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Returning to Running

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Returning to Running

Post  Penelope on Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:55 pm

I figure it's time to start a new blog.

For those that don't know me, this is copied/pasted from the welcome thread: "My running career has been really intermittent. I started running around age 13 because my whole immediate family and many extended family members ran regularly, so I figured I'd start, too. Although I like running, I can't say I've fallen in love with it. I ran high school cross country and track and never became very fast because I was constantly injured. In college I more or less stopped running regularly. In medical school I started running regularly, joined the v-team forums, and did 3 marathons and a handful of half marathons. I've always had a tendency to be too busy and take on more than I should, and I struggled with consistency, but I did manage to earn several PRs. Then residency happened, and I tried to keep running, but as it turns out, working 80 hours a week and staying up working for 30 hours in a row every 4th night really wreak havoc on life. My first year, I really tried hard to keep up with running; the 2nd year I didn't try nearly as hard, and this past year, I more or less just gave up. For what it's worth, I ended up giving up a bunch of hobbies during these 3 years in addition to running. I've also developed bad eating habits as well, and am 20 lbs heavier now than I was when I was doing marathons."

I finished residency on Thursday. Went out and celebrated with my co-residents Thursday night, which was great. Friday morning, I ran for the first time in months. Today, I just ran again. Since it's so humid down here (I live in Atlanta), I've given up on trying to run outside. It's just too miserable. So both runs were on the treadmill. Friday, I ran for 20 minutes without stopping at a much slower pace than I've ever run before, and realized just how out of shape I am. I was spent after 20 minutes and I'm not even going to post the pace, it was that slow. The rest of Friday, since I ran in the morning, I had that wonderful feeling you get after you've done a really difficult workout. After 20 slow minutes. Today I ran again, same treadmill, at the same pace, but it wasn't as much of a struggle. I was working, and my heart rate was averaging around 170 on the 5 or 6 occasions that I measured it, but I didn't feel like I was dying, and I decided to go for 23 minutes. Next time I run I'll probably go for 23 again at that same pace, and then do 25 minutes for 2 runs, then 27, etc. When I get to 30 minutes, I'll start thinking about trying to increase my speed and get back to where I want to be. But for now, my goal is to just run.

About the rest of life: I'm thinking of making an alias so I don't have to be totally paranoid about what I put in my blog. For those that don't know me, I'm a physician, and I don't want my patients looking me up and finding this blog. Not that I have anything to hide, and maybe me running sets an example, but I don't want to have to constantly be on my guard about what I type and being politically correct, etc. I'm thinking of doing what Diego/Jim did and changing my username but typing my real name in parentheses every now and then so people know it's me. And maybe keeping my picture. The picture is a few years old, anyway. I'm thinking Penelope as my username, from the Odyssey, because I like the name and her character.

I'm moving from Atlanta to Chicago later this month and will start working at one of the academic hospitals in Chicago in August. (If you want more details I can PM them but I don't want to talk about work too much. In fact, this paragraph is hopefully all I'll ever say about work.) I'll be doing only inpatient, no outpatient, and will have 7 days in a row of working long hours, followed by 7 days of no patient duties. That doesn't mean that I'll be traveling / not working every other week; there are lots of meetings and projects and research things that academic people do. But my schedule on the off weeks will be a lot more flexible. As far as what that means for running, I'll have to see how it goes. When I'm doing patient care stuff, I expect my days to range from 10-12 hours each day. So maybe when I'm doing that, my goal will be to run 3-4 times per week. On my non-patient weeks I'd like to run 5-6 days per week. I'm excited to get into a routine (albeit one that alternates every week). I plan to set more concrete running goals later after I get into my new schedule. I would like to work up to a half marathon this fall / winter, but I don't know my schedule yet, so as far as which one, that remains to be determined.

Thanks for reading!
-Kathy
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Natalie on Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:06 pm

Good luck Kathy! It's great to hear from you again and sounds like you have a great future ahead of you. Now, about that old profile picture...
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  healdgator on Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:02 pm

Good plan on the alias. I know where you are coming from on the getting back to running. I quit running regularly long before I got to any marathoning, but when I got back into it, it was truly pathetic how out of shape I was. Good luck!
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Seth Harrison on Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:10 pm

Congratulations on surviving and finishing your residency, and embarking on a new job. It's a great time to get back to running. Hope it all goes well!
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Mark B on Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:14 pm

Congrats on finishing your residency! That varied work schedule may be a challenge for planning out a training schedule, but I'm sure you can figure out a way to make it work.
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Julie on Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:14 pm

Congrats on finishing your residency! I hope you love your job and it gives you the time you need to get back into some of your hobbies and also running.
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  JohnP on Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:39 pm

Hey Penelope, great to see you back and congratulations, you went through some tough years! While it's warm in Chicago in the summer, I don't think it's anywhere near what Atlanta has on a daily basis. Good luck!
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Ken Mello on Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:18 am

Hopefully the move to Chicago will make it easier for you to run more consistently, because I know how hard running in the heat is.

Ironically, the conference I was at in Atlanta when we had dinner is going to be in Chicago next year, so maybe we can meet up again! Very Happy
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Penelope on Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:26 pm

Natalie, Healdgator (what's your first name, BTW?), Seth, Mark, Julie, John, and Ken, thank you all for stopping into the new blog. Oh, and feel free to use my real name, the alias is more for the username. It's definitely weird to see my posts with my picture and a name that's not mine right above it. Oh well. It's fun to be blogging again and following along on others' blogs as well. I've missed it. Natalie, that picture is the most recent one of me running that I own, unfortunately. I have not raced in 3 years, so it's all I've got. Hopefully I'll start racing this fall and can get a new avatar. Ken, it was great to meet you in Atlanta, and if you'll be in Chicago for the conference this year, it'd be great to catch up again.

Today I ran again, and I have to say, I really like how quickly fitness comes back. July 1st I thought I might die during my slow 20 minutes. So far this month, I've run on the odd days of the month, so this is the 3rd day, and it's getting easier and easier, and also more pleasant. Cardiovascular fitness returns faster than musculoskeletal fitness, though, so even though heart and lungs feel good, I'm weary of doing too much too soon and getting injured. So today I ran for 26 minutes (was supposed to be 25 but a good song was on and I was in a groove, and it ended right around 26:00, so it worked out). Next time I'll jump to 30 minutes, and then stay there a little and work on speed for a few weeks before building again. I'm not a fan of how slow I am these days, and if I can get faster, when I switch from time to distance goals, the workouts will end sooner.

One thing I'll be glad of after I've built up the miles again is that some of the weight I've gained will come off. I'm trying to watch my calorie intake, but I know that building miles makes you hungry, so I'm not terribly concerned about the actual number on the scale. I'm more interested in how I feel and look. But it hit me today that running for about 20 minutes at my pace burns about 200ish calories--which barely offsets the calories in the chocolate milk I drink afterward. I wouldn't say I'm truly at rock bottom in terms of physical fitness / how I feel and how running is going, but it is nice to know that more or less, in this realm, all I can do is move up.

I still don't have my schedule yet so I can't really plan much as far as choosing a fall race. But I'm not complaining--when they do post the schedule, it's for the entire year. So if there's a concert 4 months in the future, I'll know whether I'm working or not and whether or not I can switch with someone or not. That ability to know my schedule and be able to plan more than 1 month at a time is so awesome--a huge step up from residency. I think having a goal race may help me stay on track a little better.
-Kathy
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Liz R on Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:44 am

Penelope! I am glad I read the blog to see who you were.

Welcome back. We can commiserate. I have been injured, and at my age it takes forever to get back to normal. I am not tracking my pace either, just running.

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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Julie on Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:07 am

Best wishes on the wt loss goals. I am also trying to lose wt and even with higher mileage it isn't easy because my appetite keeps up with my mileage. Eating a decent breakfast (like 3 big whole wheat pancakes) helps me not be hungry and start snacking mid-morning. Sorry I don't have a ton of wisdom there but I'm sure you'll find what works for your body and schedule.

My cousin is finishing his residency for anesthesiology MD in December. I know he's relieved to be about done.
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:42 pm

Nice to see you running again, Kathy, but sad to see you leaving Atlanta even though we never actually connected with our schedules. Congrats on finishing the residency and good luck in Chi-town.
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Jim Lentz on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:56 am

Congratulations on finishing your residency, Kathy. I think you will like the running environment in Chicago. Hopefully you will be near the lakefront path.
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Penelope on Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:39 pm

Julie, best of luck to your cousin as he finishes up. Yeah, running and weight loss almost seem like oxymorons. I never realized how much harder it is for weight loss when your appetite is increased so much, and I have a new respect for people that have lost a lot of weight by running.
Michele, I'm sorry we never did connect down here. Running just sort of fell apart for me. I only started 1 race in 3 years (the Thanksgiving day half my first year here) and DNF'ed it. I haven't met anyone on the forums in Atlanta.
Liz, sorry to hear you're injured and I hope you recovery soon! Sometimes it is nice to run without any goals and cut yourself some slack, though.
Jim, thanks for stopping in. I am super excited to run along the lake--I LOVE water. My apartment is a block away.

One thing about having an alias is that I guess not everyone who knew me from the v-team realizes it's me. Maybe I can put my first name as a signature or something. I don't want people to not know me. Oh well.

Nothing exciting in the running front. I wasn't planning on posting this description of today's run til tomorrow after I run again, but when I logged on and saw some new visitors, it was too hard not to not look at my blog. Anyway, today I did the exact same workout as last time; 26 minutes at a slow pace on the treadmill. Today it didn't feel that great and I felt tired and kind of blah. For some reason, I haven't been sleeping well for the past week. I'm waking up at least 2 or 3 times per night and not feeling rested in the morning, so maybe that has something to do with the fatigue during today's run.

The movers are coming on the 18th and I've been packing about 3 or 4 boxes up each day since July 1st. I'm starting to get sick of seeing boxes everywhere, though. And I did something to my right shoulder, probably from lifting something heavy. It didn't hurt during my run, but in the shower afterwards I felt this deep aching pain. 650mg tylenol seemed to take care of it, at least temporarily.

It's been great having time off now that I'm done with work. But I'm realizing that even though I need a lot of alone time, I don't enjoy being alone every day all day (and it's really only the 3rd day in a row). My friends are working during the day, so I see groups of them a few times per week in the evening, which I thought would be enough for me, but evidently not. I don't do well with lack of structure and being alone and bored at the same time, and productivity is low. To do small things can take me all day because I know I have all day. Even though I'll miss my friends in Atlanta, I'm excited to get this move overwith so I can start making new friends in Chicago and get back to a more normal life.
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Jim Lentz on Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:38 pm

Kathy, the combination of not sleeping well and a big change in your routine are both good reasons that your run didn't feel better today. We all also have days that just don't go as well as others. Keep at it and look back at the big improvement so far.
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Dave Wolfe on Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:34 pm

Congrats Doc on all the positive things happening -- and on the return to running. Just keep at it until you get to the good stuff. And get some solid sleep. Sleep
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  John Kilpatrick on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:48 pm

I admire you for finishing your residency - that is a marathon of life! Enjoy your newly stabilizing life (you get to have one now!) and good luck with running!

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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Schuey on Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:16 pm

Glad to see that you are getting back to running and you are right fitness comes back pretty quickly after then it does the first time. Good luck with the move to Chicago and I'm sure Lisa and I will run into you on the lakefront now and then. Welcome back to blogging and I hope that you find the fun in running and are able to enjoy this time around.
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Liz R on Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:04 am

What is your specialty? I fear I have lost track.

You cut yourself some slack, too. You have lots going on, exciting stuff to be sure, but exhausting as well.

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Re: Returning to Running

Post  JohnP on Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:09 pm

Kathy, there should be a lot of neighborhood and downtown races this fall in Chicago. Even running them for fun gets you out there and involved. It's got to be exciting heading for a change like this, but still nerve-racking at the same time. I'm sure all will go well. Re: the chocolate milk - I usually only drink that with an eight miler or more as you're right, it adds a lot of calories.
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Penelope on Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:12 pm

Liz, I'm in internal medicine. Specifically inpatient (hospitalized patients) only. Jim, I know you're right, some days are going to be better than others, and I'm okay with that. I seem to be sleeping better at least. JohnP, I know you're right about the calories in the chocolate milk. But I swear, and maybe it's all psychological, that even with short runs, it helps with muscle soreness. I find that if I use it as a snack, it helps to eat less on the days I run. So I don't want to give it up, knowing that it is calories. I'd definitely like to sign up for some races this fall. Once I know my schedule I'll be able to. I know my August schedule, but not sure I'll have worked up to a 10K by then or not. I definitely want to do a half marathon and will have to look at what Chicago has for those. Schuey, thanks for stopping in, and you're right, I bet I'll see you both out on the lakefront path. Running is a lot more enjoyable right now because I'm not trying to fit it into a crazy work schedule. John K and Dave, thank you both--it is great to be done with residency. My life is in a transition period now as I move and get ready to start my first ever real job with a real (not less than minimum wage) paycheck, but it's definitely already more stabilized. When I start work it'll be nice to get into a routine that I can hopefully keep up with.

Today I ran for 27 minutes but at a harder pace. I increased the treadmill speed by 0.3 miles per hour. That's not a huge difference I pace, I know, but when you're still out of shape, you feel it. It was comfortably harder, but not at the level of intensity of a tempo run. The last time I ran was Thursday. I went to Florida to visit my brother, sister-in-law and my niece and nephew (3 and 1 years). And had a separate bag for running clothes and shoes so I could run while I was there, which I left at home by mistake. I was about an hour outside of Atlanta when I realized it. So no running down there. I did go for a walk carrying my 25-lb nephew in my arms, but he was heavy and it was hot and humid. I made it about 2 streets, which I'm guessing was about a total of 1/3 of a mile, before I gave up and turned around. He was sliding out of my arms because I was sweating so much. My right arm is still sore from carrying him around all weekend.

I haven't lost any weight since July 1st. I know I'm not yet running enough to see a difference, but I have been really trying to watch what I eat and substituting a snack for a meal when I can. I'm finding that running just makes me so hungry that it's hard to cut back on calories. I've realized that in order to lose weight, I'm going to have to add to running some other workout that will burn some calories without leaving me famished all day. I'd bought the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD awhile back and never even opened it, but after reading Julie's blog and knowing she's using it, I decided to give it a go. I did level 1, which is a 20 minute circuit of strength, cardio, and abs, and it was hard. So hard that at times I had to stop and catch my breath for a few seconds before I could move again. I've never watched The Biggest Loser, but on this DVD, I found Jillian Michaels to be slightly annoying with her drill-sergeant, yell-at-you manner. But it was a good workout so I'm going to keep doing it. Hopefully by adding that to running I'll be able to drop some weight.

Re non-running, while at my brother's, we watched Killer Shots, which is about a wildlife cameraman trying to get some up-close shots of great white sharks. Turns out the cameraman, Andy Casagrande, is a good friend of my brother from high school. I didn't know him all that well because he was 3 years older, but we did overlap a year. It's cool to see someone you know on tv with their own show. That being said, I think he's crazy getting that close to sharks without any protection. Smile
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Julie on Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:30 pm

Glad you opened the 30 day shred. I never watched Biggest Loser except once I saw about 10 minutes of it...I guess I didn't think she was that annoying but I kind of talk to myself like that too so I'm probably used to it. It is a good work out. I feel pretty sore by the time I'm done and I think I had to do it a few times before I didn't have to take extra rest breaks. After 10 days, though, I was ready to move to level 2.

Do you write out what you plan to eat for the day or what are you finding that works and what isn't working for your wt loss? Sometimes I just have to eat quite a bit less than I know I need to see results. It's a tricky balance for me at least. Running alone isn't going to make all the weight come off, though. I'm struggling even running about 50 miles/week so diet does matter! Very Happy
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Liz R on Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:21 am

My big advice for weight loss is 1) stay busy and 2) eat lots of fruits and veggies. More generally, eat lots of filling, water filled and high fiber foods, like beans. The most dangerous times for me for overeating when i was young and single were when I was alone and had nothing going on, especially late afternoons or right after work. Those are still the worst times for me. It is better when i have a plan of what to eat and don't just start grazing.

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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Peg Coover on Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:20 am

It's so hard to find a balance of eating enough to feel good running and yet wanting to lose some weight. I just have a few to lose right now, and I know that cutting the alcohol would take care of it for me. And probably that handful of chips I didn't need! I'm seeing a little success right now but I attribute it to being outside a lot gardening, etc. in addition to increased miles.

But when I was trying to lose a bunch of pounds (which I have kept off for 4 years or more now), logging my food really helped. Also, since I was a teacher, I took my own lunch to school and that was what I ate...no changes so I knew I was eating a low calorie, reasonable lunch.
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Re: Returning to Running

Post  Kenny B. on Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:30 am

The best way I know how to eat is called mindful eating. eating with purpose and really being present when choosing what foods to eat. What is the purpose of this and that. I am having right this moment 100% whole grain cereal, rice milk, yogurt with fresh fruit, and small all natural cookie. I have my complex carbs, I have some fruit, protein from yogurt, and as a little treat a "healthy" cookie.

I struggle more with my eating when eating becomes more then just fuel for the body. When it become entertainment or a reward. This takes me out of mindful eating and into mindless eating. Don't get me wrong I enjoy a good bread pudding, ice cream, cream sauces every now and then and if I choose to eat I choose it mindfully! But i have to say I enjoy how I feel the best after choosing foods that serve my purpose.

Back to running!
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