Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Run To Get a Dose of my Own Medicine

13.1 miles.  If you would have told me that I was going to run that far a few months ago, I would have told you that you are crazy.  Somehow, one of my amazing classmates wrangled about 45 of us MS2s (medical school second years) into running the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco.  Before training, I could only run for 25-30 minutes or about 2.5 miles if I worked REALLY hard.  Now I have run for three hours at once and for 13.1 miles.  The biggest hurdle for me was the pacing.  I realized that I just have to run pretty slow (so basically a jog) in order to be able to go long distances and times.  If I run too fast, then my asthma acts up and I just can't breathe, so I might be slow, but hey, jogging 13.1 miles is still pretty good, right?  My official time for the half marathon was 2 hours and 46 minutes, which I was happy with.  My goal was to get under 3 hours.

The Nike Women's Marathon was one of the coolest events I have ever participated in.  There were 20,000 runners and many spectators, mostly women, which was super empowering.  The crowds were so encouraging, and some of their signs were HILARIOUS.  Some of my favorite signs said:

"Run like there is a shoe sale ahead"

"Toenails are for sissies"

"Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much ass"

Among the spectators were families, friends, cheerleaders, bands, coaches, and even a gospel choir... and you know how much I love gospel choirs!  They gave me goosebumps, they were so beautiful!

I was lucky to have been able to run the whole way with friends, which made it so much more enjoyable than if I had to do it myself.  One of the most amazing parts of the race was when I rounded the corner and saw the finish line.  I literally felt a surge of adrenaline through my body, I got all tingly.  Suddenly, I just could not help but to all-out-sprint towards the finish.  I surprised myself how fast I ran those last hundred feet or so - I almost thought I was gonna puke, but luckily I did not. Haha.

The firemen in tuxedos and the Tiffany's necklaces were just as exciting as I anticipated.  Overall, it was an amazing experience, from training to the finish line, and I really hope I can do it again someday.

By the way, we all thought it was quite poetic that in the week before and after the NWM, which benefits leukemia and lymphoma research, we happen to be learning about leukemia and lymphoma in Hematology.  

**Side Note** The title of this post relates to one of my biggest inspirations to exercise and stay fit: that we, as physicians should practice what we preach.  How can we tell our patients to eat healthy and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle if we, ourselves do not lead by example?  That is why I run to get a dose of my own medicine - a healthy lifestyle is more powerful than any pill.