Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Job Expenses

Aren't you supposed to make money when you get a new job? This one's costing me a lot of money. I recently bought 3 suits, which I took in to get tailored today. I also went to the framing store. I've been accumulating various diplomas and certificates over the years, and I finally got around to getting them framed. I spent over $400 just getting 7 of them framed - and that was with relatively cheaper frames! (I looked into doing it myself online, but it really wasn't cheaper, and I'm sure it wouldn't come out right.) I bought some ready made frames for some of my smaller and less important certificates.

I did make it to the gym, as promised. I had spent way more time in the framing store than I had planned for (there's a lot of options!) and there were only twenty minutes left to "open swim" by the time I got to the pool. I was pretty proud of myself: 20 laps (lengths) in 20 minutes. Even the old lady who's there every day commented. She said I must have been taking my vitamin pills because I was swimming much stronger!

I also made some improvement with the breathing. In the past I've tried to get in a few strokes between breaths. Today I tried breathing every 2 strokes - i.e. always on the same side - and I did a lot better. But I still need a lot of practice.

I headed over to the fitness center after swimming. Cycling was tough. It definitely matters which sport I do first. Swimming was easier, but cycling was tougher. I started at a resistance of 10, and gradually lowered it as I went on for a half hour. I did had my HR up to 159 at one point. (Ok fine, I lowered the resistance right after that.) I managed to get to 9.36 miles at 30 minutes, which I evened off to 10 in the cooldown. (By the way, thanks Curly Su for always telling me how amazingly fast my cycling is. Truth is, I doubt it's really amazing. I have no idea how these machines calculate mileage, and I'm sure it's totally different out on the road. But thanks anyway!)

Starting tomorrow I have to start bringing my beeper and cell phone to the pool. I haven't exactly figured out those details, but I'm going to have to rely somewhat on the lifeguards. I've already let the one who's there during the day know. He said it would be ok, but I'm not sure he'd notice the beeper going off. I think his phone calls and sidekick would probably distract him. (Just like I doubt he'd notice anybody drowning either!) I'll have to see how that goes...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Success x 2

I accomplished two things today, both of which have taken me a long time.

Yesterday I posted about my hard drive frustration. Well after many little tweaks I finally got it done. Last night I was able to get the copy program going. It was crawling forward really slowly, and when I went to sleep it was about 35% done, with "2 hours remaining". When I woke up I had "1 second remaining". In one of my earlier failed attempts I had been to this stage, and I knew it took a long time - a lot more than "1 second". Something about checking the MFT. Anyway, I went off to the hospital to deal with my paperwork. When I got home it was done. Only 15 hours later and my hard drive was copied!

It's really quite cool. As an experiment, I physically removed my old hard drive and booted up the computer. No problem! It was if I never switched hard drives. (I know that this was what was supposed to happen - I was just amazed when it actually worked!) I then put back the old drive as a secondary drive, and used it to backup the new drive. Now I can have Norton Ghost back up an image of my drive daily. I know all those non-nerds out there find this boring. But I'm excited to finally have a viable backup plan in place!

My second success today was getting my ID for my new job. After two months of endless paperwork, I went in today for the Human Resources "new hire" session. Five hours later of mandatory lectures, videos, and more paperwork, I finally collected enough signatures to get my hospital ID.

(I haven't decided yet, but this may be a "tbd" picture, a la Brent.)

Don't I look ready for action. Just in case, they fingerprinted me as well. It's funny how they fingerprint the doctors. It's not like I didn't go through a million checks to get into medical school. And then a million checks to write my licensing exam. And then a million checks to get my NY state license. And then a million checks to get my board certification. Hey, I'm not even going to be near the money! I wonder if they fingerprint the people working the cashiers in the cafeteria?

couldn't get all the ink off !

Anyway, I think I should finally be ready to start by March 1st. I'm pretty excited.

Just so you know, not everything today was a success. I tried to renew my driver's license today (while I still have time during the day). I'm not sure why, but it was packed. I drove out to Yonkers because on my two previous trips it's been pretty quiet there. I'm thinking that because it was the day after a weekend, and it was around 3, that it was full of brand new 16 year olds trying to get their permits after school. I heard two mothers discussing their kids:

"My son's birthday was Saturday."
"My daughter's birthday was Sunday."

I guess these parents felt the need to rush their kids into their first accident as soon as possible!! (Yeah, I know. I was 16 once too.)

I got in trouble for the picture inside. "Sir, you can't take pictures in here." Honestly, I didn't see the sign. But what really is the issue? Is there a real security issue if I take pictures there? It's ok for me to spend 5 hours in line memorizing the place, but if I take a picture we've got a "situation". Anyway, I apologized and they didn't ask me to delete the picture. I was just giving up then anyway. The picture was just to show how crazy it was in there. I'll have to go back another (hopefully less busy) time.

One of the reasons I decided to leave was that their (inadequate) parking lot was full, and I had to park at a meter. I only had an hour of time and knew I wouldn't make it. When I left, I saw at least 50% of the cars had tickets on them. I looked at some of them to see what the problem was. They had every reason going: expired meter, expired registration, expired inspection sticker, etc. They were making so much money out there today, they really should give those licenses away for free!

Here' one of my favorite ones. It always annoys me when people in "official" positions feel like they can just park anywhere and get away with it. Here's one who put his "official badge" in the windshield. It seems that the badge was ok for him to park right in front of the "no parking" sign. But an expired registration? Well, we can't just allow total lawlessness!!

I'll leave you with a few more funny pictures I took over the course of the day. (You may have to blow them up to appreciate them.)


false advertising!

other banks may be putting your money to work. we're taking a nap.

The gym, by the way, was another non-success. I'll go tomorrow for sure.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Running plans

I finally made it back out for another run today. Man, it was windy out there. I did 4 miles and it didn't feel easy. I just don't run enough anymore. I'm keeping up with the "crosstraining", but I hadn't run since last Sunday. So it showed.

While I was running today, I started thinking about my planned race schedule. Most of the races around now are short (5K next week, 4M in 2 weeks) and shouldn't be a problem. But on April 2nd, there's a 10K I had planned. I probably should be able to get there, but my next two Sundays are taken up with races. Kind of makes it tough to build up my long runs. (I don't want to hear any laughing about building up long runs to a 10K!) And what about the Broad Street Run? I've been thinking about heading down to Philly to run this 10 miler with ShoreTurtle. I keep thinking it's a long time away, but today I started to realize I'm going to have a hard time building up that mileage in time! I've really got to get back out there...

In crosstraining news I've been out of the pool since Wednesday, and I'm not sure when I'll get back in there. Tomorrow I have a long day of paperwork and required meetings for my new job. I'm also busy in the evening, so the two "open swim" periods won't work for me. Hopefully Tuesday. I might still have a chance to get on the bike tomorrow.

Finally, remember how proud I was last week for installing a new hard drive and new memory in my computer? Well I've been going crazy for about 5 days now trying to copy my old drive onto my new drive. I bought Norton Ghost thinking it would make the job easy. Yeah, not really. Apparently I have bad sectors on my old drive. I guess the way the file system works you can have lots of bad sectors and still use the drive. But when you try and image it, the whole thing screws up. So I've been running chkdsk and all sorts of other DOS based software to try and fix it. I keep thinking I'm close, but then I suffer another setback. The most annoying thing is that these tasks will take an hour before they freeze up the whole system. Very annoying...

Friday, February 24, 2006


Quiet week on the blogging front. I've been trying to get ready to start my new job next week, and that's taking a bit of effort. I am looking forward to getting started though.

In other news, I have officially started my Colon Cancer Challenge campaign. This is the third year this race is being held, and I've run it each year. The money goes to support Partners in Prevention, which is an organization aimed at preventing colorectal cancer. It does so by raising awareness, educating the public about screening and early treatment, and by ongoing research.

This race is kind of unique for me, since it involves both of my worlds. On the one hand, I'm a runner and a member of the New York Road Runners, who put on the race. On the other hand, I'm also a physician who treats these patients, and is aware of all the good screening and early treatment can do.

So although I'm a little uncomfortable posting this appeal here, I do think it's a good cause. In past years, as well as this year, I've been surprised at who was interested in making a donation. I think colon cancer has affected a lot of families, and many people feel inspired to donate in people's honor or memory.

You can click through to my page here. (At the very least you can see a lo-res picture of me in a tux!)

Have a good weekend.

Note: When clicking on the link to my page a little warning box comes up saying something about the names not matching up. I think it has something to do with the charity site they're using. Just click "yes" or "ok" (depending on your browser) and you'll get through to my page.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

4K race mini report

My car thermometer said 26 degress, but the official race statistics had the temperature at 18 degrees. (Cold, but not like Cleveland!) One good thing about these winter races is the hot chocolate. Usually it's only afterwards, and in some other location. I think because there were other races before this one, today there was hot chocolate available beforehand. Which was nice, considering I got there an hour before the race.

This was my first cross country race, and I really had no idea what to expect. First of all, there's a mass start. Usually, I'm way in the back and I'm forced to start races slowly. I'm often still walking or jogging slowly at the start. In this case, the start line was spread very wide. Since there were only about 500 runners, I found myself inadvertantly lined up at the front.

That turned out to be a bad idea. When the horn went, I started way too fast. Everyone else was going faster, so I didn't realize it at the time. However, I began to tire and breathe heavy very early into the race. There were two really tough hills at about the 1 kilometer mark, and I had a lot of trouble going up them. I almost couldn't make it while still running. I slowed significantly, and felt that I continued to slow as the race went on. Since I didn't have my Garmin on, and the miles weren't marked with clocks, I had no idea how I was doing. In my mind I was doing horribly, and was surprised at how much trouble I was having in this short race.

As I got over the hills there was a sign saying 800m to go. I knew I hadn't done 3K so I started to suspect that this was a 2K course that we were going to do twice. That was in fact the case, which meant we had to go up those hills again! Ugh!

As I finally headed in towards the finish I told myself if I was close to 23 minutes I'd try to push myself and finish strong. I was surprised to see the clock still saying 20:something! (I also thought 4K was 2.5 miles and not 2.4 miles, but whatever.) In any case, I didn't have much left for a final push, and I finished in 20:45. Turns out I ran an 8:38 pace, which is much faster than I had expected. Considering that I felt that I slowed significantly as the race went on, and I'm pretty sure I was going really slow at the end, I must have been going ridiculously fast at the beginning. I guess that's why I felt like crap for the rest of the race.

All in all, not bad. And another race down. I had been focusing on every little twinge in my shins before the race, but they were fine during the race. After the race, my legs felt tired, but nothing in particular seemed out of order. So I'm happy about that.

My nose seems to be runny now, and I've been sneezing all day since the race. I know to my mother it's obvious that this is because I ran in the cold. But as a doctor, I have to believe in that whole "virus theory" behind colds. So I'm not sure why I seem to have gotten sick immediately after the race, but it's annoying. (Sticking with that whole "mom" thing, I had hot soup both for lunch and dinner!)

I signed up for the next two races, both in early March. The first is a street one in Washington Heights which should be interesting. The second is back in Central Park, and is a fundraiser for colon cancer prevention. I've run this event the last two years and raised some money while doing so. I haven't completely set up my donation page, but I'll probably post something about this in the next little while.

As for the rest of my workouts, I didn't really get anything else in today. (Does watching sports count?) Tomorrow is also a problem, since the gym is closed.

Is it just me, or all those exclamation points really annoying? (I'm sure the receptionist who made this sign is happy to take the day off. But can't she show some sympathy for those of us who don't want to spent the entire day on our butts watching TV?)

Friday, February 17, 2006

The snow is melting

Not much to say today. I went swimming yesterday, and it wasn't that easy. I still managed to get in 30 laps, which is becoming my usual workout distance. Considering that I could barely do 8 when I started, that's pretty good. But considering that I read about other bloggers' 2000 and 3000 yard workouts, (80 and 120 laps respectively), I've got a bit to go.

Here's a few more snow pictures:

mon, tue
wed, fri

sun, fri

Can you believe the difference in 5 days? It's in the mid 50's and sunny today! There's been a little rain, and there's still a lot of snow lying around - mostly where people piled it up during shoveling. I have that cross-country race this Sunday, so I'm hoping it won't be too wet and muddy.

In other news, my job situation seems to be shaping up. I should be back to working (like a dog) again, come March 1st. I've already paid the gym up until July, so I have big plans to keep all this training up. You guys will have to keep me honest.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Quick post

I've thought about a bunch of things to blog about today, and I have more pictures, but it takes too long to make a nice looking post. So here's a shorter, crappy one.

I haven't been slacking too bad. I did get in the swimming on Monday night. Yesterday I did some heavy duty cycling (10.7 miles in 30 minutes) and another swim workout. I think I made a breakthrough on the breathing. It's still not good, but I've figured out I have to roll my body further to get to the air. (If that makes any sense to you!) Anyway, I didn't put in too many laps (around 24 I think), but I think I made progress.

Today I put in a hard run on the treadmill. While running outside I can go (or used to be able to go) for 20 miles at the same pace. On the treadmill I get extremely bored. I feel like I need to make some sort of change every half mile. Mind you, there are settings for hills and "random" changes, I just wasn't in the mood for them when I started. Anyway, last time I kept upping the speed. This time I upped both the speed and the incline. I was running at 7mph at an incline of 3.0. At this point I was a little over 2 miles in, and I decided to see how high I could get my heart rate. Kind of an experiment to see where my maximum heart rate (MHR) would be around. I had gotten to 8mph, after lowering the incline to 2.0, when the time "ran out". When I started the machine said that the maximum time is 30 minutes, but I assumed I could just start it up again. Nope. It slowed down to 3mph and a 0 incline, for my "cooldown". I was right in the middle of my "experiment" and didn't want to slow down. I was so mad - I think I was verbally abusing the machine at this point. (I'd go into more details, but it's embarrassing.)

Anyway - did you notice I use that word a lot? - I finally got the thing going again, but I had to build up my HR again. I put it back to an incline of 2.0 and sarted from 7mph. I gradually increased it, until I ran a short distance at 9mph. Then I grabbed the HR sensor. "Running while holding the sensor is not recommended." The first time you hold on to the sensor it tells you this. Usually that's near the beginning of your run, and the 10 seconds it takes to scroll that message across the display is not an issue. Not so at 9mph, at the edge of maximal exertion. Very annoying. Anyway - there it goes again! - I finally got an answer. 182. I've seen my HR as high as 172 in the past, but this was new territory. I don't think I was at absolutely maximal exertion, and I probably could have pushed it a tad higher. The usual formula given is that MHR is 220 - age, which would give me a MHR of 188. It seems like that's probably a pretty accurate number in my case. Cool.

(BTW, I checked out the machine a little bit after my workout. I found a way where you can set a "target distance" between 1 and 50 miles. I'm assuming the time limit is lifted on that setting. I'll try that next time.)

So with all that exercise I should be turning into an Olympian. Too bad about the wedding on Sunday, the all-you-can-eat on Monday, and the sheva brachos party tonight. I've realized that it's dinner that kills me. I had only 800 calories all day until dinner, and that's with burning about 600 in the gym. With a sensible dinner I'd be okay. But then there's all this good food, and brownies, and sorbet. Sigh...

Tomorrow I have a circumsion in the morning (more food!) and then some meetings in the morning. I hope to have time to make it to the pool later in the day.

I'll try and post some pictures in the next post.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Doctors and Mechanics

I've long thought about how doctors (and particularly surgeons) are like mechanics. When you go to a doctor, he (or she) checks you out, and then tells you "Your gallbladder's no good. We're going to have to take that out." You really have no idea whether he's right or not, you just have to trust him. It's the exact same thing with the mechanic. He (or she) tells you "Your fuel injector's no good. We're going to have to replace that." You really have no idea whether he has any idea of what he's talking about.

I took my car into the mechanic today, and I noticed another similarity. People always call their doctor "my doctor". I always thought that little form of ownership was weird. It's not your doctor, it's a doctor, who happens to see you. Just like he sees 1000 other patients. Well today, I realized I was going to my mechanic. Not just a mechanic who looks at my car, but my mechanic. (I think it's because I trust him - see first paragraph - that makes me confer on him this special title.)

One more thing I noticed today. As a doctor, when a patient tells me their problem I try to get as much information from them as possible. When did the pain start, where exactly is it, what does it feel like, etc. When I told the mechanic my "check engine" light was on, he wasn't interested in any other information. I wanted to tell him how I was rocking the car back and forth, trying to get it out of the snow, when the light came on. He just said "it takes two seconds to hook it up to the machine, and then I'll tell you why the light is on!" It made me think of my job. Imagine the patient trying to tell me about his belly pain. "Doc, it started a few hours after I ate this spicy food." I'd just cut him off and say "Let's get a CT scan and I'll tell you why it hurts!"

In the end, there was nothing really wrong with my car. The computer said there was a "motion sensor" problem, and that's why the light was on. Because I had forced him to listen to my background information, he was able to figure out why the light was on. That way he knew there was no real problem, and could just reset it. (I wonder what would have happened if I would have just left the car there. Would he have taken my car apart trying to found out why there's a "motion sensor" probem?)

Anyway, as you can see the light's now off. One pain is that I need my car to be inspected before next Monday. The computer won't let him give me the inspection sticker if he just reset the light. According to the rules I have to drive 60 or 70 miles before I can get it inspected. So now I have to drive to all-you-can-eat tonight. I have no choice!

I do plan on getting in a quick swim first, though. It's 6:45 now, and the pool opens at 7. Right after blogging I'm heading out to the gym/pool.

In other news I installed a new hard drive today. I must say, I'm very proud of myself.

Right now, I just have it as an extra drive. My plan is to get Norton Ghost, or something like that, and then use it to copy my old drive onto my new drive. Then I'll use the program to make regularly scheduled backups of my new drive onto my old drive. I've never had a good backup system, so I'm trying to get this all organized before I get busy working again.

Before I go, here's a few more snow pictures:

on the way to the wedding. see how empty this "parkway" was!

cleaning my roommates car. my glove is there to give you an idea how high the snow was!

And now, my all time favorite:

WTH?? I know people like to use the treadmill when the weather's bad. But seriously, outdoors??!?

Off to the gym...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I really hate snow

When I said I'd go to the gym today, I thought the snow would have stopped by today. But nope, it's still going strong.

I tried to dig my car out, and go out anyway. But that was unsuccessful, and I think I ruined my car to boot. I'm not happy about that.

A friend of mine is getting married today. I'm friendly with her, but I guess not close enough to get invited to the wedding. I'm invited to a "sheva brachos" later this week, so I probably just missed the cut. Anyway, a lot of people are cancelling on her today because of the weather. (Why people call a bride a few hours before her wedding to tell her this is beyond me!) So now she's upset that her wedding will be empty. I know a lot of people think a smaller wedding sounds nice, but Orthodox weddings are often big, in the range of four to five hundred people! Having so few people there - especially when the caterer, the florist, the photographer, etc. have already been paid - would really be a downer.

So she sent word today that I should come. My roommate is similarly her friend, and is in the same boat. I think it would really make her happy if we came, so we're going to make an effort to go. My car is obviously not going to make it, and my roommate's probably won't make it either. The plan at this point is to get a lift from someone who parked in a lot overnight.

So anyway, no workout today, unless you count my snow shoveling. I will be working out my mouth and gut later today at the wedding. Does that count? I didn't think so...

Did I mention that I really hate the snow!! I hope the weather for the coming week takes care of it.

Next Sunday I'm supposed to run my first trail run. Can you imagine if it was today?

Snow, snow, go away. Don't even bother to come another day!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Who likes snow?

If you said yes, you can have it!

First of all, thanks to all the nice comments about my poster boards. I did post a picture of them way back when, but I guess I didn't have too many readers back then. It is a big source of inspiration for me. Some of them are just plain numbers, but other ones are marked differently so I know which race they came from. That way I can see I only ran 2 races between the Colon Cancer Challenge in 2004, and the one in 2005. (I hope to have 4 between 2005 and 2006.) I'm looking forward to filling this whole board over the course of this year alone!

(If you're trying to figure out how to read them, I place the bibs from top to bottom first, and then from left to right. I thought about this for a while. I hope to one day have a whole room of these boards, and I figured this way the races can just go in chronological columns from left to right. Does that make sense?)

I don't post my stats on them, mostly because in the past I never really cared about my stats. I was usually just focused on finishing. (In the future I plan to put more effort into "racing" the races, as opposed to just "running" them.) One of these days I'm going to get around to making a separate list of all my times, and I'll keep track of my bib number. This way if I decide to attach the stats to these posters someday, I'll know which race belongs to each bib, and how I did in each race.

Anyway... let me update on the last few days. Thursday was interesting. I started out going to see an "open rehearsal" by the New York Philharmonic in the morning. They were performing Mozart's symphonies 39, 40, and 41. (Of course I missed 40 moving my car, but that's New York.) It was pretty much like a regular performance, except they weren't wearing tuxes, and it was a lot cheaper.

(that's not floor zero, that's "O" for Orchestra!)

Since I had my camera, I took a few interesting pictures from my car. (You probably need to enlarge them to see the details.)

mmm... "fresh young chicken". but wait, lets see the bottom of that truck up close.

ugh! gross!!

I think I'll take route 9A, the Henry Hudson Parkway. Now which lane is it?

Back to the recap. After the symphony I went to the hospital. The 3 year old son of a friend of mine had surgery, and I went to visit them. He's actually my friend too. He asked his mom when they could go to Danny's house. She asked if he meant "my friend Danny?" (as in hers). And he answered "no, my friend Danny", (as in his)! I love that story. Anyway, he's doing pretty well, and he looked so cute in his little hospital gown. I didn't get explicit permission to post pictures, but I think I can get away with one from the back.

How cute is he??

I brought Pizza and Garlic Rolls for lunch, so we "had" to get a Peppermint Pattie for our breath. Turns out it's a "low fat food". Who knew?

Friday was more of a normal day, and I did make it to the gym. I started on the treadmill, since I hadn't run since Sunday. Also my thighs were sore, so I didn't feel like cycling. When I started running my lower legs bothered me again, but a little different than usual. I'm not really sure they're shin splints. Either way, it's annoying! I was only planning on running 3 miles, and lately when I do short runs on the treadmill I try to do them a little faster than normal. It didn't seem to matter to my legs if I ran faster, so I kept ramping up the speed at each half mile mark. 6 mph for the first half mile, then 6.5. Then 7, 7.5, and then 8! This was pretty fast already, but I had half a mile to go. I started at 8.5 and then towards the end pushed it even higher just to see how fast I could run. I made it to 9, and then 9.3 (to get under a 6:30 mile) for the last .05 miles. I was really working hard at the end, but I was able to do it. I wouldn't have been able to keep it up for very long, but it was cool to run that fast. I don't think I've ever run that fast in my life.

(I was a little worried about this little experiment and my legs. However, it didn't bother me to run faster, so I kept going. I stretched a lot afterwards, and my legs feel the same as always over the last two days.)

After the treadmill I cooled down a little, and then headed over to the pool. (So that's why you have to shower before going into the pool!) I had a pretty good session, with another 30 laps. I'm still having trouble fitting in the breathing, but I'm getting better at the basic stroke. I tried to minimize my breaks, and also see how far I could go without stopping. I swam 10 laps without stopping or standing for the first time, so that's pretty good.

Friday night and Saturday (Shabbos) I spent with a friend in Queens. It was nice, and I did a little more socializing than usual. Good for me, I suppose. Anyway, it tired me out and I just stayed home for the blizzard tonight.

Tomorrow I hope to be able to get my car moving, and make it to the gym. (Truth is, I could really walk there if necessary.) I don't have anything scheduled until a dinner event later on. I have some big plans to install a new hard drive. So if you don't see me blogging for a while, you'll know that "little installation" didn't go so well!

This was a long post, so if you're still reading this, thanks for hanging in there!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Poster Board #3

I've got to hang it up, but I'm excited to finally get the new board going!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


As in 30 laps in the pool, and 3o minutes on the bike.

It was tough in the pool today. I tried to actually swim, i.e. breathe between strokes without breaking my rhythm. That didn't go so well. But I'm working on it.

The bike was tough too, but a good tough. I pushed up the resistance a little more. My cadence was around 90 rpm for most of the ride, but that meant a HR of around 160. I only got through the first 20 minutes by telling myself I'd decrease the resistance then, so after 20 minutes I went from 10 (out of 25) back to 8. That seemed easy by comparison. I pushed my cadence up a little over those last ten minutes. After the full 30 minutes, the distance according to the bike's computer was 10.17 miles. (A new record!) After the cooldown, I was past 11 miles. I thought that was pretty good.

I've been trying to eat healthier as well over the last little while. That's not going so perfectly, but better than before. Got to get into competitive shape, you know?

(Part of the problem is that I'm not really training for anything yet. A few thoughts have crossed my mind, but I don't think I'm ready yet. I'll keep you posted.)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


40 laps in the pool today. I think I like that number. (I didn't think of the 40-40 connection while I was in the pool, but it did save me from coming up with another title for this post.) Actually, the nice thing about 40 laps is that it equals a really nice and round 1,000 yards.

I spent almost an hour in there, so it wasn't really fast. But I'm doing longer repeats. I mostly do what Total Immersion calls an OverSwitch. It's basically like swimming, except that I stop every few strokes to float in the "sweet spot" while taking a few breaths in a row. The next step is to integrate breathing into the strokes without having to pause between any strokes. I tried it a little today, but I was at the end of my workout, and tired. I'll try again over the next few workouts.

My shins, thanks for asking, have been okay. Of course I haven't run on them, but the medial sides haven't been bothering me when I walk. The fronts are kind of tight/sore, but that feels like a muscular thing. I'm not going running again yet, but so far so good.

I hope to get back to the bike tomorrow.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Not that I focused on my time when I ran this morning, but it's kind of cool to end up with such a round number.

My shins hurt somewhat today, but not horrible. I don't know if it's related, but it just seemed hard to run. I started way in the back, and was really going slow in the beginning. As I've theorized in the past, it's possible that going that slow makes it even harder, but I was having a tough time over the first mile. Since I wasn't really concerned about my time, I stopped at a port-a-potty at the first mile. I didn't even notice the clock at the first mile. By mile 2 I was feeling better, again maybe because I was naturally going a little faster. Not fast, but closer to my normal training speed. I passed mile 2 at 22:17, net.

Then that thing that happens to me during races, seemed to happen again. I slowly picked up speed. I definitely was not pushing it; I was running comfortably. The third mile incorporated "Cat Hill" and while everyone slowed down, I just kept on going. I figured I hadn't really used that much energy because I'd been going slow. Turns out that mile went by in 9:12. I was surprised, but didn't change anything. I just kept going at what I thought was the same pace. Mile 4 ended up being another surprise: 8:31.

So that's my 4 mile version of a negative split. 22:17 for the first half (with a bathroom break), and 17:43 for the second half. A nice round 40:00 total.

Those last few laps make me wonder how fast I could run if I was trying. Though I wasn't feeling too good during that first mile, by the end I was pretty comfortable. I definitely didn't give it my all. (Truth is, I'm sure if I tried I'd probably screw it up, and end up walking the last half.)

Anyway, regarding the shins, thanks for all the comments. I've been stretching a lot more lately - as often as I can remember. I also took a few Motrin over the weekend, and that seemed to help. I guess I'll see how I feel over the next few days, but I won't be running much in any case. With the cycling and the swimming I've got plenty of crosstraining to keep me busy.

I'm happy to have one race done. The next one is a 4K (2.5M) in 2 weeks. It's a cross country course in the Bronx (my home borough!), so that should be interesting. I'm also happy that it's short, so I should be able to do it even with minimal running over the next few weeks.

I think I'll stretch again now.

Friday, February 03, 2006


Thanks for permission to vent, everybody. With the weather we're having today, who wouldn't be in a good mood anyway?

I had a good swim workout today. 30 laps. I re-read parts of the Total Immersion book last night, and I focused on some things I wasn't doing right. It eneded up being a lot easier today. (Of course, I didn't do any cycling beforehand either.)

I'm still worried about my shins. I can really feel them walking around. (I'm wondering if my dress shoes are a problem?) It was exciting picking up my first number in 3 months from the Road Runners, but it was disturbing that it hurt to walk the 4 blocks to get there from my car.

We'll see how it goes on Sunday. I'm obviously not going to run hard, and if I'm in real pain I'll just walk.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I don't know if everybody feels the same way, but I always feel this pressure to be happy when I blog. It's like you're only allowed to post happy things with a positive attitude. Sometimes when I'm feeling more negative, I just don't post. But today, I'm going to vent a little.

Let's start with running. What's with my legs hurting all the time? I barely run, but when I do my shins bother me. And now, I kind of feel them bothering me all the time. They feel worse then they did at the height of marathon training, and I've only run 6 miles this week! Today I walked by the gym, and saw a few basketballs sitting there. Since nobody was looking I thought I'd fool around in there for a bit. Just running around and jumping for a few minutes was hurting me. I remembered reading about this jumping test, where if you jumped up and down on one leg. If it continued to hurt, it was supposed to mean you had a stress fracture. So I tried this, and both legs really hurt! In the same spot on both sides: the medial shin a few inches above the ankle. Do I think I have stress fractures on both sides? I don't think so. So let's call them shin splints. But I've barely been running for the last 3 months! I've given up any thoughts of a spring/summer marathon, and I'm not sure I'll ever get back to that kind of distance. In the meantime I'm trying to get my 9 races in so I'll qualify for next year's NYC marathon, so I'm not ready to give up running altogether yet. But that might happen too. I'm not happy.

Ok, now a little about swimming. As I continue to say, I am making progress. Today, I forced myself to do 8 laps in a row. Although I had to pause quite a few times between strokes to catch my breath, I did make it without stopping. 200 yards. (Only 4000 more and I'm ready for Ironman!) Okay, so that was good. But I'm still having a lot of trouble with the breathing. Today I practiced just breathing without swimming. I would breath in, then turn my head and exhale under water, and repeat. I tried to keep a normal cycle going. I was able to keep it up for several minutes, but it was uncomfortable. I felt like I wanted to breathe more rapidly. Okay, maybe it was because I had already put in a few laps, or maybe it was because I had come off the bike before swimming. (9.3 miles in 30 minutes, thank you very much!) But it's still pretty tough. I find myself looking at all the old people in the pool, with their totally improper form, and getting mad at them. There they are, swimming in almost a vertical position, with their head above water at all times. (One even wears her glasses!) Since they never put their head under water, they never get out of breath. Ok, they're not very fast. But they could swim a million laps that way, and never get tired. It annoys me.

My cold sore's getting better, but it's still visible. I'm worried that I may have caused some scarring when part of it came off a little too soon (after a shower). It's probably okay, but that's another thing bothering me.

I was going to complain about cops too, but I'll skip that. Instead I'll focus on the other part of "Law & Order", the lawyers. Ok, so I'm a doctor and I'm supposed to hate lawyers. But they really do drive me crazy. (If you're a lawyer reading this, don't even bother getting into a "comment war" about this. I'm not interested.) Because of the way the system works, our society has become an increasingly litiginous society. Why not? In most cases it costs nothing to sue, because the lawyer will take the case on contingency.

So this case is just another one that bothers me. For those of you too lazy to click on it, it's a guy suing Apple because iPod's can cause hearing loss. First of all, it's been a known fact for years that listening to music with any headphones are bad for your ears. Second, Apple includes a warning with every unit. This lawsuit claims it's not "enough" of a warning. And thirdly, but most importantly, this guy doesn't even have haring loss!! He bought an iPod last year. When he heard the reports of possible hearing loss, he sued. He hasn't even gotten tested. (Probably afraid to ruin his case!) He's suing because of the possibility of hearing loss. This is not some poor guy who went deaf and feels he's entitled to some compensation. It's just some guy out to make money for nothing. The sad part is that this will become a class action suit. In the event that Apple would eventually settle, the law firm would get $400 million dollars, and each individual iPod owner would get 42 cents. (And the next generation of iPods would then be $25 more expensive!)

(Big breath....)

Ok. Sorry about that. There are actually a million things in the news all the time that I feel like commenting on, but I generally spare you guys. I try to keep this blog about my training habits, and not my social or political views. Since most of the readers here actually own iPods I thought I could slip that one in! ;-)

Now that that's out of my system, I feel a little better already. I'm happy about my biking performance, and I think the swimming will get there eventually. The running is a concern. I've signed up for a 4 mile race on Sunday, and I think it's probably a good idea to take tomorrow and Saturday off. We'll see how that goes.