“Only your imagination limits the ways you can spice up your running routine.” —Bob Glover, coach and author of instructional running books
I don’t claim to be a coach or any type of actual authority on running, but trust me when I say I’ve come up with a little enjoyable drill that is going to improve my run and yours as well. I don’t even claim to be a good or fast runner. My only claim is that running has enhanced my life. Although I run for the mental benefits, I still want to improve my pace.
In my quest to become a faster runner, I knew I had to add in some sprints. A couple of times, I tried revisiting the dreaded high school track, a place I haven’t really gone back to since my own high school graduation in 1991. But trying to do repeated sprints around the track just wasn’t for me. After that failed attempt, I planned to just start by incorporating a 2 minute sprint at the end of my usual neighborhood run.
Often during a run, I replay conversations I’ve had with people when they said something to me and I didn’t tell them what was on my mind. Then later on you think, oh, I should have said this…that would have put them in their place. I’m sure you’ve had the same experience; moments where you have held back only to come up with the perfect response later when it’s too late.
I decided that I’d combine this exercise of what I should have said with my sprint. So I’ll pick a conversation that I’m still holding on to, and for the duration of my 2 minute sprint at the end of my run, I will just have a mental spew out of everything I should have said. When the sprint is done, the mental spew out is done, and I can just follow Queen Elsa’s advice and once and for all ….Let….It….Go….
It can be a pretty simple remark that someone made. For example, I chose to start with when I felt crushed by a few words spoken by my pediatric attending when I was at the end of my residency training. Let’s not name her, that seems unnecessary, but she was someone I really admired. She was an adolescent medicine specialist who specifically worked with teens with eating disorders, and in that world, she is known. She had two kids, a great faculty position. She was what I wanted to be. I still have great respect and admiration for her. I actually requested for her to be my clinic preceptor so she could personally mentor me.
Towards residency graduation time, she invited me and a couple of other mentees to her home with our families for a barbecue. I went with my then 10 month old son. We were having a great time, and then my son was hungry and I took out a bottle from my bag and she asked, “Are you giving him formula?”
“Yes,” I said. “He just nurses in the morning and night now and has formula during the day. My milk supply really went down after 6 months.”
“I nursed my kids exclusively until they were one. The AAP* says to do it, and it was hard but I said if the AAP says to do it, I’m going to do it.” Boom, just like that. I felt devalued by the woman I admired and didn’t say anything. If it wasn’t for my dark complexion, I would have been beet red.
Ok, so sprint and mental orgasm exercise will be that I will set my watch for 2 minutes. I will sprint as fast as I can while spewing out (in my head so that people don’t think I’m actually crazy) everything that I would say in response, and when the 2 minutes is done, I will let the comment rest in peace.
Beep. Beep. Go. What the f##k did you just say to me, you b#tch? Do you know how hard it has been to be a senior resident with a baby? Do you know how many times I left the PICU and the NICU to go and pump so that I could nurse for as long as I could? Do you know that I have f##king ADMIRED and IDOLIZED YOU for the last 3 years? That in college while every one else was having fun, I was volunteering at the Western Psychiatric Hospital in Pittsburgh in the eating disorders unit because I want to do what you f##king do? That I had a baby while I was a resident, while you waited until you were an attending, so obviously that would make it easier to nurse when you were not working the 90 hours a week I am. And maybe having my baby in residency was too early, but now every time I hug him I take a big inhale because I don’t know how much longer he will let me hold him tight. You f##king bitch. Do you know how many times I have fallen asleep nursing him and how many hours I have cried over having to leave him with a nanny while I had an overnight call? And now with your one insensitive stupid statement, you have made me feel inadequate both as a mom and a pediatrician. I don’t even know if I want to go into adolescent medicine anymore. WATCH… your…. f##king…. WORDS… b#tch! They are powerful.
Beep. Beep. Done. Stop. That….felt….great…. Just….great. My workout today is done.