could find an association between exercise and crime rates.

At the end of my analysis, I determined that if we get to the root of the issue – besides the “I like it” part and the “I’m terrified of coronary artery disease” part – there are really two reasons I exercise: body function and body image.

Which one is more important to me? I can’t figure that one out.

Let’s back up a little bit.

First, meet Chainsaw and Jaws (yes, those are their names – sort of):

 

Aka "Chainsaw" Photo Credit: Flex Studios

Aka “Chainsaw” Photo Credit: Flex Studios

 

[Sorry you guys, I took these pics off the internet. Don’t hate me.]

I think I’ve spent what equates to a small wedding fund going to both of their classes this year (pilates for Liz, spin for Jaws) mostly because I like their classes and partly in an attempt to look like them. [And partly because this winter was terrible and I was not into running in the polar vortex with ice on the ground if I could help it.]

This weather is more up my running alley.

This weather is more up my running alley.

Unfortunately, thus far, osmosis hasn’t worked. Science is really letting me down.

By the principle of osmosis, shouldn't the higher concentration of abs spontaneously migrate to the lower concentration of abs? Yes?

By the principle of osmosis, shouldn’t the higher concentration of abs spontaneously migrate to the lower concentration of abs to create an equilibrium? Yes?

I also take their classes (and others…and run) because I want my body to be able to do the things I want it to do. I want to be able to run marathons if I want to…or to work 80 hours a week on a labor floor without collapsing.

As I said in my last post, I’ve done some  double/triple spins and run/pilates or run/spin or pilates/spin combos. So, if my body can conceivably do what I want it to do, why do I care exactly what it looks like? If can run a marathon, why am I mad at science for 6-pack osmosis not being a “thing?” If I can work 80 hours a week, run, still fit into my clothes, and not collapse, why do I keep interrogating Lauren on “how she does it.”

Seriously, Lauren. What do I have to do? Birth a child 10 months ago?

Seriously, Lauren. What do I have to do? Birth a child 10 months ago?

I don’t know either. The answer escapes me, like the concept of the iCloud.

[Seriously, you all, what is and where is the iCloud.]

Just some food for thought.

I probably won’t figure out the answer (like I’ll never understand the concept of the iCloud), but I’ll keep working out because I like it and the way it makes me feel. Do my part in decreasing the crime rate. Because, in the end, we really do this because endorphins make us happy, right?

TELL ME: BODY IMAGE VS BODY FUNCTION – YOUR THOUGHTS – GO!

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living On The Wild Side

Almost – 28 years and I’ve finally found that wild streak that I was supposed to have in my teens…

[Of note, I’ve always been a general homebody and fear a “bad reputation” or “getting in trouble” like the plague or Ebola virus. My parents never set a curfew for me in high school because they knew I’d be home by a decent hour because I like to sleep. Always a schedule to maintain! Because being 17 was really tough with that “homework” done while watching TV….]

I’m taking a test next week that I haven’t studied for.

Step 1 studying…the good ol' days...

Step 1 studying…the good ol’ days…

I’m running a half marathon in two weeks and haven’t run over 7 miles at one time since…the marathon!

IMG_0877

[I am, however, experimenting with what I’m calling the SoulCycle training plan. I’ll report back about how well that worked. ]

Next, I plan on doing something really crazy – like trying unpasteurized cheese.

For a brief overview of the SoulCycle “training plan,” suffice it to say I’ve done a lot of classes and done a good bit of “doubles” to count as “long runs.” It remains to be seen if this helps maintain running fitness. I really just trying to make it through this half marathon (Miami! With Gia! And KScott!) rather than race it so I think my “training” should work for that purpose.  I do think SoulCycle helps maintain aerobic fitness, stimulates the neuromuscular system because the pace is usually quick, and is a good core workout because you have to support yourself out of the saddle so much.

I'm pretty sure the grapefruit candle  has some sort addictive scent that keeps you coming back...

I’m pretty sure the grapefruit candle has some sort addictive scent that keeps you coming back…

If you’re curious, my fave instructors as of late (there are many I like) are Jaws, Sydney, and Bethany.

Jaws’ class is full of really good technical corrections so you get the most out of it and has a good baseline level of resistance so you always feel like you’re working. She usually has one song that you jog the whole time and its feels like 1k repeats to me. She also rides the whole class (which is super tough) so I’m always very inspired to keep working really hard since she’s doing the same thing AND talking.

Sydney’s class usually has something new and different (big hill with a sprint in it and then using the weights on the hill) and her energy is fantastic. She’s having so much fun that you’re having fun. She’ll push you really hard but you’ll be smiling the entire time. It’s awesome.

Bethany’s classes are always emotionally on point. One time she played Kris Allen’s “Live Like You’re Dying” and I’ve never felt more inspired to like…live life…and stuff. Maybe I was just really tired and hit me. Regardless, Bethany’s classes are hard, the cues are on point, and one time I wanted to scream “I LOVE EXERCISE” after her class I was on such an endorphin high. I refrained.

[On another note, being on nights for a month will make you super emotional and want to scream things like “I LOVE EXERCISE” in a room full of strangers.]

[For the public record, I’ve taken one of Akin’s classes and it was the hardest arm series ever. I’m also a big Danny, Ben T, and Madison but haven’t taken them in a while.]

Plus, during a polar vortex, SoulCycle is warm!

Anyways, that’s all for now.

TELL ME: HOMEBODY? WILD CHILD? FAVE SPIN CLASS AND INSTRUCTOR

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…