Lessons From Intern Year: Beyond the Checkbox

Things I’ve learned thus far….


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. 


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.


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.


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!


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

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


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!


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?


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.

Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 9.51.12 PM

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. 


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…).


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.


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:



And, shortly thereafter, found myself here:


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!


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


I can’t wait for my next race…

Until next time…

Game Face. Game Day.

Happy Friday!

To make this slightly rainy day (at least in NYC) a bit brighter, I have a giveaway for you!


I am a roga diehard so when Oiselle introduced the Game Day short, I was a bit skeptical. How could they make a short with the yoga-pant style waistband that was better than the roga?

Jocelyn got a pair and raved about them. Still, I was a bit skeptical.

Then I saw how cute they looked on her, especially the contrast color back pocket zipper.

"Boat Look"

“Boat Look”

I ordered a pair and I was sold. Hooked. So much so that I ordered another pair.

Lucky you – YOU can win a pair!


You can comment here, tell me on Twitter (@mbsthinks + @oiselle), send a carrier pigeon like Hedwig (only if you written the message with a quill, naturally).

I’ll pick the winner on Wednesday of next week. You’ll be able to pick color/size.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Until next time…

Contemplating a Coach? Here’s Why I’ve Had One

In my [copious amount of] free time, I’ve noticed a lot of talk on Twitter, running blogs, and such about running coaches. Why would anyone get one? Is it worth it?

Steph took me on as her charge in November 2010 and I’ve kept her as the head of my running brain trust since. That poor girl has put up with far too many neurotic emails for what I’ve paid her.

Steph, this is what you're working with. Good luck! :)

Steph, this is what you’re working with. Good luck! 🙂

I originally approached Steph with a very specific, calculated plan in classic Meggie Smith fashion (ie very specific and detailed). I wanted to qualify for Boston in the spring of my 3rd year of medical school (New Jersey Marathon 2011) in hopes of running Boston 2012 right before I graduated medical school. Check it off the life checklist [because life always follows a neat and linear checklist-like plan, right?]. To be honest, I initially thought I’d have a coach through NJM 2011 and then I’d go on my merry way.

My guiding principle in life. The almighty checklist.

My guiding principle in life. The almighty checklist.

Turns out I didn’t qualify for Boston in 2011 (or 2012), I really liked having Steph has my coach, I took a year to do research in infertility, I decided I hated the marathon, then decided I liked it again, and finally, by some stroke of luck, actually qualified for Boston right before I graduated medical school.

Boom! 2.5 years and I finally got it.

Boom! 2.5 years and I finally got it.

[Wow, Steph, you’ve been through a lot with me!]

Steph, what's harder: coaching me or this workout?

Steph, what’s harder: coaching me or this workout?

The cash flow as a med student is slim to none (or rather retrograde seeing as you are paying tuition) so there were plenty of times where I financially questioned keeping her on. Luckily, I was able to pick up enough babysitting and tutoring jobs to make it work, but below outlines many of the reasons I came up with to keep a running coach.

Steph and her groupies

Steph and her groupies

In the end, the decision was always fairly simple. Running made me happy and training to become a “better” runner made me even happier. And, we should invest in our happiness, right?

[Unless it’s cocaine or cigarettes that is making you happy. Then, please, don’t invest in that.]



My first three reasons for having a coach somewhat go hand in hand so its hard to talk about each separately.

Let’s get real. I’m not training to run a world record or become the next Mary Cain. I could, indeed, read a book or follow an online training plan.

What does reading a book require? Time! And time is money in my world.

You know what else I don’t have a lot of? Running experience. I’ve played thousands of tennis matches since I first started competitive tennis at 14 years old. There are certain elements of the game that you only learn through experience; those unteachable tricks, tips, and expertise that you take for granted once you know them. I imagine running is the same. Steph is the experience I lack and the expertise that I need.

Last, as a member of over-thinkers anonymous, sure I’d read the book, but then I’d spend a month thinking “should I do this workout or that workout” or, we’re getting even deeper here now, “what physiologic system is this working and am I working the right one?” I’m sure I’d wonder if I was pushing myself too hard or not enough. I’d probably doubt what I was doing constantly and change my plan more than Taylor Swift changes boyfriends.

Knowing me, I’d make the process of coming up with a training plan way too complicated and time consuming. Solution? Have an expert do it for you.

Boom! Plan handed to you. Time and mental energy reserved for other things. Plus, if you trust your coach (which I do), its fool proof! Follow the plan and you can’t fail (or, at least, my chances were minimized versus making my own plan).

With two of my running faves, Steph and Gia. And, looks like someone forgot their sunnies!

With two of my running faves, Steph and Gia. And, looks like someone forgot their sunnies!


This is one I don’t struggle with that much. If you give me a plan or list, I’m fairly good at following it [translation: slightly neurotic about following it]. However, on days where my motivation waned, having someone to report back to (albeit virtually) usually gave me whatever kick I needed to get out the door. Plus, let’s get real – if I’m paying someone to give me these workouts, I’m going to do them. Not doing so would be like having a gym membership and not using it (ie throwing money down the drain).


I think this is probably the real, subliminal reason I’ve had and kept a running coach. When I first started running, I always thought of myself as “destined to be a slow runner” (sometimes still do). I figured the best I could get was hobby jogging. My reasoning? If I didn’t like running for the first 23 years of my life, I probably wasn’t very good at it, which is why I never picked it up as a kid. And, I was very happy with that [hobby-jogging] for a while.

Hobby jogger no more...

Hobby jogger no more…

Somewhere along the way, I remembered that at some point, I was a pretty good athlete. I had fleeting thoughts that maybe, if I put some work in, I could translate that athleticism to moderately good running. Keep up with my friends. See how fast I could get.

Turns out, with a little work, I became faster than I ever really thought when I first got Steph as a coach. It’s been fun to sort of discover myself as a runner with her by my side.

So, thanks, RC!

So, thanks, RC!

While I may have reasoned keeping a coach in a very linear fashion (I pay a you, a professional, to render me a service), I like to think that the coach-athlete relationship I have with Steph is a bit more complex than that. I like to think (I can’t speak for her, obviously!) that Steph is somewhat invested in my success and accomplishments; that we’re more of a team than a purely business relationship.

Steph’s belief in me has often been more than I’ve had in myself. A lot of times, that’s my mental “wild card” in races — if Steph believes I can do something, I should, too.


BOTTOM LINE: Having a coach has saved me time, mental energy, and has made my running and racing experience that much richer. 


Until next time…

Pain Brain

I wrote a previous post on my “Marathon Game Changers,” which outlined some of the mental tweaks I made that helped me [in some respects] have the marathon of my dreams.

Turns out, a lot of those mental tricks I learned don’t apply so well to shorter distances and faster paces.

You see, I’ve gotten really good at this semi-state of concentration that numbs the slight pain of marathon pace (that is, until you get to mile 21) and allows for deviation in focus momentarily away from running and towards, you know, unicorns, Phil Dunphy, Dance Moms, and so on and so forth.

While this works great for 3+ hours of running, a race that is less than a TV show (or two TV shows) can’t afford a lapse in concentration. Or so I’ve come to notice.

I’ve raced two 5Ks since the marathon and while the times have been fantastic for me, the mental state has not.

When the pain sets in (which is fairly early in the race in a 5K), I have gotten really good at convincing myself that I “do not care…I already achieved the goal I wanted (BQ)…who cares what I run in the [insert name here] 5k…do not care…should I just walk?…want.to.stop.” People pass me and, instead of it motivating me to speed up, it further bolsters my argument to myself that “I am fading and should slow down.”

My pain brain wants to quit and is a bit apathetic.

I also need to stop taking the first 800 meters out like there’s no tomorrow, but that’ a bit more easily fixable than my pain brain.

I’m racing a 10K tomorrow and trying some new mental tips and tricks I’ve gotten from friends. We’ll see how it goes.

I guess that’s the nice thing about sports – there is always a weakness to work on.

And, for the public record, I retract my broad statement that one of my running talents is an iron stomach. It deserves a caveat. I have an iron stomach for Gu during long runs and marathons. What I do not have an iron stomach for is short distance racing. I have a very compliant lower esophageal sphincter after pretty much every 5K finish line (ie I vomit).


Until next time…

[PS: This does not mean I don’t like 5Ks. I still do, but I just need to get a bit better at them. 🙂 #5krevolution lives!]

Mio Mesh Day to Night #flystyle

Two of my favorite aspects of Oiselle are the following:

1. Most if not all items are TUMBLE DRY LOW! [In a tiny NYC apartment, place to hang dry clothes is at a premium.]

2. Not only great for running, but also for REAL LIFE! [More bang for your buck.]



I wore the Oiselle Mio Mesh tank in sky both to spin this morning and to dinner tonight. Don’t worry, today was a laundry day!

Now if only I could get them to create scrubs lined in lux fabric…


Until next time…