Tuesday, April 30, 2013


10 miles!! Coach said it was 9 but Google Maps says otherwise!

Here's my running route:

It sucked. But it's motivating me to increase the intensity or duration of my own workouts. The first 7 miles was easy, which at least tells me that I'm ready for my own 12K in May. The last 3 miles sucked. I was able to keep up for another mile, but in the final two, my legs felt incredibly tight. My running mates were far ahead of me as I struggled to keep my legs moving. The only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that my car was at the end point.

After the run, I bought The Stick and a new pair of running shorts to help massage my legs and celebrate my milestone. I'm also considering getting a new pair of shoes to rotate in/out of during the week, but good running shoes are expensive!

At any rate, I have been waking up early this week due to mornings being quite warm for San Francisco standards. The sucky part about that is I like to sleep in, but can't because my room gets too warm and stuffy. The great thing is that I now have ample time to eat a wholesome breakfast before hitting the gym or the pool. Let's hope I can maintain this routine.

I signed up for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run in June, which is a 10k obstacle course. Time to work on my upper body strength!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fit & Healthy Friday (Month 2)

Last month, I got a lot of compliments from fellow link-up bloggers about my routine. Thank you! 
Sooooooooooo this month was a rough one. I didn't do anything Weeks 2 and 3 since I was sick. I'm paying for it now. At least my progress report will be short. I'll also give a breakdown of my assigned homework for my running group. I have to do my homework, otherwise I fall behind on my runs. I am, sadly, the slowest one in my group. 

GOAL 1: Cardio 3x/week
Week One: Pass
Monday - 40 minute run, 40-ish minutes swimming
Wednesday - 45 minute run, 30-ish minutes swimming 
Thursday - 45 minute swimming
Saturday - 6.5 mile run
Week Two: Fail
Phlegm, anyone?
Week Three: Fail
Saturday - 6.5 mile run, with 1 mile up-hill
Week Four: Pass
Monday - 30 minutes of running on REALLY STEEP hills, 30-minute swimming
Tuesday - Speed-work day: 1 mile run interspersed with core exercises
Friday (to be completed) - 40-minute easy jogging
Saturday (to be completed) - Something long and arduous

GOAL 2: Muscle building 2x/week
Week One: Fail
Thursday - Arms/upper body.
Week Two: Fail
Week Three: Fail
Week Four: Pass
Monday - Arms/upper body
Tuesday - Core exercises: 4 sets of 10 for each movement: push ups, one-leg squats, burpees (minus the push up) and dips.
Friday - Core exercises: 5 sets of 20: push ups, planks, dips, squats, burpees

After every workout: Drink a protein shake or find chocolate milk within 30 minutes of each workout.

Week Four was tough because I've lost some of the progress I've made in previous weeks, ESPECIALLY with swimming. 

I'm trying to juggle swimming, running and weight-lifting at the same time and I've found that it's very difficult to accomplish during the week. That might have contributed to my catching a cold. I think I was just worn down from working out too much, then rushing to work without giving myself time to rest. Right now, I'm prioritizing swimming and running. The swimming teaches me how to control my breathing. My 12K is in 3 weeks, which means I still have time to build up my stamina for a run. 

I'm pushing myself to go harder each week, only because I know my limits and know that I used to be able to do these things.
....And because there is a pretty navy blue and white-polka-dot dress that I want to wear on July 4th weekend. 
I already fit the dress, but it'd be nice to have a nice set of legs  to kick everyone's butt to go with the heels. 

No solid goals yet, because I eat what my mom makes me, hehe. I really should cut white rice from my dinner, but I refuse! Give me rice or give me death! 
Junk food is easy to eliminate. I succumb to my cravings for chips and such only after rough days at work. I don't eat out very frequently. I'm eating Kashi Go Lean cereal in the mornings, reducing the sugar in my coffee, and also snacking on healthy things like greek yogurt+fruit or honey, fruit on its own, and almonds throughout the day. 

Here's to hoping May is a smoother month! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Run + Rain = Dumb

Welp, I've done it again.  Last Saturday's (March 30)  running workshop completely sucked because my GI tract was very, very, very angry at me - making the subsequent 4.5 mile run very difficult.  The night before that, I had one measley rum and coke during a friend's birthday bonanza and I think that my stomach and intestines didn't like it very much.  I think that my GI is still unhappy from the last time I screwed it up, which my doctor thinks is from interview-stress.  So - no more hard liquor for me.

This past Saturday, I was able to complete the 6-mile run just fine, which means I'm just about ready for the 12K run in May.  We averaged at about a 10-minute mile and I'm amazed that I was able to hold to that pace even during our uphill jobs.  Unfortunately, it started drizzling during our run and we were fairly soaked by the time we finished.  It got to the point where I was no longer sure if the moisture on my face was rain or sweat, and there was no point wiping it off because my shirt was wet too.

I went for a swim afterwards too.

And now I have a sore throat.

But it's pretty minor as sore throats go, so I'll be alright.  Swimming has really helped me learn how to control my breathing when I go running.  My friend/swim coach has me swimming in 12m stretches on one breath, and I've noticed that this torture exercise has made me a much more efficient breather when it comes to running as well.

Hopefully my sore throat gets better tomorrow, because tomorrow is speed-training for the run group.  I should avoid yelling at kids and invest in a whistle.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

DO or MD?

I wasn't sure whether I should write about my decision to apply for MD and DO programs.  My concern was that people would misunderstand and that maybe it could come back and bite me later.  But, well, these are the things that I thought about to make a personal decision and I don't intend to slander anyone, so here goes.

I applied for both MD and DO schools.  Initially, I wasn't planning to apply for DO programs, but the majority of my college friends are currently attending DO schools and seem to be doing alright/having fun.  I figured, why the hell not...it doesn't hurt anything but my wallet.  I made most of my college friends at a student-run clinic, so we have fairly similar ideals/experiences with patient care.

During the app process, I was also working at a pain management clinic and met a variety of elderly patients who struggled with chronic pain of the musculoskeletal variety.  Some of them relied on meds, but the majority of patients I worked with eschewed meds in favor of trying other methods like physical therapy, using topical pain relief creams, and participating in exercise workshops that I ran.  It seemed like a lot of people would observe more improvement in their mobility and a decrease in their pain levels if they just tried these three methods (or at least tried them first before using prescription pain meds).  Working with older patients was occasionally frustrating because they would show up to the clinic with a ziploc-bag full of various meds from various doctors.  There wasn't a lot of oversight, and most of the time the patients weren't really sure what most of them were for, beyond the standard maintenance meds for high blood pressure or cholesterol.  I wanted to be that kind of doctor who could maintain the big picture of a patient's well-being.  The DO philosophy matched my ideal, which is always a good thing, so I applied.

As an aside, I think my secondaries were a lot better by the time I go to my DO apps.  I had gotten much better at explaining why a particular school was a good fit for me.  Up until that point, my essays focused a lot on why I liked particular aspects of the school, but I wasn't great at explaining how all these contributed to make a specific school the only place for me.

I really liked two of the DO programs I visited during my interview season.  The faculty were great, I liked the curriculum, and the student body seemed cool.  The schools also had an emphasis on community health, which is something that I was interested in exploring further.  The Deans were down to earth too.  I interviewed and was accepted into my first choice DO school before I interviewed for an MD program.  I was fairly receptive to attending the DO school.

So why, if I was open to the prospect of a DO degree, did I ultimately choose to attend an MD program?

I wanted to be in a city and the program I will be attending is located in a city.  I had reservations about the DO rotations in 3rd and 4th year, as well.  I wanted to be at a major hospital, and the school I will be attending gives me the opportunity to be exposed to patients at a county hospital and large private hospitals.  The DO schools I looked at tended to form affiliations with smaller hospitals and community clinics, which probably more accurately reflects what it's like to be a doctor, but being at a big city hospital seemed more exciting to me.  Growing up as a city girl was probably a big influence.  Some DO schools have you pick a regional campus for your 3rd/4th year rotations.  I had mixed feelings about that.  On one hand, moving always sucks.  In college, I moved from one end of my apartment complex to the middle, and it still sucked.  I would also probably leave my med school friends.  While we can keep in touch, it just won't be the same. On the other hand, going to a new environment is exciting and challenging.

Another thing that I wasn't too excited about is that, among my DO-school friends, a lot of them were planning to take the USMLE and the COMLEX, which are national exams required of MD and DO students, respectively.  My friends plan to take the USMLE in order to apply for MD residencies and I would probably do the same.  It seemed like a pain to take two exams, even if the act of studying for the exam is a relatively small span of life as a med student/doctor.  Supposedly there will be a move to combine the licensing requirements for MD and DO students, but I'm not too well-informed of that and nobody I talked to knew how that would affect students.

There's also the part where I fell in love with the school.  The students and faculty were very enthusiastic and it's easy to get caught up in and feed off that energy.

I still maintain that DO programs are good and legit programs.  I've had a DO as my eye doctor for a while and she's so awesome that I wish she was my PCP instead.  In the end, I just picked the program that was the best fit for me and what I wanted.  I'm thankful that I was fortunate enough to have options, because it's always good to have options.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Last week was spring break for the students, so I spent a few days visiting beautiful Sonoma County to see my old mentor and visit my old non-profit.

My favorite doctors and dentists were busy at work last Tuesday, so I had the chance to drop in, observe a few cases, and deliver the good news. When I was still at this non-profit, I felt like I was always walking among giants - people who were brilliant, well-established in their current careers, and seem to have everything in order in life. The doctors and dentists I worked with came from big-name universities in undergrad and grad - Brown, MIT, Columbia, Yale, etc (one of them might have been a Harvard grad...but I can't remember). I felt so small and insignificant. That feeling probably won't go away, ever. There's always someone better and smarter.

 I stayed with my mentor and her husband, who live in a fairly nice part of town and own a gorgeous house. Their house makes a U shape and the courtyard overlooks a public grassy area with a little creek. It's currently frog-breeding season (apparently), so there are a bunch of little tadpoles swimming around the creek. I woke up every morning (armed with claritin) to see this:

My only regret is that I did not take pictures of the vineyards in the autumn. A lot of the vineyards in Sonoma County are grown in fields of rolling hills or in pockets of nearby mini-mountains that turn different shades of red, orange and yellow in the autumn. 

I visited two local wineries and picked up a bottle of 2011 Magnolia Lane Sauvignon Blanc by Kunde (fruity and refreshing) and received a bottle of 2010 Durrell Vineyard Pinot Noir by Chateau St. Jean as a gift. The bottle was $55 and boy, do I feel guilty. It was really delicious though. My mentor told me to share it with my med school friends, but it's so delicious I don't want to share. Well, we'll see what my friends are like when I get there. I'll share it with a good friend. The server at the Kunde Estate was awesome. He talked a little bit about his own experiences brewing beer, ciders and wine. I learned about the difference between using oak and steel barrels to age wine and about the acidity and alcohol content in white wines.

People always rave about Napa County wines, but I'm pretty happy with Sonoma County vineyards. The customer service and friendliness is much better, in my opinion.

My mentor and her husband are Italian, so they also had me try Fernet-Branca. The taste wasn't as fearsome as they made it out to be - surprisingly smooth with a hint of peppermint - but you could definitely feel the liquor going down.

Part of me wishes I stayed longer, but that's alright. I'm planning to go back in June. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Medical Monday!

Am I still considered a pre-med at this point? It seems pretentious if I change everything in my profile to "med student" when I haven't matriculated yet. But my deposit was confirmed! That means something. I suppose I am still just a med-student-to-be.

Anyway! I am participating in my first Medical Monday blog hop.

This will be an exciting year. Three other friends will be transitioning into graduate school this year and two of them are also going to medical school. Another friend finally obtained a full-time job (a step up from something that was more of as-needed basis) in the video game industry. Another former classmate was also accepted into a medical school.

Bout frickin' time! It seemed like the 1987 babies were having a rough time with post-undergrad-life. It was hard to see people my age, or younger, announce their acceptances when I was still trying to make my plans come together. I had to remember that everyone moves at their own pace and to be honest, now is the right time for me.

All of the grad-school kids will be leaving California. The supply of pre-meds in California is way, way high compared to the demand. Honestly, I'm happy to go somewhere else for a change. I'll probably regret it when I finally realize that I'm spoiled by easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables year-round and the lack of snow in San Francisco. (Note to self: eat everything now).

I spent some time over the past weekend with a group of doctors that I worked with at my previous job. I stayed with my mentor for a few days, in a neighborhood that is home to several retired doctors. People in general were very happy and excited when I told them where I will be spending the next four years. Phrases like, "You'll have the time of your life!" and "You'll have so much fun in medical school - even though you won't realize it until later!" A few of my closer friends jokingly said, "I told you not to go into medicine, but you didn't listennn."

A few of them offered names and contacts of fellow physician-friends who are attendings at my school. Nothing may come of that, but it's still nice that they offered. I'll have to remember to keep in touch with people here, just in case. I long since learned that networking is an important skill to possess and maintain.

I'm lucky to have had supportive mentors and role models like that. They've been a huge help.