It’s been awhile since I posted, so I thought I would do a quick recap of everything.
Training while working 70-80 hour weeks:
- Food is by far the most important. I carried with me about 1000 cals in my white coat pockets. I used things that could be eaten quickly and had a lot of nutritional value. An example of what I loaded my pockets with – nuts, apple slices, cliff bars, grapes, salmon jerky, and string cheese. Keeping energy levels steady when I did not know when my next opportunity to eat would be was crucial.
- Commuting – I biked to and from the hospital most of the time, and somedays that was my only workout. I made do by racing the buses, sprinting to see how many lights in a row I could make, and pretty soon I’d done a good selection of zone 5 intervals.
- OR strength – The ORs are kept very cold, so to stay warm I did calf raises, single leg squats, lunges, and other lower leg exercises during downtime. It’s also a great way to practice staying sterile.
- Studying – I always kept a question book and my phone with a question app on me. I would often read up on the next case in between surgeries, and did questions during my downtime.
- Sleep – Without fail, I was in bed by 9 pm, no matter what. You can only work 12-14 hour days, train, and study if you sleep.
Armed Forces Championships
Armed Forces Championships took place in Hammon, IN and was hosted by Leon’s Triathlon. Leading up to the race, I was at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, NC for an Acting Internship (AI) in Family Medicine. An (AI) is the step between being a 3rd year medical student who knows very little and being a first year resident who knows a bit. I had a great time working with the faculty and residents at Ft. Bragg and learned a lot. The environment at Ft. Bragg also lent itself to great training. There are TWO outdoor 50m pools for lap swimming, and many roads and trails with little to no traffic around the drop zones and firing ranges. I could run for miles and only be disturbed by horseflies.
Armed Forces went very well for me. I found some good feet early on in the swim, and managed to relax and let her lead us in. I started the bike in a pack of 4, a little over 2 mins down on the leaders. We worked well together, and our pack grew to 6. I started the run about 90 seconds behind the leader, and got to work. I took over the lead just before mile 2, and never looked back. The icing on the cake was seeing my Army teammates come in 3rd and 5th for the overall title.
After Armed Forces, I had a week to recover for Challenge Williamsburg. My mom and oldest sister came from Portland, OR to visit me and watch me race. I always love having family at races. Living 3000+ miles away from our families makes it difficult for Richard and I to see everyone, and the extra support is always appreciated.
The swim was the least violent I have ever been in. I immediately fell in behind two girls (one of whom I swim with at Peluso Open Water), and let them lead me for awhile. I couldn’t hold their pace the entire way, and lost their feet around a buoy. I still came out of the water near the front in probably my best swim of the year. The long run to transition allowed me to make up ground on the girls ahead of me, and within a mile of the bike I was trading the lead with another girl. We worked together well in a legal pack with some men, but unfortunately, I spaced out at about 10 miles and the group was down the road. I spent the rest of the ride on my own. I started the run 2 mins down from the lead female, and managed to take the lead at mile 2. I knew that there was a very fast girl behind me, so I kept the pressure on for the final loop. This 10k was my slowest ever in a triathlon, but the hilly trail terrain combined with a super humid and hot day made it very difficult. I have no idea how the half participants ran in that heat!
I am now on my final rotation of 3rd year, which means I only have two tests left in medical school! I had originally thought that summer would be a great time to do pediatrics because I would have a lower risk for getting sick. But within my first week, I came down with a head cold, and in my third week am battling a second cold. I guess I’m learning how to effectively blow my nose on the bike – always a necessary skill.