Week in Review: 3.20.17 to 3.26.17

Monday: 5 mile workout, half power of my usual 5-4-3-2-1 fartlek. Legs felt pretty clunky. Lifted legs afterward.

Tuesday: 3.8 mile recovery run with the dogs.

Wednesday: 7 mile workout, 4 by 5 at tempo pace with 60 seconds between. Felt pretty good.

Thursday: 4.3 miles. Legs tired!

Friday: Hour of cross country skiing with the dogs; new snow and leaving for the weekend? Needed exhausted dogs.

Saturday: Travel to Asheville. Lots of walking but no run.

Sunday: 3 mile Asheville hill classic. Great to be back. Tons of walking as well.

Total Miles: 23.1

Lots of good news this week. First, I found a house!!!!!! My mom and I spent a busy 36 hours in Asheville looking for houses and by Sunday night, I found an amazing one. Interestingly, it was the smallest one I looked at but it used the space well, has a perfect location and is a great setup for dogs. One of other parameters I used to evaluate places was ability to run. Although the new house sits on top of a hill (it’s Ridge Street, after all), it has great access to all sorts of running and even a greenway that is under construction.

Second, I’m cleared to lift and workout fully (as tolerated). I saw my fabulous breast surgeon yesterday and she cleared me for all exercise AND the surgical pathology confirmed that I had a sclerosing papilloma which means that it was a benign tumor. All great news.

This week, I’m back to reality. As I said last week, Unplugged has gone from a race to a supported workout for me so I’m training through it. I have a combination workout on the schedule for tonight and a long run planned for Saturday. In between will be easy workouts, just trying to get a base underneath me.

 

Spring 2017 Racing Schedule

For many reasons, the last year has not been an optimal one for targeting races. From away rotations to interview travel to surgery, it’s been a whole lot of two steps forward, one step back. On top of that, I didn’t know where we were moving in May, so it was difficult to aim forward at any race. Now that I know we’re heading to Asheville however, I’m ready to plan!

I’m still not able to run a ton without discomfort so I had to adjust Unplugged from a goal race to a workout. I hate running races as workouts. First, I think it’s a cop out that people use. Second, I think that even if you’re not using it as a pre-made excuse, it’s difficult to execute your workout plan and not get caught up in the race. That being said, I’m going to try to make Unplugged a valuable workout although I haven’t decided if I’ll do a progression run or a steady state run.

After that, however, I’ll be gearing up for the Asheville Half in June. What better way to kick off life in my new city!! This is a hilly half and I expect it to be warm, so I’ll be adjusting my training to prepare for the hills and hope that I’ll have enough time to adjust to the heat.

April 8th: Unplugged Half Marathon

April 22nd: Rollin Irish Half Marathon (super hill, muddy race)

April 20th: Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race (Trail 10K)

June 3rd: Asheville Half Marathon

After Asheville, my first task is to adjust to a new town and build a good base and coming up with a training plan that allows me to get good workouts in AND be an intern.

Week in Review 3.13.17 to 3.19.17

Monday: 2 miles easy. Downhill skied.

Tuesday: 2.5 miles easy. Downhill skied again as Stella rolled in. Shoveled the first foot of snow in the evening.

Wednesday: Shoveled the second foot of snow (and the next 6 inches). Downhill skied in the most amazing powder ever.

Thursday: 3 mile run easy.

Friday: Match Day!

Saturday: 45 minute nordic ski at Catamount.

Sunday: 5.75 mile run outdoors.

Total Miles: 13.2

The first big news is that we Matched!!! We will be heading to Asheville NC and Greenville SC for our General Surgery and Emergency Medicine residencies respectively. We were incredibly lucky to interview at a whole host of amazing institutions and are looking forward to starting our careers in the Blue Ridge.

To see just how excited I was, here’s a great video my friend Jack got of the whole shebang:

We also got an INCREDIBLE snowstorm on Tuesday and Wednesday that dropped 30 inches on Burlington and an insane 58 inches at Bolton Valley, which is where I am lucky enough to have my pass. I spent the first three days of the week bombing around on my skis and Wednesday was easily the best day of skiing of my entire life.

I was also able to start doing some easy running this week. I was doing well and excited to get back to normal running…and then my steri-strips fell off which leaves my incision in direct contact with my sports bra. I did finally get 6 miles outdoors in today and although I felt 100% out of shape, it was good to get out there.

One of the nicest things about knowing where I’ll be for residency is being able to plan upcoming races! I now have my schedule set through June and have even been doing some longer range planning for my fall sub 2:50 marathon.

For this week, I’m trying to get back into regular training while also listening to my body. At this point, it’s clear that Unplugged is going to be a training run but I’m hoping to set myself up such that it can be a great workout as well.

Week in Review: 3.6.17 to 3.12.17

Monday: I didn’t have high expectations for this run. I’d been sick and expected to basically survive this. Instead, I had a darn good run! Warmed up then 2 by 2 mile at tempo pace on the track. First set was 6:32 pace, second set was 6:23 pace. Both felt totally in control.

Tuesday: Surgery Day. Didn’t do much besides sleep in the OR, sleep in PACU and sleep on my couch.

Wednesday: Back to class. Short walk with the dogs.

Thursday: Light arm lift with resistance band workout from here.

Friday: Hour walk in the woods with the dogs.

Saturday: 20 minute uphill (10% grade) walk on the treadmill and at-home Barre routine from here. 

Sunday: 20 minute jog on treadmill. Light arms and legs.

Total Miles: 10.3

I had no expectations that this week would be a big one for running. My hope was that I could get a little physical activity in for sanity and heal up so I can get back running soon. I attempted to run on Saturday but a few steps in, knew that it was too soon and settled for an uphill treadmill walk. Today, I was able to do an easy jog.

My restrictions are 1) no strenuous activity and 2) no lifting anything heavier than a milk carton. The latter is pretty objective, the former not so much. What is strenuous? For me, a jog isn’t technically strenuous but perhaps it is on a new scar. I chose (and this is NOT medical advice) to let pain or discomfort be my guide. If anything felt off, I had to stop doing it. I’ll continue that plan through this week. Suffice to say that New Bedford looks to be out of the question. I’m adding some other local races, however, in hopes that I’ll heal quickly enough for those.

There have been two major upsides from this week, however, besides the obvious of a safe, successful surgery. The first is that since I haven’t been running, I’ve had a ton of time to deal with my to-do list. I’m psyched to say that today, I finished a first draft of my manuscript and that by Tuesday at noon, my goal is to have a completely.empty.to do list. Can you imagine?!?

The second upside is that I’ve had to be creative about lifting options and came across some really fun (but really hard) low weight ones. If you think you’re in shape, I encourage you to try to resistance band one. In full disclosure, there was no way I could do 100 of the lying pullovers. I did 50 and literally couldn’t do another one.

The other exciting news for the week is that it’s MATCH WEEK!!!! Tomorrow at 11 am, we find out if we matched via a cryptic email that just says yes or no. On Friday at noon, we have a big ceremony at school (as do all 4th year medical students) where we open envelopes and find out where we’ll be going for Residency. I think I’ll breathe a sign of relief tomorrow at 11 but I have a feeling it’s going to be a long week.

Product Review: Lumo Run

As I shared in January, I was lucky enough to be selected to be a Lumo Run ambassador for the next year which means that I got my own sensor for use for free AND have codes to pass along for all interested.

I will admit that at first, I was nervous to wear the Lumo Run. After all, did I really want to know exactly what things I was doing wrong while I was running?! After my first run, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that in fact, my running form isn’t all that bad. You may recall my embarrassment last year during my track 10,000 when a woman yelled “stop shuffling and run!!” as I went by. In first place. The truth is, we could all probably use a little help and for me, Lumo Run is a much more private way to improve.

The Lumo Run is a tiny sensor that clips onto the back of your shorts or tights and just hangs out there while you run. For your first run, you do need to run with your phone to calibrate, but after that you can run with just the sensor or the sensor and your phone for instant updates and suggestions. I never run with a phone, so I sync up afterwards which probably diminishes a tiny bit of the benefit that I could be enjoying.

Approximately the same size as a chapstick.

Lumo Run measures five key categories for efficient running: cadence, braking, bounce, pelvic rotation and pelvic drop. Once it identifies your weak areas, it suggests exercises to help improve your statistics in those areas. For those who use it on with a phone, it can also provide suggestions and corrections throughout your run.

For me, my biggest issue has been braking, which is how much you slow down with every step. Although this is often associated with people who overstride (which is not my issue with my teeny, tiny choppy steps), I’m willing to bet my patented shuffle is creating a similar issue. To work on this, I’ve been doing ankle rolls before every run and recently, had a longer run where all my metrics were in line! Interestingly, this long run was on a car free bike path with no curbs or potholes, which may have something to do with my confidence moving more smoothly over a surface. I did wear it the other day on a trail run, but it was out of batteries so I’ll have to test my theory again later.

This tool is a great one for runners of all abilities. For new runners, it can help with common issues like bounce. For runners with weak hips, it can help reinforce good habits and reduce drop. For runners who haven’t done speed work in a while or are primarily trail runners, it can help encourage a more efficient cadence. What I love most is that your data are kept private if you want to which allows you to improve without feeling totally self-conscious. If you are a someone who runs with their phone, then this tool is practically indispensable for you.

If you want to try out a LumoRun, you can buy one here and with code SM10, you can get $10 off the price of the sensor.

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.

Mass

No amount of medical training can prepare you to absorb the words, “we found a mass in your breast.” I am a healthy 33 year old with little family history of cancer and although I by no means think I’m infallible, if you told me I’d start 2017 with a breast biopsy and the placement of a bead for annual followup, I wouldn’t have believed you.

So that the few people who know me personally exhale, let me skip to the punchline first: the mass is benign and everything is a-ok. The pathology came back as a sclerosing papilloma, which is the most common breast mass in women in my age group.

***The rest of this is a little TMI, so feel free to skip.***

This all started in August, when I was in Chapel Hill for a girls weekend with friends and woke up to find that there was blood on my sheets and shirt from my nipple. At the time, I discounted it as terrible chafing from my sports bra. KC and I had run the day before in 104 degree humidity and every other square inch of my body was chafed, so I didn’t worry about it and didn’t say anything to KC or Lindsey. Everything was fine for a couple of weeks and then it started happening rather regularly. Sometime in the fall, I also started having intermittent stabbing pain, usually with movement but sometimes just laying in bed. Without laying too much blame, it took some time to get into my PCP’s office because they were in a transition and I was away for interviews.

I had my mammogram and ultrasound at the end of December. Public Service Announcement: I had heard horror stories about mammograms and they are false. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, it’s awkward. But it’s never painful and it’s so worth it. Get yours. The mammogram was normal but the ultrasound revealed a mass in my right breast and warranted a biopsy and placement of a bead so that the mass could be tracked for either surgery or further monitoring. A few people have asked if I was scared and to be completely honest, I wasn’t. Somewhere between Katrina relief and medical school, I’ve stopped trying to control things I can’t control and this situation fell firmly in that range for me. I knew that the chances of it being malignant were low and I also knew that the Breast Cancer Center at UVM was incredible and that I was in the best hands possible.

Telling my husband, parents and sister, however, was horrible. Will lost his mother to breast cancer when he was in high school and she was diagnosed in her early 30s. He has been great through the whole process but I can’t help but imagine that this dredged up a lot of things he didn’t want to remember. My family was fantastic and I did my best to prepare them for what was most likely (and what was the worst case scenario).

Will was away for an interview so my mom took me to my biopsy on January 2nd. The team at the BCC was incredible; they are kind, caring and just the nicest people you could ask to undergo this with. The biopsy wasn’t too bad, just a ton of pressure. The placement of the bead, however, gave me an appreciation for 10/10 pain. In a classic Sarah move, I thought I was fine, went out to the waiting room to wait…and promptly vasovagaled down and had to go lay down again. Things went well after that but unfortunately, I had quite a bit of bleeding from the biopsy and formed a large hematoma which earned me a breast binder. It is exactly what it sounds like…the nurses wrestled me into it and I went home to recover.

Because a hematoma is a deep bruise that needs some help to drain, I had to wear the breast binder for a few weeks. The worst part of the breast binder was the inability to expand my lungs. The second worst part was that it makes you stand up incredibly straight. Both of these things made it virtually impossible to ski or run normally, so I skied slowly with poor form and didn’t do much running.

What it took to run or ski…and yes, the breast binder is pink and flowery. Don’t get me started.

The pathology (cell type and behavior) came back as a sclerosing papilloma which essentially means that the cells were normal but they were stacking up on themselves to make this nice little mass in one of my ducts. Because mine is symptomatic and because it’s large and unlikely to stop bleeding on its own, I’ll be having surgery on March 7th to remove it. It’s a straightforward surgery and I don’t even have to have general anesthesia but I can’t run for a week afterward because I’ve already demonstrated that I like to bleed. The long term bummer is that I won’t be able to breast feed on that side due to scarring.

So why share this on a running blog? First, because I am a split inch from being a doctor and I want everyone to pay attention to their preventative health. Second, because I attributed this to running and chafing and easily could have continued that had I not had my background in medicine. And third, because it changes the way I will be approaching my training for New Bedford. Provided I don’t have any complications, I will now be running New Bedford as a long workout in preparation for the Unplugged Half in April. Because I need to take a week off after surgery, it just doesn’t make sense to force myself to try to get a race effort in at New Bedford. I may feel totally fine and get a great workout in or I may have pain and need to just back off and do it as a workout.

Good Eats: Lemon Couscous, Raisin Bran Muffins and Thug Kitchen

Finishing interview season has been a bit like coming up for air after trying to swim the length of a pool. It took me a week to figure out how to live at home again but once I did, I was right back to menu planning and recipe experimentation.

The first thing that has been rocking my world is the Thug Kitchen 101 cookbook. If you haven’t heard about Thug Kitchen yet, it’s this awesome vegan cookbook (no, I’m not vegan but I like vegetables) with expletives throughout. Totally entertaining way to cook. Anyway, Joe got this for Will for Christmas and in the style of TK, we have been cooking the **** out of it. At $12 on Amazon, get it and be open minded. Goodness knows we could all eat more veggies…Things we’ve loved so far:

  • French Crushed Chickpea and Artichoke Heart Salad
  • Sun-dried Tomato Carbonara
  • Creamy Squash Mac and Cheese with Hot Sauce Bread Crumbs (feeds an army, just FYI)
  • Red Curry Noodes (our first recipe and omg…I was in love and I don’t even LIKE curry)
  • Quinoa Taco Mix (fed this to teenagers and grown men who only eat meat with no complaints)

The next recipe I made was a Lemon Couscous Cucumber Salad to accompany Chicken Picatta. Since we are 100% moving in May, we have started the extremely painful process of trying to clean out our house which includes our cabinets, fridges and freezers. As such, I came across a jar of capers and a bag of Israeli couscous and voila. For the chicken, I had chicken cutlets in the freezer already and didn’t bother with buying full breasts and butterflying; if you’re averse to that kind of prep like I am, I can attest that cutlets were equally delicious and cooked in about 2 minutes.

Finally, I made the boys two dozen Raisin Bran muffins with some stale cereal that’s been haunting the cupboards for months. I made mine with almond milk instead of buttermilk (lactose hurts at least half the house) and added in a half cup of dried cranberries to up the fruit content. Mostly because I didn’t pre-read the instructions and the over was already preheated, I skipped the 45 minutes to let the cereal soften. No one seems to be complaining and there are only 8 muffins left less than 24 hours after they came out of the over.

Product Review: Honey Stinger Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Protein Bar

After my scathing review of the Soleus watch last week, I figured I’d better redeem myself with a far more positive post. As I shared earlier this year, I was lucky to join the Honey Stinger hive earlier this year and I do get a discount on their goods. Beyond that, this is not a sponsored post and I’m not getting any additional compensation.

Anyway, as I’m back on the wards now (on late call today which means anything from a 6:30 to a 10 pm departure from the hospital. Blech), I wanted to find some snacks that were easy to stash in my coat or pockets but offered some nutritional staying power. When I found out that Honey Stinger made protein bars, I ordered a box of Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond but prepared myself that I might not like them. I tend to find protein bars too chalky for my taste or way too much for a simple snack. I can’t do the meal replacement bar thing; my brain demands “real” food so if I eat a 500 calorie protein bar, I’m still hungry for dinner.

Simply put, these are fricken delicious. Like, really, really good. They don’t taste fake at all and the combination of chocolate, cherry and almond feels way more like a candy bar than a protein bar. I’ve thrown them in every bag and coat I own and made it through some crazy days of early morning run to wards to nordic practice to the alpine hill thanks to these bars.

Nutritionally speaking, they are a great balance of fats (8 g), proteins (10 g) and carbs (19 g) in a 180 calorie package. Because of this, they are a versatile choice for pre or post workout or a snack between meals. Right now, I’m primarily using them as an afternoon snack to get me through practice and to dinner. I can see myself using them as a quick breakfast in a pinch, however, paired with a piece of fruit and bottle of Nuun.