Week In Review 5.18.15 to 5.24.15

What a whirlwind week! Inpatient Pediatrics has a far more demanding schedule than I thought it would; I’m up at 4:30 am every day and by the time I work, run and shower, it’s time for bed again! I’m on nights this week which frees me up to get some stuff done during the day and sets me up for a more temperature friendly running schedule.

5:45 am sky walking into the hospital this week. So pretty over Converse Hall!

5:45 am sky walking into the hospital this week. So pretty over Converse Hall!

Monday: Long warmup into 6 by 30 seconds hard uphill. 9.2 miles total.

Tuesday: 6.66 mile recovery run with Carl.

Wednesday: 7 mile run with Will on the bike path. Calves killing me.

Thursday: 8 mile run with Carl, Will, Joe and Billy. Awesome to have friends!

This pretty much sums up third year; laughing at each other and being totally clueless.

This pretty much sums up third year; laughing at each other and being totally clueless.

Friday: 9.5 mile fartlek run. 5 minutes at T, 4 minutes easy, 3 minutes at I, 3 minutes easy, 2 minutes at I, 2 minutes easy, 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy, 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy, 30 seconds hard. Hips actually felt pretty good, just felt like I didn’t have a lot of strength for uphill sections.

Saturday: Schedule got a little crunched (because I went sailing…) so just 4 easy miles before Pitch Perfect 2 with Jordan!

First day on the lake this year. Wind was a little finicky but it was amazing to get back out there.

First day on the lake this year. Wind was a little finicky but it was amazing to get back out there.

Sunday: 14 mile cheering long run. It was so odd to watch VCM rather than participate! Nice to experience that as a spectator, though.

Total Miles: 58.3

Adaptation week this week, which is welcome after some serious sleep deprivation. Got talked into running the Craft Beer 5K for a local brewery on Saturday so will use that as my second workout this week, probably progression run style. The race isn’t until noon so I expect we could be in for some nasty race conditions.

Overall, I’m feeling really good about the progress of my running. Standing/walking all day makes it hard to feel fresh but I have almost 6 months until Philly and feel confident that I can really make some progress between now and then. Also got the AWESOME news that I got accepted into the Elite Start for Philly, which makes a huge amount of difference for race morning. I get an F bib but more importantly, a tent and porto-potty at the start.

Gore-Tex Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

Claws Up!

Claws Up!

I struggled to pick my race for this coming fall, paralyzed in part by wanting the “perfect” place to take my stab at it and in part by wanting some known commodity to focus on all summer. Philly holds great memories for me; in 2012, I ran my current half PR here and finished 18th overall. It’s a fair course but it’s not an easy course, with two big hills in the second half of the course. There is decent course support for much of the race, usually good weather and at least a few other women around to race. I’m hoping that with the OTQ deadline looming, there will be more women than usual.

This is also the day before I come back to school. Talk about coming down to the wire…185 days to go!

Philly in 2012.

Philly in 2012.

 

Week in Review 5.11.15 to 5.17.15

Starting to get into a routine again. Started Inpatient Peds this week, which means I’m in at 6 am and out by 4. Rough on sleep but good for running. Legs were definitely a little toasted from walking around a lot but I’m working on it!

Monday: Workout, drills then 6 by 200 at R pace. Total of 8.8 miles. Legs after.

Tuesday: 6.85 mile recovery run at the crack of dawn with Carl. Solid rain.

Wednesday: In the OR for a bit in the late afternoon so took my rest day. Prorated 7.5

Thursday: 9 mile progression run. Ran for 30 minutes then bumped the pace up every 5 minutes for the next 30 minutes.

Friday: 5.75 mile recovery run.

Saturday: 13 mile long run. Hot out!

Sunday: Workout prep run. Warmed up to the track (misnomer since it’s hot here) then did 2 miles of 300 easy-100 hard. Hip pretty snarky.

Total Miles 56.7

Happy with how this week went. It’s hard to do much other than run, sleep and work but it all worked out. It also stayed pretty hot and humid this week but we did a good job of just staying true to effort. I’ll be upping my miles to 62 miles this week. My other goals are to a) lift arms and legs at least once b) stay hydrated even when I’m running around the floor and c) cut out the afternoon coffee that I’m pretty convinced is interrupting my sleep.

 

100%

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

This may go down as the most exciting and most effing terrifying blog post I ever share. Thanks to the flexibility of the UVM College of Medicine and the unwavering support and encouragement of Will, I’ll be taking the fall of 2015 to actually take a crack at seeing how fast I can get. For 13 weeks from mid August to mid November, I’ll be living like a professional athlete and my only focus will be on running and recovering to the best of my ability. I’ll still be doing some medical school related things, I’ll just be doing 4th year electives (reading month and some research) instead of clerkships, which I’ll make up when I return in November. My day to day schedule will focus on training and ultimately pushing towards a half marathon in November.

Why target the half marathon when the standard is 1:15 rather than the relatively easier 2:43 for the full?

1. The half marathon requires a little less perfection than the full to have a good day. If the weather is awful, it doesn’t take months to recover. If I have an off stomach, I can survive 75 minutes without fuel.

2. It capitalizes on the work I’ve been doing this Spring and doesn’t set me back into the pattern of long slow runs and lazy form.

3. If I am feeling really amazing and it looks like I could get a 2:43 in December, I’m able to turn around and try that with all the requisite speed already acquired.

4. From a long term perspective, we’re trying to set me up for a solid career through my 30s and 40s and although I’ll always have endurance, I won’t always have the ability to build speed.

What happens if I fall on my face?

1. A half marathon PR still pushes me forward to some of my other performance goals including gaining entry to National Championship events, the Boston Elite start and getting my elite entry to most of the big races around the country.

2. I don’t spend the rest of my life wondering what my limits are if only I wasn’t in medical school.

What’s the plan?

At this point, I don’t plan to go to altitude. That would be tough for us financially and logistically, as Will remains in the 3rd year Medical School curriculum and will need all the support a non-working spouse can provide. We are about 6 months out from race day, so I’m back to Phase 1A of training. I’ll spend May, June and July building as good of a base as I can while continuing to do speed work and working on efficiency. August, September and October will be where the bulk of the hard work happens and November is essentially for taper.

In terms of extras, my big focus for the first three months is building the muscle strength required to be fast and continuing to work on hip mobility. I’ve really locked up a lot over the past few months and need to spend some attention on loosening up again. During my months off, the focus will be on recovering as much as I can, on nailing workouts and on sharpening my mental game. I’m already finding myself second guessing whether I can do this, so that particular task will be very challenging!

The other benefit of more time is that I can do a better job of cataloging my experience. I know that I’m extremely lucky to have this opportunity and that there are many other runners who can only dream of 13 weeks off so I’m hoping that keeping this blog full of my lessons learned at least passes some of the benefits on to others.

Onward!

 

Week in Review 5.4.15 to 5.10.15

Summer arrived this week, replacing 40 degree temps with high 80s and humidity. If humidity is poor man’s altitude, it’s going to be a great year!

Monday: 5.75 recovery around campus. Arms after.

Tuesday: 8.75 miles plus striders.

Wednesday: 8.2 around the Intervale for the first time this Spring.

Thursday: 7 miles in Red Rocks with 6 by 45 seconds uphill at R pace. SO hard. Legs after.

Other fun things that happened on Thursday? My first intubation!!

Other fun things that happened on Thursday? My first intubation!!

Friday: 5 miles on Colchester High School trails. Haven’t wiped out in a while, so took care of that.

Time for my annual eat-shit-in-the-woods run.

Time for my annual eat-shit-in-the-woods run.

Saturday: 11.7 mile long run. Feeling good.

Sunday: 5 mile recovery run in the swamp that is currently Burlington.

Total Miles: 51.4

I’m so happy to have a positive week under my belt. Being back in Burlington helped a lot and I’m feeling much more encouraged by my training. I’ll be going up 10% this week to 56 miles and aiming for two workouts and a long run of about 100 minutes. I start Inpatient Pediatrics tomorrow with a very early start time (6 am) so I may have to run after work but would prefer to get it done in the morning so we’ll see how that goes.

Was pretty in depth with anesthesia this week, but was so frustrated/disgusted by this article. As a coach, I cannot fathom treating an athlete like this, regardless of whether or not I recruited her. Disappointing all around.

Product Review: HOKA ONE ONE Clifton

I’ve been a devoted Saucony runner for a long time, but since I found out I didn’t get picked up to be on the Hurricane team this year at about the same time I won a pair of HOKA’s at the RunVermont New Year’s 5K, it was a great opportunity to branch out and try a new shoe.

Bringing new shoes home!

Bringing new shoes home!

HOKA has been around for about five years and is best known for the “fat shoes” that started as an ultramarathon niche and have slowly made their way into the mainstream. Most notably, they sponsor Leo Manzano and recently the entire Northern Arizona Elite team. The idea is that the shoes have more foam and better rebounding than a “skinnier” shoe and admittedly, that thickness was part of what deterred me from trying them earlier. Last Spring, however, my friend Annie started running in them (she is also a Kinvara girl) and absolutely loved them.

I chose the Clifton because at 6.6 ounces and a 5 mm drop, it was the closest to my Kinvara. The weight and drop is where the similarities end, however. Whereas Kinvara is fitted and flexible, the Clifton is spacious and somehow simultaneously firm and foamy. I highly recommend trying the shoe on in store and going a half size down from normal for you. Protip from Skirack: they do come with two inserts, so if you have a size issue, you can try putting both insoles in at the same time.

My first run in the Clifton was very, very awkward. Because of the padding, I found myself sort of bounding along and overstriding and found it very difficult to land on my midfoot. As I got used to them over the next few runs, however, the shoes worked their way into my heart. They are extremely comfortable and when you stop running like an idiot in them and just run like normal, they behave like any other shoe. I especially like them on rough terrain; because of the thickness of foam, no sharp rocks can poke through and bruise your footbed.

I’ve done long runs, workouts and races in them and it wasn’t until I wore a new pair of Kinvara 5 recently that I realized I preferred the Saucony to the HOKA for speed work. The HOKA is fine, but it’s not particularly maneuverable and I do find that I heel strike more in the Clifton than in other shoes. As I got more used to the shoe, the aesthetics of running 6 inches in the air bothered me less and I found myself reaching for them on long runs or recovery runs when I just wanted a comfortable, cushy shoe.

About 150 miles in

About 150 miles in

All in all, I’m very impressed with my first pair of Cliftons and when these are retired, I’ll probably pick another pair up. They are relatively expensive ($130) but not that out of line with the other top of the line shoes currently on the market and hold up much, much better than my Kinvaras that almost invariably have a hole in the fabric by 100 miles in.

Best For: Neutral footed runners looking for a shoe for long runs, recovery runs or runs on terrain with roots and/or rocks. Totally sufficient for mid to long races (actually bet they’d be great for the marathon, just haven’t run one) or longer tempo efforts.

Not Great For: Interval or Full Speed work.

 

Race Report: Champlain Classic 5K

I absolutely love this race. In 2013 and 2014, I ran the 15K as my season opener but opted for the 5K this year. As I was trying to write up this race report, I tried to figure out WHAT my 5K PR was going into this race. I don’t race the 5K often and I knew my open 5K PR was somewhere low 19s but the fastest I could find was from January of this year, at 19:11. I covered the last 5K of the my half marathon PR in about 18:40 but don’t count “en route” PRs for straight PRs.

In the first mile.

In the first mile.

This race was a good reminder to not always trust your Garmin. I planned to run the first mile relatively easy, then crank it up as we went along. When the airhorn sounded, the race went out hard. About half a mile in, I saw 5:51 on my Garmin and put the brakes on. I’ve been running faster recently but not THAT fast. I felt very in control for the first mile but stressed about having two other women right on me. As we turned onto the dirt path about 3/4 of a mile in, I started to pick it up. Went through the first mile in 6:04, which is the last time I trusted my Garmin. The second mile is dirt, mildly uphill and has a very tight 360 turn in it, so I knew it wouldn’t be screamingly fast but was discouraged that my watch was telling me it was a 6:25 because it definitely didn’t FEEL like a 6:25. I just kept pushing and tried to remind myself that the point of this race was effort, not outcome. The turn also gave me the opportunity to see where I was and I was happy to see that the second woman was now 20 seconds behind me. For most of the second half, I was just behind a clump of guys who had gone out too fast and I went from 10th to 6th, but in striking distance of 2nd. As we hit the long paved stretch for home, I focused on using my “working hard” breathing pattern and just keeping good form. Ultimately, I couldn’t catch the last group of guys and my watch still said I was running a 6:16 so I was beyond thrilled to round the corner to the finish and see 18:30 something on the clock. Finished in 18:44 (6:03 pace), a 26 second PR for me. 1st woman, 6th overall.

I’m thrilled with the results from this race; I’m still hacking from my hospital cold and definitely still adjusting to running fast, so I’m psyched to get some good feedback on my progress. I also enjoyed recovering from this race; my legs were a little tired on Monday but otherwise I felt completely fine. Onward and upward!

Week in Review 4/27/15 to 5/3/15

Wrapped up life in Lewiston, moved back to Burlington and scored a 5K PR.

Monday: 7 mile recovery run in the rain.

Tuesday: 8.5 mile run, coughing my head off the whole way.

Wednesday: Workout. 3 by 1200 at T pace (6:16) and 5 by 200 at R pace for a total of 8.6 miles. Still feeling off but definitely improving.

Thursday: Off day, prorated to 7 to pack and study.

Friday: 7 miles with Will in Shelburne.

Saturday: 3.5 mile prerace run with a mile of shakeout on the track.

Sunday: Champlain Classic 5K. 18:44, fastest freestanding 5K for me! Total of 7 miles for the day.

Total Miles: 48.5

Total April Miles: 160

The good? A new 5K PR, a resolving lung infection and home to Will and the dogs!

The bad? Still can’t get my f***ing mileage where I want it to be with my schedule. This is hurt in part by not getting long runs in and in part by just not setting my schedule up to get my 8ish in most days.

And a funny article by Lauren Fleshman about the things we ignored when we were younger…

 

Not The Cool Kid

I spend so much of my time around runners or people I’ve bullied into being runners (or at least running regularly) that I sometimes forget that it’s not standard to run every day or to run for at least an hour every time you lace up. Asking me if I’m running today is akin to asking me if I brushed my teeth; almost guaranteed that I did or will on both. I was reminded of my relative eccentricity today when some of the residents and other medical students asked me if I wanted to join them for dinner. When I asked about time frame, they said 5 pm. In moments like these, I always have a rapid, painful internal struggle not unlike a middle school kid. Of course I want to go to dinner with my colleagues and be part of the club. Of course I want to destress and eat delicious food. But here in Lewiston, I run at 5 pm for at least an hour or until the light fades.

When I responded “Oh, I’d love to but I am planning on running this afternoon,” I was met with the familiar “But you can run tomorrow and dinner is way more fun!” This always puts me in an odd position. Of course I can run tomorrow (and I will) but I also need to run today because I have crazy goals and it’s all about the miles run…and no normal person gives a shit about this answer. And as I’ve done a hundred times, I thanked them so much for the invite and said I hoped I could make it next time. I do legitimately hope this, but the invite has to fall on a rest day or a day when I’ve run in the morning.

As I was running (and not socializing) this afternoon, I started to wonder about the repercussions of always saying no to such things. In my life at home, almost everyone assumes I’ll show up to things after my workout or doesn’t bother inviting me to things that are in direct conflict. What happens, however, in two short years when I’m out in a Residency trying to build important bonds with colleagues and Attendings? Am I hurting my career and networking by skipping out on these things? Will I miss out on the personal bonds that are so critical to sanity and survival in medicine?

Anyone have any experiences (positive or negative) with situations like these? How do you balance running and other social obligations?

Week in Review: 4/20/15 to 4/26/15

An alternate title for this week in review could have been don’t burn the candle at both ends. What started last Sunday followed me through a truly miserable week of illness and fatigue that I just couldn’t shake. My time in Lewiston and Rotation 1 is almost done and besides the enormous amount of clinical learning, I’m also learning to accept this new normal of running for me.

Monday: Inspired by the Boston Marathon, I put 7.25 in through pouring rain and wind plus striders. Right hip pretty darn tight. Stomach feeling better but starting to get a wicked cold.

Tuesday: No run, thanks to the cold from hell. Couldn’t breathe or hear.

Wednesday: Spent all day in bed and was so restless by 5 that I went for an easy 4.3. Really dizzy but otherwise ok.

Thursday: Still dizzy and sick but went for my workout, figuring that effort above jogging still counted as a stimulus. 3 by 800 (2:59, 2:59, 2:55…woof) and 8 by 200. Total of 10 miles. Legs after.

Friday: Had a relatively quiet night shift on Thursday and got a few hours of sleep, so I drove home to surprise Will and the doggies for the weekend!! Glorious 5 miler around the golf course with my favorite running buddies. Arms after.

Saturday: Still feeling horrible. Dizzy, weak and couldn’t breathe so Coach Will took over and made me rest. Just a walk in the woods with the family.

Sunday: Workout 2 for the week. Paces still slow but starting to feel really smooth when moving fast(er). 2oo at R pace, 2 by 1000 (3:39, 3:42), 2 by 400 (81,82), 2 by 200 at R pace. 9.5 miles total. Legs after.

Total Miles: 36

I’m working on adjusting my attitude towards running and being grateful when I can get runs in and trying to let go of times when I can’t. I have one week left in Lewiston, which means that I’ll be back in Burlington in no time where I can run safely almost any time of day. I have the Champlain Classic next weekend and am looking forward to another opportunity to race.

A couple of articles from the week…

Really excited to try this new Nuun product when it comes out; could make Nuun the only thing I need for a marathon!

I’m not a parent so maybe I don’t get it, but I don’t see this move as inspiring and selfless like most people seem to; I’m in the obnoxious camp…

Similarly, I wish we’d get tougher on life after drug bans, both to send a message to young athletes that it’s unacceptable and to keep the playing field fair for those of us who don’t INTENTIONALLY INJECT EPO FOR ADVANTAGE. Sorry for the caps, but Hunter-Galvan didn’t even pretend to call it a mistake, she fully admitted that she doped to hang on to her competitiveness. Given that we still don’t know whether the benefits of doping continue for years, I feel horribly for the master’s women at Boston who were displaced from significant prize money.