Category Archives: Recently Read

Recently Read: On Running as a Woman and Olympic Rundown

The good: Jenny Simpson brought home the bronze in the 1500, the first American woman to do so. I don’t know Jenny but really admire her work ethic and her sportsmanship year after year.

The hard but good: A really important piece by Allison Schmitt on depression and the athlete. Although I’m sure the Olympic arena is an even more potent setup for depression and anxiety, it’s an ever-present issue at all levels of competition. Even at our own training camp last week, athletes offered stories about the depression, anxiety and stress that they had either experienced in the past or were currently experiencing. I spend a lot of time talking to people while coaching or doctoring and am acutely aware of how prevalent these issues are but it’s always amazing to hear my girls say things like “I didn’t know anyone else felt this way!”

Not sure I’m crazy about this: There seems to be a current obsession with eating clean, which in my not so humble opinion is just a synonym for disordered eating. One of my favorite blogging runners who I always admired for eating real food and having a normal body while running fast has recently fallen into this trap, shilling her “new style of clean eating” while posting pictures of her shrinking frame and lamenting her recent poor performances. This article seems to perpetuate a similar theme.  I think it makes total sense to make the bulk of your diet based on real foods (grains, fruits, veggies, proteins) but to do a juice fast or “meticulously” plan food just heads down a rabbit hole.

Finally, another important piece that I’ve thought about and talked about with female running friends recently in the light of another set of attacks that have left many of us (or at least, our mothers) on edge. I run alone almost all the time and often very early in the morning. When the attack in Massachusetts occurred, my sister sent me a text imploring me to be careful and I’ll admit, I pushed my morning run to the afternoon the next day because I was a little spooked by the whole scenario. The following morning, however, my alarm went off at 4:30 and off into the darkness I went, a move that was in some part a protest against the idea that I am inherently vulnerable by virtue of being female and a runner.

Recently Read: Inspiring Women All Around

No additional narrative is needed to share this beautiful piece about how running can save you, no matter when you discover it. That being said, the story about Ms. Keeling is an incredible testimony to the fact that it is never too late to start and that daily activity will extend your life both in years and quality.

I teared up reading this account of Bobbi Gibb’s first Boston Marathon out of an appreciation for the walls she knocked down for female distance runners without ever asking for glory or recognition. I’m thrilled that she served as Grand Marshal for this year’s event, where almost 50% of the participants were female.

Finally, a not running related article that I’ve shared with every single woman in medicine that I know. I don’t know the woman behind this blog but trust me that if I ever figure it out at a conference, I will hug a stranger for the first time. Her willingness to share her struggles and challenges as well as her advice has been enormously helpful in my own decision making process.

Recently Read: The Trials, The Trials and Thoughts from the Interwebs

The Trials are tomorrow and on everyone’s minds. In fact, I opted to work long call Sunday instead of mid call tomorrow so that I can give the Trials my full attention!

I loved this perspective from Mike Cassidy, who missed the Trials this time around. It’s so hard to see everyone arriving in LA and feel left out but it’s amazing to even FEEL left out, like it was within reach at all.

I also loved these stories from four women who aren’t competing for Olympic spots but are high level runners with real jobs. Full time professional runners are amazing but I’m more inspired by women who have real jobs too, as their experiences and training are a lot more similar to mine.

Rocking a singlet with Vermont on my right chest would be awesome! Patrick Rizzo’s suggestions for making the Olympic Trials Marathon more accessible and interesting to the general public are spot on. I’m skeptical that USATF will take note, but here’s hoping.

Skechers is sponsoring the LA Marathon this weekend, with something like 16 athletes running for them including Meb and Kara. Of note, they also signed a contract with Meb until 2023, long after his big racing days will be over (although with Meb, never say never). I love that they are sending a message that an athlete’s value is more than just their race performances.

I love the internet and I LOVE social media but I also see the dangers inherent in broadcasting only parts of your life and your day. No one is glamorous all of the time. I still haven’t mastered the selfie but rest assured, if I took one when I start my run at 3:30, it would be terrifying. As such, I like the point this woman was making with her recent Instagram post (although a little bit of irony given why she started her account in the first place…)

Finally, this article cracked me up because I am QUEEN of multitasking on the treadmill. I mastered the art of reading on the treadmill in college (Pro Tip: If you have a fat book or text book, a big binder clip does wonders to hold your pages open). This morning, I watched a board review video for my 6 mile run. I do understand where she’s coming from, however, as I feel that way about outside runs.

Recently Read: Orthorexia, Gender Equality and Mental Toughness

Although I have a lot of articles bookmarked this week, I don’t have anything bookmarked about the ongoing doping scandal or the provisional suspension of Russia by the IAAF. I have plenty of thoughts about it, but I haven’t found a way to put them into words that doesn’t just devolve into screaming. I imagine I’m not alone in this. For so many of us, running is pure and simple and scandals like the Nike/Salazar issue and like the systemic doping uncovered in Russia taint everything. It’s hard to look at the success of a runner now and not wonder “Is she doping?”

Orthorexia is an issue with which I’m highly concerned, especially with the proliferation of running and healthy lifestyle blogs. I’ve written about it before but was happy to see this article about the issue. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for healthy eating and fueling the body with real food, but not at the expense of balance or the development of an obsession.

We had QUITE the spirited debate in our house the other night about the issue of equality in running last Friday. With others, Kasie Enman has started a campaign to improve equality in distance running and nordic skiing. At the core of the issue are two facts: 1) teams are not always the same size and 2) distances are often shorter for women. On the first point, I’m in 100% agreement that the teams should be the same size. I cannot fathom why they are not besides some old argument that men are inherently more interesting to watch race than women. On the second, however, I disagree with Kasie and others who are calling for equal race distances and fall more in line with Lauren Fleshman’s view. Injury and eating disorders are extremely prevalent at the college level (in men too, see my sub-point in a moment) and that only goes from 5K to 6K for women. If women had to go from 5K to 8K over the course of the summer, the mileage required and the increase in workout length would increase injuries enormously. From another perspective, it would make developing college level talent difficult on high school coaches and recruiting a nightmare for college coaches. The athlete who is successful at the 5K may not have the ability to stretch out to the 8K. Furthermore, the athlete who excels at the 8K in cross country may not have the cross over to also be your middle distance runner in track. Joe’s perspective on the issue is that there isn’t a compelling reason NOT to have them be the same distance and Alex Hutchinson at Sweat Science agrees. Joe said it “sucked for guys to jump in distance, so why not have everyone do it.” While I don’t agree with spreading the misery just for the sake of fairness, perhaps there’s another way to achieve equality. Why not bring everyone down to the 6K?

Speaking of equality, I loved this YouTube video that kicks off the #covertheathlete campaign.

A great clip with Jenny Simpson about being calm at the starting line. As an athlete and coach, I’m always interested in tactics for race day zen and I loved her quote that This is home. It reminds me of the wisdom my captains brought to the team before the State Meet, gleaned from their leadership class: “Same race, different day.”

Finally, an article shared by my friend Annie who played lacrosse for UVM and still satisfies her need for competition by randomly showing up and running marathons about preparing for the end of a competitive career.

Recently Read: Youth Sports, the Trials as a BQ and Master’s Goals

  • I’m a huge advocate for lifelong activity, not only because I believe sports teach valuable lessons for surviving life’s obstacles but because obesity is a pathology that crosses over all walks of life and costs us enormously both financially and emotionally. Thus, I was interested to see new data on participation in youth sports and disheartened to see that overall participation has dropped. This is one of the reasons I love cross country; it’s not expensive to be a part of and there is a place for absolutely everyone.
  • Sometimes it’s difficult to explain to people that my goal is the Olympic Trials when I have no chance of making the actual Olympic Team. Although the by-line is a little offensive and the USATF quote is similarly obnoxious (The average marathon time in 2013 for women was 4:41, almost 2 hours slower than the OTQ at 2:43), this article does a decent job of capturing what the Olympic Trials Qualifier means to runners for whom the Boston Qualifier is not enough. I qualified for Boston by almost 20 minutes in my very first marathon but still wanted something to strive for and needing to shave 34 minutes off (I’ve taken 23 off to date) is my version of the BQ.
  • I joke that I’m really training for my masters career after I finish residency, so stories like this (and like Deena being top American at Chicago at 42) give me tons of hope!
  • I love this article about the purpose of education because it’s also spot on for the purpose of a high school sport. The score is NOT the main event. Showing up, working hard and pressing on when things don’t go your way IS the main event. Being accountable to teammates and coaches is the main event.

Week in Review 6.1.15 to 6.7.15

Monday: 8 miles around Spear Street.

Tuesday: Off Day, prorated to 8 miles.

Wednesday: Speed day. 3 by 400, 3 by 300, 3 by 200 at R pace with full recovery. Hip smarting big time but moving well on the track. 10.7 miles for the day. Legs afterward.

Thursday: 6.5 recovery miles in the humidity with Carl. Botox Clinic for the morning for kids with movement disorders. Reminded me to be grateful for every run.

Friday: Saw my first delivery!!! I didn’t expect to be unmoved by a new human entering the world but it was all I could do to not cry as he arrived. So much for being the professional! Oh, and ran 8 miles around Red Rocks.

Saturday: Tempo Workout between events at the State Meet. 4 by 5 minutes at T pace (6:31, 6:34, 6:40, 6:38). Felt super easy. 9.4 miles total.

Sunday: 15 mile long run. Somehow didn’t think I needed to bring fuel or water, which turned out to be a bad call.

Total Miles: 65.6

Really excited to get a decent week of mileage in. The weather was pretty amazing most days and I am getting a handle on my hips. I’m still not doing a great job of getting strength work in, so I need to make that a priority now that I’m back to normal mileage. I’ll be staying at 65 for the next two weeks so hoping that as I get used to this, I can build in more strength. I’ve been good about marching and drills, though, and feel like my form is getting better. I didn’t end up running the Capital City Stampede as planned because it coincided with the Vermont State Track Meet and let’s face it, I’d much rather watch my girls run than compete. I’ll be looking for a replacement race shortly, however.

I don’t have much constructive to add to the conversation about Alberto Salazar and Galen Rupp, except that I’m really glad that my excuse/way of explaining things has nothing to do with “pushing the envelope” on supplementation. I spent a good part of the week angry about the whole situation but ultimately I’m proud to run clean and to have teammates who do too. I hope that NOP gets investigated heavily and I welcome all the drug testing US Anti-Doping and WADA can bring to clean up our sport.

On a more cheerful note, a lovely piece by Natalie DiBlasio about finding your OWN fast and being proud of your progress.

Week in Review 5.25.15 to 5.31.15

First adaptation week done! This week was a pretty amazing week of running, helped in part by the night shift schedule that meant that I could do my runs first thing in the morning, rather than after a day of work. It was quite hot and humid (until today), so I also had the opportunity to do some summer adaptation!

Monday: 5.4 mile recovery run.

Tuesday: 6.7 mile run with Joe and Carl early morning with ridiculous humidity.

Wednesday: 7.4 mile hill workout. 86 degrees when I started! 7 by 45 seconds hard. Definitely felt much smoother this week although the heat was hard to deal with. Legs afterward.

Thursday: 5 mile recovery run.

Friday: 6.7 mile run with Prerace Shakeout. Arms afterward.

Saturday: Maybe the warmest (and slowest?) 5K of my life; 20:30 at the Craft Beer 5K. Such a fun day and great way to get my workout in. Winning a giant stein and Fastest Team was fun too!

Sunday: 12 mile long run in 48 degrees and rainy…Mother Nature is a little confused.

Total Miles: 50

Total May Miles: 234

Back up to normal mileage (low 60s) for this coming week. One of my biggest goals is to get my right hip to feel better; it’s been extremely tight and sometimes sore for a while now and I need to get a handle on it before harder workouts pick up. I think it takes a lot more of the workload than it should because of double surgeries on my left leg. To get things back to comfortable, the plan is:

a) Balance. Straight leg and bent leg balance on both sides to strengthen my hips and hopefully redistribute the load of running more evenly.

b) Stretch. Partner (aka Will) stretch the hamstrings, internal rotators and hip flexors. We spent 20 minutes on this this morning and it already felt better so I’ll be doing this routine twice a day until things loosen up.

c) Postural Restoration. I’ve been insanely lucky to have informal PT support from a team parent trained in Postural Restoration and over the years, he’s given me great exercises to do when I start to feel tight so I’ll be doing this routine again pre-run.

The other thing I’ll be experimenting with is trying to get my knees lifting a little higher. I am and likely will always be primarily a shuffler but if I’m going to get faster, I knee better knee lift. Before and after my runs, I’ll be starting to quick march for 30 seconds. I’ve had some success with this for other runners so I’m hoping it will help me too!

Finally, since I was on nights this week, I had a chance to do a little more internet reading between admissions. Here are the three things I found most interesting:

When track athlete Madison Holleran took her life last year, people felt that it was out of the blue in part because of a rosy image portrayed on social media. This article and its followup piece are a critical reminder for all of us that what we see online (and often what we choose to project) is not completely accurate. This is an issue that I continue to worry about as a coach and one that I’m still working on ways to address with my own athletes.

Speaking of young athletes, Mary Cain appears to have taken a break from NOP. I truly hope she’s okay and not injured or burnt out, but there is a large part of me that things that if she had only followed a more conservative trajectory, she wouldn’t be underperforming (for her) and now missing the outdoor track season.

Finally, it seems that strength training can give you 5K gains that just running cannot. I definitely agree that lifting is an enormously overlooked part of distance running, so I’m looking forward to trying to incorporate these findings into my coaching for the fall (since a huge number of my team are around 21:00 and 20:15 would be a whole different kettle of fish!)

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.

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…

 

Week in Review 3.16.15 to 3.22.15

Monday: The first day of third year did not go quite as planned. Woke up with another allergic reaction and spent most of my morning waiting to get more prednisone so I could open my eyes. 6.8 miles with striders at the end.

Really face, again?

Really face, again?

Tuesday am: 5 by 300 meters hard for a total of 6.3 miles. Loving this fast stuff!

Tuesday pm: 4 miles easy with legs afterward.

3 crockpots of corned beef for St. Paddy's Day.

3 crockpots of corned beef for St. Paddy’s Day.

Wednesday: 7.5 mile run, feeling great.

Thursday: Off day, prorate 6.2 miles.

Friday: Easy 5.5 plus striders.

Saturday: 10 by 400 meters in Lane 8 of the actual track! 80, 82, 81, 81, 82, 81, 83, 81, 82, 83. Psyched to see these times early in the Spring and in the crazy Burlington wind! 8.6 miles total with legs after.

There's little I love more than March Madness sadface. Just gonna play my piccolo as my team ruins brackets...

There’s little I love more than March Madness sadface. Just gonna play my piccolo as my team ruins brackets…

Sunday: I try never to be ungrateful for a run but this one just plain sucked. 10.3 miles in 10 degree temps and negative windchill. Again.

Total Miles: 55.2

Besides a miserable long run, this week went really well. I did lots of hip flexor stretching and am feeling almost 100% on that front, my workouts were both fast and efficient and I’m starting to feel really good. I have an adaptation week coming up and am looking forward to feeling the effects of a little rest on my speed. Maybe I’m not just a marathon runner after all!

This also kicks off my last week in Burlington until May. Next weekend I’ll be shoving off for Family Medicine in Lewiston, Maine. I’m anxious about most of that experience but spent a lot of time this week planning runs and finding places for workouts. I’m also excited to be able to do my long runs on the Eastern Trail, one of the most incredible places I’ve ever run. Well worth the hour drive to Portland!

Thanks to a lot of time in orientation this week, I also read the entire internet. Twice. Three articles made it into my bookmarks to share:

Western Mass Distance Project makes a statement: I’m not crazy about USATF in general right now and I share some of WMDP’s criticisms of USATF-NE. I’m a member of Olde Bones and we are members of USATF-NE right now because we need to be able to compete in some of their races, but it will be interesting to see if there’s any response.

Blake Russell: My fricken hero. She gives me hope that just because I’m 31, my career isn’t over next year. I hope I’m flying like her at 39.

Little heartstrings read from New Bedford. I love that race and loved this story too.