Friday, March 31, 2006

Meeting Shore Turtle

Last night was fun. It was cool to meet Shore Turtle and I had a nice time with him. I mentioned this in a comment on his blog, but I'll say it again here. It's really cool that even though we'd never actually met, after reading his blog for so long, I felt like he was an old friend. (Actually I ran into neighbors of mine from back in Toronto. I introduced Shore Turtle as my friend. Yeah, a friend I just met 5 minutes ago!)

Unfortunately, the "good guys" lost the game last night. I wish I could say it was at least close, but in reality Michigan was badly outplayed from the first minute. I think we might have had more fun if we had something to cheer about.

Here's a few pictures. (We had pretty good seats.)


The band.

The cheerleaders. They looked really young, and I actually felt old.

Me and Shore Turtle. (This is at halftime. He's faking the smile.)

I was too lazy to go to the pool today. Sunday's a 10K race. I volunteered to take an extra call on Sunday, and I'm hoping it doesn't become a problem. The race has actually been pushed off to 10 am, but I hope to be done before anything turns up at work.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Somebody turn on the A/C

Wow, it's actually hot outside. Really beautiful. I really think we're wasting a lot of money and effort sending spaceships to Mars and Saturn. What we should really be concentrating on is stopping our own planet from tilting back and forth all the time. Let's wait until about May or so, and then just lock it in place. Good weather forever!

Today is Physician Appreciation Day. (I'm sure you all knew that already.) I was a few minutes early for conference this morning, so I stopped in at the official breakfast. I was surprised at how many people were there. People were chowing down like they've never seen food before. The event was "catered" by the cafetria upstairs. Which means it was the exact same food that's available everyday, only today you didn't have to pay the 2 or 3 dollars. You'd be surprised at how much of an impact that makes!

All the big wigs of the hospital were there. The President told a few of us that just in case we didn't know the hospital appreciates us, now we'd know for sure. I told him I always suspected it, but the French Toast put me over the top!

By the way, why is it always umbrellas that they give you?

Anyway, I had a few hours to kill so I made a quick stop in the gym. 40 minutes on the bike, which is a new record. It was too tough to keep up the intensity, so I gradually lowered the resistance. That meant the distance in the end was only 11.61 miles - which I think is still the most I've done. The problem is that it's really boring. I mean really boring. I think I need to get a bike and try this outdoors. What I'll probably do is borrow a friend's bike a few times and see how I like it. (I definitely don't enjoy it as much as running.)

In the afternoon I helped examine the medical students. It's kind of weird being on the other side of the table, but I enjoyed it. I made a commitment to be more involved in teaching. I felt that if I'm going to examine them, I'd like to get the chance to teach them first. I'm looking forward to that with the next group starting next week.

Now it's off to the city to meet ShoreTurtle. I'll report back tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Too fast - or so I thought

Another beautiful day in New York today. I kept thinking how it will be so nice to run outside today. Of course in the end I procastinated too much, and it was around sunset by the time I got out there. I stubbornly still wore shorts and a T-shirt, for the first time this year. I was chattering at first, but I warmed up by the end. Unfortunately, the wind was still annoying, and in one direction my hands felt the chill.

Anyway, I did my 4 miles as planned. Since I now consider 4 miles a "short run" again, I thought I'd try to do them fast. Or at least relatively fast.

My splits are a little screwed up, but I think I did the first mile in about 8:15. I've run that fast before, but never for the first mile. I had to slow down a bit for the second mile, and finished the first 2 in 16:51. I then did the second 2 miles a little slower still, in 17:17 for both of them. Total running time 34:08. (Oh, did I mention I rested for 4 minutes in between?)

I thought that if I didn't count that break, that these would be the fastest 4 miles I've run. Boy was I surprised to see that my PR for 4 miles is actually 32:55! I wasn't even close. I set that PR 5 years ago, at around the same time I set all my short distance PR's. It seems as though when I increased the distances I was running, I got slower. Even for the short runs. I think the reason is that I don't really adapt my pace to the distance I'm running. I just run at what feels comfortable.

I'd like to work at increasing my effort level for these shorter runs. I should probably do some more serious speedwork, and one of these days I'll get around to it.

I had yet another wedding last night, but this one was Sephardic, which is a first for me. There are a lot of differences, but the one that stands out the most is the time. It's pretty common for Jewish weddings to be on a weeknight. However, they usually start around 6:30, and by 11 they're wrapping up. This one was called for 8:30, and the ceremony didn't even start until about 10:15. The ceremony was nice, but long, and ended at 11:20! I was eating spiced beef at midnight, and cake at 1 am! (I was still feeling the after-effects this morning when I woke up.)

They has these LCD screens next to the chupah. Even when you couldn't tell what was going on from your seat, you could just check out the "jumbotron".

Doesn't anybody else go to work the next day?

Dessert anyone?

Have a drink anyone?

The wedding itself was really beautiful. The groom was one of the graduating medical students, and a lot of his classmates were there. It was really a nice atmosphere. As an experiment I've uploaded some video to youtube. If you have any interest you can click on these links.

Video: Walking up to the Chupah.

Video: Placing the ring on her finger.

Video: Jewish dancing.

They cut the cake at the end, and did that whole thing where they get cake on each other's faces. Is that always done? Or only since the Wedding Crashers came out?

Back to a quiet night tonight. On tap for tomorrow though is the NIT championship game at Madison Square Garden. I'll be there with ShoreTurtle cheering my heart out for Michigan! Even though I've never actually met ShoreTurtle, I feel like I know him pretty well. I think it's going be a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Looking young

Back to the pool today for 1000 yards. Almost forgot what it's like to smell like chlorine all day!

I was able to swim a little stronger today, but I still get winded pretty quickly. I've talked to the people at the pool about their semi-private lessons. Most people think I'd be wasting my money, and that all I need is practice. The truth is that it's not that expensive, and it might be one way to enforce practice time! The guy in charge of the pool is off today, so I'll talk to him more later in the week. (Lessons start next week.)

I actually got complimented on my swimming today, on how smooth it was. I'm sure it was just because there was some incredibly rude woman there who was just backstroking and eggbeating over everybody in her way. That is something that's really annoying about swimming. Some people think the pool is only there for them, and don't acknowledge anybody else's right to be there. One of the ladies in the pool told the rude woman to be careful, but I don't think she heard her - or cared. What's interesting about her backstroke is that she bowls right over everybody without looking, but is then careful to look out for the wall as she gets close. I'd rather she looked out for other swimmers, and then went full speed into the wall at the end!

Anyway, back to the compliment. I actually do think that my swimming strokes are pretty smooth. It's just that I can't maintain a nice rhythm of breathing and swimming for too long at a time. So this lady, who doesn't really swim too gracefully, tells me that it's because of some surgery that she's had. In fact, she used to be a lifeguard, and she thinks I should take the test myself. I told her I didn't think I'd have much use for a lifeguard's certificate, but she said I could always work part time at the pool. I felt silly telling her I kind of have enough of a job, especially since it was in the middle of the day (lunch time) and I didn't seem too busy. (I guess she didn't notice me checking my beeper at the end of every set of laps.) Then as she swims away she calls out that I would also learn CPR. At that point I felt guilty for not telling her I was a doctor, but she was already swimming away.

I think a lot of people have a hard time believing I'm a doctor because of how young I look. The nurses in the operating room where I work remember me from my residency, but the ones on the floor keep mistaking me for a resident. (It boggles my mind why they keep doing that. All the residents walk around in scrubs. Now that I'm an attending, I generally wear a suit. I can't get over the fact that seeing me in a suit doesn't trigger some sort of brain process for them! But anyway...) This morning, was even funnier. I got asked if I was a pre-med student. I think the guy was just a little confused with the terminology, and was really thinking I was one of the medical students I was standing with. But it was funny nonetheless.

The good thing is that I enjoy looking young, and I don't mind people making these mistakes. I actually enjoy that the bartender at my (ex) roommate's wedding asked me if I was "old enough". The only downside is that I have to wear a suit to work, and I have to put up a billion diplomas to be taken seriously. That's not such a big price to pay!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Great day for running

I had a great run today. 8.8 miles. I hadn't run all week, so I planned for a longer run than usual today. Getting out of the house was extremely tough, and I kept delaying. To be honest, I was pretty close to skipping it. I probably would have, if not for this half-commitment I've made to myself about running the Broad Street Run with ShoreTurtle in May. I'm not sure I'll actually do that race, but not running long today would have just blown away any option I had. So out I went.

Thankfully, the weather was just about perfect. I was overdressed with my jacket, and it ended up on my waist. I did a back, out, and back. Meaning that I did the same run as last week, but I added an extra little out and back in the opposite direction. You can see above where the finish is marked. I started out running west, and then doubled back to the east. It's really a nice little run which goes by the river, some horseback trails, and a golf course. I stretched twice along the way, but in general I felt pretty good. My splits in the non-stretching miles showed about 10 minute miles in the beginning, shortening to 9 and a half or so for the last few. So I was pretty happy about that.

Towards the end of my run, I heard a weird noise coming up behind me. I turned around and saw this guy running right behind me. It didn't sound right, and I guess my eyes were naturally drawn downwards. Sure enough he had one prosthetic leg, and that was making a running sound that was out of the ordinary. Unfortunately I was turning off then, and he was going straight. I would have had to struggle to keep up with him, but I'd have loved to find out more about him. Someone who takes adversity and kicks it in the butt like that is pretty amazing.

Anyway, next week is a 10k (6.2M) run. I'll plan to do one 4 miler during the week, to end up at 10 total. The weekend after that is a 4 mile race, so mayble I'll just do 4, 4, and 4 that week. The following week I can try and push the long run back up to 8 or 10, with some small runs during the week. I think some sort of plan like that will get me to Philly for 10 miles on May 7th. I've been having trouble getting in my runs with my new work schedule, so we'll see how it goes. Passover's also coming up, and that may interfere as well.

In non-running news I went back to see another hockey game tonight. My beloved Leafs were back in town again, to play the New Jersey Devils. They've been playing horribly lately, so I went with low expectations. It didn't help that they put this kid in net, who'd never played before.

1) exciting action
2) leafs kippa!

Turns out, he played really well. The Leafs got tons of penalties, and played much of the last 5 minutes shorthanded, including long stretched where they were down 2 men. They did give up one powerplay goal in that time, but managed to hang in there for the win.

1) three leafs in the box
2) congratulating goalie after the win

Thursday, March 23, 2006


(this is mostly for you, mom!)

to the right of the window are my running related plaques:

next to the bookcase is Maimonides' Prayer for the Physician:

if you blow it up and read the text, it's pretty interesting how applicable it still is. (note: having researched it for this post, it's not clear this was actually written by Maimonides. in any case, it's been around from at least the 18th century.)

and on the opposite wall, the main attraction:

(whoa! a lot of paperwork there, eh? well it took 13+ years to get it!)

here's the guided tour version:

Is it weird that I'm more proud of how nice a job I did hanging these up, than I am of having obtained them in the first place?

Anyway, once I got in the picture hanging mode, I finally put up my more recent running related posters at home. (I also had some empty space on my wall to fill.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Real work

Work is picking up, and I've finally started to do some operating at the new place. So that's good.

This morning was a relatively late start, so I jumped over to the gym beforehand. I haven't been on the bike for a while, and it was really tough today. I gutted it out for only twenty minutes, but I felt like it was a good workout. I still hate seeing that I only burned 193 calories. I know it doesn't really work that way, but it's still annoying.

Here are the diplomas as promised.

uh... maybe not. Blogger, you suck! (I can't get the pictures uploaded. I'll try again tomorrow.)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Back on track

So I never made it to the gym Thursday. But I'm back on track, as of yesterday. Yesterday I ran 7 miles outdoors. It was a little windy, but I was excited to get that kind of distance in again. I stopped a few times to stretch (and my calves are still tight today!) but I persisted through to the end. One of the tricks I played on myself was to run an out and back course. I was 3.5 miles away from home before I turned around. So I couldn't really give up even if I wanted to.

Seven miles used to be a relatively short run. Now after seven miles I'm doing Lance Armstrong imitations!

I don't know how everyone always runs with cameras. There were some cool things I would have taken pictures of had I been carrying one. (Like the horses waiting for me to cross in front of them, the damaged guardrails on the side of the highway, and the guys out golfing while I'm working my butt off running past the golf course!) Do you guys just stop running to take pictures of interesting things?

Today I went back to the pool, for the first time in more than a week. I lost a little progress, but not that much. I was still able to actually swim and breathe in some sort of coordinated fashion. Just not for that long at a time. I put in 40 laps lengths total, but the longest I went without stopping was 10 lengths, or 250 yards. Pretty paltry. Once I get better at the actual swimming, I really have to work on my endurance. For the 10 lengths today I made a deliberate effort to go slow, but I was still pretty winded halfway through. I took quite a few breaks while "resting" on my side between strokes.

Saturday night, I went to this quasi-annual trivia fundraising event.

Our team had high expectations as we were the defending champions, but it wasn't in the cards this year.

In other news, the pilgrims to "the tree" are back on the street. About two years ago, somebody noticed that the tree across the street has a marking on it that looks like Mary. (It came from being hit by a car a few years prior to that.) Well, good news travels fast and people kept coming that entire summer to stare at the tree, and leave flowers and/or prayers. Here's a few pictures from back then.

(It takes a little imagination. I suppose the more faith you have, the less imagination you need.)

Here's a reporter spreading the "gospel". the news had been out for about 4 months when Telemundo (spanish TV) found out about it. They rushed over and did a live broadcast at 10pm that night.

Anyway, it gets pretty quiet in the winter with all the snow. But today being the first day of spring, business has picked up again. My roommates have discussed in the past (only half-jokingly) how we can make money off of this phenomenon. We could sell t-shirts and keychains. Or maybe we could set up a 24 hour online webcam from our living room window. (In the end, we always do nothing and just go to our jobs!)

In totally unrelated news, here's a book I saw in the bathroom at a friend's place.

Supposedly it's for their kids. When I mentioned it to them, I was told I wasn't the first person to find the title funny.

This is a picture I took a few weeks ago, but forgot to post. You have to blow it up to appreciate what's funny.

(It makes me think of that song by The Clash, "Should I stay, or should I go".)

And finally, I've become official at work.

I actually have all my diplomas framed and up on the wall. I just haven't brought a camera to work since then. Maybe tomorrow.

(BTW, these posts with all these pictures take a long time!)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Partying a lot, Exercising a little

Well, I got my internet going again, at home. Unfortunately, not much to post in the way of exercise.

The last few days have been hectic. Sunday was the wedding. Monday was an after-wedding party. (I got to speak.) Tuesday was Purim. Yesterday was my day to go back to the gym. Alas, I was in a sluggish mood and didn't go out. I did some work stuff, so my night wasn't completely wasted. But no exercise.

Today, I got on the scale this morning for the first time in a few days. I was counting on having reached new heights. Strangely, I was 6 pounds less than the last time I weighed myself. So either this "see-food" diet is working, or more likely, I need a new scale.

I'm on call today for the first time at this hospital; we'll see how that goes. I hope to get to the gym at some point if I'm not busy, but swimming might be a problem. Oh wait, I forgot I have another after-wedding party tonight. Hmm... Maybe I'll get the gym in earlier. Have to see how things go.

In the meantime, here's a few pictures from the various different things going on this past week.

driving to brooklyn, brooklyn bridge
(have i mentioned i love bridges?)

this is the apartment my parents lived in when i was born
(i was nearby, so i made a pilgrimmage)

I didn't mention that on Purim the tradition is to dress up on costumes. When you're younger sometimes kids dress up as doctors. (No pressure there!) In fact, I heard my brother used some of my old scrubs this year to dress up a surgeon. Anyway, when you're in medical school it's not really that funny at that point. Actually, it's pretty uncool to dress up as a doctor. This year, now that I've finished medical school, residency, fellowship, and I'm working as a "real doctor", I came up with a great costume. I dressed up a medical student.

the subtelties are lost here, but i've got tons of things in my pockets, especially the classic medical student books, pens, penlights, a medical student badge, etc.

as a special present, here's last year's costume:

the patient. again, lots of subtelties: IV, NG tube, Foley, TED stockings, etc.

Here's a few of my friends this year:

the brokeback mountain cowboys. uh, with their kids.
(i know her mom reads this blog, so happy purim Mrs. W!)

Holy Purim Costumes! It's Batman and Robin!
(i think they were dressed like this the night they got engaged. but that's another story...)

So that was Purim. Next up, Passover.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Colon Cancer Challenge

A little slow to get in this recap, but I had a busy day today.

Last night, my (ex) roommate's parents were in the apartment until well after midnight getting the seating arrangements done. So I didn't get to sleep last night until really late last night. That turned into a late morning today, and so like usual, I was rushing to the race at the last minute. Rather than trying to find a really close spot, I parked about 10 blocks north of the start, and on the other side of the park. It was drizzling lightly. The plan was to wear my jacket, which had my camera, up until the race start. Since there were a bunch of people from my hospital supposed to be there, I figured I'd be able to hand it off to someone I knew. Well when you get to the race as the people are already running, that's a problem. So I was stuck with my jacket and my camera for the whole race. After a mile or so I tied it around my waist. I could feel my camera bouncing around, and I had to tighten the arms tied around my waist every few mintues, as it felt like the jacket was falling down. What a pain.

Anyway, the first mile was tough. There were a lot of people in front of me, since I started pretty far back. I didn't try and weave too much, although I did run on the side of the road a few times. I was feeling pretty crappy for the entire first mile. (My shins weren't bad - I think in the end it was just a bruise. But cardiovascularly I was feeling it.) I figured I was lucky enough to be running at all, and I'd just try to get to the finish line. Given that I'd eaten about a million pounds of food over the weekend, it wasn't that surprising how tough a time I was having. Then I hit the first mile marker and I realized I had a time of 8:40 or so. No wonder I was having such a hard time - I was running much faster than I thought. So I just kept going and decided to see how long I could keep the pace up.

Mile 2 went by in 8:22. Now I started making calculations in my head. I had no idea how fast I'd run 4 miles in the past, but for some reason 35 minutes seemed pretty good in my head. Then I though that last week's pace was 8:29, and for a 4 mile race, that would be a total time of 33:56. So I started shooting for that time.

I was struggling more with my breathing as time went on, but I was able to maintain the pace. As I got closer to the end I realized I was going to make it. I pushed a little at the end for a strong finish, and ended up with a net of 33:07. I was amazed at how well (relatively) I had done, and was thinking I probably set a PR. Later when I got home, I realized that I'd run 4 miles in 12 seconds less, almost 5 years ago. (Interestingly, not only were the net times 12 seconds apart, but the overall times were also 12 seconds apart. Which means that in both races I crossed the start line at exactly 2:19. Strange.

So today I learned that 1) I should really wake up and leave earlier on race day, and 2) I should probably look up my PR's before races.

I did get a couple of pictures, including one with Dr. Weber, who runs Partners in Prevention. (I see him almost every day, but it's kind of weird to take pictures together at work. This will probably be my picture for next year's fundraising page.)

these shirts were great! the back's a little blurry, but it had some gastroenterologists name and number on it, and it said if you "mention this ad" you'd get 10% off!

In terms of fundraising, I raised $563. Thanks to all those who contributed. Even though the race is over, you can still continue to contribute if you feel so inspired.

After the race, I stopped by the hospital to make rounds. I figured since I just run in an event which raised money for their institution, I was well within my right to make rounds in a track suit. (But back to a regular suit tomorrow.)

After that was my (ex) roommate's wedding. It was really a great celebration, and the dancing was great. (Even if my shins didn't think so!) I think he's just such a great guy, that all his friends were really so happy for him. You could feel that in the atmosphere. At least I thought so.

The whole weekend has been great. His family spent the first part of the weekend with us, and ate with us in our apartment on Friday and Saturday. At the wedding I had a part by singing some of the songs during the ceremony. And tomorrow I'm back to spend the first sheva brachos celebration with the family. I've really felt like a part of the wedding party.

Tomorrow night is the start of Purim, one of the most fun holidays in the Jewish calendar. Feasting, drinking, all the good stuff! It goes until Tuesday night, and I've got a few parties to go to on Tuesday. Nice!