My First Half Marathon

I need to be honest about how much I prepared for this half marathon. I only ran about ten times before the actual race and my longest run was about 5 miles. I was doing several other work out classes like spin three times per week and body pump twice per week. I think that those classes helped me with endurance.  If I had to do this race again, I would have trained harder.

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The Austin Half Marathon is notoriously difficult because it’s a very hilly course. I did not run on many hills so this was tough and affected my time.  I finished in over three hours.  I ended up having to walk most of them especially the really big one at mile 12.

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For the first ten miles I felt pretty good and then after that I just could not run anymore. It’s like I was out of gas. I was not in any pain. I just could not keep running.  I saw these firefighters running the full marathon in full gear around mile 10 and got the urge to cry.  I didn’t think I could ever do what they were doing.  They definitely inspired me to keep going.

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There were so many awesome people who encouraged me to the finish line. I actually was able to run the last half mile.

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Although it was a tough race, I really had fun and felt accomplished when I crossed the finish line.  I definitely think this will be the first of many more races. The energy on race day is addicting and running is good for you.

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It was a good day for my fitbit. :)

The Wild Wild Midwest

It’s been a crazy last four weeks with a ton of traveling, but I can finally report that I am done interviewing for residency. Honestly, the hardest part is ranking the programs. I have until late February to finalize that list, and I will be taking my time.

I started 2014 by traveling to the MIdwest. My first stop was Cleveland and this is what it looked like when I landed. I’ve lived in Boston for 6 years so I am no stranger to snow, but this was insane.

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I was just thankful that I was able to make it to the interview.

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I drove to the hotel in the middle of the storm from the airport and then spent the day bundled up in a blanket watching tv. I was so grateful that the program canceled the preinterview dinner. I had zero desire to drive in that storm. The next morning I got up super early to make sure that I could make the interview. I was terrified of driving in all that snow. The roads were clear and thankfully I made it on time. I really enjoyed this interview because the other interviewees were fantastic people. It’s nice thinking that these guys will soon be doctors.

After the interview, I met one of my good college friends for a late lunch/drinks at Great Lakes Brewing Company.

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I ordered the fish and chips with their raspberry beer which was absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it. After lunch, my friend took me to the market place across the street which was lovely. They sold everything from vegetables to pasta. Our last stop was the Case Western University campus. One of the building there reminded me of MIT’s Stata Center and my friend confirmed that Frank Gehry had designed that building too. I headed back to the airport and my flight was only three hours delayed…win. I really could not wait to be HOME and sleep in my very own bed for the first time in almost two months.

The following week was incredibly stressful because the weather in the Midwest was still crazy (polar vortex + snow = disastrous travel conditions), and I had to be in Chicago. I decided to drive and made it to Chicago just in time for my interview. Theses are some photos from my drive there. Yes, I know scary. I am glad my brother agreed to be my driving buddy.

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We wanted an authentic deep dish pizza and choose Giordanos .

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So incredibly good. Our waiter was a super nice guy and gave us tips on places to eat or visit in the city. We definitely tipped him well.

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I had a great interview experience in Chicago and could definitely see myself there. BUT this is a HUGE decision. (I will be writing a more detailed post about this on a later date). Do I want to live in chiberia where it’s pretty cold nine months out of the year? The city is amazing though. Great people and tons to do. I definitely fell in love. Here are some pictures from the rest of trip.

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We spent the rest of the time there visiting our family in the area.

Words cannot describe how happy I am to be done with this part of the process. The last few days I was finally able to go grocery shopping (or what I like to call doing normal people things). I started running again. I did 3 miles today. The Austin 1/2 marathon is exactly a month away….I will finish no matter what.

Washington D.C.

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Last weekend, I was in DC for the first time, and I fell in love instantly. The city is vibrant and absolutely beautiful. I arrived on Saturday afternoon after a ridiculous 6 hour flight. By the way DC is only about two hours away from Philadelphia… I should have taken a plane/bus. This was my only regret from the trip.

Our first stop was afternoon high tea at Teaism near Penn Quarter. I really loved the food at this place and the food was reasonable. However, I really hated that we had to pick up our food especially since the high tea plates were quite big. I ordered the Asian high tea and my friends Z and Lauren ordered the regular tea plate.

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And this was the regular tea. See what I mean carrying those things was a pain.

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Overall, I liked the food and had a blast with my friends so I would come back.

That night we went out for thai food at Sala Thai on U street and dancing. The food was great especially the pad thai. We had originally picked a thai place because according to my friends I hadn’t lived if I had not tried the mango rice. Unfortunately, they did not have it so we settled for the regular thai rice for dessert which was good too.

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The next day was snowing but we wanted Mexican food so we walked over to Adams Morgan and ate at Mixtec. This place is really a gem and I’m Mexican so I know what I’m talking about when it comes to this subject. The food here reminded me of the food I grew up eating. We ordered from their brunch menu. I had the plate with chilaquiles, my favorite Mexican dish. I promise to post my chilaquiles recipe at a later date.

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The snow really started falling as we were leaving the restaurant.

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The rest of the day I went to the National Mall, but due to the weather I didn’t walk outside for too long but I got to check out the Smithsonian museums. I spent about three hours exploring the museum of natural history. There was just so much to see.

I only had one more day in DC and it was my interview day. Overall, I enjoyed my experience at the hospital. It will be one of my top choices.

As soon as I get back from California, I will write more about my healthy eating and running.

A Philadelphia Story

I started my East Coast interview trail in Philadelphia. Philly is a charming city. Fortunately, it was not too cold for this time of the year, however, it was cloudy and rainy. I crashed with my college friend Z who is currently in the city getting an MBA. She lives in a brownstone in center city. Here is a shot of her street.

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The first two days I was in the city was pure business. The first night, I attended the preinterview dinner at London Grill, a pub with surprisingly delicious food. I ordered the pork belly with sweet potatoes. The portion size was appropiate. I was able to eat all my food without feeling stuffed or having to take home left overs. I don’t think that it would have been a big enough portion to feed two people. The sweet potatoes with the pork were an excellent combination. They also ordered some appetizers (fried pickles and calamari) that I thought were average with the exception of the Korean chicken which is thought was very tasty and different. They had a wide selection of beers and wines. Overall, I had a good time at the restaurant and met some wonderful interviewees. It is a place I would visit again.

Wednesday was the big day. I woke up early and headed over to the interview which consisted of the usual talks/tour/standard two interviews with faculty members. I really liked the program with the exception of a few minor things that I did not realize were important to me. This is why the interview process is so important. It’s impossible to gauge a program purely based on their website. This really is about fit. If I matched there, I think I would be happy because Philly is a great city.

Z cooked a wonderful meal for dinner that night. Apparently, she’s been picking up cooking tips from blogs like Pioneer Woman and 300 Sandwiches. I really loved her beef stew because it had great flavor and the meat was so tender. It made me realize how much I need to get a crock pot. Honestly, this was one of my favorite meals during my trip. Good job Z! Oh and a shout out to her fiance who helped her with the cooking. Sadly, I have no photos from this fabulous meal.

The next day was amazing. I woke up and started exploring the city. I started the day with a little shopping. There is no sales tax on clothes and I had to take advantage of that. I headed to H&M which sadly does not exist in San Antonio. I got some really cute shirts and sweaters. I walked over to Chinatown for some lunch. I have no idea where I ate because everything was in Chinese. All I know is that I was near the arch. After lunch, I headed to Old City for some history. In high school, I used to love US history because its absolutely fascinating how a group of people founded a country on the idea that we were all made equally and had the right of pursuit of hapiness. First stop was the liberty bell, which was very tiny. But size shouldn’t matter right?

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This is shot of Independence hall where our founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

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At that point, I had worked up enough of an appetite to go to Reeding Terminal Market. Z had recommend the famous apple dumplings from the Dutch Place. I recommend getting the dumplings with the heavy cream instead of the whipped cream. The portions are big enough to share with one other person. The market is very cute and offered a large variety of foods. A definite spot to stop by for some lunch while visiting the city.
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Next stop was love park and city hall. There was a holiday themed market at Love park. I walked around admiring the little shops and all the Christmas decorations.
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That night, I met up with Z and her fiancé, and some of her friends from business school to eat at an Italian place. Most restaurants in Philadelphia are BYOB which is nice because you save money on alcohol.

The next day, I met up with Z at La.Va. for breakfast before she headed to DC for work. Its an excellent coffee shop. I ordered a breakfast sandwich and chai latte. Both were delicious. If I lived in Philly, I could see myself studying/working at this place.

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Later, I spent several hours at the Mutter Museum of Medical Oddities. This place totally spoke to my inner medicine nerd. I got to look at histology slides of Einstein’s brain and even bony remains of John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin. I highly recommend visiting this museum if you have any interest in medicine at all. Sadly, I did not have time to visit the Rocky Steps because the weather was so bad.

Finally, I ended up meeting with my medical student friend Maggie. Her fiancé apparently lives only two blocks away from my friend. What a small world we live in. We met at this wonderful new shop called Plenty on Spear and 16th street that opened only a few weeks ago. I only had the tea but if I had the chance I would go back to try some of their sandwiches and of course their coffee.

After several days of exploring the city, I went back to Z apartment and called it a day. I ended up picking up take out from a thai place near by. It was far from the best pad thai I had but it was a perfect way to end the day.

Lessons I learned from traveling to Philadelphia:
1. Always have cash. Their public transportation is old and they still use tokens!
2. Washington DC is only a few hours away so its cheaper and more convenient to take a train/bus than fly.
3. There are no taxes on clothes so leave extra room in your suitcase for shopping. :)
4. Make sure you eat a Philly cheesesteak in Philly not at the airport like I did. I ate at Tony Luke’s which was ok actually.

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Even though, I am getting behind on my running. I was walking several miles per day while I was there. Here’s a screenshot from my fitbit.

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I promise to post my recap of DC after my EKG test this friday.