Categories
Medical School Running

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 that got a 100% board pass rate managed to pull it off. It was simple. They decided they weren’t going to let anyone fall back. They saw to it that everyone was going to do their practice questions, put in the work. We are eventually going to be competing against each other for residencies- but this is not the time for that. We all have to pass first. Its like making the US Olympic team together before you line up at the start and see which runner has what it takes to take it all the way to gold that day.
We are all starting from different places. Some of us are seasoned marathoners just following our routine that’s always given faithful results.  Some of us are transitioning from really great 10k performances to the almighty marathon- and hoping to be able to manage the mileage. Some of us cough-me-cough-cough are like Kara Goucher when she first went pro, who has been on the elliptical 4 hours a day for months doing no real high-impact work and instead of getting somewhere, got a stress fracture in her femur. Yes, that happens. The point is that we get everyone out there on the roads, putting in miles and hitting their splits.
I want to tell everyone that my class didn’t let anyone bow out of the race early. I want to tell everyone that even though some of my teammates are better than me, that we all helped each other get on Team USA. Those that fell or got injured, were lightly nurtured back onto their feet and shown that they have what it takes to still finish strong.
I’ve found my resolve. Let’s do everything we can to get there.
The Olympic Trials Marathon is February 13th. It determines who’s going to Rio. Our boards are scheduled throughout May and June. That is our qualifying race.
Class of 2018- Let’s take these boards to Rio!
 
 

womenstart1usolyt2012 Source

Categories
Running

The Chinese Dragon

In cross country, there is a hill we referred to affectionately as THE CHINESE DRAGON (all rights reserved, just kidding.)
Dragon parade in Zhejiang
 
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, I can do. I will do. For the remainder of my climb, this hill is my sole mission, my only goal, my purpose on Earth. The simplicity and certainty are what I am chasing after on run after run. If only I could have that clarity, motivation, and follow-through on everything I pursue. While the Chinese Dragon seems longer than the few minutes that it actually takes to conquer, I can’t help but wish that my other journeys only involved 3 minutes and 30 seconds of pure resolve and hard work, followed by only a stretch and a hot shower to recover. I could do so much more if only that were the case.
 
 
 

Categories
Life Medical School Running

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 my mind anymore. Sometimes its nothing on my mind at all. 7 minutes in and I might as well be flying. The wind is just cold enough to bite at my throat and ears a little, but I don’t care. Chilly fall weather that you can still wear shorts in- is prime running time. Especially at night when the street lights make the wet roads look like black glass reflecting it to twice the city lights.  I blow through cross walks and stretches of street without sidewalk. Up and down curbs, around bends, and mud holes. I cross the street but am sure to run straight down the double yellow line in the middle of the road a few steps because its where I feel the most free; like nothing can stop me- not even city ordinances and 2-ton hunks of metal.
In running, it’s never mattered to me whether I’m puttering and sputtering and choking and hurting just to keep putting one foot in front of the other, or if I’m in cruise mode, just chilling at a smooth pace, enjoying the view. I could even be gutting it out, leaving it all on the line grimacing with the speed of my own legs’ muscle memory out running my own lungs. None of that matters. I’ve always just been chasing that feeling. Maybe its runner’s high. I don’t know. At a certain point, though, the body takes over- if my mind will let it.
Its a place where my leg turnover carries me further than I thought I could go after not running for 9 days 16 hours and 21 minutes. Like pedaling a bike upside down. If you crank the pedals a few times,  the wheels won’t quit spinning for quite some time. Its just residual motion and it doesn’t require any thought whatsoever. It’ll just stop whenever it stops. That’s what my legs feel like.
Or that feeling I get when I give a little extra power in my hamstring to leap an extra-long stride’s length off a curb and head downhill, busting out the bass drum tempo to my song with my feet. It’s a feeling I would imagine getting when you go up a ramp and land on the other side of ten buses all in a row and land safely on the other side.
It’s a feeling when I don’t feel like my legs or lungs want me to keep going because they’re hurting, but I keep going somehow as if the act of running were involuntary. Like it comes naturally.
Its going so fast I feel my heart up in my throat. I know I can’t hold the pace for long, its just nice to amp up and feel my body working with me not against me for once. Its slowing down and feeling the tension come out, the adrenaline ebbs and flows and I get comfortable again.
It’s feeling comfortable on a run at all. Ever.
Who ever thought running would be my biggest comfort during medical school?
Running makes me powerful, joyous, competent, and aggressive, but yet, graceful. I feel loose and free and fierce and accomplished. I feel feminine and strong and not anything near weakness. I feel confident and beautiful and happy. I never feel like I don’t measure up, because its just me there and I am running and that is all I am doing. I feel like I’m doing something, because I am.
Every step is quantifiable, definite, appreciable, and proven. Every step proves something to myself- that I can go one more step. I look back at all the steps I’ve taken and can’t even trace the path I ran 8 minutes ago with my eyes. Do you know how few times that happens in life? Where you can work- and work hard- and then look at where you came from and where you are now and SEE- actually SEE- a quantifiable difference that can’t be argued with. Its an incredible feeling. When I study and study for 14 hours a day, I go home with nothing. I have no proof I can see. I have nothing to show for it. Only time and tests will tell whether that time was worth something- if I gained anything from that work.
On a run though, I come home with work I can see. The sweat on my face and shirt. The five miles of pavement I left behind me. Chewed up, spit out, burnt up asphalt that I conquered with my own two feet. Even the pain in my left foot tells me I’ve done work.
Running gives me things I don’t get to experience a whole lot anymore. It gives me a good dose of accomplishment, stands me back up, builds confidence, and makes me happy.
It’s the whole theme of steps that gets me and keeps me going in school. The runs carry me through in more ways than I can count. That even if its baby steps, slow steps, big steps, or steps where I flat out stumble and fall and get back up again, I’m still getting somewhere. I try not to forget that when I’m endlessly studying. Each powerpoint, lecture, sentence, note, drawing, and test is a step and I’m getting somewhere whether I see it or not. My steps aren’t always the best or fastest or more graceful, but they mean I’m working. And whatever else anyone around me is doing, I get a lot of satisfaction out of knowing I’m out on the road taking laborious, painful, glorious, work-for-every-last-one-of-them steps, and everyone is driving by fast in a car acting like they’re getting somewhere.

Categories
Health Recipes Running

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!
IMG_3443
 
 

Categories
Running

Half Marathon

Something exciting has happened! I did a thing!
images
 
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 up.”

Categories
Products Running

Why My GPS Watch Breaking Has Actually Been a Good Thing

Running Update!
IMG_2165
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 watches? Do you ever decide to go without it for a more carefree run?

Categories
Life Medical School Running

Why Heading to Medical School Is Starting to Feel Like Going On a Vacation

I just want to bottle this time, and keep this happy healthy me around for when it gets hard. I’ve been running every day, seeing friends, eating healthy, feeling good, and getting lots of sleep. Years ago, I read an article about this study (I’m not sure if this was exact one or not). Basically, the findings show that people are happier not when they are on vacation, and not right after, but right before their vacation- in the days leading up to it. They are happiest when there is something good to look forward to. 

I feel like that with school starting in 20 days!! I’ve got a death grip on the life I have now, anticipating the changes to come and enjoying the way things are. It sounds sort of sad that I want to stay in this moment excited about medical school- not actually there, knowing that school won’t feel this exciting once I’m in it. But the daily grind ends up getting to everyone after a while. Its not pessimism, its realism! Haha. 

Running has been hard recently, but i’m glad I’m back at it. I didn’t run regularly all spring semester so I’m trying to build up some worthwhile endurance and that means starting over at square one, just running for minutes not miles. That’s always frustrating for someone who used to do six miles like it ain’t no big deal. Now I’m struggling for 40 minutes of slow running, hoping I will be able to do at least that most days after class. I’m trying not to put pressure and expectations on myself to feel guilty about not doing later on, but its hard because running is so good to me, so I feel like I need to keep doing it, even when I’m busy. It helps me clear my head, adds to my energy, helps my periods and digestive system, and is a big, big stress reliever. One of the best things about it though is the feeling of accomplishment it gives me. At the end of the day, I may not have done much else but I always feel better when I can say I got a run (even a bad one!) in.

IMG_2165

In other news, I hung out with some future medical school classmates last night. About a dozen of us showed up! It was super chill- good weather, good food. And it was good to talk to new people. I know it sounds like a bunch of small talk like “Where are you from?” What’d you major in?” but I’m fascinated with the how-did-you-get-here type questions because there’s a lot of different ways people end up in medicine. I already feel bonded; like we are going to have a great time. But that could be the pre-vacation-happiness talking. I commiserated with a guy who said he was ready to start so that he could stop sleeping in til 1 PM. I know it sounds like a dream come true, but it does get old and I’m honestly ready to crack a book and learn. Still, I’m soaking it up while I can.

That’s about all that’s been happening, so you can see why I haven’t posted the last couple of days. Hope you guys have a great weekend!

 

Categories
Friends Health Life Lists Medical School Pictures Products Recipes Running Science

Roadtrip Recap 1 and Settling Back in at Home

Ahhh, it feels good to be home. Mostly.
First of all, I want to thank so many of you for stopping by on my page! On my stats, I could tell people were checking into my homepage a lot more than usual. It could have been a fluke, but it made me excited to be able to post again. I didn’t have wifi and we were eating walking around and doing various concert things an awful lot for me to do much posting.
Currently, I am in sitting in bed with a mess of crap all over my room to unpack.
Some things I am not ready to face though. I am refusing to take off the most comfortable merch sweatshirt I got from Needtobreathe’s merch manager, and I have not removed my mascara fully in over 6 days. At this point it just sort of crumbles off when it dries out enough and then it falls into my eyes and becomes rather painful. I’m a stubborn lady though and I’m just not ready to go there.
Still, I must accept on some level that vacation is over. The self-tanning lotion has all but rubbed off, and my blisters from walking around the city in new shoes (bad horrible idea) are healing nicely.
Last Thursday, I hustled around Tulsa getting stuff done before the trip. I had to pick up Dani at 4. I got to her apartment/work, got her keys and got to work terrorizing her cats loading up her stuff into my car. We got on the road and quickly tired of any music that wasn’t “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea.
In Springfield we stopped for dinner at Hebrews Coffee. We found it on Urbanspoon.  Sandwiches and coffee were exactly what we needed to get us the next three hours up the highway to St. Louis. I got a chicken caesar wrap and it was the best one I’ve ever had. I wanted a Hazelnut iced coffee to go too; they didn’t have hazelnut syrup but they make their own almond syrup in-house so I got that and it was the best thing I have ever tasted.
Selfie Time
IMG_2876
Fun fact- a guy that worked there was wearing a needtobreathe shirt. This was the look on my face when he said he wasn’t going to the show the next night.
images
Back on the road… More “Fancy”
We got to #stl and went to our hotel in the Central West End/Forest Park neighborhood.  As it turns out this is right in a network of hospitals, medical centers, medical/pharmacy schools so it was cool to see all the apartments, medical institutes, and stuff nearby.
IMG_1158 hfsr
The neighborhoods were very quaint, well-lit, and cute so we felt comfortable walking around after midnight, seeing sites like these.

cwe street
 
Of course, at night it looked more like this
jdks;f
 
(These people take much better pictures than I do on my phone)
There were a lot of cute patio cafes with cute white lights strung, but nothing struck our fancy to eat so we kept on walking.
We went back to the hotel, I took a shower, and went to bed; ready for a day of Needtobreathe when we woke up.
I’ll stop there.
ADD Moment Change of subject.
On my list of things to do this summer, I have that I want to do a juice cleanse. Well, what better time to do that than right after vacation (read: eating out all the time)?
Plus, all I wanted to eat on my trip was bananas anyway. How weird, right?
So, right when I got back into T-Town, I stopped at the grocery store and got stuff to make my last meal dinner and dessert for my parents and I. I noticed that Target had a particularly wonderful selection of produce. I freaking loaded that cart. Seriously I’ve never bought so much fruit in my life.
So, 3 day DIY juice cleanse starts tomorrow.
Why?
1. It’s summer
2. I love fruit
3. I’ll try anything once
4. I’m interested to see if it changes the way I feel. For instance, I think it will make me feel hungry 🙂
5. I have no major plans/events this week
6. I’m young and I can do weird crap like this
 
Other details, things to keep in mind…
If you look into juice cleanse you will see that the lemon-water-honey-cayenne is a popular one, but for me it’s just not feasible. I have pretty quick metabolism and running means I have to have calories or it would just be a 3 day-headache-y-jitter-y mess.
Then, there are the online juice cleanses where they send you each day’s juices to your door. Sounds awesome right? Well, it runs you about $10 a bottle. 6 juices a day means $60 on food a day times 3 days =$180. Mama no likey. Enter, the DIY Juice Cleanse!
Obviously this diet is not sustainable or healthy for any amount of time, but spending $180 on food for three days isn’t something I even did on vacation. Incorporating fruits and veggies is something I want to work on and $10 for juice isn’t the way I ever want to do it so I will also be working on a cost breakdown and see if this much fruit/veggies actually costs that much and if eating healthier really is more expensive. Pound for pound though, I got A LOT of food.
Granted, these companies juices are very good quality and have a lot of ingredients I, as a novice juicer will not be using. Parsley, ginger, etc. Also, I only got organic produce when it was available and priced reasonably.
I’ll do a breakdown of my juices and prep later but I basically have 5 juices that I will drink everyday along with as much water as I want. Then I have a 6th backup juice that is different every day for the times when I’m dying of starvation and want a Quiktrip Pretzel.
This was my Target Haul, we’ll see how this goes.
dgdgfda
My dad laughed when I told him this was happening.
#longhairdontcare
Fun Fact: The cashier at Target asked me what fruit my mango was.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Categories
Family Health Life Quotes Running

Safe Running

My niece was with me last night and today during my classes. I have since realized my life is pretty boring for a six year old. And that’s with having gone to the park during one of my breaks.
IMG_4752
She woke up this morning before my alarm, thankfully knew better than to wake me, and was “Ready to start the glorious day of high school. Wait, are you in high school?”
“Nope, Kate. I’m in college.”
And yes she really did say glorious.
20 minutes into my first class she said “When is it time for a rest?”
Basically I am a granny. We still had fun though. We went rock climbing, played racquetball and went to an intramural futsol game.
IMG_7911
She dressed this little doll up on my iPad. She said “Look a swimsuit!” Sweet, modest, little Katie.
IMG_1186
One thing I do have in common with a six year old is that we both eat all day long, mostly a well-balanced diet of goldfish, apples, Easter candy, and pasta.
Anyway-
After many people begging and pleading with me to not run by myself at night, I have come up with some safer compromises that can be used as safer running tips.
I like night because its cooler, more peaceful, and the sun is not in my eyes. My face is really sensitive to sunburn and I’m a big time squinter.
But, especially in Shawnee I do not always feel safe.
1) For starters, a more obvious one- I usually wear a light colored shirt or something reflective.
2) I carry pepper spray on a little wrist band. You know- for rapists, serial killers, robbers, and more likely, big dogs.
3) If I run with music, I leave an ear bud out and lower the volume.
4) At each intersection, when I’m checking for cars, I take stock of my surroundings and look around behind me too. Not just as a paranoia thing, but for feral cats and skunks and weird kids trying to talk to me.
5) I only run in an area I’m familiar with. In Shawnee, I only feel comfortable in like a 2 square mile area. Its not always the most entertaining run, but I do zig zags like I drew in this picture of the beautiful city grid system to get to the mileage or time I want before I turn around. This usually works in neighborhoods best because you more than likely will have tiny blocks to go up in down each way. The example I have is in a square mile area but you can easily get 6 miles in.
ADP1
6) This might be the most paranoid tip, but I don’t make my Nike plus account viewable nor do I use the apps that post where I run on my Facebook. My nike plus account is hooked up to my GPS watch and keeps track of my pace and mileage, which are handy, but it can also show you my running habits like where I like to run, how long it takes me, and what time of day I went. So I keep both of those things private.
7) If at all possible, I take someone with me. My roommate rides her bike with me when she can and she has a bike light, giving us extra visibility. And if Zach comes with me, he has a head lamp and I don’t even have to bring my pepper spray. Boys are safe like that 🙂
Like I said, I’ve never had anything serious happen to me, but people walking in the dark sometimes do scare me. I’ve been chased by (and had to kick) a dog. And some places give me the heebie jeebies. So these are just the things I don’t take chances with.
How do you stay safe on a night run?
 

Categories
Funny Life Running

Whole Milk Two Mile

Oklahoma Baptist University is such a wonderfully weird place. I never felt much school pride in high school, but attending my last OBU events is definitely making me sad. Ka-Rip
There is a tradition at OBU that I have never participated in but I go watch every year. The Whole Milk Two Mile. 
Drink a cup of vitamin D whole milk, run a lap around the Oval. Repeat for 8 laps (2 miles).
Its a glorious thing to watch. Glorious and stupid and dumbfounding and gross and sad. But glorious.
Everyone is fine the first few laps. But around lap four it all goes to crap. People start gagging and spitting long, thick strands of milk mucous.
Laps 5-6 people have large fountains of vomit spewing forth. The weirdest part is, when someone vomits everyone claps and cheers.
The most disgusting thing I have ever seen happened though. Some people dress up in costume to run it. This one guy was wearing swim trunks, a snorkel, and a swim mask. I saw him come through a couple times and you can see the struggle hit each runner at around lap 3. So this guy slows down but never stops running. Right as he passed us, he vomited WITH HIS SNORKEL IN HIS MOUTH. You didn’t read that wrong. Vomit went up through the tube and rained down on his head and all over the street. I gagged. Everyone gasped, then cheered.
I took a little video. There’s milk puke on the ground and people actually throwing up so if you don’t want to see those things I recommend not watching it. Sorry about the blurriness at the beginning.
Whole Milk Two Mile
Anyway, I had a lot of fun. It was one for the books, that’s for sure. God bless OBU.