Week in Review 11.28.16 to 12.4.16

Monday afternoon: 6 mile easy run plus 100 pushups/200 crunches.

Monday evening: Hour spin class with Erin.

Tuesday: Unexpected cross training day. 10 minutes on bike, 10 minutes on elliptical, 10 minutes rowing. Core cross train.

Wednesday: 45 minute bike.

Thursday: 10 mile long run in Kalamazoo.

Friday: 5.5 mile run post-interview. Arm lift.

Saturday: 7.3 mile run.

Sunday: 5.5 mile run with a mile of 100 on, 100 off.

Total Miles 34.3

This week could be better described as ‘doh!’ Just when I was starting to get some momentum and literally within 5 minutes of looking at spring half marathons, I kicked my metal bedframe while putting laundry away and gave myself a huge, swollen foot that couldn’t bear weight. I cross trained for two days then when I was ready to run again on Thursday in Michigan, realized that I’d left my inhaler in Vermont which resigned me to easy, slow running so as to not have a medical emergency some 600 miles from home.

The upside is that I did get some lovely running in while in Michigan and am starting to look forward to some spring events and more importantly, to Trials 2020. The standards were released today. The full marathon window opens September 1st, 2017 and the standard is 2:45, which was the revised standard you may remember me griping about last fall. The half marathon window opens a year later and was dropped to 1:13. In otherwise, big nope on aiming for that standard. That means I need to start working towards the 2:45 (6:17 pace) and come up with a plan that accommodates a potential move across the country AND intern year.

Week in Review 11.21.16 to 11.27.16

Monday am: 8 mile workout on the treadmill. 20 minute continuous tempo then 5 by minute hard, minute easy.

Monday pm: 2.25 miles easy with the team.

Tuesday am: Drills and 1 mile warmup with the team.

Tuesday pm: 7 miles easy on the treadmill.

Wednesday: 5 miles with 6 by 100 meter strides on the track.

Thursday: 5 mile workout. 5 by minute hard, minute easy.

Friday am: Lower Back Yoga from Jasyoga.

Friday pm: 3.5 mile easy run around NXR course.

With the Nike logos everywhere, stole a covert shot of my shoes of choice...

With the Nike logos everywhere, stole a covert shot of my shoes of choice…

Saturday: 3.6 mile progression run on hotel treadmill. Unknown amount of running at the course; at least 4 additional miles but not in total.

Last coaching huddle despite the fact that I spent the ride home trying to figure out how to keep going...

Last coaching huddle despite the fact that I spent the ride home trying to figure out how to keep going…

Sunday: 5 mile easy run.

Total Miles: 40.4 miles

Another crazy week down. I am happy to get a couple of reasonable runs in this week although weather and travel had me on the treadmill far more than I would like to have been. I opted not to do another race on Thursday as my right hip has been sore and is clearly not firing well. I couldn’t rationalize racing on a sore hip four days after my last race since the best case scenario was a few seconds of improvement.

The newest addition to my training is more yoga and I decided to try out Jasyoga, a website that shows up a lot on social media under the hashtag #hitreset. I started using it when I traveled to Rochester, where I did the 5 minute reset for my hips and hamstrings after my drive and felt much better. This week, I decided to try the lower back video before my drive to New York and although it wasn’t easy, my back felt MUCH better upon arrival. The other tool I’m just starting to use is the Yoga Wheel by YogDev¬†(which was sent to me by the company). My flexibility is VERY poor but as I’ll talk about in an upcoming post, the next few months are all about building a routine that will keep me comfortable and pain free throughout residency. The Yoga Wheel is helpful because it allows me to do back bends that I would not be able to sustain on my own because my back and hips are so tight. I’ll do a full review of the Yoga Wheel in a couple of weeks as well AND will have a giveaway of an additional wheel for a lucky, interested person.

The week ahead includes a trip to Kalamazoo, Michigan where I’ll be checking out the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and the campus of Western Michigan University. I’m planning on doing a long run when I arrive on Thursday (I land early and Will doesn’t get in until the afternoon) then a nice campus tour run on Saturday. Friday is my interview, so that is likely to be a treadmill adventure at the hotel instead.

Race Report: Fallen Leaves 5K #3 2016

While this race wasn’t my best time (or even best effort), I will remember it as one of my favorites because I got to race with my girls instead of just cheering them on from the sidelines. I didn’t go into the race well-rested; travel back from Rochester was rough and I ended up being awake for almost 36 hours by the time I went to bed on Friday morning. I barely ran during the week so I decided it would just be an adaptation week and I would go into the race with a positive mindset. Regardless, it wasn’t pouring rain (although it was cold), so it was an upgrade from my past two races.

After an extended warm-up without the girls (diesel engine over here) and then our regular warm-up routine, we revealed our awesome new singlets and started behind a few other high school boys and other area men. One of my favorite things about this race is that you do the first two laps on a kitty litter track so you can calibrate your pace. Our first lap was an 82 and I said out loud to the girls with me “WHOA we need to slow down.” My/our goal was to be around 19 so that was a little hot. We went through the 800 at 3:04, which was a much more appropriate pace.

Squad Up!

Squad Up!**

As we hit the grass, I felt good and stretched out a little to find a rhythm. We made the first sharp turn onto the bike path and I went through the mile at 6:10 on the nose. Another woman caught up to me at this point and although I tried to stay with her, my legs felt more like lead than I’d anticipated. We rolled along the bike path and picked people off, made it around the 180 degree turn and headed back towards the school. These 180 turnarounds KILL me. I came to almost a complete stop and it took me a few seconds to get back into my groove. The woman I was running with got away from me here and I couldn’t make contact with her again.

A little past 2 miles, the wheels a-coming off the bus.

A little past 2 miles, the wheels a-coming off the bus.

I ran my second mile in 6:02 and mentally tried to gear up for the last mile. I felt like I was moving well on the bike path but when we got to the last sharp turn back onto the grass, my form went from collected to…terrible. It had warmed up enough that the grass was soft but wet and slippery and I got the oddest cramp in my forearms and felt like they weren’t moving at all. I just kept my eyes on the people ahead of me and trudged forward. We hit the track for the final 100 meters and I saw the clock ticking towards 19 but couldn’t find any turnover to get there. My third mile was a 6:18 and I crossed at 19:09 as second woman.

A rare decent finishing shot!

A rare decent finishing shot!

The upside? I can still beat my girls and I’m still improving every week! The downside? I’m a little frustrated with my third mile. I think it’s mostly a lack of specific fitness but my turnover is just nonexistent at this point. I’ll get a chance to race again this Thursday and will hope to continue to improve. I’m still waiting to hear what the new course will be for the First Run 5K but am planning on that as my next “goal” 5K.

**We are super lucky to have a parent who is also a professional photographer. He takes HUNDREDS of pictures at every race, shares them for free with our team and this time, I’m one of the lucky beneficiaries. If you are local and need sports, family or senior pictures, I can’t recommend Phil enough.

Nutrition Intervention

I’ve always prided myself on my approach to nutrition. The daughter of a Registered Dietitian, food planning and preparation have always been relatively easy for me and I legitimately¬†prefer real, nutritious food to junk food. That’s not to say that I don’t like treats but if I have a donut for breakfast, I’m still looking for a berry smoothie to feel done with the meal.

When I traveled to Asheville a couple of weeks ago, I had a few hours on the plane to think in peace and was reflecting on many things, one of them being my nutrition. I have been in and out of my home (and my kitchen) since March of 2015 when I was in Maine for Family Medicine and since March of 2016, I’ve lived in Norwalk, Chicago and Asheville. Needless to say, any semblance of routine has been hugely disrupted. Add in all my recent travel and long coaching days fueled by…adrenaline? and I found myself feeling severely undernourished. Sure, I was eating food and getting through the day but couldn’t recall the last time I had a salad or planned a whole day of nutritious food. Diet Coke had crept back into my life after a few years and I found myself eating more candy and sweets than usual. Interview meals are a whole other issue; you eat what the program provides and quickly, since someone is almost guaranteed to ask you another question before you can swallow.

Travel makes it hard but I’ve spent the last two weeks working hard on planning and preparing so that I have access to as much nutritious food as I can. I’m back to roasting root veggies on Sunday for salads and packing a cooler of food for when I’m on the road. I hand mixed a new trail mix that has enough fat, protein and carb to power me through even the longest interview meet and greet. I throw a couple of Light Muscle Milk cartons in every bag so I always have an easy, portable option for protein to tide me over. I’m aggressively paying attention to my caffeine to water ratio and bringing tubes of Nuun with me everywhere to combat hotel room air. (Why ARE hotel rooms so dry?!) I even had the opportunity to pair up with Honey Stinger for 2017 (more on this later), so I now have a great supply of Stinger Waffles for pre-run or even survival in my carry-on.

In some ways, it would be easier to just take a grab and go approach. After all, my time is limited and trying to make it to 20+ cities on time, in a suit and looking vaguely professional is enough of a challenge without trying to do food prep. But after two weeks of being much more intentional about my fuel, I’m feeling so much better. I’m not waking up starving or crashing during runs, I don’t drag through the day and I generally feel better. If I’m going to be short on time, I’d rather feel good for the time I do have.

What are your tricks for eating healthy when your schedule is tight? Any favorite meals to prep on Sunday or great grab and go snacks? How do you keep a routine when you travel?

Week in Review 11.7.16 to 11.13.16

Monday: 7 miles with 15 minutes at tempo effort on the grass.

Tuesday: 7.5 miles easy plus core.

Wednesday: 3 miles easy. Really struggling post-Election.

Thursday: Workout in Albany. 10 by minute hard, minute easy. Hips were pretty tight from driving down but I felt good once I was moving. 7 miles total.

Friday: 7 miles easy before my interview.

Saturday: 6 miles in Rhode Island.

Sunday: 5.5 miles with 4 laps of 100 on, 100 off. Big foam roll/mobility session.

Total Miles: 43

This week was full of travel, with an interview in Albany and New England’s in Rhode Island. As a result, my hips and pelvis were TOTALLY out of whack in pain but a mobility session tonight helped a ton. I’m happy with Thursday’s workout and encouraged that I’ve been edging my mileage up a bit even during travel season.

This coming week has two more interviews, one at UVM tomorrow and one at Rochester on Thursday. For tomorrow, Will has an early flight so I’ll get a workout in tomorrow before my interview. For my Rochester trip, I’ll try to head out early on Wednesday to explore Rochester on foot and get a workout in on the bike paths there but because of an early interview day start, will be on the treadmill on interview day.

This coming Saturday, I have a 5K in Montpelier where my whole team is running. I’m super excited for this because it’s rare that we all get to race together AND at least three of my girls can give me a run for my money right now. Here’s hoping experience outsmarts fitness!

Week in Review 10.31.16 to 11.6.16

Monday: 3 by mile at tempo pace on the track. 9 miles total.

Tuesday: 8 mile recovery run. High hamstring on the right side is super irritated.

Wednesday: 3 by 1K on the track at interval pace. 7 miles total.

Thursday: Horrendous weather day here. 4.5 miles on the treadmill for the first treadmill misery of the season! Full body lift afterward.

Friday: 5 miles easy with Joe and the team.

Saturday: STATE MEET!!! 3 miles. So so excited for these girls to finish 2nd. They worked their rear ends off all summer long and all fall and it’s great to see it come together for them.

Sunday: 10 mile long run through the Intervale. Feeling pretty clunky from coaching and sitting on a school bus.

Total Miles: 46.5

Almost felt like a real week of training! I planned to do my workouts at my current VDot as predicted by my recent 5Ks but when I settled in, I was a couple of numbers faster across the board which means that I’m underracing! The weather hasn’t cooperated but I also think I have some work to do in finding the hurtbox again.

I have another funky week this week so just hoping for some reasonable consistency and mileage in the 40s. I travel to Albany for an interview on Thursday and Friday then to Rhode Island for the New England Championships on Saturday. I don’t have a race planned for Sunday but will be looking this week to see if there are any options.

Race Report: Halloween Hustle 5K 2016

For better or worse, I’m getting good at racing in the pouring rain and high 30s! Saturday morning was gray with moderate drizzle…until I started my warm-up when I got totally soaked. Since this was a Halloween race, I tried to get in the spirit without ruining my stride and had the unfortunate idea to rock a cotton Superman shirt. Red bunhuggers topped off my look and yes onlookers, I was cold.

Me and Pre, prerace. Yes, he always makes that face.

Me and Pre, prerace. Yes, he always makes that face.

I didn’t get back from Asheville until 11 pm and when my alarm went off at 7:30, I almost scrapped the idea but since I was registered and awake, I dragged my butt out of bed and got dressed. I was at the race site by 8:30 and the race went off at 9 am, leaving my with just enough time to jog a couple of miles and do a strider up the sidewalk. Right before the race, I asked Joe was his plans were and he said he was hoping for a 5:40 first mile. This comes into play shortly…

The start was a bit hilarious as the airhorn misfired and we took a step out, then came back to start again. We rolled out in the pouring rain and I was a few steps behind Joe and Adam and with Tim, Francis and Todd. We quickly separated from the rest of the group and headed out into the neighborhood loop. Since I thought Joe was running a 5:40 mile, I settled in behind him and felt super comfortable which probably should have been a sign that something was amiss. There were no mile markers, so I just went on time and assumed that I’d crossed mile 1 around 6 minute pace given where I was off Joe and Adam.

The first mile rolls uphill but each hill is followed by either a downhill or a flat for recovery, making it a great course to move on. Tim and I separated from Francis and Todd but worked together for the rest of the race, a needed boost in the pouring rain. Once we got to the top of the hills, we picked up the pace and started to hammer down the hills and float on the flats. I focused on keeping Adam in sight until we took a series of tight course turns and there weren’t any straight stretches to get back in contact. Around this time, I also stepped in a river running down the street and soaked myself up to my shins.

For the second two miles (again, no markers, so I was just guessing on time), I just focused on pressing the pace. When I got to 12 minutes, I picked it up again and worked on convincing myself that I had the fitness to do so. Unlike last week, I found it a lot easier to find that next gear and hold it. My only big mistake was that I didn’t know the course so I wasn’t sure when we were getting near the final turn. Tim did, however, and shot by me with 200 meters to go. I crossed the line at 19:22, very happy to no longer need to drag my cotton shirt along with me!

After the race, I was a tiny bit disappointed that my time wasn’t faster but then found out our splits from Tim. Mile 1 was 6:39, Mile 2 was 6:06 and Mile 3 was 5:49. Turns out, Joe had decided to run the first mile on heartrate and ran a 6:16 instead of a 5:40. We all gave him considerable grief about this! The upside is that I felt so good in the second two miles and was able to push hard. I do think I could have had a similar progression with a slightly faster first mile so that’s a lesson for me to be attuned to BOTH my perceived effort and what others are doing.

Not a lot of female company out there.

Not a lot of female company out there.

Overall, I was happy with a race well executed in crummy conditions and feel like I’m starting to remember how to race again. I also cannot recommend the course enough. It is a certified 5K course and has an awesome combination of hills, downhills and straightaways. I would LOVE to race it again when a) I’m in better shape and b) the weather is a little more favorable because I think it is definitely a PR course.

Good Eats: Fall Favorites

I think it’s virtually impossible to live in New England and not have a moderate obsession with all things Fall. From incredible foliage (this year was spectacular) to the crisp air, as the nights get cooler, I am all about fall flavors and recipes. Here’s what I tried from Pinterest this week.

Apple Gouda Stuffed Chicken: This was a slightly fancier chicken dish that I did a trial run of thinking that it would make a good dinner party option. It tastes great but the presentation isn’t that pretty, so if I were to make it again, I’d try to come up with something to make it fancier. On the list is a complimentary rub or poultry string to hold it together and give it a dinner party appropriate look.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger: Ah, the hunt for the perfect homemade veggie burger continues. I love veggie burgers and am always looking for one to make at home that is healthy AND holds together. These were delicious but unfortunately, they just didn’t hang together as well as I wanted with pan cooking. When I make them again, I’ll do an initial bake in the oven to warm everything then do a flash pan fry in canola oil to make the outsides crispy and keep the burgers together.

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad: Nom, nom, nom. In terms of fall flavors and powerhouse ingredients, it doesn’t get much better than this. I couldn’t find (and don’t particularly like) pumpkin seeds, so I substituted raw sunflower seeds instead and it was equally crunchy and delicious.

Moroccan Chickpea Quinoa Power Salad: The absolute hit of the week. I am OBSESSED with this salad and want to make it every day. I cooked up some chicken breast and added it in for a complete meal. Since I had sunflower seeds leftover from above, I substituted those for pistachios and of course used maple syrup instead of honey for the dressing. I thought this salad was perfection as it was but Joe thought it was a little sweet for his taste so on my next rendition, I may add in just a touch of rice vinegar to cut the sweetness for my picky testers. Seriously, make this salad ASAP. It is life changing.

Week in Review 10.24.16 to 10.30.16

Monday: 2 miles continuous tempo with team, 5.25 miles total.

Tuesday: 6 mile easy run around school.

Wednesday: Interval workout. 4 by 400 (82, 85, 86, 86) and 4 by 200. 9 miles total.

Thursday: 6 miles in Asheville! Hot, humid and hilly (and high!). Fun to be back. First installment of #wheremyskechershavebeen.

Sunset from my hotel room!

Sunset from my hotel room!

Friday: Interview Day. 20 minutes of yoga for runners before the day started and a walk from Mission back to downtown.

Saturday am: Halloween Hustle 5K (19:22) and 7 miles total.

Saturday pm: 3 miles easy of course preview at NVACs.

Sunday: Off. Tried to get caught up on to-do’s, to little avail.

Total Miles: 36.3

Not the most impressive week mileage wise but really happy to get two workouts and a race in. Somehow, the weather remains atrocious in the Northeast with another race in the soaking rain and 39 degree temperatures but I ran a much smarter race and am feeling like things are actually starting to click together! I’m also really happy that I got some yoga in again. Traveling made it a necessity and I’m thinking I need to incorporate more of it as interview season goes on.

It’s States Week again, which means that my entire priority is getting a happy, healthy and tapered bunch of teenagers to the start line. I am still planning on getting in two workouts and possibly another race in, but if the girls need me, so be it!

Has anyone tried Jasyoga? Any other yoga apps that you love?

Where My Skechers Have Been (Aka Interview Season)

In keeping with the rest of medical education, interview season for residency is a bit of a savage process. You apply to a ton of programs (for an exorbitant fee), you get interviews at a few and you travel to them for a two day speed dating event where you essentially pick where you’re going to live and train for five years. Super low stress. I’m applying in General Surgery which is considered a “late” interview season and we are just starting to get underway. My first interview is Thursday and Friday in Asheville, where I did an audition rotation this past summer. I am beyond excited to return to Asheville (especially since I get a second fall just as the snow is starting to fly up here) and as I was thinking about how to reframe all my upcoming travel in a positive light, I came up with a silly hashtag to highlight all the travel opportunities ahead: #wheremyskechershavebeen.

Running is a central part of my life and wherever we end up next year, I need to be able to escape for a run when I do leave the hospital so I am bringing running clothes with me to every interview. My plan is to run-explore on the first day so that I can see what’s out there in each city. On the second day, interviews start early, so I’m likely going to be touring many hotel gyms for that component. During my interview season, I’m going to be taking ridiculous pictures of my running shoes as we travel the country and scoping out great places to run across the United States and will be sharing those on here. The impact of reframing an annoyance to a positive? I’m actually pretty excited for my first flight delay when I’m posting photos from an airport bathroom. My bet? The flight from Pittsburgh to Minneapolis in December…

Ready to go? First stop, Asheville.