MInd/Matter

Day 15 – National Blog Posting Month

I haven’t run in a week. After the half-marathon I didn’t take a break, I just kept going. I ran 10 km a week later and my body started tell me to slow down. Of course, I didn’t listen.  The nagging ache in my calves didn’t let up. The nagging ache in my SI joint started nagging me more. The writing was on the wall.  I needed a rest.

So, for the past week I rested.  I laid off the weights and got on the stationary bike once for 35 minutes. Last night, for the first time in 8 days, I did some upper body weights. I plan on a short 3-5 km run this afternoon.  A week off the running may not be enough physically for my body to rest but my mind needs to get back out there.

When I run I think. Sometimes I think about a recent patient and go over the history, physical exam and lab findings and think of other diagnoses that might have eluded me at the time.  Often I just process my day so that I can leave it on the pavement and start fresh tomorrow. More often than not, it’s a chance for me to have quiet time to reflect on everything and nothing. I guess you could say it’s a form of therapy.

Mind over matter.

Owning It.

I am still riding the high from my race. I feel like a little hypocrite though. I said many times to many people, that I wasn’t going to ever enter a race and I really thought I wouldn’t. It’s not that I’m not a competitive person – I certainly am, and I’m sure others would agree.  I just never felt very competitive in an athletic sense.  Part of the reason I never considered a race is because I always thought that’s just why people run – to train for something.  I have never felt that I needed a race as an end-goal to run. I’ve always been pretty disciplined and to keep things interesting, I started setting little goals – run 5 km, get up to 7 km, now do 10 km, etc. My friends would also try to change my mind but I was pretty stubborn – I think I wanted to be that one person who didn’t run a race, I don’t know.  I’m also not a person who likes to run with a group.  One or two people, sure I’ve done that and it’s fun; but running with a few hundred strangers?  Yeah, no thanks.

I discovered early on that I just like going for a run to clear my head, to get some exercise and to keep fit. But then I started getting hurt and quickly learned  that in order to keep running and avoid injury I had to do some other kind of cross-training.  Over the past few months I started doing more weights at home, and especially weighted quad sets, in order to get stronger legs.  The extra little bit has started to pay off –  I am running a little faster, I recover more quickly and have had less injuries.

I’m going to own that hypocrisy now. I kind of, sort of really liked running with all those people.  I thought it was pretty cool that there were spectators along the route ringing cowbells and encouraging us.  It was even inspiring to see the half-marathoners encouraging us as we approached the last kilometer of the 5k race.  “You’re almost there! Run! Run!”  I’m getting chills now just thinking about it. I thought that was pretty amazing.

And let’s be real here – I’ve had three children and weigh 20 lbs more than I did the day I got married.  Pregnancy and childbirth change a woman’s body, more than I ever realized.  While I would love to be the weight I was on my wedding day, the way my body shape has changed, I would probably look really unhealthy and anorexic.  A more realistic goal was to eventually get down to my last pre-pregnancy weight.  That has proven to be more difficult than I first imagined and I’m not even sure it’s ever going to happen.  So the next goal I set was to fit into a particular pair of jeans that I was wearing before I got pregnant with my third child.  I have tried to ignore the scale (so much easier said than done), but when there’s one a few feet from my office, it gets hard.

Over the past several weeks I have a number of patients (all women, and all fairly new moms) comment on how fit I’ve been looking and I’ve heard several times, “Wow, doc, have you lost weight?”  Usually I reply with a quick and embarrassed,  “Oh, gee, thank you”, and ask what brings them in in the hopes of redirecting.  More often than not, my question gets ignored and I am asked how I do it, how do I find the time with work and having 3 children? While I really try not to spend the first few minutes of their appointment discussing myself, I think it’s important for some patients to hear this.  My first answer is always that I have a stay-at-home-baby-daddy.  Without his support and encouragement and his sacrifice (though he would never call it that) to stay home with the kids, a lot of things might be different.  (I can’t imagine what pick ups and drop offs would be like if we both worked, not to mention finding the time to exercise?!) The second part of my answer is that I run. It’s the purest form of exercise I have ever done and it’s quick and cheap.  I run home from work at least once, maybe twice a week; husband and I alternate running on the weekend. If I go on Saturday, he goes Sunday or vice versa.  Then I always get asked if I diet. The answer is always no.  We try to eat healthy during the week with salads, veggies and fish or chicken but we often splurge on the weekend with steaks and other fun foods (ie chicken wings, pizza, fries, beer and wine).  I know what my weaknesses are and its primarily dessert.  We don’t have dessert after dinner anymore.  I might have something sweet after lunch at work but I justify that with a run home afterwards.  So basically what I tell patients is that I run so that I can still eat what I want.  Now, I realize that the majority of people can’t do that, so I continue by saying that eating healthy, well-balanced, portion-controlled meals and having some form of daily exercise (even if it’s walking or taking the stairs instead of the elevator) can go a long way to keeping fit and staying healthy.  Fad diets never seem to work long-term. They can be taxing on one’s system and the rigidity of some of these diets just can’t be sustained over time.

I’m fortunate enough that I’ve never had to resort to a diet, unless cutting back on dessert is dieting. For me, running works and for now I’m going to stick with it.  And maybe I’ll run a few races a year for fun because why not?  My ultimate goal (and yes, I realize it’s a bit shallow) has always been to wear my favorite jeans again.  Despite what the scale may say, I have reached that goal. And running got me there.

 

 

 

Hell Froze Over.

I signed up for a race.

My friend posted a picture of a race medal that was quite pretty. I foolishly commented on the picture and a day later I found myself registering for a 5km race.

What the heck?

For 2 years I said I was never going to run a race. I don’t need to race. I don’t need the medals. I just love running for the fitness and the rush I get when I finish.  I never felt the need to train for a race to keep me motivated, I just run because I want to run.

Yet, here I am, registered for a 5k race in 10 days.

My friend Jedi-mind-tricked me into doing it. She really did.  “It’ll be fun.” “No pressure!” “Don’t make me do it alone!”

htd02

 

Husband says I had better win it.  Ha ha!  As if! (He’s joking.)

What have I gotten myself into?

 

 

Cittius, Altius, Fortius.

January 1, 2015.

Welcome to a new year at the Urban Dr. Mom.  I stopped making new year resolutions a long time ago.  I learned that I am unlikely to really change who I am or what I like to do so making a pledge to myself to try to stop doing something seemed silly.

Instead I set goals.  I set my sights on something and go for it, I don’t try to take something else away.  This year I am going to be stronger, faster, more fit. I am going to run 21.1 km. I am going to spend as much time with my friends as I can. I am going to be more patience with my children. I am going to be me. I am going to be free.

It’s going to be an amazing year.

I started it off with a 5 km run.  It wasn’t a “resolution run“.  It was just a run. My body needed to go. I listen to my body. There are days when I just don’t want to run and there are days when I can’t stop thinking about a run so I go out and do one.  Today was one of those days.  Despite the mild hangover and the sore throat and the bitter cold wind, I suited up and did what had to be done.

Faster.

Higher.

Stronger.

Look out!

A Good Place.

I am in a great place right now.

Home life is the best it’s ever been, the kids are wonderful each in their own special ways, and my husband, well, I would kiss the ground he walks on every day if I didn’t think it would inflate his ego too much.  Ha ha!  He’s an incredible husband and father and I am so blessed to have him.

Work is keeping me mentally quite busy and I love it.  I am staying more focused at work than I ever have been before. I think being so busy really is a blessing in disguise. After the experience I had visiting my patient at home the day before he died, I’ve been thinking a lot about doing more palliative care, probably when the kids are a bit older( as it will involve more call). I am excited to see how my medical practice is going to evolve in the coming years.

And running  –  running is making me feel healthier everyday, both from a physical and mental standpoint.  My injuries have worked themselves out and aside from a few minor aches in the lower legs, the injuries seem to be staying away. I’ve enjoyed each and every single one of my runs lately, and am slowing working on increasing my intervals.  I haven’t been running any hills because I really don’t want to get re-injured.  I am sticking with 3-4 runs a week and while I would love to do more, I think it’s a mistake to overdo it.  I wrote before that I wasn’t going to focus on distance, but let’s be honest, I have a little bit of the typical type-A personality and once I set my mind on something, I have to go through with it and see it to the end, even if it kills me.  So yeah, I’m determined to reach my distance goal of running 10 km.  Now, this won’t be a straight 10km run or anything; I will always run intervals because it’s what works for me.  Maybe in a year or two, I’ll get adventurous but for now, interval running is what I’m doing.

So, after taking my daughter to school yesterday, I went for a beautiful morning run before the heat set in.  I didn’t have any specific distance in mind but as I got moving I realized I might be able to do a longer run.  The music I was listening to kept me going and I enjoyed myself immensely.  My thoughts drifted, but I realized something important.

I love myself.

I am finally free.download

Bad News Bear.

There’s an aspect of being a doctor that never gets easy and that is delivering bad news.

In medical school we take a course called “Breaking Bad News“, but nothing prepares you for actually having to do it.

I’ve had my family practice for 7 years and have been practicing medicine for almost 10. I can still remember every single time I’ve had to give bad news.

  • While working at a walk-in clinic, over the Christmas holidays, I had to tell a woman she had pancreatic cancer.
  • In my first year of family practice, I told a woman she had cervical cancer.
  • In my second year of family practice, I felt a pancreatic mass in a 55-year-old woman; she lived for 4 years after that. I attended her funeral.
  • Three years ago, I felt a very abnormal prostate gland and new instantly the patient had prostate cancer.
  • A young woman, believed to be about 3 months pregnant came in for an unrelated matter and asked if we could listen to the heartbeat. She’d seen her midwife the previous week and they couldn’t find it.  Neither could I.  An ultrasound a few hours later confirmed what I already knew.  She’d suffered a miscarriage but didn’t know it.
  • There was an older woman who came to see me for chest pain. She had been coughing from a cold and had a lot of chest wall pain. An x-ray showed multiple rib fractures. Spontaneous rib fractures.  A week later, after sending her for a series of blood tests, I diagnosed Mulitple Myeloma.
  • Sometimes a diagnosis of chlamydia can be devastating.  It certainly was in the 31-year-old married woman who came in for a routine Pap.  Sadly, my bad news was instrumental in her later ending her marriage.
  • My first week back to work, I told a man he most likely had kidney cancer.  Welcome back!

Every time I have to deliver bad news I am reminded how fortunate I am and how fortunate my patients are for living in a country where, when its required, they have access to timely health care.  None of the above patients waited for more than a week or two to see a specialist.  Sadly, not everyone survives after being given bad news. I haven’t had to do it very often, but when I do, it affects me personally.  Often I can’t sleep for a few days.  Sometimes I worry (often unnecessarily) that I missed the boat and should have caught the illness at an earlier stage.  Anything else going on in my life suddenly seems not to matter for a while.

Bad news bear.

Sometimes that’s me.

 

 

I’m Succumbing..

To what?

This running culture.

I keep track of how far I run.

I set little goals for myself every time I go out.

I don’t run with one App, I now run with two.

I take a picture at the end of my run and add the stats at the bottom.  Like this, today:

thursdayrun

Yikes! The thighs need some work 😉

Speaking of my run today — I’m pretty sure it was my first sub-30 minute 4K and my first real tempo run.  After the first 5-10 minutes and the first hill, I lengthened my stride and started feeling my quads burning. I made sure to keep the pace up to build up the lactic acid, and I think I did a pretty decent job, all things considered (the ankle injury is better, but then I got a nasty left shin splint and now the hamstrings are tight).

4.4krun

I haven’t run a marathon, or a half, or even a 10K.  I will probably never enter a race;  I don’t feel the need to.

But I still think I’m a runner.

Another 5K Baby!

Day 25 – January Daily Blog Posting Month.

As we got a small reprieve from the deep freeze, I decided to take advantage of the reasonably “warm” day (it was -3°C, -10°C with windchill) and go out for a run.  I had my route in mind and hoped it would be enough to reach 5km.
Yes, yes it was.
And I did it 3 minutes faster!
That is all.
(I am making oatmeal cookies for the kids.  I swear, for the kids.)
5k

5k baby!!

Day 16 – January Daily Blog Posting Month

5k

Yes!!!

My first post-partum run was 2.73 km on November 13, 2013.  Nine weeks and 12 runs later and I cracked the 5 km mark. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was not easy. In fact, it was probably the toughest run I’ve ever done.  Tough because it was cold, tough because I didn’t want to keep going after 2.5 km, tough because my shins, ankles, and right SI joint were on fire.

But I did it and I’m so glad I did.