Category Archives: coaching

Still (Mostly) Alive

It’s hard to believe that only 11 weeks have passed since starting Intern Year and in the same breath, 11 weeks has flown by. I am almost done with my first rotation of this year (Acute Care Surgery) and with it, done with the bulk of my training for RDC! As expected, my running has had to take a bit of a back seat to everything else but I’ve done a reasonable job of continuing to train and build and finally have some long term goals in mind!

July: My only real goal for July was to survive and figure out what my running schedule might look like when the reality of 80+ hours of work hit. We had a relatively mild summer here and since I ran in the early morning for most of it, I really didn’t struggle too much with heat and humidity. I ran a very reasonable 181 miles and my long runs progressed to 16 miles. Workouts were non-specific (long trail runs, fartleks and easy tempos) and focused on general fitness acquisition.

August: I started to figure out what work was all about and finally managed to get through my days more efficiently. I hit the wall a bit energy wise in the middle of the month and finished up with only 165 miles. I did, however, get my first 20 miler in for the cycle and my workouts started to get more specific. I also started going to Orange Theory, which has been very interesting in terms of my perception of effort versus my heart rate.

September: After a relatively disappointing August, I have been trying to refocus more on my running in September. I am about as fatigued as I’ve ever been right now and my body is showing it with lots of general aches and leg heaviness. I did get another 20 miler in and my workouts have become even more focused (more on this later). I restarted my iron to make sure I’m tuned up from that perspective and have been focusing on sleep and stretching as much as I can to combat 80+ hours of standing/interrupted sleep/weird positions in the OR. I’m doing a check in half marathon in Johnson City this weekend and interested to see where I’m at as compared to both Unplugged and the Asheville Half. I don’t know what the topography of the course will be and the weather looks hot but it will be nice to have a supported “up-effort.”

I realized in August is that I have to become more flexible with training and with that, workouts have to become more intentional. I don’t have the recovery ability to do multiple workouts a week and instead, have to make do with a couple of quality efforts each week. Because of this and because I have been so frustrated with my stagnation, I finally decided to hire/bring on a coach. I say ‘bring on’ because I am working with Dave Ames, who is a friend beyond being a coach, and the decision was about as collaborative as it gets. As many people know, Will has been my coach forever but with intern year for him and an intentional shift in our marriage to be as focused on just being married and not being co-workers, co-coaches, athlete-coaches, it was time to make a different plan.

One of the amazing things about having a coach is that all I have to do is workout. One of the terrifying things about having a coach ARE those workouts. For example, I had a medium long run on Sunday with a workout built in that didn’t seem that difficult on paper but was EXTREMELY difficult. Similarly, I have a mile repeat workout today that I am convinced is all but impossible so I have the difficult task of convincing myself first that I can do it and second, getting through it. Dave gets incredible results from his athletes and furthermore, has a lot of experience with the sports psychology aspect of racing which I need almost as much as the physiologic piece.

My race schedule has evolved as well, with a new focus on the US 50K Road Championships (hoping to podium) in March and CIM 2018 for my (hopeful) OTQ attempt. This takes a little pressure off RDC where my main goal is to just get back into marathon running and hopefully undo some of the emotional baggage I am (still) carrying from Philly.

But first, the Bluegrass Half in Johnson City on Sunday!

Week in Review: 2.27.17 to 3.5.17

Monday: 10 K of skate skiing at the second part of the State Championships. Kids did AWESOME. Boys ended up third overall and girls were second. Such a fun day and an amazing end (sob) to my coaching career (for now).

Tuesday: Back to reality. 4.5 mile run before work. Legs totally exhausted from skiing. 300 abs at night.

Wednesday: 7 mile fartlek workout with 5 by 30 second hills hard then 4 by 2 minutes at tempo pace.

Thursday: The post call day that just wasn’t. Didn’t leave the hospital until 5 pm and then had to pretend to study for my national shelf exam that was happening Friday morning.

Friday: The niggle of a cold on Thursday turned into a full-blown cold by Friday morning and it.was.gross. I brought a roll of toilet paper to my exam and apologized profusely to my classmates for the 2.5 hours of sneezing, sniffling and nose blowing. 5 miles on the trails behind my house, however, between components of the exam.

Saturday: Down for the count. Couldn’t breathe, think or move. Since Will is gone for the next month, we attempted to have a nice day together but all I could manage was a coffee shop and then sneezing my way through the rest of our errands.

Sunday: Still sick but decided to move (slowly) to try to feel better. 5 miles on the trails again. Didn’t feel great but didn’t feel awful and I’m glad I got out there. Arms afterward.

Total Miles: 27.2

Total February Miles: 137

I am the poster child for burning the candle at both ends right now. I had a few threats of sickness over the past few weeks but was lucky and never fully crashed until Thursday, just in time for my first full weekend off in a while. Compounding this is the fact that tomorrow (Monday) will be my last run for a week because of my Tuesday morning surgery. As I said to Erin Lopez yesterday, this winter has been a total bust for training and only some of it has been in my control. I’m obviously going to play it by ear this week and let pain be my guide but my hope is to be doing light cardio by Thursday with hopes that I can be back to running for next Monday. After that, it’s scramble as best as I can until Unplugged and hope for the best!

Weeks in Review: 2/13/17 to 2/26/17

There’s no filter to undo those circles…

2/13/17 to 2/19/17

Monday: Early morning snowshoe run for 45 minutes because the snow was just too amazing to not play in. Plus, I’m signed up for the Northeast Snowshoe Championships so I figured I’d better get out and practice!

Tuesday: 8 miles with 4 miles at tempo pace. Downhill skiing in the afternoon.

Wednesday: 4.28 mile recovery run.

Thursday: 8 miles with 4.5 miles at steady state on the treadmill.

Friday: 3.25 miles easy.

Saturday: 45 minute snowshoe run at my parents. SO hard in all the snow.

Sunday: Off day.

Total Miles: 23.5 plus 90 minutes of snowshoe running.

2/20/17 to 2/26/17

Monday: 8 miles with 5 by 2 at interval pace followed by a mile at steady state.

Tuesday: 5 mile recovery run

Wednesday: 6.65 mile regular run

Thursday: 5 mile progression run

Friday: 10 miles of classic skiing at the State Meet.

Saturday: Long call. Lots of hospital walking but no run. 300 abs routine before bed.

Sunday: 11.3 mile long run.

Total Miles: 46.0

The last two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. When we’re on Inpatient Medicine, we typically work six days a week with one weekend day off. Since the State Meets fall on weekdays, however, I had to stack some weekends so that I could have the time off. This past week, my “off day” from the hospital was very much an on day at the rainy, windy classic State Meet. Needless to say, I’m pretty wiped out and amazed I ran at all!

The toughest girls you’ll ever meet.

And my resilient, wonderful boys relay team.

My workouts have felt pretty good lately, which I attribute in part to my being fastidious about taking my multivitamin with iron. I stopped taking extra iron after last summer because my running had decreased and the high sweat loss season was done. However, because of the size of my hematoma, I decided to add a multivitamin with iron back in and have felt much peppier on runs lately.

I finally feel like I’m getting in a rhythm with my early morning runs…which must mean it’s time to switch schedules again! I have one more week on Inpatient Medicine, then switch to Surgery Boot Camp. This has a later start time but I think I’ll continue to do my runs in the morning. As ski season winds down, I’ll also be looking to add Body Pump back in for strength training.

2016 In Review

As cheesy as it is, I enjoy the exercise of looking back over the calendar year. It is a natural time to reflect and reboot which is a valuable process for everyone in every aspect of their life. To start, I reviewed what my goals were for 2016. (Here’s 2015 in review, just for fun…)

  • Gain More Race Experience: Relatively successful numbers-wise and from a diversity perspective. I raced on the track, the trails and the roads and learned some important lessons along the way. My favorite races were the Rivah and the 10,000. My most disappointing race was the Rock’N’Roll Chicago Half Marathon.
  • Continue to Build Strength: Mixed success. I absolutely didn’t do four sessions a week although I did get back into the practice of doing some strength before bed every night (usually squats, core and pushups). I also went on a streak of doing Body Pump this fall which was an excellent improvement until my schedule got busy.
  • Address hip/lower back pain: Nope. I did yoga approximately 8 times this year and whined about my back for the remaining days.
  • Maintain my fitness base: Yes and no. I technically maintained a decent fitness base with a lot of obstacles but I didn’t get near 55 miles per week most weeks this year.

My mileage total for 2016 was 2,216 (42 miles a week). For comparison, 2015 was 2,654 (51 miles a week), 2014 was 2,282 (43 miles a week) and 2013 was 2,303 (44 miles a week).

The other big change for me in 2016 was the incredible opportunity to represent Skechers Performance. The beautiful thing about this partnership is that I get to run in awesome shoes (seriously, you should try them, landing at Skirack in 2017) but that I also get to connect with other Skechers athletes around the country who push (and pull) me. I can’t wait to see how this brand grows in 2017!

I would be remiss to not mention an incredible running moment that had nothing to do with my own running but was an absolutely epic moment. As I talk about all the time, coaching cross country is one of my proudest achievements and although results aren’t ever the only goal, watching my team race their legs off to come in second in Vermont was an unbelievable finish for my coaching career (for now).

Finally, I want to take the opportunity to thank all of you for reading and engaging on this blog. I am always blown away that people care about this blog enough to read and comment and truly hope you know how much I appreciate your support and interest.

What was your 2016 in Review? Have you set goals for 2017 yet?

Week in Review 12.19.16 to 12.25.16

First, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and spent lots of quality time with friends, family or chosen family. For me, it was enough of a gift to be home for a couple of days without packing a bag!

Monday: Interview at Brown so quick early workout with 2.5 miles on the treadmill and a body weight strength workout.

Tuesday: 7 miles easy outside followed by 45 minutes of nordic skiing at the Range.

Wednesday: Appointment went way over so all I got in was 45 minute of skiing at Trapps.

Thursday: 9 mile progression run plus 45 minutes of nordic skiing.

Friday: 7 miles of easy running.

Saturday: 6 mile fartlek with 10 by 1 min hard, 1 min easy.

Sunday: Easy hour of skiing at my parents.

Total Miles: 31.5

Total Minutes Skiing: 195 minutes

I did not do a good job of balancing running and coaching this week, period. During cross country season, if I screw up my schedule or have too much going on, I still get a run in at practice. During nordic season, however, I’m on skis and although it’s a GREAT workout, it’s not a run. It’s typically my intention to use skiing as a secondary workout but that didn’t work out this week. I’m glad that I got a decent progression run in as well as a fartlek workout but I’ll admit that I’m frustrated to not be able to string together any reasonable training lately. My total mileage for 2016 will be much lower than any other year during medical school (even my surgery years), so I’m doing a little soul searching on what is going on to contribute to that and what I can do to improve for 2017.

The All-Terrain Runner series was released for 2017 so I’m debating about whether I want to sign up for that again and try to get more events in this year or simplify and stick to New Bedford with a plan to reevaluate after I know where I’m moving in June.

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.

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.

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?