Olympic Years and Boards Fears

You guys. It’s an Olympic year. Rio 2016. I don’t know how many of you know this, but I friggin’ love the Olympics. I’m not really that patriotic any other time, there’s just something about the USA’s best of the best going to compete against the world. And- even better everyone gets to see the runners that I love perform on the world’s stage. It always surprises me that the best of the best of America’s runners train together. You would think they would hide in their respective corners of the country and conceal their earth-shattering workout times and world class coaches and not let anyone know their secrets. In reality, its quite the opposite. They gather in Flagstaff like Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan, or Portland, or Boulder and take training trips up to altitude together. They run their tune up races stride for stride with each other. Its a pretty great example of how no one truly succeeds on their own. They push each other, help each other come back from injuries and pregnancies–yeesh!- faster than anyone would think possible. Once they make it to the World Champs and Olympics these runners face the reality that they are now competing against their best friends, sometimes roommates, and running partners for the gold metal. But, they all know they never would have qualified without their teammate pushing them there. My class is freaked out about boards. So freaked out, in fact, that our school cancelled a previously mandatory class this semester to make room for a mandatory board review class. Today, during that class, one of our professors told us how the last class...
The Chinese Dragon

The Chinese Dragon

In cross country, there is a hill we referred to affectionately as THE CHINESE DRAGON (all rights reserved, just kidding.)   Much like the Chinese Dragon traditional in the Chinese New Year parade, this hill is long and ssssslooooooowwww. It. Is. Rough. From my house, the closest entrance to the running trail involves running down the Chinese dragon. Which means on the way back, I must run up it. The jolt of each foot strike makes my quadriceps quiver, absorbing the shock. I can feel the power they hold in reserve. Goosebumps come up from my feet, until even my arm hair is standing on end. Like most runners, I get a lot of power on the uphill from the pelvis. I feel my hip flexors and glutes engage. They’re the engine here forcing leg after leg after leg as if I were pedaling a bike on the easiest gear. No effort, my legs practically fall to their target one after the other. My arms pump involuntarily. But suddenly, I feel nothing. No pain. No emotion. I don’t even hear my breaths anymore reminding me of the strain I’m under. There is simply the pavement in front of me. While at the beginning of the hill, there was that thought in my mind “you can stop if you need to”- stopping is no longer an option here. I am powerful and invincible. If a wall were to suddenly appear in front of me, I would plow right through it. While so many things escape my grasp and I fall short- this, right now; this, for such a short time- this,...

How A Random Run Reminded Me How to Med School

Its been a pretty hellish week. Last week, I think I was operating on the fumes of a month long exhaustion situation and just got flat out sick. I was nauseous, my back hurt, I had a headache, I couldn’t eat, I had no energy and no amount of coffee was helping. I was falling asleep anytime I sat still. I went home early one evening for a dentist appointment. And oh goodie, I have TMJ! Guess what causes it? STRESS! I told my dentist my situation with medical school and all got the “bless your heart” look. He knows what it’s like. Anyway, I had a huge Friday test in Histo and then another one on Monday in Anatomy that I didn’t do well on at all. I could blame it on many things: Not feeling good, having too much material, the awful Friday/Monday test situation, etc. But, I’ll take the blame for it and just say that I was not ready for that test. Still, I know myself well enough to know that I won’t get them all. So I took the good with the bad. I did pretty well on Biomed, I just didn’t get the anatomy one this time. I stepped outside on one of the first truly chilly nights we’ve had this October. Some generic Pandora hiphop station starts up in my earbuds and I start to feel freedom in my very first steps off the porch. I didn’t bring a watch. Didn’t need one. This run isn’t for time. Its for clarity. By 16 seconds in- I guarantee you- its not school on...

Three Easy Post-Run Drinks

Water of course. There is very little else that is quite as satisfying after a sweaty run. I’ve heard of water being best for you right after a run when the water is room temperature or just a little bit chilled. Ice water is sometimes too cold and can cause irregular heartbeat. I sometimes put a tablespoon of chia seeds in, wait a couple minutes, stir and then you’ve got fiber and omega-3s in it too! Chocolate milk is hailed as the perfect post-run drink, and its a favorite of mine too. Something about it having the right ratio of sugar, protein, and carbs for recovery. It’s even better if you drink it within 30 minutes. I use 2% milk and Carnation Instant Breakfast chocolate powder for the extra vitamins that Hershey’s syrup and Nesquik don’t have. Smoothies. I love smoothies (and juice!) after my runs. Something about the creaminess that chocolate milk with the fresh- or frozen- fruit. Vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber to boot. I love summer for the fresh fruit but this recipe can be used with frozen fruit in the winter, and it makes it extra cold and icy! Post-Run Smoothie 5 or 6 medium strawberries with the leaves cut off 1 large handful of blueberries 6 oz. cup light vanilla yogurt 1/2-3/4 cup of vanilla almond milk Blend it and drink! AND If you’re like me, you could drink all three after one run!  ...

Half Marathon

Something exciting has happened! I did a thing!   I registered for the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa. November 23, 2014! So apparently my sad, recreational running can now go by the fancy name of “Half Marathon Training” Some of my thoughts on this situation. Negative: My “long run” of the week is only at six miles. Positive: I’ve done said long run twice a week for the past two weeks. Negative: It’s going to be hard to train throughout the semester. Positive: I have 17 weeks to do it! Negative: My gym membership expires August 1. Positive: I can use the medical school gym on August 1! Negative: Running is hard. Positive: It makes me feel like a beast. Negative: I may not run a very good time at the half. Positive: It’ll be my first time racing this distance so it will be a PR! Yay.   Here is a quote I leave you with by the awesome Lauren Fleshman. She’s an educated runner, mom, granola bar maker, blogger, and basically the running female version of Samuel L Jackson in terms of being hard-core. The quote is about signing up for races so I thought it was appropriate. “This is how it happens. You see people racing, their hearts exposed, vulnerable among millions. And then you sign...

Why My GPS Watch Breaking Has Actually Been a Good Thing

Running Update! My Nike+ GPS pooped out on me, after like a year. After reading several reviews, I have found out that this watch made for running is not very sweat proof. Que excelente! Even through just the little amount off my arms, I could tell inside the wristband that it stayed moist after longer runs even though I would dry it off with my shirt. Anyway, I liked having it for the Nike+ website where it is free to store your runs indefinitely and it shows your route, time, elevation, mileage and handy things like that. It’s nice to look back at old runs from 6 months ago and see where you were. Lately though, I obviously haven’t been able to use it and it has been nice. I no longer look have to look down at my watch after puttering and panting only to see that I have crapped out at a 10:20 mile and my lungs are screaming at me like I just laid down a 7 flat. I start my basic chronograph watch, do my 30, 40, 50 or 60 minute run and then stop. No mileage or average pace and I still feel accomplished. I know from my rhythm pretty well now when I’m going pretty good. Its been unexpected and delightful and I am definitely building endurance quickly as indicated by the fact that I am not stopping in the middle anymore! In the past, I would often look down at the GPS watch and just decide to stop because I wasn’t running as fast as I thought I should. Do any of you runners use GPS...