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…

 

 

 

 

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…

 

 

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race Rebellion

You know what’s awesome?

Doing what you want to do.

Most of my time is spent doing what I’m supposed to be doing when I am supposed to be doing it – you know, discipline. Getting to work at 5:30 am to round on post partum patients is my job. Like many of you, I spend most of my time crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s, on a relentless little journey to figure out how to be good, better, and, ultimately, best at what I do. I’d say for most of us, they aren’t many occasions where you get to say “You know what? I don’t want to to this today so I’m not going to.”

So, it’s pretty liberating when you can do that – decide exactly what you want to do that will make you happy and do just that.

I went to Miami this weekend with Gia, KScott, and Theodora for a girl’s trip, including a half marathon. At 6 am. In 70+/humid weather (not that I’m complaining). Undertrained. Sleep deprived (as usual). And not really all that amped up to run 13 miles.

What did I really want to do? Sleep in til a luxurious 7 o’clock (my how times have changed from med school!), run when I want to and how far I felt like, do a few Canyon Ranch classes (yoga! zumba! ballet!), get more steps on my fitbit, drink a green juice, soak up some vitamin D….

So, that’s what I did. And, it was fantastic!

My approach to exercise has drastically changed since starting residency and very much mirrors this weekend.

Last year, I used this race as a training run for Eugene [marathon]. I wanted to get up at 3 am for a 6 am race. I wanted to run 13.1 miles. It was all a part of “the training plan.”

Now, there is no plan. And, its perfect for this part of my life. I only get a few precious hours a day that are totally and completely mine so I typically pick whatever exercise (or non-exercise) will make me happiest. Sometimes its SoulCycle. Sometimes its running. Sometimes its catching up on my DVR.

This time last year I was logging all of these miles, splits for crazy workouts, honing my marathon mental game. Now, I’m logging work hours, cases, and figuring out how best to stay sane and how to afford my SoulCycle classes, new Oiselle gear, and green juices.

Before residency, I was really scared I was going to miss training and racing like I did in med school. I had fear of fear of missing out big time. I’m happy to stay I don’t at all. I push myself hard enough at work that I don’t really miss track workouts and race day early mornings. My biggest goal is to figure out how to relax my shoulders in SoulCycle (I tend to carry my shoulders up near my ears — comes with the uptight, stressed out territory) and that’s just fine by me.

I don’t really know what the point of this post is. Do blogs have to have points or lessons like Full House episodes do? I guess its be open to change, do what makes you happy if you have the opportunity to, and skipping a race can be very liberating (even if you’re out the race fee which is the equivalent of a few SoulCycle classes). And that sleep is very important.

Lose a race entry fee. Gain some freedom.

Tomorrow…its back to the early wake ups and the post partum rounds (and, the best part, delivering babies!)

Bring it on!

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…

Lessons From Intern Year: Beyond the Checkbox

Things I’ve learned thus far….

1. SELECTION OF PEN IS KEY:

All pens were not created equal and pen needs may change dependent upon what service you are on, at least in my case. I highly suggest those four color pens. I put discharge stuff in green (green means go ie going home), critical stuff in red, daily stuff in blue, vitals in black. However, if you’re rounding and not able to write on a surface, this pen isn’t great and you need a gel pen that you can write with easily while not on a hard surface.

For more on pen-ology: see this regarding the search for the one true pen. 

2. EMBRACE THE BINDER RING

Most people aren’t into this but I learned it from peds residents as a student. I like having all of my lists hole punched and on a binder ring so they are all together.

So, between my perfect pen hooked onto my ID lanyard and my binder ring, I don’t look like a nerd at all each day.

3. JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE “SMART” DOESN’T MEAN YOU ARE ACTUALLY GOOD AT ANYTHING.

Yes, even if you’ve had 8 years of higher education, simple things can be really difficult. Like a patient in the OR or not having cord blood spray on your attending.

4. START TRAINING

You’re going to walk a lot. If you’re not in good shape, start spending all day on your feet as soon as possible.

Proof: My FitBit – I walked three miles at work the other day!

5. BRING SNACKS AT ALL TIMES

You never know when hunger and/or opportunity to eat may strike. Come prepared.

My fave snacks are Picky Bars. Shocking, right?!

pickybarstickering

Stickering Picky Bars when they had the old sticker labels….

I would like to take this moment to remind everyone that I was Picky Bars first online customer, which remains one of my favorite facts about myself. Why? Because if Picky Bars ever has an IPO, I’m using this bit of info for first dibs on those shares.

So, in honor of my THREE YEAR customer-iversary and my TWO YEAR Picky Club-iversary, I’ve having a little giveaway. 

For a 10 box of Picky Bars in the flavor of your choice!

HOW TO ENTER:

1. Comment here telling me the next flavor you’d dream up for Picky Bars. I’ve been preaching a almond butter based bar with coconut in it for years. No one has listened. My 2nd suggestion is ginger. Lauren, are you listening?!

2. Follow @pickybars (and tell me here) and tweet what your fave flavor is to them using the hashtags #pickypower #pickylegacy

3. Follow @pickybars on instagram (and tell me here)

4. Follow @pickybars on pinterest (and tell me here)

5. Like Picky Bars on Facebook

Get to work, folks!

I almost just signed this post “R1 Smith, Discussed with Attending Dr.___” which is when you know work has really taken over your brain.

Until next time….

 

 

NYC Marathon 2013: Convincing Myself Otherwise…

If you spoke to me around May of this year, I would have sworn up and down that Eugene was my last marathon. It’s was why I trained so hard for it, right? That last hurrah before residency?

FinishLineMedal:Smile

I had no intention of running the NYC Marathon for myself this year. In fact, I chose the “refund” option for my 2012 entry after the cancellation. I thought it’d be impossible to do a marathon as an intern.

However, the opportunity to run for Every Mother Counts made me convince myself otherwise. After spending some time on labor and delivery, it became very apparent how dangerous pregnancy and childbirth can become in certain situations. The thought of having to walk 5k to receive basic medical care while in labor, which many rural African women have to do, fueled my desire to raise both awareness and funds for EMC, which seeks to remedy this and other barriers to prenatal and obstetrical care.  One look at this video compelled me to take the plunge into another 26.2 mile journey.

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The more I run and the more I go through life, the more I realize that most situations are determined by how you look at them.

Hugh Downs may have said it best: “A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but, rather, with a certain set of attitudes.”

More simply stated, attitude really is everything.

So, I convinced myself that running this marathon would be a GREAT idea. I would be raising money and awareness for a great cause. It would motivate me to run on days I didn’t want to. And, best of all, I could run it with one of the coolest moms I know (besides my own mom), Gia. 

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Residency blazed ahead a blistering pace and “training” fit in where it could. I didn’t tempo, mile repeat, long run workout, 800 repeat, or do any of the other traditional workouts one might associate with marathon training. In fact, I missed a couple of long runs. I ran or spun when I could and convinced myself that what I did was enough and that, in fact, being an OB/GYN intern was actually high intensity interval training disguised as work (which sometimes it feels like it is).

By the time last Sunday arrived, I was over the moon excited – probably the most excited I had ever been for a marathon. (Or maybe I was also just really excited to have the weekend off of work…).

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In my “YES… I’m off all weekend” excitement, I told the “team” (Addie, KScott, and Gia) that we were going to run free and race inspired. I had the next four hours off from any thought of residency, ACGME, logging work hours in New Innovations, CREOGs/Prolog studying, cleaning my apartment, organizing the piles of stuff on my desk, answering emails of which there are too many, or any other obligation I had.

The race itself was the antithesis of every other marathon I’ve run. I didn’t wear a watch. I didn’t think about a split or goal time other than the fact that I thought I’d like to finish at or just under 4 hours to save my legs the extra beating.

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The race started and despite all excitement and the reality that I knew I was running a marathon, the whole situation didn’t seem real. I couldn’t believe I was there. After an entire spring of proclaiming that I was done with marathons as residency wouldn’t allow time for that, here I was….running another one.

Miles 1-10 were so mesmerizingly distracting that I don’t remember much about how I felt. What I do remember was how awesome the crowds were, how nice the views were, and how excited Gia and I were to see VC, G1, and G2 at mile 8. As Gia went to swoop up her two twinkles, I decided I needed a kid, too, so I gave Addie’s little Q a great big hug, which probably traumatized the poor unsuspecting kid.

To be honest, around miles 10-13 I started to feel my quads ache a twinge in both my right IT band and left lateral knee. I knew at this point I had two options: freak out about it or keep moving forward.

I’ve found that most of my marathons mirror what’s going on in my life at that point in time. Residency somewhat forces you to get used to this state of constant, relentless forward motion and progress. You have to keep moving.

So, just like I had for the past several months as an intern, I did what I had been doing – I kept moving forward.

By Mile 16 my quads were done and thus began the rest of the most painful marathon I’ve ever run.

Yet, it was the most fun I’ve had running a marathon at the same time.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around how that’s possible.

Anyways, since I was in quad pain fest, I did have a doubt or two along the way that I would actually be able to finish. 10 miles is a long way to go on dead legs.

At mile 20….I actually couldn’t believe I had made it to mile 20 without cramping or collapsing. And, oddly, my overwhelming thoughts from that point forward were “you’re here! you’re doing it!” which comes straight out of Charlee’s SoulCycle class.

And, finally, after 6 more miles of relentless forward motion and telling myself “you’re here! you’re doing it!” over and over, I made it here:

FINISH LINE!

FINISH LINE!

And, shortly thereafter, found myself here:

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I made the trek from Staten Island to Central Park in 3 hours 55 minutes and 43 seconds and I couldn’t be happier.

The poncho may have had something to do with that happiness.

The poncho may have had something to do with that happiness.

A final HUGE thank you goes to my marathon buddy and #sisterinsport, Gia.

From a long run my last weekend before starting residency.

From a long run my last weekend before starting residency.

One hot day way back in July, I ran 16 miles with Gia (and RB!) as part of her Chicago marathon training.As we ran up and down the hills of the Palisades Parkway (of which there are many), I talked about how cool it would be if I did a marathon this fall “just to see if I could.” Gia encouraged me. She believed in me probably more than I did at some points. And even when I was struggling in those last 10 miles, she never left my side (despite my telling her “go! run faster!” I think every mile of the last 10). I couldn’t have picked a better friend to share 26.2 miles with. Gia, I’m lucky to call you my friend!

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And, finally, Jocelyn, we missed you!

Come back, JCB!

Come back, JCB! This is how I feel now that you live in Oregon.

If you made it this far. Congratulations! This is now the end.

Recap: I ran a marathon. For Every Mother Counts. It hurt really badly. But, probably not as much as walking many miles while in labor. And that’s why I ran the marathon in the first place.

Until next time…

 

Track Appreciation 101

Since I’ve gotten hit by the running bug, I’ve run a slew of road races.

First "race" in May 2009

First “race” in May 2009

I’ve done a litany of track workouts.

Be "1" with the track

Be “1” with the track

But, never a track race. I’m home for vacation and saw that my hometown’s local track club was hosting a summer series of track meets. To make sure I wasn’t going to be in over my head, I emailed the race director to make sure this wasn’t some series for sub-elite quasi professional runners and I would just be getting lapped the whole time.

Thankfully, being that this is Knoxville, TN and not Kenya, there was a huge range of paces. I ran the 2 mile and times in my event ranged from 11:59 to 20ish minutes. It was an extremely supportive environment with everyone cheering for everyone. People there ranged from ex-collegiate runners to recreational runners. It was a good entre into track.

I was a little apprehensive about how this whole track thing worked since the limit of my track knowledge is from going to the Trials last year and watching it on TV. Are you supposed to stick with the people who go out really fast? What if you trip on other people’s feet at the start? Will I feel like I am being chased?

Genes - my grandfather, who ran for Emory Track and Field back in the day -- cool pic, huh?

Genes – my grandfather, who ran for Emory Track and Field back in the day — cool pic, huh?

Fortunately, my questions were answered when people around started to ask “how fast are you taking this out.” I said 7 min pace, two girls said 6 min pace (thanks, but no thanks), and the next person said 8ish (and so on and so forth, very diverse range). So, I figured this was gonna be an “imma do me, you do you” race, which was fine by me. Life is really just about instagram opportunities these days, anyways, right?!

I had a little support crew on my side though. Anybody remember CGT from 5K fame?

My little running buddy, CGT.

My little running buddy, CGT.

CGT has become quite the trackster as of late, qualifying for the Junior Olympics in both the 1500 and 800 (PRs of 6:10 and 3:03, respectively). She just turned 11 two days ago.

CGT so graciously offered up coaching duties for the evening. In fact, she made me warm up, taught me drills (“this is what we do before track meets so you should too”) and showed me how I should do strides (ADORABLE!), and then also had me cool down. She asked to wear my watch so she could run across the infield and call my split each 200.

Callie (in white t shirt) giving me my split and Chase, her brother, cheering me on from the sand box, umm, long jump pit.

Callie (in white t shirt) giving me my split and Chase, her brother, cheering me on from the sand box, umm, long jump pit.

CGT’s coaching was superb (per her assessment, she got me “on the podium” as I was 3rd). She was sad that I lost my hip number as “I needed to keep it since it was my first track race” and made me take a picture of my watch with my time for posterity, naturally.

Here is said photo...

Here is said photo…

To answer any questions that most likely no one has:

– Track is really fun. You should do it if you have the opportunity.

– You do not feel like you are being chased the whole time.

– Getting lapped is not as bad as it seems (I got lapped by the winner, who ran it in 11:59).

– Find a posse if possible; I highly recommend cute 11 year olds

Callie and I

Callie and I

And, to give you a perspective of how far Callie and I go back (it would include her ultrasound pics, but I don’t have those)…

My sis, bro, and little cheerleader CGT

My sis, bro, and little cheerleader CGT. Back when Callie would cry when her mom left and we had to bargain with her (with cookies and such).

At a Taylor Swift concert...Ally and I helped them make those tie dyed t shirts.

At a Taylor Swift concert…Ally and I helped them make those tie dyed t shirts.

Me helping Callie to a 5K PR in May 2012

Me helping Callie to a 5K PR in May 2012

TELL ME: DID YOU RUN TRACK IN MIDDLE SCHOOL OR HIGH SCHOOL? HAVE YOU DONE IT AS AN ADULT?

I can’t wait for my next race…

Until next time…