Week in Review 5.23.16 to 5.29.16

Also known as the week of August weather in May. (Seriously: they called VCM halfway through because the heat was just too dangerous.)

Monday: 7.25 miles with strides on the track.

Tuesday: 8.3 miles with arms after.

Wednesday: 9.32 miles with 3 by 1 mile at tempo pace on heartrate. Legs after.

Thursday: 5.5 recovery miles with 4 laps of striders.

Friday: 8.3 mile heat acclimation run. Yeeeeeech.

Saturday: 5 miles on the treadmill courtesy of 90 degree weather.

Sunday: 3 miles on the treadmill with 5 minutes at T pace after call.

Total Miles: 46.8

The Good: I was great about getting striders in this week and about foam rolling multiple times a day. The first 5 days of the week were awesome and I was hitting mileage goals easily.

The Ugly: I have got to get better about assuming I’ll get a run in after ANYTHING. On Saturday, it was almost 80 when I got up and instead of just going out and suffering, we went car shopping all day (I got a new amazing car!!) and by the time we were done, I was so overheated that even suffering for 5 miles on the treadmill was miserable. On Sunday, I was on call and instead of going before work, I planned to go after only to have huge thunderstorms break out.

Next week is a planned adaptation week. Although it’s tempting (really tempting) to just pretend this week was an adaptation week, my daily volume was regular volume until Saturday and Sunday. It’s good timing as I start at a new hospital tomorrow and will be commuting 90 minutes a day, which really uses up my running time. I’m debating hopping in a race next weekend (Causeway 15K) just to keep checking in on my fitness but I’m going to watch the weather before I sign up for a sweat fest!

Week in Review 5.16.16 to 5.22.16

Monday: 7 miles of recovery on the treadmill plus arms.

Tuesday: 9.15 miles with a workout. Warmed up, strides, drills, mindfulness then 6 by 400 (84, 83, 84, 84, 85, 82) and 4 by 200 hard. Legs afterward.

Wednesday: 4.5 miles on the trails.

Thursday: Off day, prorated at 7 miles.

Friday: 8.5 mile run through the Intervale. Legs feeling really punky.

Saturday: 5.2 mile fartlek run with drills plus a mile of 100 meter ins and outs followed by a mile of 400 at T, 400 jog. Drove to and from Boston for the Red Sox game which was a blast but hard on my back and legs.

Sunday: 8 mile run in the rain.

Total Miles: 49.4

The Good: I had an AWESOME workout on Tuesday, not only because I ran paces that were faster than I expected but because I felt great doing it and got myself into a good mindset before the workout.

The Ugly: I’m trying to do too much right now and getting ready to be gone for 8 weeks has buried me in to dos. On top of that, we had tickets to the Red Sox (a great thing!) and I didn’t set my weekend up well to get my long run in. For this coming week, I need to do a better job of making sure I’m set up to get my runs in!

In an attempt to take some things off my plate before I leave for Chicago, I’ve decided not to run Freihofer’s. The race alone would be great but since I have to travel and stay overnight, it adds a huge amount of stress and uses up another weekend when I could be prepping for Step 2 and polishing my residency application. I may look for another race that weekend and will certainly be looking for races in Chicago and Asheville as I continue my 2016 goal of building race experience.

Never A Dull Moment

The fourth year of medical school is a magical time. After three years of almost no control over our schedules, fourth year arrives and for 365 short days, the world is ours. Our requirements are more like guidelines and what we do with our time is dictated by our interests, our passions and our level of motivation to get things organized. For me, building a strong foundation for residency is a priority. This means that over the next year, I’ll be challenging myself to build skills in and out of the OR and getting out of my comfort zone while I’m still buffered by the title of student doctor. I didn’t intend to include getting out of Burlington as part of getting out of my comfort zone but as it turns out, it’s important to “audition” at programs where you think you might want to be for the next 4 to 7 years. As such, I’ll be a wandering runner for the next 8 weeks (and again in January)…

In mid June, I’m off to the Windy City for four weeks of Emergency Medicine. I’ve never been to Chicago besides stopping through the airport but am excited to run along Lake Michigan and closer to where I’ll be working, along the John Husar Canal Trail. Because it’s an Emergency Medicine elective, it’s shifted work so I should have plenty of time to get good training in and am excited to work on my summer base in a new place.

In mid July, I’m headed up…to 2000 feet in Asheville, North Carolina for an elective in Acute Care Surgery. I am beyond excited for this opportunity as it is a brand new residency program and may well be where I land for the next 5 years. Running will be more difficult to fit in here around the OR schedule but I’m hoping to enjoy the trails around Asheville (and hopefully even Boone) on my days off.

Despite the fact that it takes a huge amount of logistical energy to pull this off, I’m so excited to check out programs in new places and get the opportunity to run on some of the most beautiful bike paths, trails and roads that the US has to offer.

Good Eats: Spaghetti Squash, Butternut Squash and Berry Bundt Cake

One of the hardest parts of being in Norwalk was that we didn’t really have a functional kitchen. UVM puts us up in very nice apartments but as anyone who cooks knows, it takes a long time to build a great kitchen and these kitchens lack the knives, pans and other accessories to really pull off a big meal. I made simple things every night but missed pulling off elaborate meals or trying new recipes.

The only new one I tried while I was there was spaghetti squash with bacon, goat cheese and spinach. This recipe tasted delicious but the presentation was not as pretty as pictured and it took a fair amount of time to prep. The best part of the recipe was the new-to-me suggestion of how to cook spaghetti squash. In the past, I’ve either split the squash in half long ways and baked it or boiled it in half, neither of which are particularly easy to work with afterwards. Slicing the squash into rings and baking it was BRILLIANT. Still, for a gluten free meal, this is a delicious one that most people are likely to enjoy.

For Mother’s Day, I wanted to make a special meal for my mom and went with rubbed pork chops on the grill, butternut squash bread pudding, roasted Brussel sprouts with maple syrup and berry bundt cake.

The butternut squash bread pudding was unique and delicious but made enough for an army. Cutting this recipe in half would still yield plenty to feed four people so unless you’re having a large dinner party, I would suggest that. I used muenster cheese instead of gruyere and it was delicious. The only thing I added was rosemary and oregano in addition to the sage and it gave it a stuffing like taste that went perfectly with pork.

The cake was also a success, if only because it slid easily out of the pan instead of clinging on as bundt cakes usually do. I used frozen, bagged berries from the grocery store and made the mistake of the mix containing strawberries, which created big craters when baked so would avoid that in the future. Otherwise, frozen berries worked well. I also made my own buttermilk (3/4 cup of whole milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice –> sit for 10 minutes until clabbered) instead of using Kefir or purchasing buttermilk. I did attempt to make the icing but unlike the icing in the picture, mine looked thin and running and I opted to leave the cake “naked” instead, which turned out to be a great idea because it was plenty sweet on its own AND served as Will’s muffins for the week.

What have you cooked lately? Any great late Spring recipes to share?

Week in Review 5.9.16 to 5.15.16

Monday: 6 by 30 seconds hard uphill on the bike path. Humbling to try to do speed work when my legs are clunky! Legs after.

Tuesday: 5 mile recovery run in the woods. Got impressively lost and ended up on the side of 89.

Wednesday: Early morning combination workout with 5 minutes at tempo pace followed by 10 by 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy. Tempo felt great, interval work was hard but worked on staying smooth and engaging my glutes. 9 miles total.

Thursday: 6 mile recovery run in the woods. First really hot day! Arms after.

Friday: 7 mile run on the treadmill because I was being a wimp about it being cold and rainy again. Core after.

Saturday: 4 laps of 100 meter ins and out, 4 laps of 200 on, 200 off, 1 400 at I effort. 8 miles total.

Sunday: Freezing cold 10 miler along the lake. This weather is brutal for getting dressed in the morning!

Total Miles: 52

Spring in Vermont is such a fickle beast. This week had incredible days where it was 60 and sunny and awful days where it was 40 and raining. Looks better going forward but it is all-around difficult to acclimate when you’re wearing tights one day and a tank top the next!

Happy with this week of training, both because I got in reasonable miles and three good efficiency efforts. I’m 85% sure I’m in for Freihofer’s so want to keep focusing on speed while continuing to build overall fitness. I joked with Will last night that I must be recovered from my marathon (in 2014) because I’m starting to think about running another one.

How to Start Running: Month 5

Somehow in the midst of moving back from Norwalk, I forgot to publish this so my enormous apologies for missing Month 5 just as peak, perfect running season kicks off!! 

This month will show off how far you’ve come, with you working up towards 8 minutes of running at a time in the middle of your 30 minute run. If you get discouraged this month, take a moment (or two) to reflect on the fact that you started this by running for 30 seconds at a time just 17 weeks ago. This month is all about stretching out the minutes of running. Next month will be about hitting the goal of 10 minutes of continuous running, then cutting down the walking intervals as you’re comfortable.

Week Workout Plan
Week 17 32 minutes (2:00 walk 6:00 run. Repeat 4 times)
Week 18 30 minutes (2:00 walk 7:00 run. Repeat 3 times. Walk 3 minutes to end.)
Week 19 32 minutes (1:00 walk 7:00 run. Repeat 4 times)
Week 20 30 minutes (2:00 walk 8:00 run. Repeat 3 times)

Week in Review 5.2.16 to 5.8.16

The name of the game last week was respect your body. Overall, I was fine on Monday morning but had weird residual soreness in my back and my shins, so I tried to balance my need to continue to work on fitness and speed and my strong desire to remain (knock on wood) injury free for life.

Monday: Total off day.

Tuesday: 30 minutes easy on the elliptical and arms.

Wednesday: 4 mile very easy run on the treadmill.

Thursday: 6.2 miles with striders mixed in at the end. Goodbye Norwalk!!

Friday: 6 mile run with Will including 2 laps of ins and outs on the track.

Saturday: The first annual (actually, I hope only) Vermont Beer 50K attempt. I offered to drive a bachelor party of Will’s friends around and decided that the way to survive was to run every time we stopped at a brewery. I had hoped to get a 50K in through the day but the boys didn’t quite make it to all the breweries (a totally fine outcome), so I only got 18 in. Still tiring, especially because I kept jumping in the car to drive between segments. If anyone is interested in how to do the 50K, however, let me know! I found some AMAZING running options along the way.

Sunday: 5 easy after cleaning our whole house (post-Bachelor party) and cooking all day for Mother’s Day.

Total Miles: 39.2

Not the best week of training but I recovered from Plattsburgh, moved home from Norwalk, hosted a house full of bachelors, made a great Mother’s Day dinner and took a shelf exam and two clinical skills exams, so not exactly a quiet week!

This week is focusing on transitioning to some more speed in preparation for the Freihofer’s 5K while looking forward to plans for the summer, fall and beyond. I don’t know what my plans look like but I’ll cop to thinking about another marathon…

Race Report: Plattsburgh Half Marathon 2016

Short Version: 2nd Woman, 1:26:44. Got to hang out with the Skechers crew and had a BLAST at the Expo and post-race party.

Doing our best Kara at the post-race party.

Doing our best Kara at the post-race party.

Long Version: 

I went into this race with relatively low expectations. I’ve been lucky to run consistently this Spring but as I remarked in my recent post on this cycle’s inventory, I have been low mileage (for me) and only doing maintenance workouts. On top of this, I did a lot of driving (and not a lot of sleeping) going into this race.

The morning started in an entertaining fashion. As I pulled up to the Ferry Dock to cross the lake, the 6:30 ferry was pulling away. Plattsburgh is actually only about 6 miles from my house but there’s a big lake in the middle with no local bridge so you have to take a ferry to get there. I texted Dave to tell him I might be cutting it close and he responded “Ha! I’m on the ferry that just left you!!” Needless to say, I had to wait for the 6:45 ferry and decided to change into my racing flats (GoMeb Speed 3) and take my inhaler on the boat. As it turned out, I arrived by 7:15, found a porto-potty on my way to the Rec Center and found Erin Lopez for our warmup all by 7:30. We did 20 minutes of easy jogging then stripped down and headed for the start. It was PERFECT racing weather at 40 degrees and overcast. I wish I’d been in amazing shape because it was a PR day for sure.

At the start line, Erin and I had to get a little aggressive to get a spot as a few misplaced souls found themselves on the line. We did a strider, got our spot and we were off. Although we’d both planned to run around 1:25, Erin took off from the start and I opted to hang back and stay comfortable for me. Erin went on to win overall AND post a new PR!! We made our way around the Oval and I was happy to find that I felt smooth and effortless. I only had a stopwatch on but when we went through what I presume to be mile 1 based on the Garmins beeping around me, my watch said 6:15 pace. I put the brakes on a bit here because optimism is great, but I doubted that I was in 1:22 shape. At around 10 minutes in, we went by the mile 1 marker. Two and a half minutes later, we went by the 2 mile marker. So much for using my watch to track splits. As such, I have almost no data points from the race other than that my first mile was a 6:15 and I finished in 1:26. Since it was obvious that I couldn’t rely on mile markers, I just ran on effort through the first half of the race and was happy to feel like my effort was about 7/10. I crossed the halfway point around 41 minutes. We would later learn that it was not exactly halfway but the 10K instead…

During the second half, the turns began. Although it made it hard to hold momentum, I was in a bit of a funk at this point and appreciated the opportunity to refocus every few hundred meters as we turned. I was running alone and had quite the pity party between 7 and 9, cranky that I felt like I could hold my pace all day but couldn’t click up as I’d planned. I was also cranky that the mile markers were 100% unreliable. I had no idea if I was running 6:15 pace or 7:15 pace or if I was at mile 7 or mile 8.5.

At mile 10, we went over a little bridge and into a 2 mile flat neighborhood loop. I was able to click up in effort for a few minutes but by mile 11, felt like I was running out of fitness and found myself back at tempo effort. Mile 12 was an insidious uphill and I was just ready to return to the Oval and finish. Mile 13 is around the Oval and taunts you, as you can see the finish but you’re minutes away. I just tried to finish strong but really didn’t have much in the way of gears.

As it turns out, the race course had to undergo some changes and 13.1 miles came…a bit before the finish line did. According to one of the local ladies who runs for Skechers as well, it is actually in the middle of the final turn before the straightaway where we finished, so probably over a quarter mile long. I’m not sure why they couldn’t have adjusted the start or the finish since it was on an oval, but regardless, it’s questionable how far we actually ran. The first and second half splits are hysterical too; all of us had 4 minute “positive” splits since the second half was more like 7 miles.

The 1-2 punch!

The 1-2 punch!

Despite some course snafus, it’s actually an awesome course that I would readily race again. It has a nice combination of flats, small hills, and some cruising downhills, it winds through a lot of Plattsburgh and had great course support for a small race on Sunday morning. The weather was also PERFECTION. The vibe before and after the race was fun too; people who just enjoy running and community events. If it gets re-certified, I would definitely consider going back to aim for a PR since it’s my kind of course.

Now that I’ve had time to reflect a bit, I find myself slightly frustrated with my race. It was one of my slowest half marathons ever (1:33, 1:29, 1:28 all come to mind as slower…). The logical part of my brain knows that it’s great that I got a 13+ mile effort in and that it wasn’t a race I could expect to knock out of the park. The emotional part of my brain is frustrated that I feel so…flat right now. I feel like I have one gear and although I know that I haven’t done workouts to develop my other gears lately, I have an illogical fear that this is just the beginning of slowing down as I hid my mid 30s.

Week in Review 4.25.16 to 5.1.16

Monday: 3 mile run WAY too fast for taper week.

Tuesday: Combo workout at Waveny. 2 by 5 minutes at tempo, 3 by 1 min hard for 5 miles total

Wednesday: 3.4 mile recovery run, again way too fast.

Thursday: 3 mile run on the treadmill.

Friday: 2 mile shakeout progression. Mini arms workout.

Saturday: 2.5 miles with 2 laps of ins and outs on the track.

Sunday: Plattsburgh Half Marathon, 2nd woman in 1:26:44 on goodness knows what length course. 16 miles total for the day.

Total Miles: 35

Total Miles for April: 170

Definitely suffering from cumulative exhaustion from stress, poor sleep and a lot of travel! I drove 5 hours home on Friday night, to Plattsburgh and back on Saturday for the Expo then drove back to Norwalk after the race this morning. I’m also not being careful about my recovery paces (7:15 for my run on Monday, 7:37 on Wednesday?!) and it’s starting to show up in my race results. I’m not unhappy with my run this morning but I’m definitely lacking gears and some of that is coming from an imbalance in stimulus and recovery.

Just a few more days left in Norwalk and I head home to Burlington and hopefully lock into a more steady routine. I’m also hoping some of my 4th year electives lock in soon so that I can really start to look at the next few months and not have absolutely everything up in the air career wise!

Depending on my call schedule for June, I’m hoping to add in the Freihofer’s Run for Women in Albany on June 4th. This is a race that draws some unbelievable talent and we have the opportunity to race through Skechers. It will take a bit of an effort to get some turnover back in my legs but I’m hoping that with my fitness base, I can turn in a PR effort in 4 weeks.