You’ll Never Find A Group More Inclusive Than Runners

In general, I find that most runners are really nice people.

Maybe its the endorphins. Maybe its a self selecting process. I don’t know if its the chicken, the egg, or just a case of “true-true, but unrelated,” but I’ve met fast runners, slow runners, fair-weather runners, die-hard runners and I’ve never met a mean, snobby runner. There is no mean girls “you can’t sit with us” mentality in running.

Well, at least the kind of runners I’ve come across.

I’ve had the good fortune of being coached through a 5K by someone who was 7th in the world in the discipline and paced by a professional marathoner and jack-of-all trades runner during my marathon. 

In return, I’ve run with people through first half marathons and paced a 9 year old to her 5K PR (who is now 13 and way faster than me).

As someone who grew up playing a more “exclusive” sport [tennis], I love that in running there is no front row, no sign ups, no lessons needed. You just have to put some shoes, show up, and try. I think all runners respect that it [running] is never easy; putting in the work is hard. Maybe that’s why its such an encouraging, supporting group.

I hate to say running changed my life, because I didn’t have a bad life before I started running. But, it sort of did. I’ve met my best friends through running, made awesome connections with great people, led me to the career I’m pursuing….

What brings all this up? Well, I did a long run tonight (11 miles) with some “fasties,” as you might call them. Of course, I was a bit nervous like “can I keep up with these guys?” Of course, because runners are usually great people, they were more than welcoming and, thankfully, I kept up.

Training is [surprisingly] going pretty well for this half. Right now, I’m on a pretty running friendly rotation where I can actually have enough time and adequate rest to do workouts and long runs. My next rotation [Bellevue GYN] won’t be so great. I’m worried my training will fall behind, not that it really matters. However, I’ve been weirdly motivated lately to “put in the work.” It’s “weird” because for the majority of my residency, I’ve had a pretty lax attitude towards training for races (rightfully so, in my opinion). I guess that last half I ran in October planted a little seed that maybe with a smidgen of training I could do even better this spring. I guess that’s what got me up at 5:15 in the morning the other day to do a 6 am workout.

The good news for my psyche is that I have no attachment to any goal for this half. Sure, I have numbers I’d like to hit. But, when I consider the possibility that it won’t happen, its fine to me. I’m taking the “expectant management” or “wait and see” approach for this half. I’m just going to put in the work that I can and see what happens. Its like going to labor and delivery without a birth plan; I’m just going to follow directions [from a training plan] and see what happens.

Alright, I have to go to bed, because I have a test from 8-3:30 tomorrow. College and med students out there — IT NEVER ENDS.

Here’s to looking at a computer screen all day tomorrow! At least there is free food.

Daily coffee tally: 2

 

 

 

Oh Hey Friends…

Hi there.

Winter showed up.

That’s a bummer.

Part of me is sad that I’m sad about that, because I know I should be more cognizant of “fake winter is bad for our environment,” but I was really enjoying fake winter.

This impending snow storm is really giving me anxiety over my long run this weekend (of undetermined length, maybe like 10-12, we’ll see how far the spirit takes me).

Its weird to be worrying about long runs again.

If you’ve read this blog long enough, you’ll know that back in my pre-residency days, I followed training schedules to a T. And raced. (relative term).

And, then residency hit, and I got into classes mode, because it became really nice to have someone tell you what to do.

Recently, some running spirit hit me and I’ve gotten all into “training” again. I put this in quotes as its sort of a mix of the old and the new. I’d say I used to go to classes more than run, and now the opposite is true. I’ve tried to do a workout each week. And, I’ve been doing long runs.

Its like a real training schedule!

I don’t know what’s gotten into me. Maybe its realizing that I can sometimes come up for air from this whole residency gig and work “hard” at something else.

Now, to be clear, what I’m doing now PALES in comparison to what I did in my med school days. And, I’m sure as we get further into this training block (and onto Bellevue GYN), I’ll skip a track workout or long run.

But, running and training, its nice to be back. At least for now.

I even brought out a WATCH. I had to dig it up from the ashes. And, remember how to erase old splits.

One thing I’ve recently discovered since winter hit and foiled some of my running plans (darkness+ 20 degrees+ running alone as a female = asking for trouble is Mile High Run Club. I’ve taken the “Distance” class twice, which is the 60 min running class (the longest they offer). It’s great! You can tell the instructors (well, I’ve taken the same one twice – Luke L) are runners. Its a very well structured work out. I get at least 6.5 miles in and some threshold work, which is great.

Also, I have to give big props to Luke. I had to leave Monday’s class a whole 15 min early since I was on call and had to be a work by 7:30. Luke was super understanding and even helped me tailor to workout to the 45 min I did run. Runners understand runners. Runners are nice people.

And, subsequently, I had one awesome, endorphin filled call!

Anyways, what’s all this training for? The NYC Half! I’m also raising money for Every Mother Counts for this race. As an OB/GYN resident, its a cause really close to my heart. See link if interested in helping me out. –> https://www.crowdrise.com/EveryMotherCountsNYCHalf16/fundraiser/meggiesmith

One suggestion to Mile High — have a 90 min class this Saturday so I can do my long run on your awesome treadmills?! Thanks, in advance, seeing as it might snow.

Also, in residency world – today was booking clinic and we thought we had 6 patients scheduled. Psych! There were like an additional 7. Funsies!

At least we got some cases.

[x] book cases

That is all for now.

Until next time!

Daily coffee tally: 3

 

Back to Booking

I started re-writing this blog more regularly back in July/August when I started being “the booking resident.” And, here I am, again, being the booking resident. The days are shorter and its much colder.

The 2nd half of the year in residency starts out somewhat dysthmic (it is winter, people), but then slowly becomes more and more pleasant. Everyone knows and had honed their job. The ship basically steers itself.

Things that have happened since I was last the booking resident:

  • I did my first robotic hyst. I was a big robot naysayer for a while, mostly because it intimidates me and I thought docking the Si and then figuring out how to manipulate was going to kill me. Now, that I actually got to sit, I’m like “THIS IS THE BEST!” And, docking the Xi is way easier. [For those not in the know, google “Da Vinci Robot.”]
  • I did 5 weeks of nights.
  • I feel like I became much more confident at making decisions [at work]. Life, that’s another story. Chronic over thinker.
  • I ran a half marathon in 1:45.
  • I have survived a billion bad Bellevue calls.
  • I signed up for the NYC Half, and am going to run it for Every Mother Counts!
  • Tisch got a new cafeteria and it rocks.
  •  I took December mostly off of running and started going to PT for my right glute/IT band/back.
  • I went home three times!

That’s enough. I’m tired of this list. A lot happens in 6 months!

I ran in the park tonight. The cold wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (20 degrees).

There is something really magical about running in the park at night. It always makes me so happy to live in New York.

There were a surprising number of people out – tons of groups and solo runners. I don’t know why I thought it would be empty. If its true that “there is not bad weather, only soft people,” then New Yorkers definitely aren’t soft people!

I’m putting more effort into truly “training” for this half, as best I can as a resident. I know there are plenty of people out there that can get it track workouts, tempos, and long runs in on a 60-80 hr per week work schedule. I am not one of them! If I get 2/3 (i.e. one workout of any kind and one long run) a week, I’m going to buy myself a Levain cookie at the end of the training and eat it.

Final thoughts. I’m turning 30 at the end of this month. I feel like I’m supposed to feel something monumental about turning 30. Or sad. Or like I don’t want to. I mean, its not like you have a choice not to get older, right?! Plus, your teens and 20s are filled with a lot of uncertainty, instability, and acne- who wants that? I think if you had asked me at 18 years old where I’d be when I was 30, I’d have a very different answer. I guess I’d thought I’d be a lot further along and “settled” in life at this age, which I’m not, but I guess you really don’t know much about life when you’re 18 (even though you think you do! or I did).

The biggest part about turning 30 that I fear is the aging of my ovaries. These are things only gynecologists will obsess about. I see a rising FSH and decreasing AMH in my nightmares. I’ve been wanting to get my day 2 labs checked, but am too afraid of the results. I just want these guys to hang around shooting out hormones and good eggs as long as they can. I think its really unfair that women’s ovaries age. I’m really mad at Eve for eating that apple and committing us to aging ovaries and whatever other suffering came from her succumbing to temptation.

I think that’s all I have to say tonight.

Until next time…

Night night…

Daily coffee tally: 3

Earning Your Stripes

Pro tip: Have friends who are outside of your profession. That way, you can tell them about all of your “firsts” and accomplishments and it seems cool to them.

One sort of “fun” (it you want to think of that way) about medical training is that you get a lot of “firsts” in adulthood. Its like being a kid again and meeting your “milestones.” Sitting up unassisted, grabbing a block, first word is now first C-section, first stat C-section, first hysterectomy, and so on and so forth.

My friend, Jocelyn (whom is my non-resident residency confidante), suggested maybe we should get those sashes like the Girl Scouts and you can get a badge each time. I like this idea. Badge sashes are the white coats of 2016.

Or maybe we could do belts. Like karate. Doctor ninjas with black belts.

[I’m post call and a bit delirious, don’t judge.]

Anyways, last night (or early this morning?) I had one of my “firsts.”

Long story short, terminal bradycardia at the same time as another room was having decels and needed to be delivered urgently. So, there were two obstetric urgencies/emergencies happening at the same time.

Fortunately, as a resident, you are really never alone, but most of the situations in which we’ve “called a stat” have been when I’m with other residents. This time it was just me, the midwife, and the nurse and it felt just a bit more like I totally made this decision, rolled the patient back, and got the baby out. Although I was probably only “alone” for 2 minutes, it felt like an eternity until anesthesia and such got there.

So, I need my “called a stat alone” badge now. Or moved up to the red belt.

I find a lot of those moments to be both terrifying and empowering. If all goes well, I usually envision myself as Katy Perry on that fake Tiger at the Super Bowl all “I am doctor. Hear me roar.”

That’s all I have to say for now.

Night night.

Until next time…

Daily coffee tally: I can’t remember

 

2015

About a year ago, I wrote a “To Do List” for 2015. I didn’t actually make a true, written down “check-y box” list for this, but, going back, here’s how it all panned out 365 days later…

  1. Contacts: Half a check. I got them in and out for a brief time in September and then got lazy. There’s always 2016. And glasses. And lasik.
  2. Run the NYC Half Under 1:50: I think I ran 1:50-something, which I was fine with. I then ran Brooklyn in…1:53? And then RNR Brooklyn in 1:45. So, I’ll give this a check.
  3. Try a Korean Body Scrub: No, no check. And I regret this. Although I did discover the feet rubbing people down in Chinatown, which was a life-changing discovery. [Thanks to Jocelyn for my many Chinatown discoveries.]
  4. Use Self Tanner More Frequently: Check. Discovered St. Tropez. The brand of self tanner not the place.
  5. Go To Yoga More Than Once: Yes! Lyon’s Den. Not regularly enough but now I actually look forward to yoga. (I know, that’s still weird for me, too).
  6. Try A Dance Class: Yes. Thumbs up.
  7. Eat Less Sugar, Eat More Fat: Surprisingly, yes. Thanks to a push from Jaws, I gave up my nightly dessert habit. And  I cut out a lot of sugar in other places, too.
  8. Read A Book That Is Not Work Related At All: Yes! Several. Favorites included “Running With The Mind of Meditation,” “Big Little Lies,” “Primates of Park Avenue,” “The Birth of the Pill,” and “The Girl on the Train.”
  9. Run A Race With A Friend/Pace Someone To Their First Half Marathon: Yes! NYC with my friend/life mentor/life inspiration, Jaime.

Other things I learned in 2015, in list format:

  1. It is beneficial to slow down and breathe. My friend, Jess, introduced me to a lot of [what I call] “zen” concepts, like breathing and meditating and focusing. And, its helped me. A lot. Changed the way I think of my life/day, in a way. Every day I’m just inching closer and closer to be like a Tibetan monk.
  2. Rest is important. My first and second years of residency, I pushed to do more [exercise] in an effort, I think, to maintain some control over my life amidst the chaos/control of residency. Spin class after a 24 hour call? Yeah, I’ve done it. And, at some point this year, I realized that rest is probably just as important, too. And that its probably even more beneficial for your fitness/health.
  3. You should think of yourself as powerful. Yep, that’s right. I’m getting a portrait commissioned of  me next to Jesus, like Ben Carson. JUST KIDDING (that is crazy). Another concept introduced to me by Jess as well as becoming a bit more senior in my residency. I realized I have some influence, an educated opinion, a mind…and that people will listen to me if I project myself confidently. I’m not really sure how to explain this one, but I guess this year I started to do somethings with a bit more conviction. I’m still pretty guilty of saying “I’m sorry” for now reason and apologizing for everything (“I’m sorry to bother you, but do you mind? or “Can I ask you a question” rather than just asking it). Rome wasn’t built in a day, I guess.
  4. Residency does end. At some point this year, I realized that I one day will actually not be a resident and may regain a normal semblance of a life. Maybe.
  5. Learning from other people is fun and one of my favorite things. I think one of the best things in life is finding people who are good at something and learning from them. I love learning how people got to where they are, how they trained, what they did/thought, and how they got to be an “expert.” If you have an cool hobbies that you’re particularly adept at, hit me up. I’m always looking for new things to learn. In all that spare time I have. [This is also one of the best parts about living in NYC – everyone is good at/skilled at/an expert at something.]
  6. Off-loading the work load from yourself isn’t laziness. I often think that not doing something yourself and, rather, directing/organizing the “show” is lazy. Now, I’m learning its not. Exhibits A and B: getting  a cleaning lady and becoming a senior resident, especially the latter. Just because you’re not checking all of the boxes [intern!!] doesn’t mean you’re not working. Also, teamwork makes the dream work.

 

That’s all for now.

Night Night.

Until next time…

Daily Coffee Tally: 3

PS – If you feel so inclined, you can tell me something you learned or did in 2015. Or your favorite coffee place. Or both. 

 

 

 

 

The Doctor Will See You Now

How long do you normally wait to see the doctor?

I haven’t been to a doctor (outside of seeing multiple ones every day) since….well, probably since I started residency. The few times I have been (dermatologist, random ER visit to get flu swab) I haven’t waited too long, which has been great. I’m not sure if this is a perk of being a resident (and the person knowing I need to run back to wherever I need to be) or just how the “world works” these days. I remember feeling like I waited hours for the doctor as a kid.

One of the best part’s about my residency is getting to work at Bellevue. Its the nation’s oldest public hospital (I think) and the saying “if you don’t see it here, you won’t” is very true. I mean, there is a clinic specifically for Hansen’s Disease (another name for leprosy) or Hepatitis in Asian Americans.

While there are many things that amaze me about Bellevue (chief among them, how everything still comes together despite some long lines, red tape, and fax machines), one of the most impressive aspects is our clinic. Moreover, how long our patients wait to be seen in clinic.

I’ve never asked specifically, but I’m fairly certain our patients wait hours to even be called back. Our clinical volume is high and, trust me, the doctors/NPs/PAs are usually working double time to see everyone [I’ve learned to eat really fast and look up patients to be seen while shoving down lunch]. The fact that patients will keep their appointments and keep coming back (for years) is astounding to me. Some complain. Many don’t. Many are so grateful.

Last week, I was wrapping up my clinic and one of the PCTs noticed a woman wandering the halls with her baby. Somehow her chart had been misplaced (chart meaning a slip of paper) and she wasn’t in any of the boxes to be seen. She had waited three hours with her 6 week old baby just to be seen for her post partum visit (usually fairly quick and uncomplicated). I felt so awful for her.

[She was seen.]

In other news, I slept approximately 16 hours on Christmas. Thank you, Santa and baby Jesus.

Finally, I was filling out forms for physical therapy. I’ve spoken about forms before. I find these to be hard. I always write little comments on the side like “No, I’m not dying and this pain in my IT band/back/hamstring/adductor isn’t life threatening, but it hurts when I run and running is my sanity fix so, indeed, if may be life threatening” or “I can still do everything, my activities of daily living…so I guess its not that bad…do I still qualify for this?”

I’m also really averse to put me social security number on anything. Anyone else?

Alright that’s all, I gotta sleep.

Night night.

Until next time…

Shortest Day of the Year!

Everybody!

It only goes up from here! The days will only get longer!

Thank God, because I think I’m getting a serious case of S.A.D. or residency dysthymia. There was a study in JAMA recently that said up to 30% of residents have depressive symptoms. That’s quite….depressing. I actually think the true rate is higher. I think one way to ameliorate this would be to put a gym in the hospital. Do you know how much I will kill for 4 miles on a 24 hour call?

Speaking of, Bellevue decided to drop-kick my team this weekend. 36 hours of non-stop “shark mode” working/craziness. Every time we didn’t think the night/day could get worse, it did.

FYI: “Shark mode” comes from the fact that some shark die when they stop swimming. Therefore, “shark mode” means you never stop moving and keep getting work done.

That being said, I’m exhausted. I think its a combination of being on call the last two weekends (so that’s 36 hours of work in the weekend) and the darkness.

I understand now where bears hibernate in the winter. We should really take a note from bears.

Fortunately, “winter” has decided not to happen much, yet. I’m ok with this. It means I can run outside without wearing 16 layers.

Unfortunately, my right leg is really acting up 2011- style with the whole SI joint, IT band, piriformis, adductor, gracilis tightness situation. I’m perplexed as I’ve essentially taken all of December off running (except occasional few miles maybe one a week) and it still hurts. I’m been doing strength and therapy and so on and so forth and it still hurts. I’m perplexed. Is that what your 30s are like?

Tips out there appreciated, as well as voodoo magic sent my way.

The biggest reason I care is because I’m running the NYC Half in March. Its one of my favorite races and I’d hate to miss it.

But, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, either.

Alright, that’s all. I gotta go to bed.

Until next time…

Daily coffee tally: 2 (NOT ENOUGH)