Further to my post yesterday, I haven’t had any extended time off from my practice since July, 2014. When my receptionist pointed that out to me, I was kind of surprised. I’ve taken a few long weekends here and there but yeah, I haven’t really had a break from my job in well over a year.
It’s no wonder I’m a little cranky.
My older colleagues regularly take a month off every summer and at least a week or two in the winter. They can afford to do so as their children are now all grown up and out of the house. I am not in that position yet. I still have a mortgage and other debt to pay off and I wonder sometimes if I ever will?
I love my job but it’s hard to listen to other people’s problems day in and day out. Most of the time I can help solve the problem; here’s an antibiotic for tonsillitis; here’s a pill for your awful irregular periods, or here’s a great physiotherapist for your chronic ankle sprain. If that was the extent of the problems I would be fine without a regular holiday. But it’s not like that in family medicine. In family medicine I see the wife who found out her husband is having an affair; I see the schizoaffective patient off their meds; I see the teenager with anger management issues displaying cluster B traits (borderline personality disorder) who bounces from one psych unit t to the next; I see the elderly woman with memory problems who doesn’t remember she has memory problems.
I am privy to the knowledge that a wife plans to leave her husband, who is also my patient and is about to be blindsided. I am privy to the knowledge of a history of horrific childhood abuse and the subsequent psychological damage that does to a person. I am privy to the knowledge that a 40-something year old man really wants to be a woman.
It is a privilege to be these people’s family physician, it really is.
I’ve been in a funk lately and it’s really starting to annoy me.
I’ve been struggling with a groin strain, likely an overuse injury from running. My hip flexors are not happy with me and despite active release therapy and a week of rest, it still isn’t better. I ran for the first time this week after 8 days off and by the end of the short and pathetically slow 3 km, I was having discomfort. I’m even feeling the discomfort walking around today. The half-marathon is 3 months away and I am seriously considering selling my bib as I feel like this just isn’t going to get better.
I also suddenly realized that I desperately need a vacation. I have two weeks off coming up and am looking forward to it but it will hardly be that restful with three kids in the country. I shouldn’t complain. I know that. The kids have been waiting for our annual trip to the cottage we rent and they are going to have such a fun time. I just don’t anticipate feeling all that rested when I return.
I woke up this morning to find that some a#**@e ripped out a stalk of my beautiful sunflowers. Why would someone do that? Makes me want to pack up my house and move. This is the second time this month that my garden has been vandalized. I love my neighborhood but there are some unsavory characters just a block or two in all directions from my house and it’s disconcerting to know they are walking the streets at nighttime messing with my flowers. I really love those sunflowers.
I thought I’d feel better after writing this all down.
Ah summer. Late nights sipping wine on the deck. Kids sound asleep by 7pm.
Oh right. That was just a dream.
While I generally love summertime, since becoming a mother I quietly detest the longer daylight hours. Who in their right minds would willingly want to go to bed when the sun is still shining? Certainly not my brood.
Yet, the downside is a cranky child …er, children, who are completely unreasonable when tired. And loud. Oh my God, loud.
And the loudest is the baby. Not so much a baby anymore. He’ll be 2 in the fall and he might as well be 5. He screeches louder than the older two and for longer. He can reach pitches even the most well-trained operatic singers probably can’t reach.
I just want them all to rest. To sleep. And to shut.the.fuck.up.
When I woke up this morning, I noticed my phone had 10% charge left. Neither husband nor I could locate the charger so I quickly texted my receptionist and told her I would be unreachable for the morning. I didn’t feel comfortable not having access to the office, but I knew there were other physicians working today that would cover for me if anything urgent happened. I also told husband that I would be unreachable, so as to not worry if he texted me for any reason and I didn’t respond. Honestly, it felt a little weird not having a usable phone.
I had planned on taking local transit to see my patient and brought along a book I’ve been reading – “The Secret Language of Doctors” – but on the seat next to me was a local news magazine so I picked that up instead, flipped to the back and started working on the Sudoku puzzle. After a few minutes and a few numbers figured out, I got frustrated and moved on to the crossword puzzle.
Now, I’ve never actually completed a crossword puzzle. In.My.Life. I get one or two clues and then I get stuck. I never felt smart enough for those things. As my colleague told me later, I probably just didn’t think “out of the box” enough. Well to my huge surprise, I finished the crossword puzzle on my way back to work. I cannot begin to express the utter astonishment and the feeling of total supreme awesomeness I felt for managing that feat. I felt like a freakin’ superstar.
A crossword puzzle.
A useless iPhone.
Note to self: Let your iPhone die every once in a while. You might surprise yourself.
Back in January, I accepted a challenge from a fellow doctor mother runner blogger to run 1000 km in 2015. I can hardly believe that six months have passed. It’s been a pretty eventful six months, I have to say. I never thought I’d ever run a race and I have done three this year already. I am definitely doing one more (have already signed up) and might sign up for another one. I guess you could say I caught the racing fever.
Here’s a breakdown of my monthly mileage to date:
January – 77.5 km
February – 49.4 km
March – 73.1 km
April – 81.1 km
May – 87.5 km
June – 68.2 km
…. and the six month grand total is 436.8 km.
Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
I feel I have overcome a lot in these past six months – shin splints, SI joint issues, weak glutes, etc. I’ve done a lot of work on getting stronger by introducing weights and working with my pilates instructor on fine-tuning my strength training.
For the first time I really think I might actually run 1000 km this year. With my half-marathon training getting underway I am trying to make my weekday runs a little bit longer (5-7 km) than they have been (normally 3-5 km) and aiming for a long run every 7-10 days. If I can accomplish this without getting hurt then I could very well reach that goal.
Boy, is this ever true. I never believed it until yesterday.
I still can’t quite believe I finished my 15 km race. I have run 15 km twice before; the first was just a 15 km long, slow distance run and the second was during my last long training run of 18 km.
I decided to sign up for this 15 km race right after the 10 km race in May. Since I finished that race, I started flirting with the idea of earning 4 running medals this year – 5K, 10K, 15K and 21.1K. Yesterday’s race seemed like the perfect choice. The race course was along a trail I have run before, it was close to my house and looked like a lot of fun. Challenging, for sure, as it had a few small hills as well.
I got up two hours before the start. Baby boy was just starting to stir but everyone else was still asleep. I got a ride with my neighbor who was also running. It was a beautiful morning, a little cool and overcast with the threat of rain. Honestly, the conditions were perfect.
The start was tough. Psychologically tough. There were no corrals. All the 15k runners started at the same time. I should have started near the back, but I made my way closer to the front. I’m not sure why. Excitement? Anyway, it was a big mistake. Runner after runner started passing me. I tried to move over to the right but it was hard. They just kept flying by me. By 2km it felt like I was running alone. I felt suddenly defeated and couldn’t stop thinking I would place last and I really felt like a failure. For a little while I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was out of my league. But somehow I soldiered on knowing there was no way I was going to DNF (did not finish).Things started to change a few hundred meters after making the turn at 5 km. I noticed that I wasn’t the last 15k runner and my spirits lifted. As I approached the half way point, my Nike app was telling me that my average pace was improving. It was around the 8 km point that I realized my hips were starting to ache. I decided I just had to run through the ache. It wasn’t pain but they were definitely telling me that they were tired. I felt this same ache during the last 2 km of my 18 km training run two weeks ago and I’m thankful I did. I kept telling myself that if I could finish 18 km I couldn’t certainly finish 15 km.
I also started to notice that I passed a few runners who had been ahead of me for most the first half of the race. Suddenly I realized that I wasn’t going to finish last. Sure, I’d be in the pack of final runners, but I wouldn’t finish last. I think this is when I got my second wind.
At 10 km I checked my time – my first 15 km run before this race I completed in 1:49:32; during the 18 km training run, I reached 15 km in 1:52:59. I knew I could finish this run a little faster if I kept up my pace. I dug real deep and ran full tilt to the finish (even with my scheduled walk breaks!). There were some people who were running in their friends with 150m to go. They were really motivating and I stole from them to cross the finish line.
I really understand the concept of a “Personal Record” and a “Personal Best” now. I wasn’t running against anyone but myself and I almost felt like quitting when the little devil on my shoulder told me I was out of my league. I ignored that voice and persevered.
Yesterday I set my own PR and PB. And damn if that doesn’t feel good.