Wednesday, September 5, 2007


I pushed myself hard, both physically and mentally, this weekend, and I've concluded that I really need to work on my endurance.

The bike ride through Rock Creek Park Monday morning was wonderful. It was meant to be a short, one hour ride, but it turned out to be more like four! I was just having too much fun with my friend, whom I hadn't seen since early June. I had a strong suspicion this might happen, so I brought some study materials with me (I had to, what with exams yesterday!) so that I could quiz myself during our half-way-point break.

What caught me by surprise, however, was how fit my friend had become since we last got together. Or was it how unfit I'd become after a year of medical school and a summer in front of the television? I couldn't keep up with my friend. My quads were burning; I was sweating buckets; I was huffing and puffing like The Little Engine that Could.

When I got home later that afternoon, I was thoroughly exhausted. There was no way I could study for my exams the next day, so after cooling down and showering, I took a nap.

An hour later, I was back at my desk (a dining table, once upon a time) ready for a final review of all the material to be covered on my exams. After about an hour, I could take no more. I kept taking breaks and trying to come back to material I was having trouble with, but I just couldn't study anymore. I went to school, hoping that I would get a second wind from the study-all-night-before-the-exam crowd. No such luck. At 9 o'clock, this little engine went back to the depot.

Besides being tired and dehydrated from the bike ride, I think part of the problem was that I kept thinking of all the fun I'd had over the long weekend. I was missing out on a lot of fun because of all the studying I have to do just to stay in the middle of the pack at school. Is medicine worth it? I've been asked, and ask myself the same question from time to time. Honestly, I don't know. I hope so! Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I need to keep working on the whole "balance" thing. I've mentioned before that medical school is like a marathon. I have to pace myself; I need to build endurance. Otherwise, I'm going to end up burned-out and miserable.

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