4.22.2008

Progress...

Part of the reason that I've been writing less is that I've been running a bit more and doing other outside funtime activities. That has provided me with a whole bunch of good feeling endorphins, incremental gains in fitness and a dose of sanity that nothing else has been able to provide to this point. I feel better, I've cut back on coffee consumption, I'm sleeping a bit better and I have a good excuse not to study. And the dress slacks fit better now too...which is always a plus.

I took my longest run in a while this weekend -5.3 miles- which felt great and I put in my first structured speed work since high school. I think the hardest part about getting back into running is that I'm still getting used to the fact that I'm a beginner again. I can't expect my body to pound out a decent pace like I used to, and it takes a bit of mental work to realign my perceived effort level with the paces/times that I'm putting up. So far the heart rate monitor is helping out with that aspect, I know where my lactate threshold is and where I need to put my heart rate to match my perceived effort, my feet just fall in line with the rest...kind of a cool quasi-physiological way to approach things. I'm also taking time to rest, which is helping out alot with the aches that plagued me for a lot of my earlier self-directed running.

I cobbled together a half-marathon training schedule that takes me up to the race in October. I'm almost sticking to it, except when exam weeks get in the way. I just hope that Surgery doesn't completely kill my hopes of finishing the race...but we'll see!
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I'm getting into the home stretch with classes, and starting to get all wound up for the boards in June. The nice weather is making it increasingly difficult to lock myself in the library with my good ol' pal Robbins, but I've been fairly good thus far.

Looking back on the first two years of medical school, it's been rough. It's not that the material is difficult to understand. It's the frame of reference that's been killing me all along. I'm an active learner. I learn by doing and seeing, not by staring at piles of notes and pages of readings. There is no way to actively learn pathology or biochem or any of the pre-clinical material, really. Seeing patients with their diseases makes the material stick more than the books do. It's just been the pure grunt work of slogging through the material until enough of it sticks, and that's led to some disappointing performances for me...like all of them. I've never felt less confident about what I'm doing in my life, and to have to live with that lack of confidence is draining.

Two weeks of torture left though, then a week of reading period/exams and then it's time for me to study for the boards. I'm looking foward to board studying, because I have a schedule that I'm going to stick to and it should be plenty to get a decent score on the step 1's. I'll probably continue to sneak in a post or two a week, updating about running/studying/life in general.

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