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…

 

 

Musings

If you want to know what my life has been like since age 18, I refer you to this - “The 7-Stage Life Cycle of a Doctor.” http://www.edocc.com/the-life-cycle-of-a-doctor/

If you ask anyone who knew me in college or med school, they’d probably say all of this is true. Living in the depths of the library? Yep, I was there. The amount of time I spent on LL2 of Bobst Library might approach that of “Bobst Boy.”

And, this got me thinking. [I know, this is shocking.]

Thinking about all that has changed in the 10 years I’ve spent studying to become a doctor and being a doctor (albeit as an intern and now resident). And, moreover, how much I’ve learned about myself through the process and, most specifically, residency.

Residency is an arduous, 4 year semi-indentured servitude. To put it in numbers, its an approximately 80 hr per week gig for four years.  The rigors of residency force you to adapt your lifestyle to levels of sleep deprivation you never thought possible. They also make you become fairly introspective on a regular basis because, in my opinion, before you can improve you have to know yourself and what you’re good at (or, sometimes, have some one tell you — you know, constructive criticism.)

So, here’s what I’ve learned in what is apparently stage 5 in my 7 stage life cycle. Categorized, like any good, type -A, four color pen using, check box obsessed person would do.

1. FRIENDS:

I spent most of my 20s saying “no” to friends all the time, usually being “No, I have to study because I have X test soon.” There was always another test.

Now, I spend any waking hour I have off from the usual 70 hour work week figuring out how I can spend time with friends. I’ll even skip sleep to see people (see #2).

Life’s weird like that.

2. SLEEP

Prior to residency I was fiercely protective of my sleep. I had to get 7-8 hours. OR ELSE.

Now, sleep is sort of this figment of my imagination. A beautiful thing, in theory,  but you never get quite enough of it no matter how hard you try.

As a resident, I’ve pushed the boundaries of abnormal sleep patterns more than I ever thought I could. When push come to shove, sometimes sleep is more important (exhibit a: the time I slept 18 hours in a row) and sometimes going to that pilates class you are stoked about or seeing a friend (or doing both at the same time) is more important.

And thankfully, there is always coffee.

3. POSITION / ROLE

After 24 hours of work, you can become fairly introspective. For instance, I realized that I don’t like being the center of attention but do like being “the favorite.” I always wanted to be the teacher’s pet. I don’t want the approval of all, just the approval of the “expert.”

And, now I’ve admitted this on the internet. I was totally the somewhat passive aggressive first grader that REALLY wanted to be line leader. If it wasn’t about line leader, I was totally relaxed and nice. Line leader? STEP ASIDE, kids, I’m in it to win this.

4. THOSE BELOW YOU

Let’s get real here, there aren’t too many people below me. I’m a 2nd year resident.

But, I always find it funny when the med students say “oh, you guys [the residents] are nice.” And, then I forget that as a student, your residents are intimidating to you. It is inconceivable to me how I could be intimidating to anyone. But, hearing that is always a nice reminder that you should remember what it was like to be the person below you and how you liked to be treated when you were that person.

But, really, you should just be nice to everyone. Unless, its about being line leader. Then, STEP ASIDE.

5. STRUCTURE, HABITS, COMPULSIONS

I’ve been an athlete my entire life. And, prior to residency, skipping practice or a workout was like Christmas came early. A day off? I’ll take it!

Now, I hold on to my “exercise schedule” with a kung foo grip not unlike that of Ben Stiller and his suitcase in “Meet the Parents.”

I think it’s because my work life can be somewhat unpredictable (who knows when the ER will page with a consult or a new triage will roll in) and, in turn, I like the rest of my life to be structured. I like to know I’m going to get in a weekly pilates class. Or a run. Or my favorite spin class. And it upsets me that I get upset when these things don’t happen. Because, really, its silly to get upset over something that isn’t really all that important.

Its keeping hold of a constant, which is all we sometimes want in life, right? Something that doesn’t change. Like vanilla wafers and saltines.

6. SANITY/HAPPINESS

Stage #5 of the physician life cycle really makes you distill your life down to only the essentials. With so few hours to myself, whenever I do have spare time, I usually just think “what is going to make me super happy at this moment in time.” And, I do just that. And then I go to sleep or go back to work.

Its kind of  a nice way to live, actually.

7. NEWS

What is the news? Who even anchors the news these days?

I’ve accepted that I won’t know most of what goes on the world from the years 2013-2017. Except for what comes up on The Skimm daily email (and, thank God for that).

I mean, did Kim and Kanye actually get married or was that a publicity stunt? I’ll never know. Is Khloe actually divorced?

Oh wait, that’s not the actual news.

8. THE CHILD IS THE FATHER OF THE MAN 

This is just a fancy way of saying that some things about your never really change.

My mom has always said that I remind her a lot of her mom. Mostly, in that I can’t put things together, am clumsy, and like structure or schedules.

And, this is still true.

I still cannot put the blade on the scalpel without looking like a fool (thank God for scrub techs and those handy ready made scalpels). But, I can talk to people for 45 minutes about their inductions and every fear in the world they have about cytotec, pitocin, and their birth plans.

I’m a good talker/listener (I think). Just don’t ask me how to use your can opener or put together that Ikea furniture.

That’s enough rambling for now.

I’ll leave you with that.

Because what is about to make me the happiest person in the world is a 10 pm bedtime.

Night!

TELL ME: SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF YOU LEARNED IN THE PAST 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.]

 

 

Intern Year: Cliff Notes and Survival Guide

I’m not sure I’m entirely qualified to write this post, seeing as I just graduated from intern to PGY-2 at that magical hour of 12:00 am on July 1st last week. However, I like to think I somewhat maintained my sanity and a slightly sunny disposition, albeit probably more jaded, and made it from July 1, 2013 to June 30th, 2014  sane, happy, and healthy, for the most part.

The short of it is this: intern year is hard work. This is what you signed up for. Get used to it. All you have  in your back pocket is a positive attitude and enthusiasm. Hold on to that as best you can.

Here are some truths about intern year:

1. IT IS NORMAL TO FEEL OVERWHELMED. I think I have PTSD from last July. Not that anyone was mean or awful to me or anything particularly bad happened. The transition to intern year was just a really hard adjustment for me and I learned that I don’t deal with change very well (I mean, I would get really sentimental when my parents would get rid of cars for a new one…I’m not sure why I didn’t know this about myself). I think the hardest part for me was feeling inept and helpless. Even with 8 years of higher education, I still couldn’t tell you on July 1 of last year how much motrin to give someone. You aren’t supposed to know what you are doing, but you are supposed to be trying your hardest to learn. That’s what counts. I  went home every day last July thinking I was going to be fired for incompetence. The learning curve is steep. Hold on!

2. IT IS NORMAL FOR THIS FEELING TO LAST THROUGH A LOT OF THE YEAR. Just when you think you have something down, the labor floor or something will rip you a new one.

3. IT IS NORMAL TO FEEL LIKE YOU’RE GETTING MIXED MESSAGES: One attending will tell you to do this and the other will ask you why on earth you’re doing it like that. Some days, you’ll feel as if no matter what you do, you aren’t doing anything right, even if you delivered a baby upside down and blindfolded. “But, why did you put the blindfold on that way? Who taught you that? I mean, I guess you can do it that way, but don’t.”

Its normal to feel like you're owned by this little box.

Its normal to feel like you’re owned by this little box.

4. YOU MIGHT HAVE MOMENTS WHERE YOU FEEL LIKE “YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO IT.” I think there was a moment last August when I thought I was never going to be able to do a C-section well.  And then you realize you’re being dramatic and its a four year residency for a reason. [Side note: this still sometimes happens, I'm fairly impatient with myself, at best.] And then you do approximately 150 C-sections by the end of your intern year.

5. YOU MIGHT HAVE DAYS WHERE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU DID NOTHING RIGHT: There are days where you’ll be pretty sure you’ve done everything wrong down to the placement of your pinkie finger when grasping an instrument. And see #3 and #4.

6. YOU MIGHT FEEL LIKE YOU’RE A BURDEN OR DEAD WEIGHT: Maybe this was just me, but I often felt like I was dragging everyone down because they had to teach me and guide me so much. I realized (and was reassured) that this was sort of the norm for the beginning of intern year but its still hard to feel like you’re slowing down efficiency.

Here are some tips for intern year:

1. IT IS IMPORTANT TO EAT AND DRINK WATER. You cannot subsist on air alone. You need food to think. Bring snacks. Take advantage of saltines in the hospital in emergencies. And diet the water machines on all the floors.

Resident hydration at its finest.

Resident hydration at its finest.

2. BE NICE TO EVERYONE. It will only help you. And, I feel like people should do this anyways. You know, that golden rule thing…

3. IN YOUR TIME OFF, DO WHATEVER MAKES YOU HAPPY. For me, this was exercise. I’ve spent more money on exercise this year than food (well, maybe) but it was worth every penny spent. It was something I looked forward to and my reward at the end of the day (or night). [Disregard this is if I'm evicted soon. Thanks to deep sea predator spin instructor and power tool pilates instructor.]

IMG_1424

GROUP exercise - kill two birds with one stone.

GROUP exercise – kill two birds with one stone.

4. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE SLEEP BUT ALSO DON’T MISS OUT ON YOUR LIFE. This one surprised me. I am big on my 7-8 hours of sleep. But, sometimes you’ll get six (or less). Sometimes you’ll forgo a little sleep to do something with your friends that you’ve been looking forward to. Always do what is going to keep you happy – sleep, exercise, friends, eating, trashy TV. Do whatever that thing is.

 

Here are some things that might help you:

1. LIKING THE PEOPLE YOUR WORK WITH. To me, this is the most important thing. If you like the people you’re working with and can laugh about the shit hitting the fan at 3 am the next morning, you’ll be ok.

My NYU family, who I see more than my real family.

My NYU family, who I see more than my real family.

2. THE FOUR COLOR PEN AND CHECKBOXES. Ok, actually these two are the most important things.

3. REMEMBERING THAT UNLESS YOU ARE NEGLIGENT OR DISHONEST, IT IS NEVER THE INTERN’S FAULT.  This is the secret of intern year you won’t realize until about half way through the year. Unless you don’t report information or are dishonest, nothing will ever be your fault.

Here are some things that might happen to you:

1. INTERN CHIC APPEARANCE:I No make up? Hair a little squirrel dog? Breakouts from stress? Wearing scrubs with winter boots and a sweatshirt? Intern chic. Make it your thing. And you can always blame you appearance on “the 80 hour work week.”

2. A “WHATEVER” ATTITUDE OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL: You will suddenly care far less about things you used to care about. How many weeks is it until that marathon? Maybe 10. What do you want to drink? I don’t know, surprise me.

In the end, this is what I hung on to (one of my favorite quotes of all time) and still do:

Ability is what you are capable of doing.

Motivation determines what you do.

Attitude determines how well you do it.

- Lou Holtz

I sure hope that’s true.

TELL ME: SURVIVAL TIPS FOR STARTING A NEW JOB/ROLE? 

Until next time…

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Friday Finds and Reads

I’m contemplating writing a “What to Expect: Labor and Delivery #keepingitreal” post, but, in the mean time, here are some good reads related to OB/GYN, a little something I spend some time doing. 80 hours a week that is. 

“When a Placenta Tries To Kill A Mother.” – A piece from The Atlantic highlighting C-sections and the risk of placenta accreta (i.e. when the placenta attaches into parts of the uterus that it shouldn’t). Why our national C-section rate of approximately 30% shouldn’t be ignored…

A string of beautiful, brave posts from my friend, Gia, on her fertility story, in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle leading to beautiful now 3 year old twins, and her recent frozen embryo transfer leading to a heartbreaking “biochemical” pregnancy (i.e. positive pregnancy test but never a pregnancy in the uterus): 

     Infertility and the Choice for IVF

     The IVF Cycles: A Fail and a Success

     The Choice for Twins, Frozen Embryos, and OHSS

    My Journey 3 Years Later: Let’s Thaw Some Embryos

    And then there wasn’t…

The Obesity and Pregnancy Dilemma – highlighting our fast food nation is affecting everything from fertility to C-section rates (and see sequelae from that above!)

Posts from an ER chief resident who, at 24 weeks pregnant, finds out she has a shortened cervix  (i.e. the cervix is what must shorten and dilate in labor to have a baby, not something you want to have at 24 weeks) and is put on bed rest. 

Finally, if you want to really know what it’s like to be an OB/GYN resident… look no further than this :) –> http://whatshouldwecallobgynresidency.tumblr.com/page/2

To balance out the obstetrics, lady-parts heavy talk above, here are a few of my favorite things lately that have nothing to do with a uterus or cervix. 

The Lux Side Zip Top from Oiselle : The fabric is like butter and I like the cut. 

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Maria Castelli Handbags  : A company founded by one of my friends (since 4th grade) and her mom! Made from Argentinian leather (they’re from Argentina) and made by hand in Brooklyn. 

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Heidi Klum for New Balance 420s: They look good to walk around in this summer, if summer ever arrives. 

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TELL ME: FAVE ARTICLES YOU’VE FOUND RECENTLY? FAVE FINDS?

And, now, it is bedtime…

Until next time…